Integrated biosciences Ph.D. program at UA



Integrated Bioscience abandons the traditional model of preparing Ph.D. students to be experts in a narrow sub-discipline in favor of one emphasizing the integration of ideas across disciplines. To effectively confront the emerging biologically-based research questions of the 21st century, we must train students to be both experts in their respective disciplines, but also to be able to “think outside the box” of traditional fields.

The IB program accepts the fact that most students will have been taught in a traditional, discipline-based framework. Integrated Bioscience students are exposed to the broader perspectives required to successfully confront the increasing complexity and interdisciplinary nature of bioscience questions of the 21st century.

Our IB program is unique because we train our students to be collaborative across disciplines from the moment the students enter the program. We give students tools and experience in how to co-opt experts in other fields to work as part of a team in attacking problems that span disciplinary boundaries. Effective integrated bioscience researchers must learn how to communicate their ideas efficiently with experts from other disciplines. Our core courses train students in this capacity by (1) introducing the students to the range of bioscience research techniques available for assessing bio-related problems, (2) preparing students from diverse disciplines to communicate with one another and begin thinking about how they can combine intellectual resources to approach bioscience questions, (3) introducing students to established integrated bioscience researchers (through an integrated biosciences seminar series), and (4) having students work in teams on one or more bioscience research projects.

These introductory courses lay the groundwork for lifelong personal interactions that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries, and when combined with the interdisciplinary IB Ph.D. advisory committees, extends the IB students’ skills for “thinking outside the box” allowing them to build a dissertation that integrates knowledge and expertise necessary to tackle today’s complex problems.

Download the IB Graduate Student Handbook for more information