Graduate Studies in Biology

image: Clare Hector receives award

Clare Hector, Biology graduate receives award for “Outstanding Graduate Student”

The Biology Department offers programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.

We have over 20 graduate faculty members that represent the breadth of the biological sciences and who are committed to individualized instruction. We maintain a low student:faculty ratio (~2:1) and actively mentor students through their graduate training.

Our faculty and our graduate curriculum is organized into four research focal groups: Cell and Molecular Biology; Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics; Neuroscience and Behavior and Integrative Plant Biology. These focal groups provide graduate courses within each area. We encourage you to contact individual faculty with whom you share interests.  Additionally, biology faculty members participate in the interdepartmental Structural and Computational Biophysics Certificate Program and play prominent roles in the Center for Molecular Communication and Signaling, the Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, and the Center for Bioethics, Health, and Society.

The Master’s Degree program at Wake Forest includes two main components. In consultation with a three-member advisory committee, a 24 credit hour course curriculum is designed to build on the student’s undergraduate training. The student also designs and carries out a comprehensive thesis investigation in the laboratory of one of the Biology faculty.

The Ph.D. program is fundamentally research-oriented. Doctoral students take qualifying exams in their second year and mix graduate seminar courses and any appropriate general coursework with a primary emphasis on dissertation research.

The most important component of both degree programs is the research experience. Our students learn to perform cutting edge biological research by working closely with their advisors as they perform their thesis/dissertation research. The department provides funds that support graduate student research and travel to scientific meetings to present their results. A weekly seminar program features speakers from both within and without the Wake Forest Biology community. One special feature of our program is the Graduate Tutorial. Each year a number of international leaders in biology visit us for intensive interactions with our graduate students. Tutorials generally include lectures, discussions, laboratory exercises, and field work, providing opportunities for students to gain deep insights into the tutor’s approach to research. During their graduate careers, our students have the opportunity to know and interact with many of these renowned biologists..

M.S. and Ph.D. students are typically admitted with full tuition remission, supported by Teaching Assistantships or Research Assistantships and receive a laptop computer. Applicants are encouraged to discuss potential student/advisor relationships with faculty in their area of interest early in the application process.

For a sampling of recent research conducted by students in our program, click here.