Graduate program director
William B. Eggleston Jr., Ph.D.
Program website: vcu.edu/lifesci/phd
Refer to the program search function of the online VCU Bulletins for a complete listing of all programs, concentrations and related curricular options.
Environmental Studies, Master of (M.Envs.)
Environmental Studies, Master of (M.Envs.), accelerated Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies (B.S.) to master’s
Apply online at graduate.admissions.vcu.edu.
Environmental Studies, Master of Science (M.S.)
|Semester(s) of entry:
International students require TOEFL
All application components must be received by Feb. 1 to be competitive.
In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the Ph.D. in Integrative Life Sciences program requires graduation from an accredited college or university or its equivalent with a degree that is preparative for graduate-level study in the life sciences. Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and scores on the Graduate Record Examination should exceed the 50th percentile in each category. For international applicants, satisfactory scores from a standardized test, such as the TOEFL (above 100), must be submitted along with external evaluation of undergraduate transcripts from nondomestic educational institutions (see Graduate Admissions website for further details).
Letters of recommendation from three present or former professors, advisers or mentors qualified to evaluate the applicant’s ability to engage in graduate study in the life sciences are required, as is a written statement describing the applicant’s research interests, motivation, research experience, education and goals for pursuing graduate study in this particular program, and preferred research adviser(s), official transcripts from all past postsecondary educational institutions, official GRE scores, and current curriculum vita or resume. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact potential research advisers prior to submitting application materials and to identify potential research advisers in their personal statements.
Students accepted into the program with a 3.4 and higher undergraduate GPA and/or experience of success in graduate course work will be provided with a stipend and tuition and fees for the first year of matriculation. Following satisfactory progress during the first year and the availability of funds, a second year of funding (stipend, tuition and fees) is available. Preference is given to applicants with preidentified research advisers.
The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.
It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.
The Ph.D. in Integrative Life Sciences is designed for students who want to conduct research that is integrative across multiple disciplines and that takes a systems approach to emerging research questions across the many fields that comprise the life sciences. Students may opt to work with faculty members from departments across VCU campuses. The program provides the opportunity to conduct interdisciplinary research at multiple scales of study from the molecular to ecosystem levels with an emphasis on the concepts of systems biology and biological complexity.
In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to complete course work in core and elective courses and to conduct significant research. All work toward the degree must be completed within eight years of the first enrollment.
A minimum total of 64 graduate credit hours is required and is distributed as follows:
|Core courses (12 credit hours)|
|LFSC 510/BIOL 545 Biological Complexity||3|
|LFSC 630 Integrative Life Sciences Research||2|
|LFSC 690 Research Seminar in Integrative Life Sciences (1 credit hour; 4 semesters)||4|
|OVPR 601 Scientific Integrity|
|OVPR 602 Responsible Scientific Conduct|
|OVPR 603 Responsible Conduct of Research (does not count toward 3 credit-hour restriction for Preparing Future Faculty courses)|
|Technologies course (recommended options; choice depends on student’s specialty)||2|
|ANAT 615 Techniques in Neuroscience and Cell Biology|
|BNFO/BIOL 541 Laboratory in Molecular Genetics|
|BNFO 650 Sequence Analysis in Biological Systems|
|ENVS 602 Environmental Technology|
|MICR 607 Techniques in Molecular Biology and Genetics|
|MICR/BNFO 653 Advanced Molecular Genetics: Bioinformatics|
|Advanced statistics, advanced mathematics or experimental design course (depending on the student’s area of research) (minimum 3 credit hours)||3|
|Note: Students are expected to enter the program proficient in statistics at the introductory level, as exemplified by STAT/BIOS 543 Statistical Methods I. Students not at this level, as evidenced by prior course work, will be required to take STAT/BIOS 543 or an equivalent course.|
|BIOL 606 Quantitative Ecology|
|BIOS/STAT 523 Nonparametric Statistical Methods|
|BIOS 524 Biostatistical Computing|
|BIOS 572 Statistical Analysis of Biomedical Data|
|BNFO/BIOL 601 Integrated Bioinformatics|
|ENVS 603 Environmental Research Methods|
|LFSC 610 Analytical Methods in Biocomplexity Analysis|
|MATH 591 Topics in Mathematics (mathematical biology)|
|STAT/BIOS 544 Statistical Methods II|
|STAT 623 Discrete Multivariate Analysis|
|STAT 643 Applied Linear Regression|
|Other courses based on approval of research advisory committee|
|Elective courses (based on research interest and approved by research advisory committee) (minimum 9 credit hours)||9|
|500-level or higher courses in ANAT, ANTH, BIOC, BIOL, BIOS, BNFO, CHEM, CLSE, CMSC, EDUC, EGRB, EPID, FRSC, HGEN, MATH, MEDC, MEDP, MICR, NANO, NEUS, OPER, PATH, PCEU, PHAR, PHIS, PHTX, PSCI, PSYC or STAT|
|Note: Only 3 credits of Preparing Future Faculty (GRAD) courses will be accepted toward the 9 credit hours of electives (exclusive of OVPR Responsible Conduct of Research)|
|Directed research (minimum 40 credit hours)||40|
|LFSC 697 Directed Research in Integrative Life Sciences|
|Total number of graduate credit hours required (minimum)||64|
A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.
Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.
Degree candidacy requirements
As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.
Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.