- Why Wake Forest Graduate Biology?
- Welcome Colleagues!
- Doctoral Program in Biology (Ph.D.)
- Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)
- Financial Support
- Important Links
- Recent Papers by Our Graduate Students
Why Wake Forest Graduate Biology?
- Intensive training in your field of research while building an integrative perspective.
- Personalized training program to meet your needs and career goals
- Full stipend support for M.S. (4 semesters). Full stipend support for Ph.D. (5 years).
- High quality research facilities and vibrant department in a small-campus setting.
Graduate students in the Wake Forest Department of Biology are our colleagues and partners in innovation at the frontiers of scientific discoveries across the biological sciences. Our program’s students experience training in biology research that is individualized, hands-on, and interdisciplinary. At Wake Forest, we pride ourselves in a Teacher-Scholar tradition where mentorship, classroom, and research lab all exist as part of a seamless training environment. Our department offers cutting-edge research opportunities in a small-campus community environment.
Research groups in our department span scales of research from molecules to ecosystems. Students receive intensive training in their chosen field of biology, while also experiencing the advantages of working in a broad department of faculty with integrative research perspectives. The frontiers of science are often in the connections between traditional fields, and our integrative training program prepares students to seek new knowledge at these intersections. Graduates of our Ph.D. programs have consistently gone on to competitive postdoctoral research positions, industry careers, and university teaching jobs. Our M.S. in Biology graduates have been admitted to top Ph.D. programs around the country.
Our campus is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the beautiful Piedmont region of North Carolina. The Biology Department has full research facilities on both the main campus in Winston Hall and at Wake Downtown in the Innovation Quarter, including two staffed microscopy centers, a research greenhouse, and a high-performance computing cluster. Wake Forest University is ranked consistently in the top 30 national universities in the country with a strong emphasis on science training at all levels. Our small-campus community at Wake Forest shows you do not need to be on a big campus to do big things in research.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me about your vision for your future career and get your questions answered about how becoming a colleague in the Wake Forest Biology community can be part of that future.
— James Pease
Graduate Program Director in Biology
Doctoral Program in Biology (Ph.D.)
The Wake Forest University Ph.D. in Biology allows students to pursue exciting research in a wide range of disciplines across the biological sciences. Our program emphasizes building strong conceptual foundations, innovative research training and opportunities, and professional skills to succeed in a range of individual career goals. Biology Ph.D. students are guaranteed full tuition remission, competitive stipend support, and subsidized health benefits for five years of study.
Direct Lab Admission or Laboratory Rotations: Many applicants enter the program with a specific advisor already selected, but doctoral students may opt to complete 2-3 short rotations during the first semester to select a Primary Research Advisor. Additionally, each student is guided by an Advisory Committee selected by the student to offer guidance and expertise throughout the development of their thesis or dissertation.
Program Description: Ph.D. students spend their first year developing their research project while engaging in our Integrative Biology course in preparation for the presentation of First-Year Prospectus plan for their research. Each Ph.D. student assembles an Advisory Committee of five faculty to guide their research throughout their studies. The Ph.D. Qualifying Examination is generally taken in the second year in which students work with the Advisory Committee to test and explore their knowledge through a rigorous written exam, revision process, and oral examination. In the third year, students further develop their research plan and present a Third-Year Prospectus as a first draft of their future dissertation or grant research proposal. Finally, students complete their written dissertation and present both a departmental seminar presentation and a final presentation for their advisory committee.
Full program information and requirements are available in the Biology Graduate Handbook.
Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)
The Master of Science in Biology at Wake Forest University is a research thesis-based, stipend-supported two-year program. Our research M.S. allows students to pursue advanced academic coursework while also building a comprehensive research thesis under the mentorship of the graduate faculty. Biology M.S. students are guaranteed full tuition remission, competitive stipend support, and subsidized health benefits for the full course of their studies (four semesters and one summer).
