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Ph.D. in Complex Biological Systems

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Program Information

The Rowan Experience
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The Department of Biological & Biomedical Sciences at Rowan University proudly offers a Ph.D. in Complex Biological Systems (CBS), an interdisciplinary program designed to cultivate the next generation of biological scientists. This unique doctoral program integrates a strong foundational curriculum across molecular, cellular, organismal, and systemic levels, coupled with advanced computational data analysis techniques. The program culminates with an integrative, capstone course focused on comprehensive analysis of a research problem across all organizational levels.

Our curriculum not only imparts deep understanding but also equips students with hands-on experience through elective coursework and via use-inspired, problem-focused research with a dedicated research mentor. With a Ph.D. in the CBS program, students will enter their chosen field at the cutting edge equipped with the broad knowledge and experience needed to be competitive in today’s highly collaborative, multidisciplinary workforce. The program paves the way for careers in research, teaching, project management, consulting, or scientific/technical writing in academia or industry.

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The Ph.D. in Complex Biological Systems is a full-time graduate program offered in a face-to-face format at our Glassboro, NJ, campus. It requires the completion of 72 graduate semester hours. As a fundamentally interdisciplinary field, Complex Biological Systems graduates will perform original laboratory research and take courses that will provide a strong background in biological problems at several levels of organization: molecular, cellular, organismal, and ecological. The coursework for the Ph.D. in Complex Biological Systems has been designed and sequenced in a way that will allow students to develop increasingly complex and cumulative knowledge over the course of their training and integrate their knowledge across organizational levels. Ph.D. students will complete a dissertation under the mentorship of faculty in the Department of Biological & Biomedical Sciences.

The following courses make up the Ph.D. in Complex Biological Systems program.

  • 72 Semester Hours
    • Required Courses: 18 Semester Hours
    • Elective Courses: 6-18 Semester Hours
    • Research Courses: 30-48 Semester Hours
  • Foundation Courses: No
  • Graduation / Exit / Thesis Requirements: Yes
    • Conferral of the doctorate will occur only after satisfactory completion of all course requirements, submission of a doctoral thesis, and approval by the candidate’s Thesis Committee of the written thesis and oral defense. This process and all forms are regulated by Rowan University’s School of Graduate Studies and outlined in the Thesis & Dissertation Manual.


Course Number Title S.H. (Credits)
Required Courses: 18 S.H.
CBS 01510 Molecular Foundations of Biological Systems 3
CBS 01520 Cellular Foundations of Biological Systems 3
STAT 02515 Organismal Foundations of Biological Systems 3
CBS 01540 Biological Networks and Systems 3
CBS 01570 Computational Methods and Data Analysis in Biological Systems 3
CBS 01580 Integrative Analysis of Biological Problems 3
CBS 01590 Graduate Seminar (zero credit course required 6 semesters) 0
Research Credits: 30-48 S.H.
CBS 01550 Thesis Research 30-48
Restricted Elective Courses: 6-18 S.H.
CBS 01560 Fundamentals of Teaching for Biological Sciences  3
  Any 500-level (or higher) course pre-approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator and the student’s thesis advisor


Transfer Credit Evaluation Policy

The department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences Admissions Committee will evaluate all potential course equivalencies.

Admission Requirements
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The following is a list of items required to begin the application process for the program. There may be additional action or materials required for admission to the program. Upon receipt of the materials below, a representative from the Rowan Global Admissions Processing Office will contact you with confirmation or will indicate any missing items.


  • Completed Rowan Global Application Form
  • $65 (U.S.) non-refundable application fee
  • Bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) from an accredited institution of higher learning, evidence of success in life sciences-relevant coursework preferred
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended (regardless of number of credits earned)
  • Minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Current professional resume or curriculum vitae
  • Typewritten statement of professional objectives, preferably including an indication of faculty whose research is of interest to the applicant
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL language test (International)
  • WES evaluation (International)
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Info Session or Event

Rowan University hosts a series of on campus and virtual events throughout the year to help you get to know us. From general information sessions, to program specific meetings with advisors, to webinars on timely and thought-provoking topics, these gatherings provide an excellent opportunity to ask questions, network with academics and future students, and learn from some of the most innovative and informed faculty in higher education today.


Additional Information