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PhD Curriculum


In the first two semesters, all students take the identical core curriculum, described below. In conjunction with the course work in the first year, students rotate in 6-week blocks through three of the Program’s participating research laboratories of the student’s choice. This allows students to become more familiar with BMS research and faculty. Students should choose a Dissertation Advisor by the end of the second semester but must choose a Dissertation Advisor by the end of the third semester. Students may choose to further specify their study by choosing an Area of Research Emphasis (a Departmental Track in Anatomy, Biochemistry, Medical Genetics and Genomics, Microbiology and Immunology, Pathology, Pharmacology or Physiology). An area of research emphasis may add further course requirements beyond those required for the Biomedical Sciences PhD degree without specialization.

First Year (27 credit hours)

Fall – 13 credits hours:

Advanced Cell Biology (BMSP-6070) – 3 credits
Biochemistry (GBCH-601) – 4 credits
Seminar (BMSP-7140) – 1 credit
Research Methods (BMSP-7120) – 4 credits (2 credits for seminar, 2 for first rotation*)
Workshop (BMSP 7100) – 1 credit

Spring – 14 credit hours:

Biostatistics (GBCH-7250) – 2 credits
Human Molecular Genetics (EPID 7810) – 3 credits
Systems Biology (BMSP-7770) – 3 credits
Seminar (BMSP 7150) – 1 credit
Research Methods (BMSP- 7130) – 4 credits (2 each for 2nd and 3rd rotations*)
Workshop (BMSP 7110) – 1 credit

Ideally, the student should choose a dissertation advisor at the end of the Spring semester

Summer Semester – Students must begin their dissertation research or perform more research rotations during the Summer semester of their first year.

Second Year (total for Fall + Spring must equal at least 21 credit hours)


Seminar (BMSP- 7140) – 1 credit
Workshop (BMSP-7100) -1 credit
Independent Study (BMSP 7990) - 1-6 credit hours
Electives (to be chosen in consultation with dissertation advisor)


Seminar (BMSP-7150) – 1 credit
Workshop (option of either BMSP- 7110) or another mentor focused workshop course) – 1 credit or Independent Study (BMSP-7990) - 1-6 credit hrs
Responsible Conduct of Research (MIIM 7400) - 2 credit hours
Electives (to be chosen in consultation with dissertation advisor)

Coursework in the 2nd year must include at least 6 credit hours of lecture-based course work (Electives) and 11 credit hours of Independent Study (Research).

A minimum of 48 credit hours of course work and independent study is required for the PhD. All formal course work is to be completed within the first two years. Students may take Independent Study (BMSP-7990 or equivalent) for 1-6 credits per semester for a maximum of 12 credits total during the first two years. The remaining hours of coursework are selected from the elective curriculum by the student in consultation with the dissertation advisor.  Once coursework is completed, the student must demonstrate the ability to carry out independent study and research in a chosen field, as evidenced in the dissertation. Students ordinarily complete the requirements for the Ph.D. degree between four and seven years from the date of matriculation in the program.