The curriculum consists of a set of GBS Core classes in Year 1 fall and BSSB Module classes in Year 1 spring in combination with Lab Rotations. By the second year, there are a limited number of curriculum requirements, with most being determined by the student, mentor, and thesis committee.
During the first year in the Fall, students take a core curriculum covering biochemistry and metabolism, genetics and molecular biology, and biological organization, as well as any remedial work recommended by the BSSB Curriculum Committee. Students meet every weekday morning for 10 weeks.
Starting in January through April, students take four course modules. BSSB recommends that students that the four BSSB modules listed below; however, they can choose from an assortment of other modules taught by other themes. An example of these options from the spring calendar can be viewed here, although it is subject to change for future spring terms.
BSSB Spring Modules
GBS 781: Molecular Enzymology
GBS 782: Molecular Genetics
GBS 783: RNA Biology
GBS 784: Stem Cell Biology
Year 2 and Beyond
Student must complete a total of 3 advanced courses in areas relevant to the student's area of interest. Students are encouraged to take these courses as early as possible in order to achieve the most benefit in their training. Students must also enroll in a journal club each semester. The journal club should be related to their specific area of interest, enchancing their ability to critically read the literature and to stay abreast of current findings.
By year 3, students have formed a dissertation committee whose expertise will be beneficial in helping direct the research and course of study. This committee conducts the Qualifying Examination (QE) that assesses a student's 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. After passing the QE, students continue research under the guidance of their mentor and dissertation committee. The PhD is awarded upon completion of the academic requirements and defense of the dissertation.