Biological Sciences (Ph.D.)

The curriculum requires 64 credits for students who choose to concentrate in Ecology & Systematics and 65 credits for those who choose Cell & Molecular biology. Both concentrations include two core courses in ecology and two core courses in cell and molecular biology, usually taken in the first year, so students will get exposure to both subject areas.

Requirements include core courses, breadth (non-core) courses, concentration courses, and a language requirement, which can be fulfilled with a biostatistics course. Two comprehensive examinations (one of which is completed through the dissertation proposal defense) and a dissertation are also required.

Course Requirements

Course Title Credits
Core Requirements 1
BISC 7501Population & Community Biology4
BISC 7502Eukaryotic Molecular Biology4
BISC 7503Community and Ecosystem Ecology4
BISC 6734Cell Biology of Eukaryotes4
Non-Core Requirements
BISC 6525Biostatistics 23
BISC 7801Methods in Cell and Molecular Biology1
BISC 8999Independent Study (graded on letter scale)2
BISC 8801Biological Colloquium I (taken twice)0
Concentration-Specific Requirements3 to 4
Cell & Molecular Biology Concentration
Techniques in Molecular Biology
Ecology & Systematics Concentration
Ecological Methods
One Additional Elective Credit 3
Electives/Research Tutorials9
Independent Study (graded on a letter scale)
Graduate-Level Biological Sciences Electives 4
Comprehensive Exam 5
BISC 0936Master's Comprehensive Examination-Biology0
BISC 0930PhD Comprehensive Examination-Biology0
Doctoral-Level Research
BISC 7999Research for Ph.D. in Biological Sciences30
Degree Milestones
Proposal Development
Proposal Acceptance
Dissertation
Dissertation Mentoring- Biological Sciences
Dissertation Direction 6
Total Credits64-65
1

Ph.D. students may count at most one grade of "C" towards the Core requirements, provided the Core courses is not in their area of concentration, as follows:

  • For Cell & Molecular Biology concentration students, BISC 7502 Eukaryotic Molecular Biology and BISC 6734 Cell Biology of Eukaryotes are designated as concentration courses (thus, a grade of B- or higher is required in these courses).
  • For Ecology & Systematics concentration students, BISC 7501 Population & Community Biology and BISC 7503 Community and Ecosystem Ecology are designated as concentration courses (thus, a grade of B- or higher is required in these courses).
2

A grade of B is required in BISC 6525 Biostatistics for the course to fulfill the GSAS Language Requirement.

3

See "Electives/Research Tutorials" for the courses that may fulfill this requirement.

4

Any course with the subject code BISC, numbered 5000-8998, except BISC 6999 Research for M.S. in Biological Sciences (that not counted towards other requirements), may count as an elective. Students with an earned Fordham M.S. in Biological Sciences with a successfully defended thesis (passing grade in BISC 0900 M.S. Thesis Defense) may apply BISC 6999 towards this requirement.

5

Please note:

  • For students in the Ecology & Systematics concentration, BISC 7501 Population & Community Biology and BISC 7503 Community and Ecosystem Ecology are considered concentration-specific core course subject to testing in the comprehensive exam. For students in the Cell & Molecular concentration, these courses are considered breadth courses, and are not subject to testing in the comprehensive exam. 
  • For students in the Cell & Molecular concentration, BISC 7502 Eukaryotic Molecular Biology and BISC 6734 Cell Biology of Eukaryotes are considered concentration-specific core course subject to testing in the comprehensive exam. For students in the Ecology & Systematics concentration, these courses are considered breadth courses, and are not subject to testing in the comprehensive exam. 
6

Students should register for BISC 9999 Dissertation Direction only if the 30 credits in BISC 7999 Research for Ph.D. in Biological Sciences have been completed, and until their dissertation oral defense has been passed.

Degree Requirements

  1. A minimum of 64 (Ecology & Systematics concentration) and 65 (Cell & Molecular concentration) course credits including at least 2 credits of research tutorial. All research tutorial credits earned during years 1 and 2 count as course credits.

  2. Reading knowledge of a foreign language (a computer language or statistics may be substituted for a foreign language).

  3. Acceptable performance on the M.S. comprehensive examination (BISC 0936), which is achieved by a score of 85% or higher (grade of High Pass).

  4. Maintenance of a 3.5 GPA.