Program Description: M.S. students spend their first year developing their research project while engaging in our Integrative Biology course and other coursework, in preparation for the presentation of the First-Year Prospectus plan for their research. Each student assembles an Advisory Committee of three faculty to guide their research throughout their studies. Research work continues through the summer in ongoing preparation for the thesis. In their second year, M.S. students complete their coursework (24 hours of coursework, and 6 hours research credits). In their last semester, students complete a written research thesis and present both a departmental seminar and a final presentation for their advisory committee.
Full program information and requirements are available in the Biology Graduate Handbook.
Guaranteed Stipend Support
All students in Wake Forest Biology Graduate Program are admitted with a full tuition waiver, stipend support, and subsidized health benefits through Teaching Assistantships. For Master of Science students, Teaching Assistantship support is guaranteed for four semesters and the summer between the first and second years of study. For doctoral students, Teaching Assistantship support is guaranteed for five years of study, including the four intervening summers. Stipend levels are competitive. For particulars, inquire at email@example.com.
Wake Forest University provides full support for applications to graduate fellowship programs like the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, NIH Predoctoral Fellowship, and others. Our faculty welcome the opportunity to collaborate with future and current students in our programs on crafting these fellowship applications.
- Fulbright Foundation
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
- NIH Predoctoral Fellowship Program
Research Funds: All graduate students are allotted modest funds to support research costs each year. These funds may be used for small equipment and consumable supplies.
Research Travel: Additional money for research travel to field sites, workshops, off-site training, and collaborations are available through the Biology Department Vecellio Fund (all fields), the Grady Britt Fund (parasitology/symbiosis), and the Wake Forest University Richter Scholarship.
Conference Travel: Funds for travel to present your research at conferences is available through the WFU Graduate School Alumni Travel Fund.
Applications are due for the Ph.D. and M.S. in Biology program for Fall admission by December 15.
If you are interested in Spring admission (start in January), please contact the Graduate Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wake Forest University Graduate School welcomes applications from undergraduate seniors and graduates of accredited US colleges/universities or recognized foreign institutions. Undergraduate degree requirements must be completed prior to beginning graduate studies. Applicants are expected to have superior academic records, usually interpreted as at least a B average or standing in the upper quarter of the class.
Get to Know our Faculty
Before applying to the program, we strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with faculty researchers and reach out to potential mentors to inquire about current research projects and funding availability.
All applications must be submitted online through the Graduate School website. Before starting the online application, have the following available:
- Personal Statement (1–2 pages): The Personal Statement should include information about your past experiences and present motivations for applying to the MS in Biology or PhD in Biology program. This statement could include examples of your past independent research experiences and projects, professional scientific training, teaching or mentorship experience, impactful coursework, scientific outreach and advocacy, and your personal motivations for wanting to develop your biology scholarship further. We are interested in hearing about challenges that were influential to your career path both through shaping your thoughts about biology or impacting your academic experiences described in the Personal Statement or CV.
- Research Goals Statement (1–2 pages): The Research Goals Statement should include details of your future plans for research and academic scholarship. This statement should be limited to your future work at WFU and career goals beyond. Please include details about what research questions motivate your interest in pursuing graduate biology training and how these relate to your future career goals. We encourage you to share any other professional goals for your training in teaching, specific research skills, or development of mentorship, outreach, advocacy, and/or inclusion. Please specifically mention by name one or more research faculty in our department whom you would prefer to work with as your primary research advisor. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact potential mentors prior to submitting an application to determine potential mentors’ availability. We encourage you to not repeat past experiences mentioned in your Personal Statement in this Research Goals Statement. Note: The research statement is not a specific description of a research project with a future mentor, just your individual goals for engaging in graduate biology training at WFU.
- Curriculum Vitae: Include a current curriculum vitae (CV) listing your past academic, research, professional, and service experiences and achievements.
