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Current Students


As a student in the Molecular Biology and Biological Chemistry Program you are responsible to complete the standard first year coursework and three laboratory rotations before joining a thesis lab/department to complete your PhD.

Aside from your coursework and rotations, the Program Office sponsors many fun social events:

  • Bioscience Student Retreat (Late August before classes begin)
  • Annual Bioscience Symposium (Mid September/October)
  • Recruiting Events (January –March)
  • Annual Career Day
  • Semester Socials
  • Summer MB/BC Programs BBQ or Activity

Requirements for First-Year Students

Students begin in the Fall Semester and are in the Bioscience Programs for 1 year

  • Students are responsible to complete the standard first year coursework and three laboratory rotations
  • Students are assigned a Faculty Advisor for guidance on curriculum and lab rotations
  • Students receive financial support: Annual Fellowship / Living Stipend ($29,714 for the 2021-2022 academic year, expected to rise to $30,309 for the 2022-2023 academic year), full tuition waiver, and health insurance
  • See First-Year Information page for administrative details



Classes are organized into the Core Curriculum and Electives. Detailed information about Fall and Spring classes can be found here: Curriculum

Core Curriculum

  • Designed to provide a solid background in key areas
    • Molecular Biology: Genetics, Genomes, and Gene Expression, Protein/Nucleic Acid Biochemistry, Cell Biology
    • Biological Chemistry: Protein/Nucleic Acid Biochemistry, Genetic Engineering, Biophysical Chemistry, Protein Chemistry
  • Designed to teach independent, critical thinking skills, and grant writing
  • Critical Thinking in Research
  • Guided Proposal Preparation and Capstone Exam
  • Designed to fulfill the NIH-mandated requirement for training in scientific ethics
  • Case Studies in Research Ethics



  • Gives students a wide variety of options in tailoring their coursework to their specific interests


Laboratory Rotations

  • Students complete 3 lab rotations with the purpose to select a thesis mentor and lab. They may choose from over 180 participating faculty in 11 different departments
  • Rotations provides students with exposure to new areas of research they might not otherwise experience, teaches new experimental approaches, and develop contacts that may prove helpful in subsequent thesis research
  • Students will participate in the Faculty Research Poster Sessions (FRIS), where they will be introduced to potential labs and rotation advisors to help make an informed decision about multiple options and future collaborations before beginning the 3 required rotations
  • Students will choose a thesis advisor and lab at the end of Spring semester. A very low student to faculty ratio promotes a high level of student choice and an outstanding mentoring environment


Graduate Study in the Second Year and Beyond

After the first year, each student's education will be conducted under the policies of the participating department of the Thesis Advisor.

 Requirements include:

  • Admission to PhD degree candidacy after successfully completing the 1st year curriculum, capstone exam, and passing the departmental preliminary examination/advancement to candidacy
  • Admits the student to the PhD Program of Study
    • MB: Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Human Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology Division, Neurobiology, Nutrition and Integrative Physiology, or Oncological Sciences
    • BC: Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Oncological Sciences, Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, or Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Advanced classes, often discussion courses centered around primary literature and focused on topics relevant to the thesis
  • Participation in departmental seminars and research-in-progress presentations
  • One semester of required teaching experience at the graduate or undergraduate level
  • Thesis Research Project and Dissertation Defense

In addition to other department activities in which they may participate, students will have leadership opportunities on program committees and organizing community events

Last Updated: 7/6/21