Program Information

The Ph.D. programs in the biomedical sciences require year-round participation beginning with the fall semester of the entering year. General requirements for Ph.D. programs are the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 72 credit hours of approved graduate course work for students whose highest earned degree is a bachelor's or a minimum of 48 credit hours for those whose highest earned degree is a master's in a relevant field. During the first year, the student will take the biomedical sciences core curriculum courses, including three laboratory rotations. Student planning and progress during the first year will be monitored by an advisor.

By the end of the first year, it is expected that the student will have selected a program and will have tentatively identified a research mentor. Guidance and monitoring will then be provided by an advisory committee consisting of the research mentor and at least two other program faculty members. The didactic work during the second year will meet the specific program's requirements and the student's needs in preparation for dissertation research. By the end of the second year, it is expected that the student will have completed 48 hours of course work and will be settled in a mentor's laboratory to undertake dissertation research.

Students will then complete the selected program's General Examination requirements, submit a dissertation proposal, undertake dissertation research, complete the dissertation and the required number of credits toward the degree, and satisfactorily complete an oral defense of the dissertation research.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge base in proteins, nucleic acids, and cell biology.
  2. Write various forms of scientific documents: lab reports, research articles, dissertation.
  3. Identify the background of basic and biomedical ethics and the guiding legislation and principles for its implementation in biomedical science.
  4. Demonstrate advanced knowledge in one of three PhD program specific area (molecular medicine, microbiology/immunology, or biochemistry/systems biology, according to field chosen.
  5. Produce a piece of original research.

1st Year Core Curriculum

In the first fall semester, students take Genes to Cells, a Cell Biology and Systems Physiology course, along with a lab rotation and the first career skills course, which focuses on scientific writing and speaking. In the Spring semester, students take the second lab rotation, and the second career skills course, which focuses on ethics and grantsmanship. They also begin to choose from courses specific to the various PhD programs. This will assist in guiding the student toward the ultimate choice of Ph.D. degree programs. In the summer of the first year, all students take a third lab rotation and the Careers in Biomedical Sciences seminar. Courses in the chosen program are taken in the second and all subsequent years until completion of the program. For course selections after the first year, please refer to the Program Information section of the Program of Interest. You may also find detailed information about lab rotations in the Forms section of our website, or refer to the General Lab Rotation Information guideline.


  • Genes to Cells (4 credits)
  • Developmental Cell Biology and Systems Physiology (4 credits)
  • First Laboratory Rotation (1 credit) 
  • Career Skills: Scientific Writing and Speaking (1 credit)


  • Second Laboratory Rotation (1 credit)
  • Career Skills: Ethics and Grantsmanship (1 credit)


Two of the following:

  • Infection and Immunity (3 credits)
  • Molectular basis of Human Disease (3 credits)
  • Clinically Oriented Human Functional Neuroanatomy (3 credits)
  • Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine (3 credits)
  • Plus other electives


  • Third Laboratory Rotation (1 credit) 
  • Career Skills: Biomedical Science Careers (1 credit)