Jul 19, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2017 - 2018 
Graduate Catalog 2017 - 2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Regulatory Biology, Ph.D.

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A joint program with the Cleveland Clinic

Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences

Science Building Room 219
(216) 687-2440


Girish C. Shukla, Ph.D.; Graduate Program Director

Graduate Programs

The Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences (BGES) offers programs of course work and research leading to the Master of Science degree in Biology, the Master of Science degree in Environmental Science, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Regulatory Biology. The Doctor of Philosophy may include an optional Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization. These programs are open to full-time and part-time students.

Department faculty and staff members of The Lerner Research Institute (LRI) of the Cleveland Clinic (CC) work in cooperation to offer graduate training in a broad range of biological sciences. For example, molecular and cell biologists at both Cleveland State and the LRI study regulation of signal transduction and gene transcription in cell division, programmed cell death, and cell differentiation in the context of normal development and disease states that include cancer, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune and neurological disorders. Other Cleveland State faculty members participate in several programs focusing on local ecological and environmental issues that provide opportunities for graduate research. These include the Cuyahoga River Watershed Project and the OhioView consortium on remote sensing.

As a joint venture with the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, the doctoral program provides a unique opportunity for students to conduct research at one of the nation’s top medical research institutes. The LRI is directly connected to the medical facilities of the CC, enabling basic research scientists to address clinically relevant research questions, collaborate with medical practitioners, and utilize clinical material for research. The optional Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization is designed to capitalize on this resource.

Current faculty information can be located on the Cleveland State University Faculty Profile page.


Departmental facilities include a large animal-care facility, cold rooms, darkrooms, fluorescent and light microscopes, environmental chambers, a greenhouse, and an assortment of computers with Internet access. The department also utilizes space in field stations in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and in Belize. Most CC faculty are located in the new Research and Education Building of the Lerner Research Institute, with its state-of-the-art facilities, including a vivarium and core facilities for biotechnology, transgenic mice, flow cytometry, microscopy, protein sequencing, and hybridoma work.

Career Information

Graduates are employed in research, teaching, and administrative positions in private industry, hospitals, governmental agencies, environmental action groups, and colleges and universities in the Cleveland area, throughout the United States and abroad. The graduate program also attracts established teachers, research scientists, and management and staff in diverse businesses with a biological, environmental, or biomedical focus. The graduate program is open to full-time and part-time students as well as to non-degree students who are preparing themselves for entry into degree programs or are seeking to keep abreast of new developments in their fields of interest.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the Ph.D. program in Regulatory Biology should meet the minimum requirements established by the College of Graduate Studies  and the Ph.D. program faculty:

  1. Undergraduate grade point average of 3.3 or higher; master’s grade point average or combined undergraduate-master’s grade point average of 3.5 or higher.
  2. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores at the 50th percentile or better in each category.
  3. Two letters of recommendation.
  4. Statement of purpose, which includes the applicant’s research interests.
  5. International students and students whose degrees were awarded outside the U.S. (permanent residents) must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or MLT; a TOEFL speaking score of 25 or better is required for the awarding of a teaching assistantship.

Domestic students are encouraged to apply at least one to two months prior to the start of the semester. International students should apply at least three to four months before the start of the semester to allow for the processing of the visa application. See the academic calendar. Teaching assistantship awards are made on a competitive basis after the admission process is complete.

Apply Now: http://www.csuohio.edu/graduate-admissions/how-apply 

International applicants click here for more information.

Biology Admit Requirements - M.S.

Applicants to the Master of Science in Biology program should meet the minimum requirements established by the College of Graduate Studies  and by the M.S. in Biology Program Faculty. Applicants must submit official transcripts for all undergraduate and any previous graduate study, the GRE General Test scores, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of personal career goals and research interests. International students and students whose degrees were awarded outside the U.S. (permanent residents) must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or MLT.

Applicants must have completed a minimum of one semester of statistics or calculus, one semester of organic chemistry, one semester of physics, and have a strong background in biology that is essentially equivalent to the Cleveland State undergraduate Biology core curriculum http://www.csuohio.edu/sciences/bges/node/615#biology. Questions should be directed to the BGES Graduate Program Director.

Submit application materials to the Graduate Admissions Office, Main Classroom, Room 116, Cleveland State University, 2121 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115,


Apply Now: http://www.csuohio.edu/graduate-admissions/how-apply

Graduate Assistantships/ Fellowships

Full-time graduate students pursuing thesis or dissertation research may be supported through teaching assistantships or fellowships by the department for a period that, as a rule, should not exceed three years for the M.S. or five years for the Ph.D. This support includes tuition and a stipend. Full-time teaching assistants are expected to work twenty hours per week and must enroll as full-time students (currently nine credit hours, including research credits). Research assistantships may be available through the research grants of individual faculty. A limited number of graduate tuition waivers, which carry a service requirement of ten hours of work per week, may be awarded to students with superior credentials, as funds are available. Requests for assistantships should be indicated on the Application for Graduate Admission or by letter to the BGES Graduate Program Director. Awards are competitive, based on all application materials. Initial decisions usually are made based on completed applications on hand in March for fall semester and, if assistantships are available, in November for spring semester. Required minimums for grade-point average, GRE scores, and TOEFL score are higher than those for admission to the program. In order to hold a teaching assistantship, applicants whose native language is not English must be assessed and certified as proficient in spoken English.