- Transcripts: Official or unofficial transcript from each postsecondary institution you attended. Official transcripts are required before beginning graduate study, but are not necessary during the review process.
- Letters of Recommendation (three required): Three letters of recommendation are required. Letters from research mentors/supervisors and upper-level classroom instructors are preferred.
- TOEFL/IELTS: Please see the Graduate School Admissions website for information on Required Tests for TOEFL/IELTS guidelines (TOEFL Institution Code: B994)
- Representative Publication (optional): If you have contributed to the authorship of one or more publications, you can include a copy of one representative publication with your application.
- GRE Scores (optional): The GRE is not required. (GRE Institution Code: 5885)
Application waivers are on a case-by-case basis. There is no waiver code. Application waivers require sponsorship from a potential mentor and approval by the Graduate School. Please contact potential mentors directly to inquire about research opportunities in their lab groups.
Research in the Wake Forest Department of Biology spans scales from the molecular to the global and our departmental strength draws from this integrative perspective on biology. Our faculty offer intensive training in a wide variety of fields, but set within an integrative department that will engage creative new perspectives and approaches to the core questions in biological science.
The Department of Biology currently has areas of research focus in:
- Animal Behavior
- Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
- Cell Biology
- Developmental Biology
- Evolutionary Biology
- Genetics, Genomics, and Epigenetics
- Molecular Biology
- Parasitology and Pathogenesis
- Physiology and Biomechanics
- Plant Biology
Integrative Biology: All Biology graduate students engage in their first year in an exciting course spanning both semesters called Integrative Biology. In this course, students will explore concepts at the graduate level with a team of faculty with expertise from across the biological sciences. Through this course, students will strengthen their fundamental scientific scholarship, build an interdisciplinary perspective, and gain
Research Methods: All Biology graduate students are also required to take one course focused on research methods of their choice, including (but not limited to): microscopy, advanced statistics, laboratory methods, and teaching pedagogy.
Teacher-Scholar Professional Development: This year-long course discusses techniques and professional practices for a successful graduate career in science and beyond.
Ph.D. Additional Coursework: No additional coursework is required for the doctoral program. Additional courses are available in a wide range of subjects and are selected in consultation with the advisory committee.
M.S. Additional Coursework: The Master in Science of Biology degree requires 30 hours of coursework. Of that, 24 hours (about 8 courses) must be from coursework, and the remainder may be thesis research hours.
Coursework outside the Biology Department: Students in the Biology graduate programs are able to take coursework in chemistry, physics, computer science, mathematics, statistics, and at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. (Enrollment is dependent on instructor permission and approval by the Graduate Program Director).
Hands-on teaching training is provided annually by the Graduate School and the Department of Biology, with additional support and training ongoing throughout the year. Many students in our department serve as Teaching Assistants, primarily serving as facilitators of the undergraduate core labs. All teaching is done as Teaching Assistants under the guidance of a faculty instructor. TAs are not expected to design or teach full courses, nor serve as instructors of record. No prior teaching experience is necessary to apply to our graduate programs.
Ph.D. students are required to have two semesters of teaching experience, as part of their comprehensive training program.
M.S. students have no minimum program teaching requirement, but may serve as Teaching Assistants as a part of their graduate stipend.
