Graduate Biomedical Science Themes offer a broad curriculum that can be tailored to meet the research and scientific interest of the student. The coursework and laboratory experiences are meant to prepare you for a career in biomedical sciences. Initially, all GBS students are enrolled in the fall semester core curriculum, consisting of GBS 708, 707, and 709, designed to introduce you to fundamental principals in genetics, biochemistry and metabolism, cell and molecular biology, respectively. After completion of the GBS core course work, students will begin selecting modules from among the themes within the GBS and must complete a course in applied biostatistics and bioethics.

A grade of B or higher is required in all courses. Students who fail a course (i.e., 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.

Concurrently with the first year course work, research rotations will be conducted in 3-4 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, students choose their permanent mentor and lab home.

Once accepted into a theme, you will take a minimum of 3 advanced courses, have seminar and journal club requirements that teach assessment of scientific literature and how to critically think. Electives that are outside of your primary theme may also be taken.

By the middle of the 3rd year (April), you must pass a qualifying examination (oral and written) to determine whether you have gained a sufficiently broad general knowledge to permit successful academic research and advancement toward the awarding of the PhD. To help in this process, your second year should include a course in scientific writing and grantsmanship with a mock grant review session. After successful completion of your qualifying exam, the proposal will be submitted to a funding agency, if applicable, for possible support.

The timeframe to getting a PhD usually requires five years of training (academic and research) and is individually tailored to the interests and needs of the student by the advisor and a graduate committee chosen by the student and mentor.

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

Always check with your program manager for theme-specific requirements in your chosen theme.