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The First Year


A successful applicant for the Ph.D. Program in Translational Biomedical Science (TBS) receives a letter of acceptance from the Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs. The letter indicates the degree program to which the student has been admitted and the fellowship package offered.

In early summer, the incoming student will receive information from the Office for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs pertaining to the annual Graduate Student Orientation Program, which is generally held near the end of August. At Orientation, University policies and procedures are reviewed and detailed information is presented by the University Health Service, Miner Library, Graduate Student Society, URBEST, Center for Professional Development, etc. The TBS Program Coordinator and/or Co-Directors attend the Orientation Program. Co-directors and current TBS students will guide new TBS students through registration and course selection. Students will complete two mandatory training modules: HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and Laboratory Safety Training (LST). Periodic “refresher” training is required of graduate students for both HIPAA and LST.

Course Requirements

The course requirements for the TBS PhD are designed to be flexible because of the diverse interests of the students in this program.  It is anticipated that the students will develop core competencies and acquire knowledge from UR courses and formal faculty mentors, as well as from their TBS peers.  A total of 96 credits must be earned to fulfill the PhD requirements, and 34-37 credit hours of core didactic training typically occurs during the first two years. 28 credits of core curriculum and PhD research are needed at the time of the qualifying exam. The course requirements as they stand in the 2017-2018 term are as follows.

For Translational Biomedical Sciences, the core curriculum has been designed to provide fundamental and deep knowledge in basic, translational and population science disciplines so that TBS students emerge from the training program with the skills to translate this knowledge in a team science environment for a productive research career. The first two years of training can be seen in the TBS Program of Study.

For Infection and Immunity: From Molecules to Populations, the core curriculum allows a selection of the best courses available to provide fundamental and deep knowledge so that IIMP students emerge from the training program prepared for a productive academic career at the interface between laboratory and population science. The first two years of training can be seen in the IIMP Program of Study.

All descriptions of required and elective courses can be found in the University of Rochester Course Catalog.

After the first two years, TBS students will register for 16 credit hours each semester (PhD research credits and required student seminar series and journal clubs in the major discipline of study) for years 3 and beyond until all requirements are successfully met for defense of the dissertation.

M.D./Ph.D. Combined Degree Program

Program requirements for the M.D./Ph.D. degrees reflect the fact that most students enter the Ph.D. program after completion of two years of the Medical Curriculum. The student can use 12 credit hours from the completion of the first two years of Medical School; the difference must be made up of course work after consultation with his/her advisor for fulfilling the Qualifying Exam requirements. As with all TBS students, a total of 96 credits must be earned to fulfill the Ph.D. requirements. M.D./Ph.D. students will not be allowed to re‐enter medical school until their thesis has been written and registered. For more detailed requirements, please see the M.D./Ph.D. Student Handbook.


There is an extensive program of seminars within the School of Medicine and Dentistry to supplement classroom and laboratory teaching. The IND 436 UR CTSI Seminar Series is most pertinent, and it is expected that all students will attend unless there is a conflict with formal classes. If this is the case, the student must discuss the conflict with one of the program co-Directors to determine if an alternative plan is necessary. The IND 436 UR CTSI Seminar Series is held on Wednesday, from 12:00-1:00 pm. The session extends to 1:30, providing an opportunity for trainees to chat and share announcements. In addition, very useful information can be gained from seminars held in departments across the university. It is typical for students to also attend the department-specific seminar where their primary mentor resides. This provides additional opportunities for improving presentation skills, while gaining relevant knowledge specific to their chosen field of study.


As part of their graduate training, all Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. students are encouraged to have some type of a teaching or workshop-development experience. Examples include laboratory or class teaching experiences, semester-long volunteering at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, developing and leading a workshop, problem-based learning instructor, adjuncting at a Rochester college or university, etc. Teaching usually does not start until the second year, except for advanced students or students with previous teaching experience. In general, students are involved in assisting in one of the courses and/or seminars in their research advisor’s department. Students are also involved in recruiting and mentoring new TBS Ph.D. students each year. Students will register for IND 492 – Independent Study (Teaching Assistant) to obtain credit and documentation on their transcript.