Apr 21, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 
Graduate Catalog

Applied Science, Applied Biosciences Emphasis, Ph.D.

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Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Science

Faculty participating in the doctoral program are drawn mainly from the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics and Astronomy.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Science is awarded upon completion of a program of advanced study including a significant original dissertation in applied research or design. Work accomplished without the supervision of an Applied Science doctoral faculty member will not be accepted in lieu of the dissertation requirements. The research must be relevant to the emphasis area in which the student is pursuing a degree.

All emphases have similar program requirements. Each emphasis has its own candidacy exams, seminar requirement, and specific course requirements, which are described under the Program Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy.

The following emphasis areas are offered:

Applied Biosciences

The applied biosciences emphasis is a research-oriented academic course of study that encompasses the broad fields of biotechnology and applied biological sciences. Research areas include molecular and cellular biology, phylogeny, evolutionary ecology, genomics, and bioinformatics. ASCI 7192 - Biosciences and Bioinformatics Seminar  is required each semester the student is enrolled.

Applied Chemistry

The Ph.D. emphasis in applied chemistry provides advanced preparation for careers in government, industrial, and academic research. The curriculum is a blend of traditional and non-traditional, innovative courses that reflects the needs of modern chemistry. The UALR Department of Chemistry has research-quality instrumentation and computer facilities, gives individual attention to each student, and offers high-quality instruction.

Applied Physics

The applied physics doctoral emphasis is designed to prepare students in cutting-edge research areas in Applied Physics, Materials, Earth Sciences, Astronomy, and Astrophysics that include advanced materials, nanotechnology, photovoltaic devices, applied geophysics, seismology, dark matter, and galaxies.

Applied Mathematics and Statistics

The applied mathematics and statistics emphasis applies to mathematical modeling, simulation and visualization, and high-performance computing to specific scientific disciplines. Admission to the computational science emphasis areas requires knowledge of discrete mathematics, differential and integrated calculus for single and multi-variable functions, linear algebra, differential equations, mathematical statistics, and programming through data structures.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships that support teaching and research opportunities are available to qualified full-time students. Tuition is paid for nine credits, and a stipend is provided for living expenses. Students must pay registration fees, buy textbooks, and purchase any necessary support materials. For more information about graduate assistantships, the online application process, and other financial assistance opportunities, visit the Applied Science website. A student supported by a graduate assistantship shall be registered as a full-time student.

Admission Requirements

  • Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree in an appropriate scientific discipline such as chemistry, physics, materials science, biology, mathematics, statistics, or earth science.
  • They must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 in the graduate and undergraduate credit hours.
  • On the GRE, applicants must have a minimum quantitative score of 155, a verbal score of at least 138, and a writing assessment score of at least 4.5 (or combined 1,000 in the older GRE scoring system with a minimum score of 700 on the quantitative portion).
  • With the approval of the graduate coordinator, applicants with a 3.5 GPA or greater on their last 60 graduate and undergraduate credit hours, may not be required to take the GRE.
  • Applicants must possess the prerequisites for their intended areas of study.

Recommendations on a doctoral application for admission to the Applied Science program are made with the collective input of the Applied Science Doctoral faculty. Satisfying the minimum requirements for admission by itself does not guarantee admission. Factors that could be involved include, but are not limited to, the availability of faculty mentors and financial support in cases where such support is sought by an applicant.

International Students

International students whose native language is not English and who do not have a degree from an institutionally or regionally accredited U.S. institution of higher education must also submit a score of at least 79 on internet based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam or 550 on the paper-based or 213 on the computer-based versions. In order to qualify for a teaching assistantship, students whose native language is not English must score a 5.0 on the Test of Spoken English (TSE).

Conditional Admission

In certain cases, students not meeting these requirements may be admitted on a conditional basis. The conditional student must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in at least nine CALS or EIT graduate credits in the first year of study to be fully admitted.

Program Requirements

Writing Requirement

An English Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE) will be offered each spring term by the Applied Science program. This exam will assess the student’s ability to communicate in a written format. Each student must pass this exam to fulfill graduation requirements. A student who does not pass the WPE is required to take English Writing Proficiency Laboratory (EWPL). The EWPL is offered each Spring term. The student must take the EWPL each spring term until he/she passes.

Seminar and Research Ethic Course Requirement

All Ph.D. students are required to register for the Applied Sciences Seminar (ASCI 7190 ) each semester of residency. Students in the Applied Biosciences emphasis area may choose to register for Applied Bioscience Seminar (ASCI 7192 ) instead of ASCI 7190 .

All Applied Science doctoral students are required to register for and successfully complete the Research Ethics course (ASCI 7118 ) in any one semester prior to graduating from the program. A student registered for the Research Ethics course can be exempt from registering for Applied Science Seminar or Applied Bioscience Seminar for that semester upon the approval of the graduate coordinator.

A maximum of one credit hour of seminar (or Research Ethics) hour per semester can be counted towards the credit requirements of the Applied Science Ph.D.

Laboratory Rotations

All Applied Science doctoral students must register for Introduction to Research in Applied Science (ASCI 7×45), also called “Laboratory Rotation,” in their first semester in the program; they must receive a “satisfactory” grade at the end of the rotation. Rotations can be performed with any Applied Science doctoral faculty member. Students can receive from one to three credit hours for their rotations by registering for ASCI 7145 , ASCI 7245 , or ASCI 7345 . At the end of the rotation, the student and the rotation host should meet and discuss the progress of the rotation. The student should present the results, either orally or in the form of a written report, to the rotation host.

