Graduate students in the Cell & Molecular (CM) Biology program have the opportunity to choose from a diverse array of research laboratories engaged in both basic and biomedically relevant research. In addition to their thesis/dissertation research, coursework, and a weekly graduate student seminar series, students learn from visiting speakers through the Biomolecular Seminar Series, and may also attend seminars coordinated by Chemistry, Bioinformatics, and other graduate programs within the department.
CM graduate students enroll in core courses in molecular biology, cell biology, and biochemistry during the first three semesters of graduate study. During the first year each student also completes three laboratory rotations, gaining an understanding of laboratory-based investigation in several fields and leading to an informed choice of a mentor and laboratory for subsequent dissertation research. Upon successful completion of a written and oral qualifying examination during the second year, PhD students begin full-time research and may take additional elective courses. The qualifying exam takes the form of a research proposal that typically serves as the student’s initial research plan.
During each subsequent year, PhD students build on this initial plan by giving a research seminar to CM faculty and graduate students and meeting with their thesis committee to review current research and outline future plans.