Prospective Graduate Students

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See also: Quick Facts for Graduate Program Applicants

 

The Department of Biological Sciences offers research based Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees with research foci in the areas of cancer biology, cardiovascular biology, cell and extracellular matrix biology; cell and organ systems physiology; developmental biology, microbiology; molecular biology and genetics; and musculoskeletal biology. Formalized Graduate Concentrations provide students with curricula and research mentoring that are tailored to the student's career goals. We have also developed an innovative joint Ph.D./MBA program for students interested in combined training in scientific research and business administration.

NEW FOR FALL 2010:  We have developed both a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) and Graduate certificate in Biotechnology to serve the needs of both prospective full-time students interested in careers in biotechnology industries and part-time students currently working in scientific industry careers.  The PSM in Biotechnology blends rigorous scientific coursework taught by UD science faculty with business coursework offered through the UD Alfred Lerner College of Business capped by a six-month long internship with one of our industrial partners. Part-time students can complete the internship requirement in their workplace as part of a professional development plan.

 
 

Our Department currently has approximately 40 faculty members and at least one additional faculty member is expected to join us in 2010. Several distinguished scientists from other departments at the University of Delaware hold joint appointments in Biological Sciences and further broaden our base of research expertise. Our graduate program also participates in the "Human Health Initiative", which gives our graduate students additional training opportunities in pediatric research with scientists based at the Nemours Research Foundation, A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children.

At the core of our program is the exciting research carried out by our graduate faculty. Our Department's research efforts are recognized nationally and internationally. An important index of scientific excellence is the level of external funding awarded to a research program: Biological Sciences faculty hold research awards from a variety of federal agencies, and in 2009, over $7,000,000 in external grants were awarded to support Biological Sciences research efforts.

The Department of Biological Sciences offers a unique combination of state-of-the-art research facilities in a safe and very attractive campus. The University of Delaware, which originated as a private academy in 1743, is located in one of the world's most dynamic scientific corridors. Many major research centers in academic, industrial and federal laboratories are within a 90-minute drive in Philadelphia (44 miles), Baltimore (59 miles) and Washington, D.C./Bethesda (100 miles). New York lies only 133 miles from the Newark, DE campus. A large biotechnology community, including DuPont, Hercules, Siemens, and AstraZeneca, also is located in Delaware.

Research Facilities

The Department of Biological Sciences occupies Wolf Hall and McKinly Laboratory which are adjacent and located on the main campus and have well-equipped laboratories for research and teaching. Various core facilities including DNA sequencing, microscopy and advanced molecular imaging, whole animal imaging, and cellular proteomics are available in the department and affiliated institutions including the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, The Nemours Research Foundation at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children and the Center for Translational Cancer Research which is a partnership between the University of Delaware, The Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and A.I. duPont Hospital for Children/Nemours Biomedical Research.

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Admission Requirements

Graduate admission criteria of the Department include a recommended minimum scholastic index (grade point average on a 4.0 point scale) of 3.0 overall and 3.0 in the sciences. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test (Verbal, Quantitative, and Writing) is required. Competitive scores are approximately 550 (Verbal) and 650 (Quantitative, Analytical).

Admission to the graduate program in Biological Sciences requires demonstrated academic excellence and the following (or the equivalent): two years of biological sciences; one semester of mathematics, preferably to include calculus and/or statistics; one year of college physics; one year of inorganic (general) chemistry; and one course in organic chemistry. Any deficiency in undergraduate training must be made up (without graduate credit) during the first year of graduate study. Further, nearly all successful applicants have prior, substantive research experience which is well documented in the application.

Applicants who are not U.S. citizens must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 600 or higher on the paper-based test, 250 or higher on the computer-based test, or 100 or higher on the TOEFL iBT in accordance with University of Delaware regulations for graduate assistantship eligibility. Applications from non-U.S. citizens who do not have a degree from a U.S. institution will be rejected without further review if these minima are not met. Students who need further training in English prior to attending graduate school may apply for admission through the University of Delaware English Language Institute's Conditional Admission Program.

TOEFL scores are not required of international applicants who have completed a college degree in the U.S. Foreign applicants also are strongly encouraged to complete the Test of Spoken English (TSE) with a score of 45 or higher: international students are given a test very similar to the TSE when they arrive on campus and a passing score is required in order to qualify for financial aid. Previous training or residence in the U.S. does not exempt foreign nationals from these requirements. Requests for a waiver of the language test requirements (for example, for students from English-speaking countries outside of the U.S.) must be approved by the University of Delaware Office of Graduate & Professional Education. Admission to the graduate program in Biological Sciences is competitive. Those who meet the stated minimum requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet all those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths.

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How to Apply

Research based MS and Ph.D. Programs:

Application must be made electronically to the University's Office of Graduate & Professional Education. It must include three letters of recommendation (sent directly to the University of Delaware Office of Graduate & Professional Education) from persons able to judge the applicant's ability to pursue graduate study. All applications also must include a personal statement that addresses the following questions:

  1. What scientific research experience have you had?
  2. What are your research interests and long-term professional objectives?
  3. What specific attributes of our Department make you feel that it would be a good place for you?
  4. Are there any special circumstances related to your academic record that you feel we should know about?

