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Students are required to take at least 5 graduate level courses. No specific curriculum of courses is required, but CBIO602a (Molecular Cell Biology) is recommended for all students to attain a solid foundation in molecular cell biology. Also recommended is a seminar course, such as CBIO603a (Seminar in Molecular Cell Biology) or CBIO606b (Advanced Seminar Course), where students can develop the skill for critical analysis of research papers.

Students design their own curriculum of courses to meet individual interests and needs, in consultation with the director of graduate studies. During the first year, students are also required to participate in three laboratory rotations. In the second year, a committee of faculty members determines whether each student is qualified to continue in the Ph.D. program. There is a written and oral qualifying examination at the end of the fourth term. In order to be admitted to candidacy, students must have met the Graduate School Honors requirement, maintained a high pass average in course work, passed the qualifying examination, and submitted an approved prospectus. The remaining degree requirements include:

  • Completion of the dissertation project, dissertation and its oral defense
  • The formal submission of copies of the written dissertation to the Graduate School
  • Deposit of an additional copy with the department. Note: Laboratory rotations and thesis research may be conducted outside of the department.

An important aspect of graduate training in cell biology is the acquisition of teaching skills through participation in courses appropriate for the student's scientific interests. These opportunities can be drawn from a diverse menu of lecture, laboratory, and seminar courses given at the undergraduate, graduate, and medical school level. Ph.D. students are expected to participate in two terms (or the equivalent) of teaching. Students are not expected to teach during their first year.