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Doctor of Philosophy Graduate Program in Entomology

The Doctoral Program in Entomology is designed to provide an atmosphere for a student to conduct independent and original research. The student will identify, design, conduct and interpret experimental procedures that will further the scientific understanding of a contemporary problem in Entomology.

Admission to the Program

Application for admission must be made through the Office of Graduate Admissions of Rutgers University. Application materials may be obtained at A complete application (application form, letters of recommendation, application fee, official transcripts, personal statement, and test scores) must be on file before a final decision on admission can be made. Applications can be processed at any time; those requesting financial assistance for fall term admission should be received before January 1 if possible.

Admission to the Program may be attained by either of two routes:

  1. Admission from another institution, or via transfer from another graduate program in the Rutgers School of Graduate Studies, by recommendation of the Program's Graduate Student Acceptance and Progress Committee, as approved by the Department Chairperson, the Director of the Graduate Program, and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
  2. Recommendation by the student's Master of Science Advisory Committee for those already enrolled in the Entomology Graduate Program.

Entrance Requirements and Time Limits

  1. Rutgers has no university wide minimum GRE scores. Some programs value high verbal GRE scores and some value high quantitative scores. Your program may also have specific GRE Subject test requirements or may accept GMAT scores in place of GRE.  In general, GRE scores are good for 5 years and TOEFL/IELTS scores are good for 2 years. For those applicants requiring an English-language proficiency test, both TOEFL and IELTS are accepted for admissions. Please see more information on minimum score requirements and how to submit your scores on the Graduate and Professional Admissions' information page for international students.
  2. The traditional manner of beginning the Ph.D. is by first meeting the requirements of an M.S. degree. However, students with outstanding credentials may apply for admission directly into the Ph.D. program. The entrance requirements are:
    Course Requirement
    Biology 2 semesters or equivalent
    General Chemistry 2 semesters or equivalent
    Calculus 2 semesters or equivalent, or 1 semester of calculus and 1 semester of statistics

    Any deviation from these requirements must be approved by the Graduate Program Faculty for each individual case. Admission to the Program with deficiencies is permitted but the course requirements must be met prior to defense of the dissertation. The Graduate Student Acceptance and Progress Committee will notify the Graduate Program Director in writing of any deficiencies. Notification to the applicant of all deficiencies and a timetable for meeting them will accompany the Admission letter. The advisory committee chairperson will notify in writing the Graduate Program Director when the necessary work is complete. If no entomology course work is included in the student's course background, he/she may, at the discretion of the advisory committee, be required to enroll in Insect Biology without credit.

  3. Depending on a student's background and research interests, the student's committee can require that a student take additional courses in Organic Chemistry, Physics, Biochemistry, Ecology or Genetics.
  4. Transfer of credit for course work already finished at another institution must comply with the rules of the School of Graduate Studies. Students completing the M.S. degree at Rutgers must gain permission from the advisory committee and the Graduate Program Director to begin Ph.D. studies.
  5. Financial support derived from the budget of the Department of Entomology (Entomology GA's) or from endowed fellowships restricted to students in the Graduate Program in Entomology shall be limited to no more than a total, from all such sources, of 3 years for students in the Ph.D Program. The School of Graduate Studies requires that the Ph.D normally be completed within 7 years of enrollment for that degree.
  6. A graduate student enrolled in the Master's program may petition the Graduate Program Faculty to have his/her status advanced to the Ph.D. program, if his/her advisory committee determines that his/her overall performance in research and course work warrants such a status change. A petition for status change must be made by letter to the Graduate Program Director by the student, stating the justification for the change. The Graduate Program Director will then obtain the recommendation of the Graduate Student Acceptance and Progress Committee, and report to the Graduate Program Faculty in the next faculty meeting.

Entomology Core Curriculum

  1. The entomology core curriculum for the Ph.D. degree is:
    Course Title Course Code Credits
    Insect Structure and Function 370:515, 516 4, 4 credits
    Insect Taxonomy 370:524 4 credits
    Insect Collection 370:605 1 credit
    Seminar in Entomology 370:603, 604 3 credits
    Ethics and Development in Ecology or Evolution 215:602 1 credit
      - or -
    Ethical Scientific Conduct 115:556 1 credit

    (During at least one of the three semesters the student must present a seminar to the Department).

  2. Two additional elective graduate entomology courses (other than Seminar and Special Topics in Entomology, 11:370:601, 602)

    Students in the Program must satisfy the core curriculum requirements prior to completion of their degree; those who receive an M.S. in the Rutgers Entomology Graduate Program and then continue into the Ph.D. program will normally have completed all these requirements except for 1 credit in Seminar. Failure of any core course will ordinarily result in termination from the Program.

    Students entering the Program who feel that their previous training is sufficient to meet all or part of the core courses may petition the Program faculty, before the end of their second semester of enrollment, to have any portion of the requirements waived. Waiver will require that the student either (1) pass a competency exam administered by the Graduate Student Acceptance and Progress Committee in consultation with the course instructor, or (2) present satisfactory evidence to this Committee of having taken, with a grade of B or better, an equivalent course at another institution ("equivalent" means closely similar in subject matter, depth, and rigor to that required in the core course). The petition must be by letter, endorsed by the student's advisory committee, and addressed to the Graduate Student Acceptance and Progress Committee stating the student's reason(s) for waiver of the requirements. The Committee, with support from appropriate faculty, evaluates the request and makes a recommendation to be discussed by the Graduate Program Faculty. All waivers require a majority vote by the faculty.

