All incoming students to the Molecular Biosciences Graduate Program have a common first-semester curriculum consisting of research seminars (BIOL 701) and a courses in molecular biosciences (BIOL 807), ethics and research integrity (BIOL 804), and introduction to laboratory techniques (BIOL 818).
During the first year students will complete three, 9 week laboratory rotations that involve participation in a defined research project in different laboratories. The primary goal is to identify an advisor for your dissertation. But rotations also provide an opportunity to discover a range of new, exciting research questions, learn new techniques from a range of fields, and find out what kind of lab environment best suits you.
The advisor serves as a mentor to provide support and direction for the performance of the dissertation research project. They also assist in choosing a dissertation committee from the Department faculty. This committee observes student’s progress through the program and offers advice and guidance when needed. The committee also serves as the examining committee for oral examinations for candidacy to the PhD program.
After your first year, you, your advisor, and your dissertation committee will meet to discuss your coursework for the second year. This coursework will be a specialized curriculum to aid you in your dissertation research. Advanced courses are available in a variety of contemporary topics.
At the end of your second year, you will take a comprehensive oral examination. In order to be admitted for Doctoral Candidacy, students must pass this examination. The exam includes two parts 1) oral defense of an original research proposal and 2) and oral examination of general knowledge in your field of study.
In addition to aggressively pursuing your research goals in the laboratory, you will continue to participate in Journal and Research Clubs. You will attend regional, national and international meetings in the specialized area of your research. You will write papers for publication in peer reviewed journals, and your dissertation.
A Ph.D. degree is awarded upon successful completion of an oral defense of your dissertation work. This defense includes presentation of a public seminar that describes your original scientific investigations, and demonstration of the ability to complete creative and significant research at a private examination conducted by your dissertation committee.