Curriculum & Student Handbook

In the first year of the program, students typically enroll in semester- long courses providing intense instruction in Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Genetics and Advanced Biochemistry of Macromolecules. In addition, students participate in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics' Student Seminar series, in which every graduate student in the program delivers an annual seminar on his/her research (First-year students excepted). Also during the first two semesters, students complete three laboratory rotations (see below). Coursework in the second year typically involves 2-3 additional elective courses, allowing students to specialize in their respective discipline.

Ph.D. Program Requirements

Core Curriculum

  • BCH 412 – Adv topics In Bio Macromlcls (5.0 credits)
  • BCH 501 – Biochemistry Seminar (1.0 credit)
  • BCH 502 – Biochemistry Seminar (1.0 credit)
  • BCH 595 – Phd Research (variable credits)
  • IND 408 – Advanced Biochemistry (5.0 credits)
  • IND 409 – Cell Biology (4.0 credits)
  • IND 410 – Molecular Biology & Genetics (4.0 credits)
  • IND 501 – Ethics & Prof Integrity in Research (1.0 credit)

Elective Courses

Electives provide students with additional breadth and depth in subjects important for their individual research areas. These courses are offered through the Basic Science Departments in the School of Medicine, as well as in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Suggested Electives

Fall Semester

  • BCH 515 – Critical Thinking In Research Science (1.0 credit)
  • BCH 517 – Cellular & Molecular Sciences (1.0 credit)
  • BIO 402 – Molecular Biology (4.0 credits)
  • BIO 426 – Developmental Biology (4.0 credits)
  • CHM 437 – Syn Design:Strategy&Tactics (2.0 credits)
  • GEN 507 – Advanced Genetics & Genomics (4.0 credits)
  • MBI 473 – Immunology (3.0 credits)
  • PHP 403 – Human Cell Physiology (4.0 credits)

Spring Semester

  • BCH 517 – Cellular & Molecular Sciences (1.0 credit)
  • BCH 570 – Chroma & Transcr Highr Eukar (2.0 credits)
  • BIO 415 – Molecular Biology of Cell Signaling (4.0 credits)
  • BIO 420 – Advanced Cell Biology (4.0 credits)
  • BME 442 – Microbiomechanics (2.0 credits)
  • BPH 411 – Methods In Structual Biology (5.0 credits)
  • BPH 509 – Molecular Biophysics (5.0 credits)
  • CHM 402 – Biophysical Chemistry I (4.0 credits)
  • IND 407 – Cytoplasmic Structures and Functions (4.0 credits)
  • IND 443 – Eukaryotic Gene Regulation (4.0 credits)
  • IND 447 – Signal Transduction (4.0 credits)
  • MBI 456 – General Virology (4.0 credits)
  • PHP 404 – Principles of Pharmacology (4.0 credits)
  • PTH 507 – Cancer Biology (3.0 credits)

Additional Requirements

Student Laboratory Rotations

Rotations in the first year of study in three different laboratories allow the students to gain experience with methodology and instrumentation, and to become familiar with prospective research advisors for their thesis project. At the end of the first year, students choose a permanent advisor and embark on a Ph.D. thesis research program. Students may choose any  faculty member in the School of Medicine and Dentistry or a participating faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences as their research advisor.

Teaching Assistantship

A one-semester Teaching Assistantship is required. Students usually complete this requirement in the second year of study.

Student Research Seminars

The Student Seminar Series is designed to develop the organizational and speaking skills necessary for an independent career in research and to facilitate exchange of research information within the program.

Qualifying Examination

A Qualifying Examination at the end of the second year of studies is a means of determining the potential of the student for independent thought, experimental acumen, comprehension of the general field, and potential for exploiting a relevant problem in a scientifically sound manner. The M.S. degree is awarded upon successful completion of this examination.

Thesis

At the end of the first year, students choose a permanent advisor and embark on a Ph.D. thesis research program. The Ph.D. is awarded based on development of an Independent Thesis Research Project as well as a written dissertation describing the rationale, methodology, results, conclusions and significance of the project and an oral examination.