Graduate Catalog
2019-2020
 
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Biological Sciences
College of Science
Derring Hall contains offices, classrooms, and laboratory space for many of the science programs at Virginia Tech, such as biological sciences and geological sciences. The Museum of Geosciences is also located in the building. Construction began in 1967 and was completed in 1969. Named after Paul Neyron Derring (1894-1973) who was Secretary of the YMCA from 1918 to 1957 and Director of Religious Affairs from 1957 to 1964.
2125 Derring Hall, Mail Code: 0406, 926 West Campus Drive Blacksburg VA 24061
Derring Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
• MS
MS Degree in Biological Sciences
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Blacksburg
• PhD
PhD Degree in Biological Sciences
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Blacksburg
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
540/231-8929
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Dec 15
Spring: Oct 31
Directions
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Derring Hall

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Department Head : Robert Cohen
Graduate Program Director : Jeffrey Walters
Emeriti Faculty: Ernest Benfield; Joseph Falkinham; Jackson Webster
Professors: John Barrett; Lisa Belden; Daniela Cimini; Michael Fox (VT Carilion Research Institute); Michael Friedlander (VT Carilion Research Institute); Dana Hawley; Roderick Jensen; Maria Lazar; Liwu Li; Ignacio Moore; Erik Nilsen; Brent Opell; John Phillips; David Popham; Birgit Scharf; Jill Sible; Ann Stevens; Dorothea Tholl; John Tyson; Jeffrey Walters; Brenda Winkel
Associate Professors: Bryan Brown; Daniel Capelluto; Cayelan Carey; Carla Finkielstein; Silke Hauf; Christopher Lawrence; Joel McGlothlin; Stephen Melville; Florian Schubot; Kendra Sewall; Richard Walker; Zhaomin Yang
Assistant Professors: Frank Aylward; Jing Chen; Jeremy Draghi; Erin Hotchkiss; Caroline Jones; Shihoko Kojima; Kate Langwig; Meryl Mims; Martha Munoz; James Smyth (VT Carilion Research Institute); Josef Uyeda; Susan Whitehead
Research Faculty: Joseph Hoyt
Affiliated Faculty: Caglar Akcay (Istanbul, Turkey); Leah Johnson; Samy Lamouille (Roanoke); Stefanie Robel (Roanoke); John Socha; Christopher Thompson
University Distinguished Professor: John Tyson
Harold Bailey Professor: Jeffrey Walters
Assistant Professor of Practice: Lori Blanc; James Tokuhisa

Biological Sciences Introduction

The Department of Biological Sciences offers research and training that lead to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Graduate students, in consultation with Major Advisors, design programs of study that include cutting edge research, courses that support their particular interests, and at least one semester of a teaching experience. Opportunities for research span the biological disciplines from molecular biology to ecosystems ecology and may include computational, experimental, empirical, theoretical, and/or applied approaches. Our faculty members encourage graduate students to reach their full creative and scholarly potential. We take a holistic approach to graduate education by promoting both research skills and the ability to communicate effectively with professional colleagues and undergraduate students. In addition to their research program, graduate students may elect to earn a graduate certificate in "The Future Professoriate," which includes mentored classroom teaching. In short, our program fosters individually tailored programs that lead to successful careers in research and education. We encourage prospective students to visit the department's webpage to learn about research focus areas and associated interdepartmental programs, and to explore the research programs of potential Major Advisors by perusing faculty web pages. Contacting individual faculty members and their students prior to formal application provides opportunities to explore mutual interests.

Deadlines

To compete for financial aid, applications for fall admission must be completed by December 31.  Applications are accepted after this date but the opportunities for financial aid are diminished.  Most graduate teaching assistantships are awarded by April 1.  October 31 is the deadline for spring semester applications (domestic students).  We do not accept international applications for spring semester.


Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • Paper
      • 577.0
    • Computer
      • 233.0
    • iBT
      • 90.0

Courses work requirements: (18 total graded hours)

  • A minimum of 12 hours at the 5000 level
  • 3 additional hours of seminars
  • A maximum of 3 hours at the 4000 level


A total of 18 graded hours and 30 total hours including research and thesis credits are required. Thesis is required. All biological sciences graduate students must teach a minimum of one semester as a requirement for graduation.

Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • Paper
      • 577.0
    • Computer
      • 233.0
    • iBT
      • 90.0

Course work requirements: (22 total graded hours)

  • A minimum of 18 graded course hours at the 5000 level
  • 4 additional hours of seminars

 

A total of 22 graded hours and 90 total hours, including research and dissertation credits are required.  All biological sciences graduate students must teach a minimum of one semester as a requirement for graduation.

Biological Sciences Facilities Introduction

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Introduction

The Department of Biological Sciences occupies modern research facilities in several buildings on the Virginia Tech Blacksburg campus, including Derring Hall, Latham Hall, the Integrated Life Sciences Building, and Life Sciences Building I.  Biological Sciences faculty also utilize state-of-the-art research space in the Biocomplexity Institute in Blacksburg and the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke.

Our research laboratories are well-equipped to conduct research in all areas of biology, from protein structure to microbiology to animals and plants to ecosystems.  Graduate students carry out experiments to address challenges in topics such as infectious disease, cancer, water, behavior, and global change.

The department houses a variety of advanced microscopy, analytical chromatography, computational, and molecular biology equipment.  Support facilities for growth of microorganisms, greenhouses, and animal care are located within or near to department research buildings, as are facilities for advanced genomics, proteomics, spectroscopy, and crystallography.  Of particular note is the Massey Herbarium, which contains over 115,000 specimens.

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