The Integrative Biology Track requires 73-74 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree, including a minimum of 27 hours of formal course work exclusive of independent study. The formal course work includes 13-14 credit hours of required core courses, 20 credit hours of graduate-level courses from Biology (or other departments) selected in consultation with the adviser and the dissertation committee, and 15 hours of dissertation research. The remaining credit hours may consist of additional electives, doctoral research, and a maximum of 12 credit hours of combined directed research and independent study. All students will take core courses that provide an introduction to the science of conservation biology.
A student is required to establish a program of study before the completion of nine credit hours of course work, in conjunction with their dissertation adviser and advisory committee. Students are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of electives in consultation with their advisory committee. In addition to these selected electives, a student's advisory committee may require the candidate to take any graduate course taught at UCF if deemed appropriate for the student’s area of emphasis. Students entering with a master’s degree may request up to 30 semester credit hours of previous work be waived toward the requirements for this degree with approval from the advisory committee. Students may register for dissertation research only after passing the candidacy exam.
|Total Credit Hours Required:|
Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree|
Courses—13-14 Credit Hours Minimum
- PCB 6466 Methods in Experimental
Ecology (3 credit hours)
- BSC 6935 Seminar in Biology (2 credit hours,
take twice at 1 credit hour each)
- PCB 6095 Professional Development in
Biology I (1 credit hour)
- PCB 6096 Professional Development in Biology
II (1 credit hour)
Students also take two of the following
- PCB 6675C Evolutionary Biology (4 credit hours)
- PCB 6046 Advanced Ecology (3 credit hours)
- PCB 6677 Molecular
Evolution (3 credit hours)
Elective Courses—45 Credit Hours
A minimum of 20 credit hours of formal graduate-level courses
from Biology, or other departments, are selected in consultation with the
adviser and the dissertation committee. The goal is to tailor the program of
study to the individual student's needs while maximizing exposure to a variety
of disciplines including, among others, policy, economics, engineering,
chemistry or sociology. The remaining 25 credit hours may include additional
electives, dissertation research, and a maximum of 12 hours of combined
independent study and directed research. Professional internship hours can be
substituted for directed research.
Dissertation—15 Credit Hours
- PCB 7980 Dissertation (15 credit hours)
The Advisory Committee shall consist of a minimum
of four members, including the dissertation adviser, with at least three members
coming from the graduate faculty of the Biology Department. At least one member
will be from a department other than Biology or from outside the university. The
chair, or co-chair, must be a member of the program graduate faculty.
Students are required to register for 9
credit hours in fall and spring and 6 credit hours in summer before their
candidacy exam. After being admitted to candidacy, minimum enrollment is 3
credit hours of dissertation research each semester.
The written qualifying examination should be completed
within the first two years of the students program. The exam seeks to cover
areas of general knowledge and discipline-specific knowledge within the
student’s declared track. These questions could be related to the dissertation
research proposal or designed to examine general knowledge and reasoning within
The candidate will meet with their advisory committee at
least two months prior to the examination to discuss expectations. Committee
members must clearly articulate in writing the general areas that may be
examined. Any student failing the examination must repeat the examination within
six calendar months of the date of the first examination and the examination
requires a majority vote by committee members. A second failed attempt will
result in dismissal from the program.
Each student will be required to generate, organize and orally defend a
written proposal outlining their dissertation research to their dissertation
advisory committee no later than 12 months after passing the Qualifying
Examination. The oral Candidacy Examination will cover all areas within the
scope of the student’s doctoral program and requires that the student
demonstrate knowledge of the theory, literature and research methodologies
relevant to the proposed area of research as well as demonstrate an
understanding of how their work relates to the field of biology as a whole.
After passing the candidacy examination and meeting other requirements, the
student will be deemed as having been admitted to candidacy and can register
for dissertation hours. Once a student is admitted to candidacy, the focus will
be on dissertation research. For most students, the research and writing of the
dissertation will take two to three years after advancing to candidacy. During
this time, students should remain in close contact with the dissertation
adviser and advisory committee and annual progress reports must be filed with
the Graduate Program Director.
Candidacy Examination Proposal
written dissertation proposal, already approved by the adviser, must be
submitted to each committee member no later than two weeks prior to the
Candidacy Examination. Typically, the proposal will be in the format described
below. However, in cases where this format is not appropriate, an alternative
format may be used with the approval of the dissertation adviser. The proposal
should be approximately 10 to 15 pages in length not including references,
single-spaced and typed in 12-point font with one-inch margins on all sides.
The use of figures and tables is encouraged. With rare exceptions it is
expected that dissertation research will be hypothesis-driven.
- Specific Aims: Describe concisely the problem(s) to be addressed and
the specific goals of the dissertation research as they relate to the
problem(s), including clear statements of hypotheses to be tested.
