Graduate Program



We accept students wanting to work with faculty at the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Biosciences and the Florida Museum of Natural History as well as the Department of Biology.

Questions about our academic program and admissions decisions can be directed to the Graduate Coordinator.

Faculty in the Department of Biology also accept graduate students through other graduate degree programs on campus, including:

Department Description

Our Department offers graduate programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Botany and Zoology, with research specializations that include ecology, evolution, behavior, development, comparative and environmental physiology, molecular biology, neurobiology, genetics, and phylogenetics. Our work ranges from problems at the genomic level to analyses of ecosystems. We have ongoing research in a variety of terrestrial and aquatic environments, across geographic regions (tropics through subpolar), and on a range of organisms. Furthermore, our program involves laboratory and field-based studies as well as theoretical work in our areas of expertise.

Our faculty and students value basic and integrative research (e.g., by crossing levels of organization from molecules to global systems), linking theory with data (through use of statistical and mathematical tools), using natural history to guide the development and testing of rigorous conceptual frameworks. Many of our faculty also are interested in the application and testing of basic science in applied contexts (e.g., conservation biology, ecotoxicology, human health). See the main Biology web page for general information about our program and information about faculty and their research interests. Also see the list of graduate courses that are offered in the degree programs.

The Department is primarily housed in Bartram and Carr Halls, adjacent to the Florida Museum of Natural History, which houses extensive systematic and fossil collections. Additional faculty are at the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Biosciences on the Atlantic Ocean near St. Augustine. Supporting facilities include the Marston Science Library, the Health Science Center Library, the Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research, Natural Area Teaching Laboratory, Katharine Ordway Preserve, the Center for Structural Biology, the University of Florida Sea Horse Key Marine Laboratory (near Cedar Key on the Gulf of Mexico), and the Archie Carr Sea Turtle Center (Click here for more information on Centers in the Department).

A variety of other departments and programs also add to opportunities available to our students. Examples include;

We accept students in four capacities:

  1. Ph.D. program I — Students who already have a M.S. in Biology (or related areas) are admitted directly into the Ph.D. program and will be expected to conduct original research culminating in a dissertation. We expect these students to complete the Ph.D. in 5 years.
  2. Ph.D. program II — Students admitted to this program do not have a M.S. in hand, but have a record indicative of likely success in the Ph.D. program (i.e., timely completion of original research leading to the defense of a dissertation). We expect these students to complete the Ph.D. within 6 years.
  3. M.S. — Students admitted to this program complete a M.S. by conducting original research. We expect students to complete this program in 2 years. These students must re-apply to the Ph.D. program if they want to continue in our program.
  4. M.S.T. — We also offer a Master in Science Teaching (a joint program with the College of Education) for students interested in teaching science in public schools.

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Course Requirements

Entering graduate students are expected to have at least basic training in biology, physical sciences, and mathematics sufficient to support graduate-level course work and research. The minimum requirements that must be met before the end of any degree (and thus can be met with coursework during the course of study here if not met prior to joining our program) include one course in at least 3 of the following 5 areas (Genetics; Physiology; Ecology or Behavior; Evolution or Morphology; and Cell Biology or Development). Also, 1 year of physical sciences or mathematics is required.

Our programs in Botany and Zoology are intended to give students great flexibility in designing programs well suited to their own professional goals.

Each graduate student largely follows an individual program of courses and requirements developed in consultation with his/her major professor and supervisory committee.

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Financial Support

The Department will provide teaching assistantships to all students who do not receive fellowship support or research assistantships for the expected duration of the program, assuming the student continues to make timely and satisfactory progress in the program. Currently, 1/3 – 1/2 time assistantships over the 9-month academic year come with stipends of $12,600 – $18,000 plus a tuition waiver and health insurance. There is the possibility of summer teaching assistantships, although these are not guaranteed. U.S. students must establish residency in the State of Florida by their second year in order for the tuition waiver to continue. This means starting the process as soon as you arrive from other states.

For an estimate of tuition costs, please refer to the fee calculator, which can estimate the fee and tuition costs. Please keep in mind that even with support the student is responsible for paying the fee portion; fees are not covered by the tuition waiver.

The Department expects that M.S. students will be supported for 2 years and that Ph.D. students will be supported for 6 (if lacking a M.S. degree). Additional support is available on an ad-hoc basis, but cannot be guaranteed. All appointments are contingent on satisfactory progress in the program.

The University of Florida offers graduate fellowships (Graduate Student and Grinter Fellowships for doctoral students). The Lucy Dickinson Graduate Fellowship in Vertebrate Paleontology is offered through the Florida Museum of Natural History. McKnight Doctoral Fellowships are available to African-American students from the Florida Education Fund.

Applicants are encouraged to apply for fellowships from other sources, such as the National Science Foundation and EPA before application to the University of Florida (see additional listings here) and through the Office of Research.

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