Graduate & Postdoctoral Affairs

PhD Program Outline


Degree Requirements

The required doctoral curriculum can be found at the link below (scroll down to the section titled "Curriculum Requirements"). 

Graduate Catalog

  • Students must complete at least 24 credit hours of didactic coursework (excluding journal clubs, seminars, laboratory rotations, directed research, S/U courses, etc.). This includes core courses and concentration specific courses. 
  • Students work with their advisory and dissertation committees to choose appropriate courses for their chosen concentration.
  • A minimum of 90 total hours are required to complete the PhD program. 


First Year

In their first year, students typically take the sequence of courses outlined below. 

  • Foundation in Biomedical Sciences
  • Responsible Conduct in Research
  • Lab Rotations
  • Bioscience Seminar 
  • Success Skills
  • Directed Research
  • Bioscience Seminar
  • Concentration Courses
  • Experimental Design & Analysis
  • Directed Research 

Most students will identify a mentor at the conclusion of Lab Rotations in the Fall semester. 

Second Year

Students will complete the didactic coursework required for the program and their concentration, and will continue to enroll in Directed Research. By the end of the second year, a student has usually completed sufficient coursework and has met the other research requirements to take the Comprehensive Qualifying Examination. Successful completion of this examination leads to formal candidacy for PhD admission. 

Doctoral Degree Completion

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

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