Students also need to submit a written report to the coordinator of laboratory rotation. If the student has not selected his/her dissertation advisor after the first semester of rotations, the student will be required to register again for ASCI 7×45. Failure to perform adequately in the laboratory rotation may result in the termination of state assistantship funding.

A maximum of two credit hours of Laboratory Rotation can be counted towards the credit requirements of an Applied Science Ph.D.

Doctor of Philosophy Graded Program Requirements

All emphases require a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree. Specific requirements depend on the emphasis area chosen and are detailed in those sections. The student’s plan of study must be developed in conjunction with his/her doctoral advisor and advisory committee.

  • A minimum of eighteen (18) credit hours of coursework is required from 5000- and 7000-level courses in CALS and EIT. The Introduction to Research course, ASCI 7145 , ASCI 7245 , or ASCI 7345 , must be taken, and a grade of “credit” must be obtained.
  • A minimum of 42 credit hours in the 9000-level doctoral research/dissertation is required. The research must be substantial and must extend the state of the art in the student’s chosen field through theoretical development, design or process improvement, or experimental technique.

If a student receives one C in his/her coursework, he/she will be warned that his/her academic performance is unacceptable and that his/her status will be reviewed by the Applied Science Doctoral Affairs Committee (ASDAC), which will suggest corrective action. A student receiving two Cs or either a D or an F in his/her coursework will be dismissed from the program, pending review by ASDAC.

Transfer of Credit

A maximum of six credit hours may be transferred from an institutionally or regionally accredited graduate program. Transferability of credit is determined by the student’s advisory committee based on the applicability of the course to dissertation work and the student’s educational goals.

Candidacy Exam

The purpose of the candidacy examination is to determine whether the applicant possesses the attributes of a doctoral candidate. The candidacy exam will be held twice a year after the start of fall and spring classes. The candidacy exam is a comprehensive, written test composed of four subject tests, each of which must be passed. The student will be tested on topics selected from the candidacy subject list in his/her emphasis area. The student may attempt the candidacy exam a maximum of two times and must attempt it in consecutive semesters. A student who has not passed all exams after the second offering will be dismissed from the program.

Students must attempt the exam no sooner than the beginning of the second semester in the program. A student must take the exam at the next opportunity after completion of the core in his/her area and, in any event, no later than the beginning of his/her fifth semester in the program. A minimum GPA of 3.0 in graduate coursework is required to take the examination.  See Candidacy Subjects below. 

Doctoral Advisor

A student’s dissertation advisor must be a UA Little Rock Full Graduate Faculty that actively participates in the Applied Science graduate program. Those students who do not have a doctoral advisor by the end of the third semester may be dismissed. Changing doctoral advisors after this point is possible, and sometimes advisable, but it usually slows a student’s completion of degree requirements. Therefore, this decision should be approached carefully.

Doctoral Advisory Committee

The student’s doctoral advisory committee will be composed of a minimum of five members, including the student’s doctoral advisor who will serve as the committee chair. A minimum of four of the committee members, including the chair, must be UA Little Rock Full Graduate Faculty. A minimum of three of the committee members must be affiliated with the department that hosts the emphasis area the student is affiliated with. All committee members must be either full or affiliate UA Little Rock Graduate Faculty. The emphasis area Graduate Coordinator must approve the committee constituency. When a student proposes his/her dissertation committee to the Graduate Coordinator, they need to provide a brief written justification explaining how each committee member’s expertise can enhance the student’s dissertation research. Dissertation committees cannot be changed after the proposal defense unless the student has a compelling or extraordinary reason (e.g., leaving or retirement of a committee member).

The dissertation subject is selected by the student and the advisory committee by the end of the student’s seventh semester and at least two years prior to their oral defense of the research. It must be a scholarly contribution to a major field of applied science in the student’s emphasis area. The written dissertation format must follow the UA Little Rock Graduate School’s Dissertation and Thesis Guidelines found on the Graduate School website.

Dissertation Proposal

At least two years prior to the dissertation defense, the candidate must present a written proposal in either a National Institutes of Health (NIH) or National Science Foundation (NSF) grant proposal format for his/her dissertation work to the advisory committee. The written proposal should be given to the advisory committee at least two weeks in advance of meeting with the committee.

Dissertation Defense

Students will orally defend their dissertation research before their advisory committee. The dissertation should be given to the advisory committee at least two weeks in advance of meeting with the committee. The defense will be open to the public and must be announced at least two weeks in advance.

Graduation Requirements

  • Successful completion of minimum credit requirements
  • Successful completion of an approved program of study with a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Successful completion of candidacy examinations
  • Successful completion of a proposal and oral defense
  • Successful completion of a dissertation and oral defense
  • Successful completion of the writing, research ethics course, laboratory rotation, and seminar requirements

Courses Used in Applied Science Emphases

A list of courses in applied science (ASCI) with descriptions is provided on the following pages. Additional courses offered within the participating departments can be found under the “Master of Science in Biology,” the “Master of Science and Master of Arts in Chemistry,” the “Master of Science in Computer Science,” the “Master of Science in Information Quality,” and the “Non-program Courses” sections of this catalog.

Students admitted to the UALR Graduate School but not the applied science program must have the instructor’s consent to take any applied science (ASCI) course.

Applied Biosciences Candidacy Subjects

  • Organism Functions
  • Cellular Function
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Biological Modeling and Analysis
  • Ecological Interaction
  • Discipline Specific Applications

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