University Catalog 2024-2025


The guiding principle of the Biology Graduate Program is that by integrating training across multiple disciplines, we can gain deeper insights into challenging problems such as how life functions and adapts to changing physical and social environments. Our goal is to prepare our graduate students to be world-class scientists and leaders, unafraid of tackling the most significant scientific challenges of our era.

Areas of study include: cell biology, physiology, ecology, evolution, behavior, and fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology. Specializations within these areas include developmental biology, neurobiology, genomics, invertebrate biology, animal reproduction, biorhythms, behavioral ecology, community ecology, population ecology, conservation biology, fisheries ecology, wildlife field studies, aquaculture and others.

Degrees earned will be distributed as: "Master of Biology", "Master of Science", and "Doctor of Philosophy" without area of study, specialization, or track specifications.

Master's Degree Requirements

AEC 502 and PHI 816 (or equivalent) are required. No more than six hours of temporary courses (AEC 624, BIO 624, INB 624, BIO 824) or two hours of departmental seminar can be included in the 30-hour requirement for the M.S. Six hours of research credits (INB 695) resulting in a thesis are required. A minor (usually 9-10 hours) is optional. Other requirements may be imposed by the advisor.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

AEC 502 and PHI 816 (or equivalent) are required. A student's advisory committee recommends appropriate courses which will provide a strong foundation in the student's area of interest. A minimum of 10 hours of research (INB 895) leading to a dissertation is required. A minor (usually 9-10 hours) is optional. Other requirements may be imposed by the advisor.

Student Financial Support

Graduate teaching and research assistantships are available to well-qualified M.R., M.S. and Ph.D. students.

Other Relevant Information

Excellent research facilities, equipment and computers are available. Off-campus research is conducted at the Pamlico Aquaculture Field Laboratory, research and extension centers in Eastern and Western North Carolina, the Center for Marine Science and Technology in Morehead City, and at facilities of state and federal agencies and private organizations. Field work can be conducted at nearby natural areas and laboratory work at various state and federal laboratories associated with the department, nationally, and internationally.

Biology Program Website

Admission Requirements

It is important that you identify a potential faculty adviser, as this will greatly increase your chance of admission to NCSU’s Biology Graduate Program. Although all applications are made available to faculty advisers for review, a graduate student will not be admitted to the Biology Program for graduate studies unless the prospective student has identified a faculty adviser. Once a faculty adviser has requested review of a prospective student, the application is then evaluated with regard to the applicant’s potential for success in graduate school. The admissions process involves consideration of the ability of our program to accommodate students.

Successful applicants usually have a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences or a related field with at least an overall B average and a minimum number of courses in biology (and related fields) and supporting fields (6 in biology, 4 in chemistry, 2 in physics, and 2 in mathematics). In addition to the applicant's grades and coursework, we consider relevant experience (e.g., through internships, research experiences, volunteer or paid work, and publications), statement of interest, and letters of recommendation. GRE scores are not required. We expect applicants for the MS degree to have at least a 3.0 GPA, and applicants for the PhD degree to have at least a 3.2 GPA. Research experience is highly recommended.

Applicant Information

  • Delivery Method: On-Campus
  • Entrance Exam: 
  • Interview Required: None

Application Deadlines

To guarantee consideration for funding, applications should be complete by the following dates: for Fall Semester admission both U.S. and international applicants should have their application materials completed by January 15; for Spring Semester the deadline is October 15 for U.S. applicants and international applicants. Please note that it typically requires four to six weeks from the date of your request until transcripts and letters of recommendation reach us. Applications received after the dates listed above will still be considered until the Graduate School deadlines (June 25 and November 25 for U.S. applicants, March 1 and July 15 for international applicants); however, opportunities for funding may be limited (note that the Biology Graduate Program does not accept M.S. and Ph.D. students without support).

