Integrated Bioscience, Ph.D.

Ph.D. in Integrated Bioscience

About the Degree

Integrated Bioscience is a unique interdisciplinary doctoral program where biology is at the core or interface of research that cuts across traditional departmental boundaries. Students and their faculty mentors design personalized coursework and research training experiences that can draw from expertise across the entire campus, encouraging novel approaches to bio-based research challenges. Integrated Bioscience compliments other bio-related graduate training opportunities at the University of Akron such as those in the Colleges of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, Nursing, and Engineering, and offers students unrivaled flexibility in the design of their Ph.D. curriculum. The dynamic interdisciplinary IB platform has allowed students and faculty to track and shape emerging research areas such as nanotechnology, biomaterials, and most recently, Biomimicry.

Biomimicry is the unparalleled diversity of processes, materials, and resources, in the natural, world offer design solutions for societal challenges ranging from medicine to traffic to economy to sustainable urban growth. But successful translation of designs from nature requires a new way of thinking about the relationship between university research, education and community partners such as government and industry. Biomimicry fellows conduct biomimetic research in collaboration with regional partners who have developed a business model using Biomimicry as the foundation for the Great Lakes region to become the world’s leader in sustainable innovation, both economically and educationally, powered by technologies inspired from the natural world around us. There are no additional credit requirements for a specialty in Biomimicry, but the Fellows are funded through the Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center (BRIC).

Students will study biomaterials, biomedical engineering, biomimicry, environmental bioscience, computational biology, and bioinformatics.

Salary and Career Outlook

The Integrated Bioscience Ph.D. program answers the needs of a 21st century that is being called the era of integrated science, engineering and innovative technology. Fostering collaboration among independent thinkers, the program redefines advanced scientific study for a new millennium. Graduates of this program enter the work force as broadly trained specialists who are comfortable and competent crossing disciplines. This skill set is in high demand in government, private industry and academia, because it is critical to addressing challenges in health care, the economy and the environment.

  • Biomaterials = $95,500
  • Biomedical engineering = $86,950
  • Environmental bioscience = $71,290
  • Computational biology = $72,000
  • Bioinformatics = $77,000

Note: Biomimicry is a new enough field that reliable data on salaries are not yet available.

Why Akron?

The Integrated Bioscience Ph.D. program addresses the needs of the U.S. in Ph.D. level graduates who have both deep and specific expertise in a bioscience, bioengineering or biotechnology discipline and broad adaptability across related disciplines. These graduates take their integrative thinking, adaptability, and communication skills into the job market, where they will spur economic growth. The program is composed of seven areas of excellence:

  1. molecular cell biology and genetics;
  2. physiology and organismal biology;
  3. ecology and evolutionary biology,
  4. biochemistry and biopolymers,
  5. bioinformatics and computational biology,
  6. bio-engineering and
  7. biomimicry.

These areas of excellence will provide students with high-demand, specific skills in addition to developing integrative thinking and problem-solving skills.

The University of Akron's IB program is unique in that it specifically partners PhD students, from the moment they are on campus, with other students across a broad range of disciplines. In the first year of courses, the IB students learn various bio-related techniques from many disciplines, learn how to communicate ideas across traditional disciplinary boundaries, and actually conduct research projects together in interdisciplinary groups. The bonds these students form in this first year are strengthened over the course of their Ph.D. by attending IB seminars, attending IB social events, and by the mandatory cross-disciplinary requirements built into the development of their dissertation research.

Additionally, IB Ph.D. students are commonly partnering with regional companies to conduct joint research projects (e.g., in the Biomimicry program). This level of structured interdisciplinary interaction for a Ph.D. is not replicated anywhere else in the United States, and thus is a unique aspect of the Integrate Bioscience program.

I.B. website

Contact Information

Graduate Coordinator:

Dr. Stephen Weeks

Auburn Science and Engineering Center, Room B218

(330) 972-6954

Graduate School:

Heather Blake

Polsky Building, Room 467

(330) 972-7664