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Ph.D. in Complex Biological Systems

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Program Information

The Rowan Experience
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This is a doctoral research program for students pursuing a Ph.D. in a biological discipline, broadly defined. It is intended for students who have completed undergraduate education. The Complex Biological Systems (CBS) Program will emphasize use-oriented, problem-focused education that comprehensively addresses the scales of societal problems and the connections between these scales. The program will build expertise and foster comprehensive understanding of problem complexity while building collaborative skills. Doctoral candidates will develop and defend an in-depth dissertation based on original research performed in the biological sciences. Program graduates will have the training and terminal degree necessary for post-doctoral research in academia and industry, and expertise suitable for positions such as teaching, project management, consulting, and scientific/technical writing.

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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: 24 Semester Hours
    • Elective Courses: 0-18 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: 24 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 6
Research Credits: 30-48 S.H.
CBS 01550 Thesis Research 30-48
Restricted Elective Courses: 0-12 S.H.
CBS 01560 Fundamentals of Teaching for Biological Sciences  3
  Multiple 500-level courses available for specialized biology teaching  


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
  • 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
  • Typewritten statement of professional objectives
  • 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