BSSB Theme Curriculum

The first year curriculum consists of a set of GBS core classes, BSSB module classes, and 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.

Year One

During the Fall you will 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, you will take four course modules. We recommend the four BSSB modules; however, you can choose from an assortment of other modules taught by other themes. This is an example of Spring BBSB module options; please note that it is subject to change for future spring terms:

  • GBS 781: Molecular Enzymology
  • GBS 783: RNA Biology
  • GBS 782: Molecular Genetics
  • GBS 784: Stem Cell Biology

Year Two and Beyond 

You must complete three advanced courses in areas relevant to your area of interest. We encourage you to take these courses as early as possible in order to achieve the most benefit in your training. You must also enroll in a journal club each semester related to your specific area of interest. Club participation enchances your ability to critically read the literature and to stay abreast of current findings.

By year three you will have formed a dissertation committee whose expertise will be beneficial in helping direct your research and course of study. This committee conducts the qualifying examination (QE) that assesses your 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, you will continue research under the guidance of your mentor and dissertation committee. The PhD is awarded upon completion of the academic requirements and defense of the dissertation.