University of Texas at El Paso Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog

Ph.D. in Biosciences

The educational objective of the doctoral program in Bioscience is to prepare students for research in the field of Biological Sciences. Students in the PhD in Bioscience program work under the mentorship of faculty conducting research in the following areas:

  • mechanisms and interventions of infectious diseases
  • mechanisms and interventions of cancer
  • mechanisms and interventions of neurological disorders
  • mechanisms and interventions of metabolic disorders
  • toxicology of environmental and synthetic pollutants
  • carcinogenic effects of pollutants and manufactured chemicals
  • brain development and function
  • genetics and developmental biology
  • immunology
  • microbiology and biochemistry

Admission Requirements 

  1. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in the United States or proof of equivalent education in a foreign institution with:

    a. Two semesters of Organic Chemistry with lab.
    b. One semester of Calculus.
    c. Coursework in Physiology, Microbiology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, and Genetics.
  2. Competitive scores in the Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing components of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  3. Personal statement of research and professional interests.
  4. Three letters of recommendation indicating endorsement of the applicant for doctoral study.
  5. Competitive TOEFL score for international applicants whose first language is not English or who have not completed a university degree in the U.S. or at an English-speaking institution. Successful candidates typically have scores above 550.

Degree Requirements

With departmental approval, students entering the program with a master’s degree can count up to 24 semester hours of graduate coursework towards advanced standing in the PhD degree. Students with deficiencies in Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Microbiology, Physiology, Genetics, Ecology, or Evolutionary Theory will be required to take additional course work to remove the deficiencies.

Admission to Candidacy

The student must pass a qualifying oral examination to advance to candidacy for the doctorate. This exam is designed to assess the candidate's knowledge and understanding of the material covered in the core courses as well as the candidate's ability to rationally discuss the design, implementation, and analysis of a research problem of the student's and the committee's choosing. The Preliminary Examination Committee will determine whether the student displays sufficient breadth of knowledge and understanding of basic principles to undertake original research.


A dissertation demonstrating both the ability to do original independent research and competence in scholarly exposition will be required of all students. The dissertation must present original research and should provide the basis for one or more publishable contributions to the research literature. The dissertation will be supervised by the Dissertation Advisor, in consultation with a Dissertation Committee consisting of at least three additional members, at least one of whom must be a graduate faculty member from outside the Department of Biological Sciences. The candidate will present a dissertation proposal for approval by the Dissertation Committee.

Final Oral Examination

Upon completion of the dissertation, the student must defend, in public, his or her work. The Dissertation Committee will be responsible for administering the final public oral defense and will have the responsibility of determining whether the written dissertation and its oral presentation and defense are acceptable.

Degree Plan

Required Credits: 63

PhD in Biosciences (All courses require a grade of C or better)
Required Courses:
BIOL 5130Seminar (Complete three semesters)3
BIOL 5131Ethical, Soc/Pol Dimensions1
BIOL 6309Advanced Scientific Writing3
BIOL 5328Biostatistics3
BIOL 6310Adv Research Techniques3
Menu Electives:
Select two courses from the following:6
Select Adv Topics Biol Science
Advances Immunological Concept
Structure/Funct Macromolecules
Basic Principles of Toxicology
Gene Regulation
Physiological Regulatory Mech
Free Electives:
Select nine hours from the following: 9
Select Adv Topics Biol Science
Rsrch Funding & Prof Developmt
Neurobiology of Brain Diseases
Advances Immunological Concept
Physiology of Bacterial Cell
Cancer Biology
Structure/Funct Macromolecules
Molecular Pathogenesis
Intro Bio I:Basic Seq. Comp.
Intro Bio II: Gene Find/Compar
Basic Principles of Toxicology
Developmental Neurobiology
Gene Regulation
Physiological Regulatory Mech
Cell Physiology
Rsrch Funding & Prof Developmt
Neurobiology of Brain Diseases
Molecular Parasitology
Other courses per the Dissertation Committee approval
(e.g. EEB courses and courses offered by other departments or colleges)
Doctoral Research:
Dissertation Research 29
Independent Research
Independent Research
Independent Research
Independent Research
Independent Research
Independent Research
BIOL 6398
BIOL 6399
and Dissertation
Total Hours63