Biological Sciences, Ph.D.

Biological Sciences, Ph.D.

The Ph.D. In Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences PhD

The study of biological sciences is integral to sustaining the biosphere, of which humankind is now the dominant component. Our goal is to prepare a new generation of researchers who will expand the boundaries of our understanding of organisms and the ecosystems in which they inhabit. To accomplish this, students and their faculty advisors explore aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems around the globe, and across time from the prehistoric to the Anthropocene. Research opportunities are available to students in the areas of ecology, ichthyology, plant biochemistry, evolution, marine biology, paleobiology, and global change. Students in the PhD program in Biological Sciences tackle ecological issues facing the environment and humanity using approaches ranging from molecular and microbial ecology to climatology and biogeography.

Hands-On Doctoral Program

Doctoral students in Biological Sciences at Florida Tech conduct research in an intimate learning environment, working with internationally recognized experts. The PhD program in Biological Sciences offers boundless opportunities for hands-on research in nearby natural laboratories and in remote locations around the world.  With access to the university’s high-tech biological facilities, doctoral students in Biological Sciences develop expertise they will use throughout their careers.

As a national research university, Florida Tech provides the tools and skills necessary for students to conduct cutting-edge research. With a goal of developing graduates who become leaders in their fields, the Department of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences considers research experience and methodologies a core educational foundation. Degree candidates engage in studies that make significant contributions at local, regional, national, and international levels on relevant topics, including coastal management, fish physiology, marine mammalogy, shark biology, coral-reef ecology, conservation, climate change, ecotoxicology, sustainable agriculture, restoration of ecosystems, microbial and chemical ecology, and more.

Some of the research topics studied and published by students working towards and master’s in ecology include:

  • Coral-reef ecology
  • Climate change
  • Paleoecology
  • Plant geography of the Amazon / Andes
  • Plant physiology
  • Polar biology
  • Invasive species

The Department offers an exciting program of summer field courses to exotic locales. Students are expected submit their research findings for publication in scientific journals.

High-Tech Laboratory Facilities and other opportunities

The university's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian River Lagoon, and other natural resources provides an ideal learning environment for conducting advanced research in the biological sciences. The nearby Kennedy Space Center affords opportunities to work on the 'exo-ecological' aspects of new national initiatives in space travel and the colonization of Mars.

Students in the program have access to Florida Tech's state-of-the-art facilities in science and engineering. These facilities offer innovative laboratories and instrumentation. The Harris Center for Science and Engineering houses a saltwater aquarium facility that serves research needs in fish biology and related areas. Other facilities accessible include the following:

  • Ralph S. Evinrude Marine Operations Center—A facility near the main campus and just off the Indian River Lagoon, 'The Anchorage' provides support for boating, diving, and other marine activities. Details can be found here.
  • Center for High-Resolution Microscopy and Imaging—Located in the Olin Life Sciences Building, this facility offers light and fluorescence microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, laser-scanning confocal microscopy, and X-ray microanalysis of natural and artificial materials.
  • L3Harris Student Design Center—The state-of-the-art L3Harris Student Design Center provides space and facilities for students to work on all their design- and manufacturing-related projects.


Career opportunities are diverse, with jobs available in academics, government, consulting, environmental protection, conservation, wildlife management, and so much more. Graduates of the PhD program in Biological Sciences at Florida Tech have secured positions at the University of Amsterdam, the National University of Mexico, Boston University, the National University of Costa Rica, the University of Arizona, the University of Guam, Florida Fish and Wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Universidad Veracruzana, The Nature Conservancy, the United States Geological Survey, the University of St. Andrews, and the Mote Marine Laboratory, among other institutions.