-- three letters of reference, at least two of which must be from faculty members. All three must be from
professionals working in the applicant’s field of interest.
*Under certain circumstances, a student may, with the support of his or her faculty advisor, choose to apply
to the Ph.D. program before completion of the requirements for the MS biology or marine biology degree.
Students who choose this path after their first year of core courses and research planning must complete a
new application, including letters of recommendation, to enter the Ph.D. program. If accepted, these
students would not take their M.S. oral preliminary exam, but would continue on with their study and take
the Ph.D. candidacy exam in year 3. Students who decide upon a Ph.D. later in their academic career, and
who have, thus, already taken their preliminary oral exam, may apply to the Ph.D. program, again with the
support of their advisor. Students who choose this path must complete a new application, including letters
of recommendation, to enter the Ph.D. program. If accepted, these students may decide to bind a M.S.
thesis, or simply continue on with their study and research and take the candidacy exam in year 3.
Documents to be submitted for admission:
- An application for graduate admission
- Official transcripts of all college work (undergraduate and graduate)
- Official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing and
subject test in biology)
- Three recommendations with accompanying letters by individuals in professionally relevant fields,
one from the intended faculty mentor.
- Official score on the TOEFL (if applicable). TOEFL scores are good for two years from the date
the test is administered.
- Current curriculum vitae
- Detailed summary of M.S. thesis research (maximum of three pages)
- Statement of interest for Ph.D. research (maximum of three pages)
- Reprints or copies of any publications (if applicable)
- Application and supporting documents must be submitted by the published deadline
- The program requires 78 post baccalaureate (48 post-M.S.) semester hours of graduate study.
- The maximum amount of credit that a Ph.D. student may count toward a doctorate from a master’s
degree program is 30 semester hours. This applies whether the master’s degree was earned at UNCW or
elsewhere. Six post-M.S. semester hours of credit may be transferred from another accredited institution.
Grades earned on transfer work must be equivalent to “B” or better and must be approved by the Graduate
- A minimum of 24 semester hours of graduate study must be completed in residence.
- Each student must pass a Candidacy Exam that includes an oral examination based on the student’s
dissertation prospectus. The Candidacy Exam should be taken during the second year of residence.
- The student must complete and defend a dissertation based on a research program approved by the
student’s committee that results in an original, high quality, significant, and substantial body of research.
- All requirements for the degree must be completed within six years after admission to the Ph.D. program
Additional requirements for the Ph.D. in marine biology
- Must have master’s degree or must complete course and research requirements of a master’s degree
program as described above.
- Must complete the following courses: