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Graduate Degree Programs include:

PhD Biology MS Biology Interdisciplinary Degrees
PhD Microbiology MS Microbiology  
DA Biology BS/MS Option  


Doctor of Philosophy in Biology

The Doctor of Philosophy in Biology degree is offered in Biological Science in areas consistent with faculty expertise. This degree is granted for proven ability, independent investigation, and scholarly attainment in a special field. It is primarily a research degree and is not granted solely on the completion of a certain number of credits. There is not a fixed total credit requirement for this degree. Credits for the dissertation and the research upon which it is based should comprise a substantial portion of the program and involve original work. It is understood that the research for and writing of the dissertation will require the equivalent of at least one year of full-time work.

Admission Requirements are outlined in the General Requirements document.

See the Graduate Catalog for additional information on PhD Program Requirements.

How to apply

Graduate School admissions

Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology

The Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology degree is a research degree granted for proven ability, independent investigation, and scholarly attainment in a special field.

See the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Microbiology entry in the ISU Graduate Catalog for additional information.

Doctor of Arts in Biology

The best way to foster appreciation of longterm values is to foster acquisition of longterm knowledge.
-paraphrased from Aristotle

The Doctor of Arts (D.A.) is a terminal degree that produces graduates who are both excellent instructors and knowledgeable biologists. Scholars who graduate with a D.A. in Biology are exceptionally prepared to design and teach a variety of Biology courses at the College level and have practiced doing so throughout the course of the program.

D.A. Graduates in Biology have a better than 95% success rate at attaining faculty positions at colleges and universities throughout the country.

Contact Dr. Rosemary Smith who is currently coordinating the D.A. program in Biology.

Idaho State University Graduate Studies

The Doctor of Arts degree was established as a terminal degree in response to pressure to emphasize college and university teaching as an integral part of the attainment of an advanced degree. It was intended to develop the skills of people interested in teaching at the undergraduate level.

The first D. A. program was established at Carnegie-Mellon University in the Fall of 1967. The Committee on Graduate Studies of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States both sanctioned the D.A. in 1970. The Carnegie Foundation subsequently funded it, providing seed money to 10 Universities, including Idaho State, to institutionalize the degree.

Since 1972 - 1973, Idaho State University has granted over 70 Doctor of Arts degrees to students in the Department of Biological Sciences.

More about the Doctor of Arts Degree

"A history of the doctor of arts tradition in American higher education" Education, Summer 2003, by White, Stephen R, McBeth, Mark K.

How does the D.A. differ from the Ph.D.?

D.A. programs require broader study in the disclipine, more awareness of interdisciplinary relationships, and, not least, theoretical and practical preparation in pedagogy. Such requirements reflect an awareness of what the undergraduate teacher will be doing.

Does D.A. training ignore research?

No. Like the Ph.D., the D.A. requires that the recipient be well qualified in research techniques; but with a different emphasis. D.A. recipients regard themselves not as researchers primarily - but as teachers. Their research capability is a means of informing both the content and method of their teaching. Additionally, all students entering the program are required to have completed a Master's degree which included a thesis of original biological research.

Is the D.A. comparable to an Ed.D.?

No. While it is true that D.A. programs include a pedagogy component and invite continual reflection on teaching, they differ from the Ed.D. in the greater emphasis on the discipline to be taught and awareness of its interdisciplinary relationships.

Is a D.A. degree appropriate for teaching in two-year as well as four year colleges?

Yes. The degree is highly individualized, and the manner in which you fulfill the degree requirements can be tailored to your career goals. D.A.'s currently hold positions at both types of institutions.

How long will it take to earn my D.A. degree?

This, of course, depends on individual academic preparation, experience, and effort. Exceptionally able and motivated students with fellowship support may complete requirements in as little as two to three years of full-time study beyond the Masters degree level, though three to four years is more typical. Intermittent residence will, of course, lengthen the time needed to complete degree requirements.

Is financial assistance available?

Yes. The department is currently allotted 8 D.A. fellowships. These are awarded on competitive basis, and are renewed dependent on satisfactory progress in the degree program. Students granted these fellowships receive a yearly stipend of $12,164, renewed for up to four years, in addition to being granted tuition and graduate fee waivers. These fellowships require no teaching and allow students to pursue study full time. Should candidates wish to broaden their teaching experience beyond the required internship, they may negotiate to teach one course each semester for additional compensation. Students offered a position without support are also eligible to teach for compensation. They may also compete for fellowship support should a fellowship be vacated.

All candidates for the program must have at least a 3.0 GPA for the last two years of undergraduate work, scores in the 35th percentile or higher on the verbal and quantitative sections of a Graduate Record Exam (GRE) that is no more than 5 years old, a score for the GRE subject area test in Biology (required) and is expected to have completed a Master's degree prior to entrance into the program. If a student enters the program without having completed the Master's level research paper in biology or a related science she/he must complete this requirement in addition to the D.A. degree requirements.

Cordelia Chong

Kelsey Robson

Verona Nicolae

Ruth MacNeillie

Kole Bowman

Stephanie Zorio

Jonathan Dudko

Miller, Misha, D.A. 1997. Currently: Faculty, Columbia College, California

Shoemake, Steve, D.A. 1998. Currently: Faculty, Walla Walla Community College, Washington

Fabian, Hank, D.A. 1999. Currently: Faculty, Merritt College (California, Peralta C.C.)