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- WFU Graduate Bulletin – Biology
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Recent Papers by Our Graduate Students
- Daryanavard H, Postiglione AE, Mühlemann JK, Muday GK. 2023. Flavonols modulate plant development, signaling, and stress responses. Current Opinion in Plant Biology. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbi.2023.102350
- McKee JL, Tompkins EM, Estela FE, Anderson DJ. 2023. Age effects on Nazca booby foraging performance are largely constant across variation in the marine environment: Results from a 5-year study in Galápagos. Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.1002/ece3.10138
- Nourani E, Safi K, de Grissac S, Anderson DJ, Cole NC, Fell A, Grémillet D, Lerma M, McKee JL, Rattenborg NC, Ryan PG, Santos DC, Schoombie S, Tatayah V, Voirin B, Weimerskirch H, Wikelski M, Shepard ELC. 2023. Seabird morphology determines operational wind speeds, tolerable maxima and responses to extremes. Current Biology 33: 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2023.01.068
- Nichols SM, Nilsson EM, Brown-Harding H, LaConte LEW, Acker J, Borodavka A, and Esstman SM. 2023. Flexibility of the Rotavirus NSP2 C-terminal Region Supports Factory Formation via Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation. Journal of Virology 28;97(2):e0003923. 10.1128/jvi.00039-23
- Rebol EJ and Anderson DJ. 2022. Sex-specific aging in bite force in a wild vertebrate. Experimental Gerontology 159: 111661. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2021.111661
- Anderson ML and Esstman SM. 2022. In Vitro Particle-Associated Uridyltransferase Activity of the Rotavirus VP1 Polymerase. Virology, 577:24-31. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2022.09.015.
- Postiglione AE, Muday GK. 2022. Abscisic Acid Increases Hydrogen Peroxide in Mitochondria to Facilitate Stomatal Closure. Plant Physiology. 2022 Dec 27.
- Cory ST, Smith WK, Anderson TM. 2022. First-year Acacia seedlings are anisohydric ‘water-spenders’ but differ in their rates of water use. American Journal of Botany https://doi.org/10.1002/ajb2.16032
- Fernandez Y, Dowdy NJ and Conner WE. 2022. High duty cycle moth sounds jam bats echolocation: Bats counter with compensatory changes in buzz duration. Journal of Experimental Biology 225: jeb244187. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.244187
- Martin RE, Postiglione AE, Muday GK. 2022. Reactive oxygen species function as signaling molecules in controlling plant development and hormonal responses. Current Opinions in Plant Biology 10:102293. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbi.2022.102293
- Nelson JM, Saunders CJ, Johnson EC. 2021. The Intrinsic Nutrient Sensing Adipokinetic Hormone Producing Cells Function in Modulation of Metabolism, Activity, and Stress. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(14), p.7515. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22147515
- Giammona, FF. 2021. Form and function of the caudal fin throughout the phylogeny of fishes. Integrative and Comparative Biology 61:550-572. https://doi.org/10.1093/icb/icab127
- Nilsson EM, Sullivan OM, Anderson ML, Argobright HM, Shue TM, Fedowitz, FR, LaConte LEW, Esstman SM. 2021. Reverse genetic engineering of simian rotaviruses with temperature-sensitive lesions in VP1, VP2, and VP6. Virus Research 302:198488. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virusres.2021.198488
- Chapman JM, Muday GK. 2021. Flavonols modulate lateral root emergence by scavenging reactive oxygen species in Arabidopsis thaliana. J Biol Chem 296:100222. doi: https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.RA120.014543.
- Freund CA., KE Clark, JF Curran, GP Asner, MR Silman. 2021. Landslide age, elevation and residual vegetation determine tropical montane forest canopy recovery and biomass accumulation after landslide disturbances in the Peruvian Andes. Journal of Ecology, 00, 1– 17. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13737
- Giammona FF. 2021. Form and function of the caudal fin throughout the phylogeny of fishes.” Integrative and Comparative Biology. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/icb/icab127
- Howard JL, EM Tompkins, DJ Anderson. 2021. Effects of age, sex, and ENSO phase on foraging and flight performance in Nazca boobies. Ecology and Evolution 11:4084–4100. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7308
- Nelson JM, Saunders CJ, Johnson EC. 2021. The intrinsic nutrient sensing adipokinetic hormone producing cells function in modulation of metabolism, activity, and stress. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 22, 7515. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22147515
- Tompkins EM, DJ Anderson. 2021. Breeding responses to environmental variation are age- and trait-dependent in female Nazca boobies. Ecology, e03457. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3457
- Allen EE, J Farrel, AF Harkey, DL John, GK Muday, JL Norris, B Wu. 2020. Time series adjustment enhancement of hierarchical modeling of Arabidopsis thaliana gene interactions. In: Martín-Vide C, M Vega-Rodríguez, T Wheeler (eds) Algorithms for Computational Biology. AlCoB 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 12099.
