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Washington State University Factsheets

Doctor of Philosophy in Biology

Faculty working with Students: 31
Students: 34
Students receiving assistantships or scholarships: 100%
Priority deadline:
  • Fall January 10
  • Spring September 1
Campus:
  • Pullman: Yes
Tests required:
  • 550 TOEFL Minimum score
  • 80 TOEFLI Minimum score

Degree Description:

Our biology students generally focus on research in the broad areas of ecology, evolution, systematics, molecular biology, and animal and plant physiology.

Student Learning Outcome:

All graduates will be able to:

  1.  To direct students for successful and productive careers in biological sciences, we will facilitate:
    • Achievement of the highest level of expertise in biological sciences, master knowledge of these fields and apply that knowledge to address novel and emerging problems.
    •  Presentations of student research to national and international audiences through both peer-reviewed and popular publications, professional meetings and conference proceedings.
    •  Participation in professional organizations.
    •  Development of professional foundations through activities such as teaching, internships, fellowships, and preparation of grant applications.
  2.  To prepare students to be leading researchers in the fields of biological sciences by training graduate students to do the following:
    •  Become independent researchers by developing expertise in their chosen area, thereby enabling original contributions that extend beyond their degree program.
    •  Apply sound research methods and tools to problems in their area of study.
    •  Communicate their research clearly and professionally in both written and oral forms.
    •  Develop a comprehensive knowledge of previous and current research in their field of expertise and be able to demonstrate clearly such knowledge.
  3.  Train students to be highly effective teachers in the fields of biological sciences by:
    •  Providing a teaching training course to all students in the program.
    •  Encouraging students to become engaging instructors in their chosen fields using modern pedagogical techniques.
    •  Teaching students to incorporate emerging scientific discoveries in lectures, thereby keeping the classroom experience cutting-edge for students.
    •  Teaching students to review and revise classroom materials to enhance the learning experience for students.
  4.  To enhance visibility of the master’s and doctoral programs in biological sciences nationally and internationally, we aim to:
    • Attract, secure, retain and graduate high-quality students.
    • Provide ample support and resources for fellowships, research, travel to conferences.
    • Place graduates in academic and professional positions in the U.S. and internationally.
    • Attract, retain, and support research-active faculty.
    • Ensure that cutting-edge and relevant courses are offered to graduate students.

Student Opportunities:

Our program offers teaching training and grant writing courses. Other professional development opportunities include weekly reading groups, ecolunch meetings and a graduate student research symposium.

Career Opportunities:

Most students continue into postdoctoral research positions. Other students pursue careers at community colleges or in Federal or State governments.

Career Placements:

Faculty positions at Purdue University, Kansas State University, University of North Carolina, University of Massachusetts, University of Idaho, University of Wyoming, State University of NY at Oswego, and University of Puget Sound. Recent graduates also hold positions in the Federal Government, such as National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Faculty Members:

Bollens, Stephen, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Brunner, Jesse L, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Disease Ecology

Carter, Patrick Andrew, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Evolutionary Physiology

Coffin, Allison, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

We study sensory hair cells: polarized epithelial-type cells that converts acoustic signals in the environment to electrochemical signals in the nervous system. These cells are exquisitely sensitive to sound and unfortunately to damage from a variety of sources including noise and some classes of medications. Research in the Coffin Lab uses cellular, molecular, bioinformatics, and electrophysiological approaches to understand the cellular events underlying hearing loss and develop drug candidates to preserve hearing.

Cooper, Cynthia, Ph.D.

Serves as: co-chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Zebrafish developmental mechanisms.

Cooper, James 

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Cornejo, Omar Eduardo, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Evolutionary genomics and population genetics

Crespi, Erica, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Ecological & Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Dybdahl, Mark, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Animal Evolutionary Ecology

Gomulkiewicz, Richard, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Evolutionary Theory

Kelley, Joanna, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Evolutionary genomics and adaptation by statistical, molecular and genomic approaches to identify/characterize specific genes and pathways.

Kemp, Brian M, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Ancient DNA, New World Archaeology, Molecular Anthropology

Lee, Raymond W, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Ecological Physiology

Mallatt, Jon M, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Molecular Phylogeny/Morphology

McGuire, Michelle K, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Lactation Physiology/Nutrition

Moffett, David F, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Ion transport across insect epithelia. How epithelia move ions across and within themselves and how these processes are adapted to meet environmental challenges.
Cellular mechanisms that enable some insects to maintain extremely alkaline gut environments.

Newberry, Ruth Catriona, Ph.D.

Serves as: member only on graduate committee

Research Interests

Animal well-being. We investigate the effects of animal housing and management on the behavior and well-being of captive and domesticated animals, with a focus on social behavior, environmental enrichment, and human-animal interactions. www.vetmed.wsu.edu/research_vcapp/newberry.aspx

Owen, Jeb, Ph.D.

Serves as: member only on graduate committee

Research Interests

Medical and veterinary entomology

Parks, Donna Holmes, Ph.D.

Serves as: member only on graduate committee

Research Interests

Comparative biology of aging and lifespan;
Life history trade-offs and human health;
Reproductive aging in female vertebrates;
The evolution of menopause.

Portfors, Christine, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Hearing and Communication

Robbins, Charles T, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Nutrition and energetics of larger wild mammals.
1) use of stable isotopes to determine food habits of living and extinct bears,
2) seasonal fat cycles in bears and how they are influenced by food resources, and
3) foraging, energetics, and habitat use of free-ranging bears.

Rodgers, Buel D, Ph.D.

Serves as: member only on graduate committee

Research Interests

Molecular endocrinology and genomics of muscle development.

Schultz, Cheryl, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Ecology of at-risk species in response to key drivers: habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, habitat degradation, invasive species, alteration of ecosystem process, and global climate change.

Schwabl, Hubertus Georg, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Neuroendocrinology

Schwartz, Elissa, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

– Experimental and theoretical techniques to investigate mechanisms in virology, immunology, and infectious disease epidemiology
– Control of lentiviral infection, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV).
– Mathematical and computational models of viral dynamics with clinical and experimental data to elucidate the determinants of virus control and escape.

Shipley, Lisa, Ph.D.

Serves as: member only on graduate committee

Research Interests

Foraging Ecology of Mammals

Skinner, Michael K, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Mammalian Reproduction/Environmental Epigenetics

Snyder, William E, Ph.D.

Serves as: member only on graduate committee

Research Interests

Community Ecology, Biodiversity, and Sustainability

Storfer, Andrew, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Landscape Genomics and Coevolution

Thorgaard, Gary, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Genetic studies in trout and salmon, with special emphasis on rainbow trout.

Verrell, Paul Adam, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair on graduate committee

Research Interests

Animal Behavior

Contact Information: