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About the Program

More than 50 faculty members with varied research interests contribute to the activities of the program.

The program is 'home' to first-year students; at the end of the first year, students choose a Ph.D. Program (usually Genetics) and a permanent advisor.

Curriculum

Academic Curriculum

Coursework is mostly completed in the first two years of the program. The curriculum consists of courses that provide a comprehensive theoretical background in to genetics, genomics, cell biology and molecular biology. A wide spectrum of advanced elective courses chosen by the student and advisor to augment topics relevant to the individual's research.

Course Program

Required

Electives
IND 408 Biochemistry GEN 508 Genomics and Systems Biology (alt. years with GEN 506)
IND 409 Cell Biology GEN 506 Stem Cell Biology (alt. years with GEN 508)
IND 501 Ethics & Professional Integrity BIO 426 Developmental Biology
IND 410 Molecular Biology and Genetics IND 447 Signal Transduction
GEN 507 Advanced Genetics & Genomics MBI 473 Immunology

GEN 503/504 Genetics Seminar

IND 411 Methods in Structural Biology
  IND 443 Eukaryotic Gene Organization & Expression
  MBI 456 General Virology
  PTH 507 Cancer Biology

Rotations

Rotations in the first year of study in three different laboratories introduce the student to the scientific thought and method. The candidates gain experience at the bench, attend research seminars, and practice their communication skills. Furthermore, they familiarize themselves with prospective advisors for their thesis project.

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.

Qualifying Exam procedures

Dr. Gasiewicz March 2012 Qual Exam Preparation presentation pdf or ppt

Teaching Assistantship

A one semester Teaching Assistantship for IND 409 (Cell Biology) is required. Students complete this requirement in the fall semester of their third year of study.

Thesis

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. 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.

See the Thesis Defense website for more information

Stipend Ph.D. Students

Doctoral students are provided a fellowship award, which includes an annual stipend, a full tuition scholarship and single coverage health insurance while they are enrolled, and making satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree.

Students are strongly encouraged to apply for support from extramural agencies. Students who receive competitively funded extramural fellowships are eligible to receive an additional $2,000 per year in stipend support for the duration of the award.

The stipend is $27,862 for the 2016-17 academic year (July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017). Stipend amounts are reviewed annually and generally increased from $500 to $1,000.

Doctoral students who meet the criteria of other sources of assistance may apply for additional aid through the Financial Aid Office.