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Frequently Asked Questions

How many people are in the UO Department of Biology?

We currently have 68 Ph.D. students, 14 MS students, and 20 BGMP (MS internship) students. There are 45 research-active faculty and 8 faculty instructors who teach undergraduate courses.

Does the department provide funding to PhD students?

Yes, all PhD students receive an annual stipend, and a tuition waiver and health insurance. There are also several training grants available to Ph.D. students in the Biology Department. For more information, see FUNDING.

How much is the stipend?

Our graduate stipend is competitive with other Ph.D. programs. Current levels are more than adequate to support a student in graduate school in Eugene. In addition to the stipend, Ph.D. students receive a tuition waiver and health insurance during the academic year.

How do I choose a lab to work in?

Students rotate through three research labs during their first year. Lab rotations help students identify the laboratory in which they will pursue their dissertation research. Rotations with faculty members outside the research institute to which a student is admitted are encouraged.

How does the lab rotation work?

Although many students enter with research interests and a preference for a research adviser, these preferences are often modified during the course of the graduate career. To assist students in making these decisions, new graduate students rotate through three laboratories during their first year. The purpose of these rotations is to offer a relaxed intellectual atmosphere in which students can be introduced to research, exposed to a laboratory environment, and become familiar with various experimental techniques and philosophies. The rotations also help students identify a laboratory and supervisor for their dissertation research.

What are the course work requirements?

There are relatively few formal course requirements. Each incoming student meets with a faculty committee that recommends specific courses in accordance with the student’s background and goals. Recommendations generally include traditional courses in biology and related subject areas, as well as for-credit activities such as journal clubs, seminars, and research, including rotations. Specific course requirements vary with the student’s research institute or center, but typically do not exceed three one-term courses. All students participate in journal clubs and seminars each term during the academic year and participate in research year-round.

How much time is spent in the lab?

This depends in part on the expectations of the advisor, but it also depends on the efficiency and productivity of the student. Research should be considered a full-time job if you expect to complete your graduate work in a reasonable amount of time. We do not have a part-time graduate program at this time.

How much time is spent teaching?

Each graduate student is required to be a graduate teaching fellow for one academic year (three terms). This requirement is usually completed during the first year. Courses taught depend on the student’s needs and those of the student’s academic department.

What are the minimum GPA and GRE scores for admission?

The admissions committee bases its decisions on a combined assessment of the applicant’s grades, scores on standardized tests, letters of recommendation, research experience, and personal statement. The GPA and GRE scores are just two components of a larger view of the applicant’s potential for success. Whereas there is no minimum GPA or GRE performance for admission, applicant’s with GPA’s below 3.2 or a combined GRE percentile sum below 200 (Quantitative + Verbal + Analytical) are generally at a significant disadvantage.

I cannot register for the November General GRE. Should I still take the December exam?

Yes. The General GRE is required for admission into our program. Although the scores will not arrive in time for application review, they will be required if you are admitted.

My transcripts, GRE or TOEFL scores are not ready. Should I wait until I get them to send my application?

Do not miss the application deadline waiting for your test scores. There is a box at the end of the application where you can give us more information about anything; you can include details about tests that you have taken, but not yet received scores.

Do you accept international students?

Yes, we accept both domestic and international students. See Details for International Applications.

How long does it typically take to complete the program?

Students typically complete the PhD program in 5-6 years.

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