Coursework

The Graduate Biomedical Science program offers a broad curriculum that can be tailored to meet your research and scientific interests. The coursework and laboratory experiences are meant to prepare you for a career in biomedical sciences.

Course Registration

Students will receive registration announcements through Blazernet and via the GBS newsletter. GBS students will follow the dates listed below for registration deadlines:

  • Fall - July 1st
  • Spring - December 1st
  • Summer - May 1st

Students are responsible for registering for classes on time, even if they are not on campus. Incomplete or inappropriate registration can affect stipend distribution and result in the student paying tuition and fees. If a student needs to withdraw from a class or make any changes to the course schedule after the registration date, please notify the Curriculum Manager, Jessica Stephenson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Failure to do so may result in the student being responsible for tuition payment, late fees, etc.

You may register online until the GBS registration deadline. Blazernet is available 24/7. If you experience difficulty with Blazernet, please call One Stop at (205) 934-4300 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Year One

All GBS students are enrolled in the fall semester core curriculum, which is designed to introduce you to fundamental principals in genetics, biochemistry and metabolism, and cell and molecular biology, respectively. Once you have completed the core course work, you will begin selecting modules from among the GBS themes and also complete a course in applied biostatistics and bioethics.

A grade of B or higher is required in all courses. Students who make less than a B average must retake and pass the relevant course in the subsequent year. Students who fail more than three courses during the first year will be dismissed from the program. An appeals process is available.

Research Rotations

Concurrent with first-year coursework, you will participate in research rotations in three to four different laboratories of your choosing. These rotations are meant for you to gain practical experience in a variety of the techniques and types of scientific questions being addressed in the different theme areas and to aid you in selecting a research focus and your thesis advisor. Toward the end of the first year, you will choose your permanent mentor and lab home.

Year Two and Beyond

Once accepted into a GBS theme, you will take a minimum of three advanced courses. You will also participate in seminars and journal clubs that teach assessment of scientific literature and how to critically think. Electives outside of your primary theme may also be taken. Your second year should include a course in scientific writing and grantsmanship, with a mock grant review session, to help prepare you for your qualifying examination.

By the middle of the third year (April) you must pass a qualifying examination (oral and written). This exam determines whether you have gained sufficiently broad general knowledge to permit successful academic research and advancement toward the awarding of the Ph.D. After successful completion of your qualifying exam, the proposal will be submitted to a funding agency, if applicable, for possible support.

Students must remain in good standing, academically and otherwise, in order to remain in the program and progress toward the Ph.D.

Always check with your theme training plan for theme-specific requirements.

Time to Complete

The timeframe to completing a Ph.D. usually requires five years of training (academic and research) and is individually tailored to your interests and needs by your advisor and a graduate committee chosen by you and your mentor.