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For more information contact

Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Biology
Duke University
Box 90338
Durham, NC 27708-0338

Phone: (919) 684-3649



General Information

Degree offered:
Faculty working with students:
Students receiving Financial Aid:
Part time study available:

Program Description

The Department of Biology offers a diverse and integrative graduate program for students seeking the Ph.D. in the biological sciences. The department provides training opportunities in the following broad range of research areas: ecology (including behavioral ecology, population biology, community ecology, physiological ecology, ecosystem analysis, and biogeochemistry), cell and molecular biology (including cellular physiology, molecular genetics, developmental biology, developmental genetics, genomics, and bioinformatics, in both plant and animal systems), functional organismal biology (including comparative physiology, functional morphology, biomechanics, and animal behavior), and evolutionary biology (including population genetics, evolutionary ecology, evolutionary morphology, macroevolution, biogeography, and systematics). Faculty also participate in the university programs in Cell and Molecular Biology, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, Genetics and Genomics, Ecology, and Structural Biology and Biophysics. These programs link researchers across different departments and schools at Duke, most notably the basic sciences departments in the Duke University Medical Center and the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. There are also strong links with the Institute of Statistics and Decision Sciences, the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, the Center for Nonlinear and Complex Systems, and the departments of Evolutionary Anthropology, Philosophy, and Psychological and Brain Sciences. Tropical research is facilitated through the University's close affiliation with the Organization for Tropical Studies.


Application Information

Application Terms Available

Application Deadline
December 1

Graduate School Application Requirements
See the Application Instructions page for important details about each Graduate School requirement.

  • Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts required with application submission; official transcripts required upon admission
  • Letters of Recommendation: 3 Required
  • Statement of Purpose: Required (see departmental guidance below)
  • Résumé: Required
  • GRE Scores:
    • GRE General: Optional for 2022
    • GRE Subject - Biology: Optional
  • English Language Exam: TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test required* for applicants whose first language is not English
    *test waiver may apply for some applicants
  • GPA: Undergraduate GPA calculated on 4.0 scale required

Department-Specific Application Requirements (submitted through online application)

Statement of Purpose Guidelines
Tell us about your previous research experience, work ethic and perseverance toward goals, your preparedness and motivation for graduate study, your academic plans, including some of the research questions you would like to address in your graduate studies and how you would approach them, as well as your future career aspirations. In your statement, be sure to mention which faculty members you are interested in working with, as common interests are considered, and tell us why you believe the Duke Biology Ph.D. program is a good fit for you

You are encouraged to include examples of educational, cultural, or other life opportunities or challenges you have experienced, and how these are likely to contribute to your overall success in our graduate program and beyond. 

Writing Sample
None required

We strongly encourage you to review additional department-specific application guidance from the program to which you are applying: Departmental Application Guidance