Cleveland State/Cleveland Clinic Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization

Depending on their research interests, applicants to the Ph.D. program may wish to consider participation in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization, an interdisciplinary initiative linking the resources of the three Cleveland State/Cleveland Clinic joint Ph.D. programs: Regulatory Biology, Clinical-Bioanalytical Chemistry, and Applied Biomedical Engineering. Together, these units provide unparalleled opportunities for faculty, students, and staff.

The Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization is not an independent academic program and does not replace existing doctoral programs. BGES students must fulfill the requirements for the Ph.D. in Regulatory Biology. The Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization forms a logical interface to coordinate collective efforts of existing programs in four ways: 1) by creating a significant presence in the challenging and exciting new area of Cellular and Molecular Medicine; 2) by establishing a critical mass of researchers around a topic of national scientific and applied medical interest; 3) by realizing the commitment of Cleveland State and Cleveland Clinic in their long-standing collaboration to become major contributors in biomedical engineering and biomedical technology; and 4) by expanding the existing doctoral programs beyond their present state of development. As part of its contribution to these efforts, the Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization makes available several graduate assistantships to allow outstanding candidates to concentrate on their research for two years. Additional details can be obtained from the BGES Graduate Program Director or from the Director of the Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization.

Common Degree Requirements

Before registering for courses, all newly admitted students must meet with the BGES Graduate Program Director. All students are required to enroll in the BGES Graduate Orientation course (BIO 500 ) and to attend departmental seminars. Students also must comply with all College of Graduate Studies requirements and procedures. Minimum grade-point averages exist for particular degree options, as described below. A student who receives two grades of B– or one grade of C or below is subject to review by the BGES Graduate Committee; dismissal from the Biology graduate program may be recommended. Complete, current program requirements and any changes are described in the BGES Graduate Program Handbook, available from the BGES Graduate Program Office.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Regulatory Biology

The Ph.D. program provides a comprehensive background in biological science with a focus on regulation in biological systems ranging from the molecular to the ecosystem level. Cleveland State University and the Cleveland Clinic offer the program jointly. Besides course work, a comprehensive exam, and teaching experience, the degree requires a written dissertation, based on original scientific research of sufficient quality for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.


  1. Selection of a Major Advisor and an Advisory Committee. The Major Advisor typically is the primary supervisor and source of support for the student’s dissertation research. Together, the Major Advisor and Advisory Committee supervise the student’s plan of study and research proposal, monitor the student’s progress, certify that requirements have been met in a timely fashion, and process all petitions, progress reports, and other communications with the BGES Graduate Committee.
  2. Completion of a minimum of 90 credit hours with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 distributed as follows:
    1. Total course work and research*
      Courses (minimum) 32 credits
      Research (minimum) 40 credits
      Additional courses or research 18 credits
      Total beyond the Bachelors (minimum) 90 credits*
      * For students with a Master’s essentially equivalent to the CSU M.S. in Biology, the minimum number of credits would be 60 credits past the Master’s, including at least 20 credits of CSU graduate course work, including Orientation I, Departmental Seminar (2x) and Graduate Seminars (4x).
    2. Required courses: Each Ph.D. student must complete BIO 700 - Graduate Orientation  and BIO 702 - Graduate Orientation , BIO 704 - Biological Chemistry , BIO 740 - Biostatistics  or an equivalent graduate statistics course, and BIO 784 - Writing Grant Proposals  or an equivalent.
    3. Seminars: Each Ph.D. student must complete at least four seminar courses (BIO 888 ) and complete two credits of BIO 884 - Research Seminar .
    4. Remaining courses: Each Ph.D. student formulates an individual plan of study in consultation with the Major Advisor and the Advisory Committee. This includes areas of course work concentration as well as any additional elective courses needed to fulfill degree requirements described above.
    5. Research: The student’s individual research project should be of sufficient quality to be published in a refereed scientific journal.
  3. Satisfactory fulfillment of a teaching requirement consisting of the following:
    1. Two one-hour lectures under the supervision of a professor in (preferably) one introductory and one advanced course.
    2. Service as a teaching assistant is not required, but such service in one lower-division and one upper-division laboratory is strongly recommended for students pursuing an academic career.
  4. Admission to candidacy. Satisfactory completion of the Doctoral Candidacy Examination admits the student to candidacy for the Ph.D. This oral examination takes as its point of departure an original research grant proposal written by the student in the general area of the student’s research. The intent of the examination is to provide a fair appraisal of the student’s general knowledge and understanding of biology and in-depth knowledge of the areas relevant to the doctoral research and cognate areas indicated by the student’s course work and plan of study. Additional study or course work may be required as a result of this examination. Two unsuccessful attempts to pass this examination shall result in a recommendation for dismissal from the program.
  5. Completion of at least one year (i.e., three consecutive terms) in residence as a full-time student (as defined by the University) after admission to candidacy. Degree candidates must be continuously enrolled for a minimum of one credit hour from admission to candidacy until graduation.
  6. Exit requirements:
    1. Presentation of the dissertation research at a departmental seminar.
    2. Defense of the dissertation before a faculty committee. Two unsuccessful attempts to defend the dissertation shall result in a recommendation for dismissal from the program.
    3. Submission of the approved dissertation together with an article or manuscript based on the dissertation, in a format suitable for submission to a refereed scientific journal.

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