  • David Derek Aday
  • Betty L. Black
  • Russell J. Borski
  • David Buchwalter
  • Jeffrey A. Buckel
  • Ignazio Carbone
  • Jaime A. Collazo
  • William Gregory Cope
  • Harry Valentine Daniels III
  • Robert R. Dunn
  • David B. Eggleston
  • John R. Godwin
  • Kevin Gross
  • Craig A. Harms
  • Jeffrey M. Hinshaw
  • Rebecca Elizabeth Irwin
  • Thomas J. Kwak
  • Thomas M. Losordo
  • Carolyn Jane Mattingly
  • Heather B. Patisaul
  • Luis Alonso Ramirez-Ulate
  • Ann Helen Ross
  • Mary Higby Schweitzer
  • David R. Tarpy
  • Scott M. Belcher
  • Shobhan Gaddameedhi
  • Adam Hartstone-Rose
  • Randall Brian Langerhans
  • John Edward Meitzen
  • Nanette M. Nascone-Yoder
  • Marianne Niedzlek-Feaver
  • Antonio Planchart
  • Reade Bruce Roberts
  • Jie Cao
  • Khara Deanne Grieger
  • Nathan James Hostetter
  • Kurt Marsden
  • Jamian Krishna Pacifici
  • Seema Nayan Sheth
  • Caitlin Suzanne Smukowski Heil
  • Joy Little Snowden
  • Bradley William Taylor
  • Christopher Scott Walker
  • Elsa Youngsteadt
  • Jennifer L. Campbell
  • Louis Broaddus Daniel III
  • Miles Dean Engell
  • Miriam G. Ferzli
  • Jesse Robert Fischer
  • Terry Allen Gates
  • William Miller Johnstone III
  • Jane L. Lubischer
  • Erin Alison McKenney
  • Lisa M. Paciulli
  • Lisa D. Parks
  • Martha Burford Reiskind
  • Damian Shea
  • Adrian Alan Smith
  • Lindsay E. Zanno
  • Peter T. Bromley
  • Billy J. Copeland
  • Frederick T. Corbin
  • Phillip D. Doerr
  • William C. Grant
  • Robert M. Grossfeld
  • Thurman L. Grove
  • Harold F. Heatwole
  • Joseph E. Hightower
  • Richard A. Lancia
  • Richard L. Noble
  • Kenneth H. Pollock
  • James Alan Rice Jr.
  • John F. Roberts
  • Damian Shea
  • Theodore R. Simons
  • Herbert A. Underwood
  • John G. Vandenbergh
  • Thomas G. Wolcott
  • Robert R. Anholt
  • Tyler Ray Black
  • Arthur E. Bogan
  • Heather Evans
  • John G. Boreman Jr.
  • David T. Cobb
  • Louis Broaddus Daniel III
  • Mitchell J. Eaton
  • John Jeffrey Govoni
  • Nicholas M. Haddad
  • Andrew Bittinger Heckert
  • Ryan J. Heise
  • Corinne J. Kendall
  • Reid W. Laney
  • Trudy F. MacKay
  • Alexa J. McKerrow
  • Gerard McMahon
  • James Adiel Morris Jr.
  • Jennifer R Runkle
  • Megan Elizabeth Serr
  • Rowland M. Shelley
  • Kyle W. Shertzer
  • Adrian Alan Smith
  • Seth Patrick Stapleton
  • Bryan Lynn Stuart
  • Adam J. Terando

Assistant Professors

  • Christa Baker
  • Carter K. Clinton
  • Natalia Dugue-Wilckens
  • Corey Dunn
  • Maria L. Rodgers

Adjunct Professors

  • Christian Farrell Kammerer
  • Candice Small

Teaching Associate Professor

  • Jennifer Landin

Adjunct Associate Professor

  • Guohong Cui
BIO 520  Skeletal Biological Laboratory Methods in Human Identification & Cold Cases  (3 credit hours)  

This laboratory-based course covers skeletal biological methods such as those used in human identification applied to medicolegal issues or issues of the law. Forensic identification methods will be introduced via lecture and students will apply these methods in the laboratory. The investigation of cold cases will be addressed through laboratory methodologies that intersects with missing persons cases. This course covers a broad array of investigative skeletal methods. However, students will not be qualified to practice after taking this course.

P: Graduate Standing

Typically offered in Fall only

BIO 555/PSC 555  Creative Media Production for Scientists  (3 credit hours)  

This course will be an introduction to producing videos and other online science media. Students will survey and discuss research-based best practices for online science media and will produce their own media pieces.

R: Grad Standing or Instructor Approval

Typically offered in Spring only

BIO 560/BMA 560  Population Ecology  (3 credit hours)  

Dynamics of natural populations. Current work, theories and problems dealing with population growth, fluctuation, limitation and patterns of dispersion, species interactions, community structure and ecological genetics. One semester of calculus and a junior/senior level ecology course are required.

Co-requisite: ST 511

Typically offered in Spring only

This course is offered alternate odd years

BIO 562  Fundamentals of Bioinformatics  (3 credit hours)  

Almost every aspect of modern biology involves large-scale datasets and computational analyses. This course will cover some of the basic theoretical and practice background needed to understand and use computational tools for biological analyses. The course will feature a mixture of lecture, activity-based and hand-on computational analyses using the LINUX operating system. A background in biology or computer science is recommended.

Typically offered in Fall only

BIO 570  Evolutionary Ecology  (3 credit hours)  

This course provides a detailed overview of evolutionary ecology, the multidisciplinary interface of ecological and evolutionary processes. The course includes an historical perspective of the development of the field, major theoretical and empirical milestones, and the cutting edge of modern evolutionary ecology research and application. This is a discussion-oriented course, drawing heavily from peer-reviewed literature. Grading is centered on participation, leading discussions, critical literature reviews, and a research project. The course Moodle website will contain files for all assigned readings, the course syllabus, tips for leading discussions, and a schedule of class meetings and discussion leaders.

