Department of Biology College of Science University of Utah

Department of Biology College of Science University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT
student ratio
total students
Not Reported
average amount to complete degree
January 5
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
2 Degrees Offered
degrees offered


University of Utah Graduate Programs in Biology

The University of Utah's Department of Biology offers two graduate programs of study, each leading to a Ph.D. degree in Biology. Each program has its own course of study, yet cross-program training and interdisciplinary collaboration opportunities provide a unique environment for scientific inquiry that transcends biological levels of organization from biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology to integrative physiology, ecology, evolution, and ecosystem processes, with evolution as the unifying theme.

Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology (EEOB)

The University of Utah's ecology, evolution, and organismal biology (EEOB) graduate programs foster excellence in research, teaching, and outreach and are focused on understanding how organisms influence and respond to their environment in a changing world.

The vibrant 28-member faculty at the University of Utah includes a member of the National Academy of Science, three University Distinguished Professors, three winners of the University Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award, and two winners of the University Distinguished Teaching Award.

EEOB areas of research expertise include arid-land and tropical biology; functional morphology, evolutionary physiology, and neurobiology; co-evolution of host-parasite and plant-herbivore interactions; disease ecology; plant ecophysiology and ecosystem processes; and biodiversity and conservation biology. An evolutionary perspective provides a common theoretical approach, bringing together research on different levels of biological organization and on diverse, specific topics.

Students in the University of Utah EEOB graduate programs advance to full Ph.D. candidacy in their second year after completing a preliminary exam with written and oral components. Independent research projects culminate with defense of a thesis dissertation, generally with all requirements completed in 4-6 years.

Facilities and resources available to graduate students in EEOB include a state-of-the-art stable isotope laboratory, experimental gardens, gene sequencing facilities, GIS laboratory, animal care facilities, and the Entrada and Range Creek field stations in eastern Utah.

Students are supported through a combination of teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and fellowships. EEOB is home to the NSF GK-12 graduate fellowship program "Think Global, Learn Locally: Neighborhood Ecology in a Global Perspective" (TGLL), which gives graduate student fellows the opportunity to bring their research into the classroom to teach sixth through ninth grade students about environmental issues that affect the neighborhood and world they live in.

In addition, EEOB provides numerous opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations with departments on campus such as atmospheric sciences, anthropology, geography, geology and geophysics, and mathematics. University of Utah faculty is especially keen to recruit students in the graduate programs who think broadly and are eager to work across traditional academic boundaries.

Molecular, Cellular, and Evolutionary Biology (MCEB)

The University of Utah molecular, cellular, and evolutionary biology (MCEB) graduate programs focus on how complex biological systems emerge from molecules, cells, and genes -- the fundamental units of life. First-year graduate students enroll in a core-curriculum course that develops critical thinking tools needed for success in scientific inquiry through in-depth analysis of central questions in molecular, cellular, and evolutionary biology.

In addition, an optional rotation program consisting of three short internships provides valuable hands-on training in specialized techniques and a chance to evaluate potential mentors.

Students in the University of Utah MCEB program advance to full Ph.D. candidacy in their second year after completing a preliminary exam with written and oral components. Ph.D. candidates are eligible to compete for a genetics training grant and a developmental biology training grant. Independent research projects culminate with defense of a thesis dissertation, generally with all requirements completed in 4-6 years.

Fields strongly represented within the University of Utah MCEB program are molecular and cellular biology, developmental biology, Mendelian and quantitative genetics, evolutionary biology and biological diversity, biochemistry, neurobiology, and microbiology. Model systems studied include bacteria, fungi, animals, and plants.

University of Utah MCEB faculty have earned prestigious research and teaching awards, including a Nobel Prize and appointments to the National Academy of Sciences and the Howard Hughes Institute. Access to nearby chemistry, physics, and mathematics departments, the Brain Institute, and the Cell and Genome Center creates rich opportunities for synergistic cross-disciplinary collaborations.

Modern biology is moving at an accelerating pace, driven in part by technological advances, and the MCEB at the University of Utah is at the leading edge with a genome sequencing center and ultra-structure imaging capabilities, including confocal microscopy, electron tomography, cryo-electron microscopy, and X-ray crystallography. Additional on-campus resources include high-resolution mass spectrometry, SNP genotyping, and multi-dimensional NMR spectroscopy.

Location & Contact

Department of Biology

College of Science
University of Utah

247 South 1400 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

Dr. M. Dearing

Department Chair

Phone: 801-585-1298

Shannon Nielsen

Administrative Program Coordinator

Phone: 801-581-5636
Fax: 801-581-4668

Request More Info


22% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied108
    • Accepted24
    • Acceptance Rate22%
    • Enrolled13
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $55
    • Application Fee - International $65
    • Electronic applications accepted? Required
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Not Reported
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline January 7th January 7th Not Reported
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesGRE General Test, minimum GPA of 3.0
    • Doctoral's DegreesGRE General Test, minimum GPA of 3.0
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required, 500 paper based, 173 computer based, 173 TOEFL iBT,

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Biological And Biomedical Sciences Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
      Master of Science (MS)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 1
    • Doctoral Degrees 9
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? Yes
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? No
    • Terminal master's degree available? Yes
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees
    • Doctoral Degrees
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & FeesNot Reported
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitFAFSA
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsMarch 15
    • Types of financial support availableFellowships, Research Assitantships, Teaching Assistantships, Career or Field-Related Internships, Health Care Benefits, Scholarship and/or loans, Traineeships

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students86
    • Female Percentage41%
    • Male Percentage59%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students86
    • Part-time Percentage15%
    • Full-time Percentage85%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino3%
    • Black / African American3%
    • White / Caucasian76%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian6%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races5%
    • Unknown7%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty72
    • Full-time Percentage56%
    • Part-time Percentage44%
    • Female Percentage33%
    • Male Percentage67%


  • Existing Research
    • Focus of faculty researchEcology, evolutionary biology, cell and developmental biology, physiology and organismal biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, microbiology, plant biology, neurobiology, genetics
    • Externally sponsored research expenditures last yearNot Reported




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