- Anderson TM, PM Ngoti, ML Nzunda, DM Griffith, JDM Speed, F Fossøy, E Røskaft and BJ Graae. 2020. The burning question: does fire affect habitat selection and forage preference of black rhinos (Diceros bicornis) in East African savannas? Oryx 54: 234-243. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605318000388
- Brown ML, OM Sullivan, SM McDonald Esstman. 2020. A Perfect Ten—Decoy maps uncover polymerase complexes in Reoviridae virion. Structure 28:595-597. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.str.2020.05.007
- Colvin HN & Joice Cordy R. 2020. Insights into malaria pathogenesis gained from host metabolomics. PLoS Pathogens. Nov 12;16(11):e1008930. doi: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008930.
- Gibson, CL, JW Isley, TG Falbel, TG, CM Mattox, DR Lewis, KE Metcalf, GK Muday. 2020. A conditional mutation in SCD1 reveals linkage between PIN protein trafficking, auxin transport, gravitropism, and lateral root initiation. Frontiers in Plant Science 11, http://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2020.00910.
- Fernandez-Delgado YN, J Dowdy, WE Conner. 2020. Extreme duty cycles in the acoustic signals of tiger moths: Sexual and natural selection operating in parallel. Integrative Organismal Biology https://doi.org/10.1093/iob/obaa046
- Harkey AF, K Sims, GK Muday. 2020. A new tool for discovering transcriptional regulators of co-expressed genes predicts gene regulatory networks that mediate ethylene-controlled root development. In silico Plants, diaa006, http://doi.org/10.1093/insilicoplants/diaa006
- Huffeldt NP. 2020. Performance of horned puffins (Fratercula corniculata) on an object permanence task. Behavioural Processes 181: 104274. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2020.104274
- Huffeldt NP, FR Merkel, S Jenni-Eiermann, W Goymann, B Helm. 2020. Melatonin and corticosterone profiles under polar day in a seabird with sexually opposite activity-rhythms. General and Comparative Endocrinology 285: 113296. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2019.113296
- Marayati BF, JF Tucker, DA De La Cerda, TC Hou, R Chen, T Sugiyama, JB Pease, K Zhang. 2020. The catalytic-dependent and -independent roles of Lsd1 and Lsd2 lysine demethylases in heterochromatin formation in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Cells 9(4): 955. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9040955
- Perry RJ, CJ Saunders, JM Nelson, MJ Rizzo, JT Braco, EC Johnson. 2020. Regulation of metabolism by an ensemble of different ion channel types: Excitation-secretion coupling mechanisms of Adipokinetic Hormone in Drosophila. Frontiers in Physiology 11:580618.
- Postiglione AE, GK Muday. 2020. The Role of ROS homeostasis in ABA-induced guard cell signaling. Frontiers in Plant Science 11: 968. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2020.00968
- Quigley KQ, DM Griffith, G Donati, TM Anderson. 2020. Soil nutrients and precipitation are major drivers of global patterns of grass leaf silicification. Ecology 101: e03006. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3006
- Rizzo MJ, EC Johnson. 2020. Homodimerization of drosophila class A neuropeptide GPCRs: evidence for conservation of GPCR dimerization throughout metazoan evolution. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 523(2):322-327. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2019.12.019
- Rugemalila DM, ST Cory, WK Smith, TM Anderson. 2020. The role of microsite sunlight environment on growth, architecture, and resource allocation in dominant Acacia tree seedlings, in Serengeti, East Africa. Plant Ecology 221: 1187-1199. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-020-01074-5