Applications normally are considered only for fall entrance, but applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents may request permission to enroll during the spring or summer semester. Application materials must be complete by October 1 in order to be considered for spring admission. International applicants are considered only for fall admission. Complete applications received by January 15 have optimal consideration for fall admission and financial aid; April 15 is the final Departmental deadline. In exceptional circumstances, late applications from U.S. citizens will be considered until June 15.

Professional Science Masters in Biotechnology and Certificate in Biotechnology

Application must be made electronically to the University's Office of Graduate & Professional Education. It must include three letters of recommendation (sent directly to the University of Delaware Office of Graduate & Professional Education) from persons able to judge the applicant's ability to pursue graduate study. GREs are required of PSM applicants but are not needed for the Certificate program.  Applications to the PSM or Certificate in Biotechnology programs also must include a resume or CV outlining work and/or academic experience in the field of biotechnology and a personal statement that addresses the following questions:

  1. What scientific research/employment experience have you had? Please be specific about the field of work and job responsibilities
  2. What are your long-term professional objectives?
  3. What specific attributes of our Department and the PSM in Biotechnology make you feel that this degree is appropriate to help you achieve your professional objectives?
  4. Are there any special circumstances related to your academic record that you feel we should know about?

Applications normally are considered only for fall or spring entrance. For optimal consideration for Spring admission, all application materials should be complete by October 1, although applications will be considered until December 1st if there are remaining positions in the program.  For optimal consideration for Fall admission, all application materials should be complete by January 15, although applications will be considered until July 1st if there are remaining positions in the program.  Foreign nationals are encouraged to apply by the full consideration deadlines to give sufficient time to obtain the necessary visas for graduate study in the USA.

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Financial Aid

All students admitted into the research based MS and Ph.D. programs receive generous financial aid packages of over $52,600/year. One component of the financial aid is in the form of graduate assistantships. The stipend level for 2017-2018 graduate assistantships is $25,333 per year for M.S. and pre-candidacy Ph.D. students, and $26,333 per year for post-candidacy Ph.D. students. In addition, all graduate assistants in Biological Sciences receive a full tuition scholarship, health insurance and can enroll in optional dental coverage.

The University also offers other fellowships and scholarships on a competitive basis. Additional fellowships are available through interdepartmental training grants including the NIH-funded Chemistry-Biology Interface Program.

Domestic students admitted into the Professional Science Masters Degree should file FAFSA forms to access the relevant financial aid available for Professional Graduate Study.  Foreign applicants are not typically offered financial aid for the PSM program.

 

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Housing

The University offers Graduate Student and Family Housing on campus, and a wide range of apartments are available in Newark and the surrounding area.

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Professional Development

Students in the Biological Sciences graduate program are encouraged to participate in national and international scientific meetings. Financial support is available from the Department and from the University to offset the cost of travel to scientific meetings.

Graduate students also are encouraged to publish the results of their research projects in prestigious journals, books, etc. The Carson Best Paper Award is given annually to the best scientific paper published by a Ph.D. student currently enrolled in the graduate program. 

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Graduate Student Groups

The Department maintains a Biology Graduate Student Association, and the University supports a variety of graduate student groups.

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Degree Requirements

All students enrolled in the research based MS or Ph.D. program must select a Graduate Concentration with which to affiliate for the duration of their training. Each fall and spring semester, all MS and Ph.D. graduate students enroll in a graduate research seminar course which provides a mechanism to enhance oral presentation skills.

The research based Master of Science program requires a minimum of 16 credit hours of courses and successful completion of the preliminary examination. Primary emphasis is on research that culminates in oral defense of a written thesis.
For the Ph.D. degree, a minimum of 16 credit hours of courses, successful completion of the preliminary and qualifying examinations, and the oral defense of a written dissertation are required. Two semesters of experience in the teaching of undergraduates is required of all doctoral candidates.

The preliminary examination, required of MS and Ph.D. students, is administered after completion of two semesters of study, and is designed to identify the student's strengths and weaknesses so as to maximize prospects for successful completion of graduate study. The doctoral qualifying examination is an in-depth examination of the student's research specialty and is administered after six semesters of enrollment. It is expected that a significant portion of the dissertation will be suitable for publication.

The research based M.S. degree curriculum is designed for completion in two years; the Ph.D. curriculum is designed for completion in five years.

The Professional Science Masters in Biotechnology requires 12 credit hours of core Biology coursework, 9 credit hours of Biotechnology breadth coursework, 15 credits of “PLUS” coursework focused on business practice and ethics and a 6 month long industrial internship.

The Certificate in Biotechnology requires 9 credit hours of core Biology coursework and 6 credit hours of Biotechnology breadth coursework.  The coursework leading to the certificate can be rolled into a later PSM in Biotechnology.

 
 

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For further information or assistance, please contact the Department's Director of Graduate Programs.