Prequisite: Graduate Standing or C- or better in AEC/PB 360 and Corequisite: C- or better in BIO 330 or BIO 432

Typically offered in Fall only

BIO 572/CH 572/BIT 572  Proteomics  (3 credit hours)  

Introduction and history of the field of proteomics followed by the principles and applications of proteomics technology to understand protein expression and protein post-transitional modifications. Laboratory sessions include growing yeast with stable-isotope labeled amino acids, protein purification, Western blots, protein identification and quantification, and protein bioinformatic analysis. This is a half-semester course.

Prerequisite: BIT 410 or BIT 510 or BCH 454 (or approval from the instructor)

Typically offered in Spring only

BIO 578  The Physiology of Stress  (3 credit hours)  

Stress is a nearly unavoidable component of modern life, bound to affect each of us at some point during the week (or day!) And stress can wreak havoc on both mental and physical health. Beginning with a look at the normal stress response in humans and animals, this course then examines the biological effects of both physical and psychological stress. We'll examine what happens to various systems in the body when the stress response occurs and doesn't shut down. Among the systems explored will be neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, digestive, immune, and reproductive. We'll also look at how stress affects sleep, depression, prenatal and childhood development, and memory and judgment. And we'll spend some time with stress management techniques (and why they do or don't work) as well.

P: Graduate Standing

Typically offered in Spring only

BIO 588/BIO 488  Neurobiology  (3 credit hours)  

Overview of the neurosciences, with a focus on fundamental principles in the function, structure, and development of the nervous system. Topics include neuroanatomy, electrical signaling, synaptic transmission, sensory and motor systems, neural development, neural plasticity, and complex brain functions. Multiple levels of analysis, from molecular to behavioral, with an emphasis on the mammalian nervous system. Motivated students who do not meet listed prerequisite can contact the instructor for permission to take the course.

Prerequisite: C- or better in BIO 250 or BIO 212 or BIO 240 or BIO 245 or permission of instructor

Typically offered in Fall only

BIO 592  Topical Problems  (1-3 credit hours)  

Organized, formal lectures and discussion of a special topic.

Typically offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer

BIO 624  Topical Problems  (1-3 credit hours)  

Organized, formal lectures and discussion of a special topic.

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

BIO 705/CBS 705  Fundamentals of Neuroscience  (3 credit hours)  

This is a fundamental course that will provide the student with an up-to-date coverage of molecular, cellular, physiological, and circuit-based aspects of Modern Neurosciences in the Comparative Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program. Being a graduate-level class, the instructors will assume that the students have acquired some background in basic biology and biochemistry. The most important goal of this course is to train PhD students in neuroscience function and disorders, preparing them for neuroscience research. Emphasis will be placed on the systems and skills needed to pursue experimental neuroscience activities. Important components of the learning process will be presentations from neuroscience experts, class discussions, exams and in class activities.

P: BIO 488 or permission of instructor

Typically offered in Fall only

BIO 727/CH 727  Biological Mass Spectrometry  (3 credit hours)  

Fundamentals of mass spectrometry including topics such as: mass, isotopic distributions, resolving power, mass accuracy. Ionization source topics: electron impact, chemical ionization, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization, electrospray ionization and contemporary methods. Instrumentation and mass analyzers: quadrupole, time-of-flight, Fourier transform based mass analyzers; hybrid instruments such as a quadrupole orbitrap. Tandem mass spectrometry and dissociation. Applications: quantitation, small molecule analysis, and peptide sequencing.

Prerequisite: CH 223 or CH 227

Typically offered in Fall only

This course is offered alternate years

BIO 792  Topical Problems  (1-6 credit hours)  

Organized, formal lectures and discussion of a special topic.

Typically offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer

BIO 805/CBS 805  Special Topics in Neuroscience  (1 credit hours)  

Topics in neuroscience. This course will provide an opportunity for students to integrate and apply knowledge and skills gained from their graduate studies. Emphasis will be placed on primary literature, scientific practice, and on effective, professional communication and presentations. Topics and instructors will vary from semester to semester. Priority will initially be given to graduate students participating in the neuroscience concentration; other students with the necessary prerequisites will be admitted on a space available basis.

R: Grad Standing or Instructor Approval

Typically offered in Spring only

BIO 811  Forensic Sciences Seminar  (1 credit hours)  

This is a webinar series that includes professional development as well as practitioner presentations about the current state of the various forensic sciences disciplines. Topics covered fill in the background and gaps needed for a career as a forensic science practitioner and/or academician.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing or Instructor Permission

Typically offered in Fall only

BIO 824  Topical Problems  (1-3 credit hours)  

Organized, formal lectures and discussion of a special topic.

Typically offered in Fall and Spring