- Background and Significance: Review background literature relevant to the
dissertation topic, indicating clearly where gaps in knowledge exist. Justify
the need for the research by explaining its anticipated significance. Conclude
by linking gaps in current knowledge to the proposed specific aims.
- Methodology: Outline carefully the study design (observations, experiments,
models, statistical analysis, etc.) related to, and the methodology to be used
for, each specific aim. Methodologies should be explained in sufficient detail
to allow committee members to assess the validity of its use in the study.
Potential outcomes and alternative approaches should be discussed.
- Literature Cited: References should be indicated in the main body of the
proposal wherever appropriate and should follow the format of a peer-reviewed
journal in a field of study appropriate to your research. This section can be
as long as necessary.
At least two weeks
prior to the examination, an abstract describing the proposed research will be
posted in the Biological Sciences Building and circulated by e-mail among
faculty and graduate students. The candidate will present the research proposal
in a forum open to all faculty, students and visitors. The oral presentation
should be approximately 30-45 minutes in length to be followed by a public
question-and-answer period. Presentation of preliminary data is neither
required nor expected, but should be provided if available and relevant. With
the exception of the advisory committee and candidate, all faculty, students
and visitors will leave at the conclusion of the public question-and-answer
period. The committee will continue the exam in closed session with further
questioning. Questions can be directed to any matter relevant to the research
proposal and areas of weakness previously identified in the written
(qualifying) exam. A majority vote is required to pass the examination;
however, no more than one negative vote is permitted. The majority must include
the dissertation adviser. Any student failing the examination must repeat the
examination within six calendar months of the date of the first examination. A
second failed attempt will result in dismissal from the program.
Admission to Candidacy
The following are required to be admitted to
candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours:
- Program of study
submitted and approved.
- Dissertation Committee formed (without external
- Successful completion of qualifying exam.
of all coursework (except for dissertation hours).
- External member
added to Dissertation Committee.
- Successful completion of candidacy
The dissertation is expected
to represent an original and significant contribution to the discipline. Upon
completion and approval of the doctoral dissertation by all appropriate faculty
and university offices, the student will make a formal presentation of the
research findings in seminar format to the dissertation committee and other
university faculty and students who may wish to attend.
should be in a format appropriate for publication and should be "tightened" to
a readiness for submittal by use of appendixes for nonessential information.
The major role of the student’s advisory committee is to offer guidance on
study design and interpretation of results. A polished draft must be delivered
to the advisory committee for review after the student and dissertation adviser
have agreed upon editorial changes; this should occur well before the
anticipated date of the final defense. Committee members have the right to
reject documents that fail to meet these guidelines. Committee members should
be given at least two weeks to review the draft before the student attempts to
schedule the final defense. The final defense is to be scheduled only after the
advisory committee agrees that the dissertation is ready for defense. Committee
members should return the corrected dissertation to the student two weeks after
receipt and the candidate should check with committee members to ensure they
have the time to review the document. If the student delivers the final draft
to the committee one month prior to the proposed defense date, that would allow
two weeks before the scheduled defense date for the student to make recommended
At least two weeks prior to the defense, an abstract describing
the research conducted and conclusions reached will be posted in the Biological
Sciences Building, circulated by e-mail among faculty and graduate students,
and posted on the College of Graduate Studies Events Calendar. The candidate
will present the research in a forum open to all faculty, students, and
visitors. The oral presentation should be approximately 45-50 minutes in length
to be followed by a question-and-answer period. In the presentation the
candidate should focus on background information, describe the research
performed, and draw attention to the significance of the conclusions reached.
With the exception of the committee and candidate, all faculty, students, and
visitors will leave at the conclusion of the question-and-answer period. The
committee will continue the defense and the candidate will answer questions
about the subject matter presented and defend the conclusions drawn. The
committee will ask questions of the process used and assess the candidate’s
level of competency with the research topic. A majority vote is required to
pass the examination; however, no more than one negative vote is permitted. The
majority must include the dissertation adviser.
An orientation for all incoming students will be scheduled
one week prior to each fall semester. The orientation will include tours of the
program facilities, a session on registration, university policies and
procedures, and expectations of doctoral study. Further, Environmental Health
and Safety will present a program on topics such as laboratory safety, chemical
and fire safety, biohazard training, and radioisotope handling. Expectations
for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) and Graduate Research Assistants (GRA)
will be fully covered. In addition, students will be required to participate in
the program for GTAs offered by the UCF Faculty Center for Teaching and
Learning and the College of Sciences. Students are strongly encouraged to
attend the university orientation as well, held approximately one week prior to
each fall semester.
Independent LearningThe dissertation satisfies the independent learning experience.