Competency Evaluations in Entomology

Each candidate for the Ph.D. in Entomology must demonstrate to the Graduate Student Acceptance and Progress Committee competency in Entomology in the following areas; insect structure and function, and taxonomy. Competency will normally be assured by taking the corresponding courses of the Entomology Core Curriculum; if these are passed with a grade of B or better no additional examination is required. Students receiving a grade lower than B must take a competency exam administered by the Committee.

Credit Requirements

The Ph. D. requires 30 credits of formal course work and 42 credits of research; 23 credits of course work must be taken at the 500 or 600 level and the remaining 7 credits may be taken at the advanced undergraduate (300 or 400) level. At least 20 credits must be Entomology courses including the required core curriculum. The student's thesis committee may require additional courses even if the sum of the student's course credits will then exceed 30, as deemed needed.

Student Advisor and Research Committee

  1. School of Graduate Studies regulations regarding graduate student committees may be found in the School of Graduate Studies Bulletin under the heading "e;Rules Relating to Graduate Students."
  2. A student must be accepted by a professor as an advisee, or temporary advisee, at the beginning of the doctoral program. The advisor will notify the Graduate Director in writing.
  3. A permanent adviser and a research committee must be selected within the first year of study. The student must notify the Graduate Program Director in writing of the composition of his/her research committee.
  4. The research committee must consist of at least four members: a chairperson who is a Full Member of the Entomology Graduate Faculty (usually the research advisor), two or more other Full members from the Entomology Graduate Program, and one or more members from outside the Program (“external” member). The membership of the committee may be changed as needed.
  5. Each student's committee shall meet at least once a year to review the student's overall academic progress and advise the student accordingly. In addition, the student and the major advisor shall meet regularly and frequently to review the student's progress; a full committee meeting shall be at the discretion of the advisor. Each spring semester in May, the Graduate Student Acceptance and Progress Committee is to request from the student a report on his/her academic and research progress, which shall include a request for verification that these meetings were held and shall require the thesis advisor's signature.

Transfer of Credits for the Ph.D. in Entomology

Transfer of credits for graduate courses taken at other institutions is governed by the policies of the School of Graduate Studies (see Graduate Catalog, "Academic Policies and Procedures, Transfer of Credit"). Transfer of credits accrued while enrolled in other Graduate Programs at Rutgers University is subject to approval by the Entomology Faculty.

One-Year Review

After one year of full-time study, each student will be reviewed for the purpose of deciding whether he or she may be permitted to continue toward the doctorate; this review may in no case be postponed beyond three semesters of full-time study. The procedures for this review shall be as follows:

  1. The student's advisor will schedule and announce the review and invite comments from the faculty regarding the student's performance.
  2. The student's committee will review the student's academic performance and dissertation outline.
  3. After the review the student's advisor will report in writing to the Chair of the Graduate Student Acceptance and Progress Committee, who will then report the results of the review to the Graduate Program Faculty in the faculty meeting following the review.

Qualifying Examination

  1. This examination must be passed before the student is admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree (Status 30). It must be taken before the end of the student's second year in the program. Other information and requirements are found in the Graduate Catalog ("Degree Requirements, Doctor of Philosophy").
  2. The student must obtain an application for "Admission to Candidacy" from the School of Graduate Studies office prior to the examination and present it to the chair of their thesis committee.
  3. The examination may be entirely written, written and oral, or entirely oral, at the discretion of the thesis advisory committee.
  4. The examination is open to all faculty and students. Notice must be posted 1 week prior to the examination.
  5. Full-time Ph.D. students must take their qualifying exam within two years of joining the program. Part-time Ph.D. students must take their qualifying exam within three years of joining the program.

Dissertation and Diploma

  1. An application for a diploma must be filed with the Registrar before March 1 preceding the June commencement.
  2. A public defense of the dissertation must take place no later than three weeks prior to commencement, and a final draft of the dissertation should be available for committee evaluation three weeks before the final thesis defense.
  3. At least three weeks prior to the defense, formal notice must be given by the student's advisor to the Graduate Program Director and to the entire Graduate Program Faculty of the time and place of the defense. Any unannounced dissertation defense shall be considered invalid and must be rescheduled. At the time of the defense, the student is required to present a formal seminar summarizing his/her research; the duration of this presentation ordinarily should not exceed that of an ordinary seminar. Following the seminar, members of the student's advisory committee and any other interested faculty will examine the candidate.
  4. Dissertation approval forms and specifications for the style of the dissertation are available from the School of Graduate Studies office.
  5. Four bound copies of a dissertation are required.

Residency Requirements

Ordinarily, two semesters of full-time residency are required for the doctorate. These two semesters need not be consecutive, and a full summer in research is accepted as a semester. Students employed by the University are considered to be in residence. Full-time residency implies a close, daily association with the research and academic activities of the Program. In exceptional cases, the Graduate Program Faculty, upon request by the student and his or her research advisor, may waive the residency requirement.

First Approved: December 15, 1972 by Graduate Faculty, Last Revision: July 2021.