Objectives of the graduate program are mainly to train the the students to carry out basic and applied research in areas covering molecular genetics, ecological and evolutionary genetics, biochemistry, microbiology, cancer biology, plant sciences, molecular biophysics, biomaterials, molecular pharmacology and toxicology, biotechnology, neurophysiology and ecology.

Course List

Compulsory Courses
Course Code Course Name METU Credit Contact (h/w) Laboratory (h/w) ECTS Credit
BIOL520 Biometry 3 2 2 8.0
BIOL558 Bioethics and Research Methods 0 0 0 10.0
BIOL600 Ph.D. Thesis 0 0 0 130.0
BIOL601 Seminar in Biology 0 0 2 10.0

h/w: hours per week

7 elective course(s) approved by the Department of Biology.

Total minimum credit: 21

With the consent of the advisor, Ph.D. pre-candidate must select 1 major field and 1 minor field from the list of Ph.D. qualification exam fields and must submit their application to the Departmental Doctoral Qualification (DDQ) Committee.

To select a subject as a Major Field, undergraduate (main must courses or technical electives) and graduate courses offered for that subject must be completed.

To select a subject as a Minor Field, undergraduate (main must courses or technical electives) and graduate courses offered for that subject must be completed.

With the approval of the advisor, in the application, names of 3 main and 2 substitute faculty members for the main field, and 2 main and 1 substitute faculty members for the minor field are proposed to form the examination committee. The DDQ Committee will select the written exam committee members (3 for the major, 2 for the minor fields). The DDQ committee has the authority to alternate between the proposed main and substitute faculty members or may ask for the advisor to find a more appropriate faculty member for the field.The qualifying-exam committee must consist of at least 2 faculty members from outside of METU. Any change in the exam committee composition is realized by informing the advisor.

If there is more than one Ph.D. pre-candidate who will take the exam in the same period, common committees for several students may be formed based on the suggested exam committee members. But for the oral exam, a committee of 5 (selected among the written exam committee members) is formed by DDQ committee based on the suggestion of the students’ advisors. The pre-candidate is considered successful on the condition that the student should earn at least 70 points out of 100. The oral exam grade is the average of grades issued by the individual oral examination committee members.

Written exams are held at the same day for all students. The date of the exam is announced by the DDQ committee. The advisor determines the date of the oral exam (coordinating with the examining committee member(s) from the outside) and informs the chair of the DDQ committee. Written exams for the major and minor fields are completed within 2 days. The coordination of the exams is under the supervision of at least one member of the DDQ committee. Exam papers are then passed to faculty members immediately and asked to be graded in within the given deadline.

After the evaluation of written exams, the oral exam committee meets. If the result of written exam is satisfactory, the student is allowed to take the oral examination. For a student to be successful in the written exam, he/she has to earn ≥ 70 points out of 100 from the major field and ≥ 50 points from the minor field*. If the student is not successful in a field, he/she is advised how to improve for the next round of exams that he/she has to re-take. If a student is found successful for the written but fails to be satisfactory for the oral exam, he/she is listed as unsuccessful but can be admitted directly to the oral exam for the following semester.

Written and oral exam grades together with the exam papers are passed to the Ph.D. qualification committee by the advisor. The committee then decides whether the student passed the qualification exam or not.

* If the student fails in the written exam for the minor field (≤50) but gets a ≥80 grade in the written exam for the major field, the student may be admitted to the oral exam. However, if he/she is successful in the oral exam, he/she will still be declared unsuccessful overall in the qualification exam so that the following exam period, he/she has to take both the written and the oral exam for the previously failed minor field.

If the student fails only in the written exam for the major field (earning <70 points), he/she has to re-take written for only the major field and oral exam both in major and minor fields in the following examination period.

If one fails in the written exams for both the major and the minor fields, he/she has to re-take both the written and the oral exams for the major and the minor fields in the following examination period.

List of major and minor Ph.D. qualifying exam fields that Ph.D. pre-candidates can select in the Biology Graduate Program

1. Evolution
2. Population Biology
3. Genetics
4. Molecular Genetics
5. Plant Biology
6. Microbiology
7. Biochemistry
8. Ecology
9. Biotechnology
10. Biophysics
11. Physiology
12. Biodiversity-Conservation Biology
13. Freshwater Biology (Limnology)
14. Cell Biology
15. Biochemical Pharmacology and Toxicology

The following rules for the formation of thesis defense commitees were accepted by the University Graduate Committee.

Ph.D. Examination committee composition

  1. Thesis defense examination committees consist of 5 members. The members include the thesis supervisor, two “thesis advisory committee” members, one of whom must be from other Universities. For the remaining two, one of the members must be from other Universities.

All the members must hold academic positions (at least instructor position with Ph.D. degree)

  1. The co-supervisors could attend the thesis advisory committee meetings and defense examinations as observers only but cannot participate in decision making.