Wray, Dwight, D.A. 2000. Currently: Faculty, BYU-Idaho

Burton, Steve, D.A. 2001. Currently: Faculty, Grand Valley State University, Michigan

Dobson, Chris, D.A. 2001. Currently: Faculty, Grand Valley State University, Michigan

Barbur, John, D.A. 2001. Currently: Faculty, Front Range Community College, Colorado

Merriam, Jennnifer, D.A. 2002. Currently: Faculty, Orange County Community College, New York

Lung, Mark, D.A. 2002. Currently: Environmental Education Consultant, Boise, Idaho

Cossel, John, D.A. 2003. Currently: Faculty, Northwest Nazarene, Idaho

McNeil, Jill (Petrisko) , D.A. 2003. Currently: Research Scientist, DiaSoni Molecular, California

Austin, Karen, D.A. 2005. Currently: Faculty, Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences

Cotter, Paul, D.A. 2006. Currently: Faculty, University of Alaska, Anchorage

Jason Shaw, D.A. 2006. Currently: Faculty, BYU-Idaho

Jessica Hopkins (Delmonte), D.A. 2007. Currently: Faculty Development, Flathead Lake Community College, Montana

Meredith Seiler, D.A. 2007. Currently: Faculty, Lock Haven University, Pennsylvania

Todd Hartle, D.A. 2007. Currently: Educ. Research/consultant/ CMT

Smidt, Scott, D.A. 2008. Currently: Faculty, Laramie County Community College, Wyoming

Anderson, Noah, D.A. 2009. Currently: Faculty, University. Wisconsin, Baraboo

Sharee Anderson, D.A. 2009. Currently: Faculty, Eastern Idaho Technical College, Idaho

Sandhya Baviskar, D.A. 2009. Currently: Faculty, University Arkansas, Fort Smith

Erin Naegle, D.A. 2009. Currently: Faculty, Columbia College, California

Kelsey Metzger, D.A. 2009. Currently: Faculty, University of Minnesota, Rochester

Ellen Gerton (Pennell), D.A. 2011. Currently: Faculty, Central Community College, Hastings, Nebraska

Wayne Hatch, D.A. 2012. Currently: Faculty, Utah State University, Eastern

Kinta Serve, D.A. 2013. Currently: Faculty, Mars Hill University, North Carolina

Kaleb Heinrich, D.A. 2015. Currently: Faculty, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Texas

Roger Long, D.A. 2016. Currently: Visiting Professor, College of Idaho

Ayokunie Hodonu, D.A. 2017. Currently: Faculty, Northwest Nazarene University, Idaho

Master of Science in Biology

The M.S. Biology degree is designed to enable students to develop an advanced understanding of the biological sciences and the capability to teach or conduct research. Programs are flexible and can be tailored to satisfy the professional goals of each student, preparing students for careers in industry or for advanced study in the life and health sciences. Graduates follow many paths, finding success and solving problems for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, academia, education, and the private sector, while others engage in entrepreneurial activities or seek additional training in doctoral programs.

Admission Requirements

Departmental admission requirements for graduate programs are listed here. For the M.S. Biology program, these guidelines are designed to accommodate students that bring a variety of life experiences and aspirations, and perhaps hold something other than a B.S. in Biology. Prospective students are encouraged to contact biology faculty members to discuss current research and training opportunities.

Program of Study

See the Graduate Catalog for details regarding the M.S. Biology requirements. M.S. Biology grads work with an advisory committee to develop an independent research project and a program of study to that will help them achieve their professional aspirations.

  • First semester: Incoming grads take BIOL 6690 (first semester seminar) and other courses as directed by their advisory committee; grads also meet with their advisory committee and develop a preliminary program of study.
  • Second semester: Grads take BIOL 6605 (biometry) and 6691 (proposal seminar), during which they present their research proposal, and other courses as directed by their advisory committee.
  • Second (and, if necessary, third) year: Grads conduct research, take courses as directed by their advisory committee, and write and defend their MS thesis.

Additional Information

For additional information regarding this program or to discuss the availability of financial support for graduate students, please contact Dr. Michael Thomas. For information about research opportunities for M.S. Biology students, please contact biology faculty members.

Master of Science in Microbiology

The M.S. Microbiology degree is designed to produce scientists who can conduct independent research and are fluent in the scientific literature.

See the Master of Science (M.S.) in Microbiology entry in the ISU Graduate Catalog for additional information.

Bachelor of Science/Master of Science (B.S./M.S.) in Biology

The goal of the B.S./M.S. ("4+1") option is to allow academically strong students to begin work towards an M.S. degree after completing the Junior year. This will allow students to complete an M.S. degree, as well as a B.S. degree, with only one additional year in school. It prepares students for careers in science and for graduate programs in the life sciences.

Interdisciplinary Degrees

Idaho State University offers students the opportunity to pursue an interdisciplinary master's degree. The degree sought and the field appearing first in the title of the program will be that of the department providing the major portion of the graduate credits. Other fields in the title will be secondary fields of concentration.

The requirements include: completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours with a minimum of 10 hours in each of the departments participating. Students must be admitted into such a program by each department which participates. Students must contact each department contemplated to be involved prior to initiating the development of an interdisciplinary program. Although students must take at least 10 credits in each of the departments participating, departments may, at their discretion, require additional credit hours of the students as a condition of the departmental participation and admission of the student in the program. An initial program of study must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research during the first year of coursework. Requirements for interdisciplinary programs are the same as for other degree programs. An interdisciplinary thesis may be written with a minimum of three credit hours and a maximum of five credit hours in each department. The final oral examination must include a representative from each department and a graduate faculty representative from a department not involved in the interdisciplinary program.


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