Doctoral Degree Curriculum Outline


First Year Fall Semester

  • Foundations in Biomedical Sciences (6 hrs)
  • Experimental Design Methods & Analysis (3 hrs)
  • Responsible Conduct in Research (1 hr)
  • Success Skills in Biomedical Sciences (1 hr)
  • Laboratory Rotations (three 5-week rotations) (1-3 hrs)
(Most students select a permanent mentor at the end of the Fall semester)

All Subsequent Semesters (including Summers) 12 credits

Relevant course work to research project (as determined by mentor and student)

Directed Research

The First Year of Study

Within the first year of study, a student selects a major professor and formal dissertation committee is appointed. The dissertation committee assists the student in planning the research and course of study, evaluates the student’s progress, supervises the comprehensive examinations, and conducts the final dissertation defense.

The Second Year of Study

By the end of the second year, a student has usually completed sufficient course work and has met the other research requirements to take the Comprehensive Qualifying Examination. Successful completion of this examination leads to formal candidacy for Ph.D. admission. 

Doctoral Degree Completion

The final phase of the program emphasizes research and independent study, which leads to a written dissertation. The Ph.D. degree is awarded upon successful completion and oral defense of the dissertation.  Most students complete the entire degree within 4 to 6 years.