Graduate Program

Duke Biology offers diverse training opportunities for students seeking a Ph.D. degree in biological sciences

Our Ph.D. program is highly flexible, allowing students to design the path that best fits their professional needs. Requirements for the Ph.D. include course work, participation in seminars relevant to your field of research, successful completion of an oral qualifying examination, one year of teaching experience, completion and defense of a research dissertation under faculty guidance.


The graduate students in the Biology Department (Biograds) are integral to the department and community. Contributions include: running weekly happy hours and prospective student recruitment weekends as well as organizing seminars, journal clubs, teaching-assistant training orientation, and diversity-themed workshops. We strive to create a welcoming environment for all!


Graduate students are supported through research assistantships, teaching assistantships, external fellowships (e.g. NSF, Ford), and internal fellowships through The Graduate School. Students have also received research and travel grants through professional societies, The Graduate School, and internal funds. Students also receive full tuition, student health fees, and health insurance.


As biologists, we know that a strong, thriving community requires diverse perspectives and approaches to tackling complex issues. The Biology Department has two Diversity Committees (one composed of only faculty and one composed of only graduate students) working to promote equity, reduce bias, embrace and increase diversity, and build respect, inclusion, and cultural competency among all members of the department.


Our 45 graduate faculty lead innovative research across all areas of biology from molecules to ecosystems. Their research is routinely published in leading journals and featured in media such as The New York Times and Science Friday. Faculty have also been recognized for their scientific contributions broadly and in their own fields.


Biophysics, Cell & Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, Ecology, Evolution & Population Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Neuroscience, Organismal Biology & Behavior, Systematics & Phylogenetic Biology


Duke Biology is involved in multiple University-wide graduate programs, which link researchers across different departments and schools at Duke––most notably the basic sciences departments in the Duke University Medical Center and the Nicholas School of Earth and Ocean Sciences. These programs include:

Duke Biology also has strong links with: