The focus of graduate education in the USF Department of Biology is research. Graduate students may be admitted into the M.S. Degree program in Biology or Microbiology, or the Ph.D. program in Biology. The Department of Biology offers excellent graduate research training in three areas of modern biology, including conservation biology, coastal marine ecology, and cell/molecular biology. While we recognize three general areas of research expertise within the Department, we emphasize broad training and encourage students to cross traditional boundaries. Modern research facilities within the University and ease of access to nearby aquatic and terrestrial field research sites enable biology graduate students extraordinary opportunities to design creative and significant research projects. Most, if not all, graduate students will have the opportunity to instruct undergraduate laboratories as Teaching Assistants. Graduate Teaching Assistants are provided guidance from mentors within the department and through the USF Center for Teaching Enhancement. While graduate education emphasizes creative research, graduate students are provided an opportunity to develop as teachers-both necessary skills for success as a professional scientist.
Although conservation biology is a relatively new sub-discipline of biology, USF faculty have been pioneers in this area for nearly two decades. Located in west-central, coastal Florida, USF is in an ideal setting to address conservation issues in a diversity of habitats ranging from the near-shore ecosystems to the xeric uplands of the Lake Wales Ridge. Conservation research focuses on rare and endangered species and habitats, Tampa Bay, and restoration of damaged ecosystems. Graduate students have the opportunity to investigate plants and animals from the molecular to the ecological level to capitalize on existing faculty expertise.
Tampa Bay, which is the second largest estuary on the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys and