May 30, 2024  
2016-2017 Graduate Bulletin 
2016-2017 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Department of Biological Science

Estelle Levetin

Charles R. Brown
Mark Buchheim
Peggy S. Hill
Estelle Levetin
Richard L. Reeder
Harrington Wells

Associate Professors
Akhtar Ali
Ron Bonett
Mohamed Fakhr
Kenton S. Miller

Assistant Professors
Warren Booth

Graduate Program Advisor
Harrington Wells


For more information about degree offerings by the faculty of biological sciences, visit the Department of Biological Sciences webpage.

The Department of Biological Sciences has several graduate degree options. Dissertation and thesis tracks are available for the Ph.D. and the M.S. degrees. These programs are designed for graduate students who wish to undertake a significant research project. Although class work is required, the focus of these degree options is research and writing, and each requires considerable non-flexible time commitments. The non-thesis M.S. biology degree is a course-work focused program. In addition to the standard thesis and non-thesis M.S. degree programs, either M.S. degree can also be obtained through joint degree B.S./M.S. or J.D./M.S. programs. The B.S./M.S. joint degree is a five year program resulting in a B.S. and M.S. in biology. The J.D./M.S. joint degree is a program in which a law students can obtain a M.S. in biology at the same time as the J.D. Both joint degree programs offer significant course hour reductions compared to obtaining the degrees sequentially.

Research facilities include laboratories equipped for the study of bioinformatics, cell biology, ecology, genetics, histology, molecular biology, microbiology, neurobiology, physiology and virology. In addition, core facilities exist for electron microscopy (scanning and transmission), automated DNA sequencing, microarray analysis, confocal microscopy, and an fMRI facility associated with the Laureate Institute for Brain Research. Areas of faculty research include animal behavior, botany, cellular biology, ecology, genetics, histology, herpetology, microbiology, molecular biology, mycology, parasitology, phylogenetics, physiology and virology. The University of Tulsa is also ideally located for field work in biomes as diverse as salt plains, the Tallgrass Prairie, and the deciduous forests of the Ozarks.

Mission Statement

Graduate work in the biological sciences at The University of Tulsa maintains scholarly excellence in fields that range from cell and molecular biology to ecology and physiology. The department supports both thesis (M.S. and Ph.D.) and non-thesis (M.S.) degree programs to meet that goal. Our mission for the thesis track degrees focuses on developing skills to be scientists. That includes not only scholarly expertise in an area of biology but also development of technical research skills and knowledge in experimental design and statistical data analysis. Central to the thesis degrees is critical thinking skills associated with literature review and scientific writing. Our mission for the non-thesis degree centers on scholarly expertise in an area of biology that complements professional development in law, the health sciences, or teaching. The non-thesis degree also requires critical thinking and analytical skills needed to understand the biological literature.

Learning Objectives

Doctor of Philosophy. The program’s focus is to offer quality graduate level courses in advanced topics in biology, and to graduate Ph.D. students prepared for leadership roles in both academia and industry. Graduating students will have:

  • An in-depth understanding of a particular set of sub-fields within the biological sciences, which involves both knowledge of the literature and analytical ability to relate existing studies to alternative theories.
  • Conducted original research, with a leadership role in the experimental design, and the research will be of a magnitude that it could lead to several publications.
  • Developed communication skills to function successfully in the scientific community.
  • Developed research skills to the degree that they can work as independent scientists.

Master of Science (Thesis Track). The program’s focus is to offer quality graduate level courses in advanced topics in biology, and graduate M.S. students prepared for an advanced degree program (e.g. Ph.D., M.D., D.O., Pharm.D., D.D.S) or research technician positions in industry or academia. Graduating students will have:

  • Conducted original research of significant magnitude for publication.
  •  Exhibited knowledge of the scientific study undertaken beyond that expected of a technician.

Master of Science (Non-Thesis Track). The program’s focus is to offer quality graduate level courses in advanced topics in biology, and graduate M.S. students prepared for non-research positions. Graduating students will have completed focused course work in a particular area of biology at a level above the B.S. degree.


Application for all biology graduate degree programs must be made through the Graduate School. An undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher is needed to be considered for graduate school (4-point scale). The application must also contain:

  • Results from the General Test of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
  • A statement of purpose describing the applicant’s background, specific interests in biology, and long-term professional objectives.
  • Reference letters (evaluations) from three individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic and/or technical background.
  • TOEFL or IELTS exam scores for students from countries where English is not the primary language. Minimum TOEFL score to be considered for graduate school is: 90 on the internet-based exam or 575 on the paper exam. The minimum IELTS score is 6.5.

Students not meeting all of the specific course requirements at the time of application may be admitted on conditional grounds. In such cases, course work required to make up deficiencies will be determined by the departmental Graduate Committee, and should be undertaken during the first year of graduate work. Credit for courses required to correct deficiencies cannot be applied to the graduate degree requirements.

Approved Supporting Elective Graduate Courses for Biological Science


    Master’sDoctoralCombinedJoint Degree


      Biological Science