Jun 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Life Sciences Major, PhD


The intercollegiate Life Sciences major leading to a Doctor of Philosophy degree is housed in the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute (UT-ORII). UT-ORII faculty, whether their primary appointment is at Oak Ridge National Laboratory or at UT, serve as advisors for these PhD students. There are two concentrations available within this major: Genome Science and Technology (GST) and Plant Physiology and Genetics.

Campus Code


Knoxville Campus

Admissions Standards/Procedures


Genome Science and Technology Concentration

  • Applicants are expected to have a background in the biological, physical, or computational sciences.
  • Requirements for admission are
    • one year of general biology or the equivalent; two years of chemistry;
    • one year of calculus or equivalent college mathematics;
    • one year of physics;
    • at least 8 credit hours in cognate sciences related to the program;
    • a GRE (general) score;
    • three letters of recommendation; and
    • a minimum grade point average of 3.00 out of 4.00.
    • Coursework in genetics, cell biology, and computer sciences is advantageous.
  • The admissions committee especially values prior research experience.
  • Superior students, deficient in one or more of the above requirements, may be admitted at the discretion of the program admissions committee.
    • Deficiencies will be made up as a part of the courses taken by the individual student.

Plant Physiology and Genetics Concentration

  • Admission requirements are
    • a BA with a major in a biological, behavioral, or physical science;
    • GRE (general) score;
    • three letters of recommendation; and
    • course work including a year of calculus (differential and integral), one year of chemistry, and a year of physics.
    • Specific course deficiencies may be corrected during the first year.

Genome Science and Technology Concentration


Albrecht von Arnim, Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Director

The Genome Science and Technology (GST) concentration provides a unique and multidisciplinary opportunity for full-time graduate study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree. The program trains students around the interface of the biological and computational sciences. Graduates typically pursue careers in biological science in academia, industry, or governmental organizations. The program is designed to take advantage of collaboration between the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Students conduct research and develop scientific creativity in emerging areas of life science, with emphasis on genomics, structural biology, proteomics, computational biology and bioinformatics, and bioanalytical technologies. Faculty with appointments in the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute teach GST courses and guide research projects for GST students.

Credit Hours Required


Minimum of 72 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s or
Minimum of 48 graduate credit hours beyond the Master’s.

Additional Course Requirements


  • Participation in LFSC 541, the GST Colloquium, every spring
  • Completion of a Science Ethics course
  • Completion of one journal club or equivalent during each semester of residence after the first year is recommended.

Non-Course Requirements


  • Passing both the written and oral portion of the comprehensive examination
  • A dissertation reporting the results of original and significant scientific research
  • A formal seminar presentation of the dissertation research
  • A final oral examination on the dissertation

Plant Physiology and Genetics


Barry D. Bruce, Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Interim Director

This program provides the opportunity for intensive training and research experience in areas transcending the usual boundaries of botany, biochemistry, and agricultural plant sciences. Solutions of problems concerning the interactions of physiology and genetics in applied and fundamental aspects of plant science are the focus.

Credit Hours Required


Minimum of 72 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s or
Minimum of 48 graduate credit hours beyond the Master’s.

Additional Course Requirements


  • Participation in plant science journal club courses such as BCMB 610.

Non-Course Requirements


  • Passing comprehensive examination;
  • A doctoral dissertation;
  • An oral defense of the dissertation.