May 30, 2023  
Graduate Catalog 2022 - 2023 
Graduate Catalog 2022 - 2023

Regulatory Biology, Ph.D.

A joint program with the Cleveland Clinic

Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences

Science Building Room 219
(216) 687-2440
Dr. Bibo Li; Graduate Program Director


The Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences (BGES) offers programs of course work and research leading to the Doctor of Philosophy in Regulatory Biology, which is run as a joint venture with the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute. 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. Substantial external funding and state of the art equipment enable cutting edge research in two broad foci relating to:

1) Molecular and cellular understanding of biological processes to identify therapeutic targets relevant to reproductive health, aging, heart disease, infectious disease and cancer.

2) Ecological and environmental understanding of biological processes at the organism and ecosystem level in a world of changing climate, urbanization, human impacts and invasive species.

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 microscopes (a Nikon A1Rsi Laser Scanning Confocal and a Deltavision Deconvolution Microscope) and light microscopes, a BD FACS Canto II Flow Cytometer, an Amersham Typhoon 5 imager, a Typhoon 9410 imaging scanner, Beckman Optima L90K ultracentrifuges, Beckman J2-21 centrifuges, anOdyssey Fc Imaging System, a Thermo Electron French press, cell culture facilities, a scintillation counter, an AKTA purifier FPLC system, Heska Hematology and Element Analyzers, a Nikon Ti2-E inverted microscope with an Abberior Stedycon STED laser system, and an assortment of computers with Internet access. 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: 

International applicants click here for more information.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Regulatory Biology


  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.