Academic Program

 


Integrated, science-based teaching is the foundation of every GBS-CB course. Teams of instructors discuss each major topic, contributing expertise in biology, physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and translational applications. Lectures emphasize scientific techniques and experimental approaches that are essential to the concepts being discussed. Many instructors assign journal readings and independent projects, which actively engage you in the learning process.

First year students in all Graduate Biomedical Sciences Themes take a common 10-week core curriculum emphasizing the fundamentals of biochemistry, genetics, and cell biology. This coursework will include an overview of the principles of biochemistry, metabolism, molecular biology, genetics and biological organization.  This will be followed by an integrated course in experimental medicine that focuses on mechanisms that drive specific diseases and exposes students to approaches being taken by UAB scientists who are addressing disease-based problems. Additional coursework in the first year will include integrative physiology, pathophysiology, endocrinology, immunology, pharmacology and molecular medicine.

  • Journal Club
    You will present relevant published research papers to help hone your presentation skills and to teach you to learn to think like a scientist.
  • Seminar Series
    Faculty from participating departments, other UAB faculty, and faculty from other institutions dis­cuss their latest research.
  • Lab Rotations (3 rotations of 10 weeks each)


Based on your specific interests, you will choose from a wide range of research laboratorys available to you.  This "hands on" research experience will provide you with the background to decide on a laboratory and mentor to guide you through your dissertation research.


Second year and beyond - Qualifying examination, courses, journal clubs, research, completion of degree.

Qualifying examination. During the fall of the second year, students must pass a Qualifying Examination that assesses their general knowledge, ability to read the literature, and ability to formulate and defend testable hypotheses.  The examination involves a written proposal and oral defense of the proposal.

Journal Clubs.  From the second year until completion of the program, students participate in a Journal Club related to their specific area of interest.  The purpose of the journal club is to enhance the ability to critically read the literature and to stay abreast of current findings in the field. 

Cancer Biology courses.  Advanced courses in areas relevant to the student's area of interest are required and may be completed anytime from the second year on.  Students are encouraged to take these courses as early as possible in order to achieve the most benefit in their training. 

Dissertation research.  After completion of the Qualifying Examination, and no later than the third year, the student forms a dissertation committee comprised of five faculty members (including the mentor) whose expertise will be beneficial in helping direct the research and course of study. At the first meeting of this committee, the student presents a proposed plan of study and any preliminary data. Satisfactory performance at this initial meeting constitutes Admission to Candidacy. 

Awarding of the PhD degree.  The PhD is awarded upon completion of the academic requirements and defense of the dissertation.  The dissertation consists of a written document that is expected to include published papers or manuscripts in preparation, along with a scholarly introduction and discussion of the work that has been completed.  A successful private defense of the dissertation in front of the dissertation committee is then followed by a seminar presentation and public defense of the dissertation as the final step in completion of the PhD degree.