Department of Molecular Medicine

Course Requirements for M.S. and Ph.D. Candidates


Students in Molecular Medicine are required to take a series of requisite core graduate courses. Four of the core courses, Advanced Molecular and Cell Biology, Graduate Colloquium, Modern Methods in Molecular and Cell Biology, and Molecular Medicine, must be taken during the student's first year of graduate study. Elective courses may be taken if desired by the student or at the request of the Dissertation Advisor, the Qualifying Examination Committee, and/or the Dissertation Advisory Committee. Students with credits in equivalent graduate level courses can petition the COGS for a waiver of any of the Curriculum requirements listed below except for Seminar, Research, Thesis and Dissertation.

Programmatic Synopsis for the Ph.D. and M.S. Degrees:

First Year

During the first year, the Graduate Advisor shall serve as the academic advisor for each beginning Ph.D. student. M.S. students must select a research area of interest and a Supervising Professor prior to their matriculation into the program. First-year students shall take the following requisite courses: Advanced Molecular and Cell Biology, Graduate Colloquium, Modern Methods in Molecular and Cell Biology, and Molecular Medicine. Ph.D. students must participate in research in the laboratories of at least three Program faculty members. M.S. students will participate in research in the laboratory of their chosen Supervising Professor. Ph.D. and M.S. students will be required to stand for an oral Comprehensive Examination at the end of their first year. By the end of the first year of graduate study, Ph.D. students will have selected a research area of interest and a Supervising Professor.

Second and Subsequent Years

During the second and subsequent years, students will continue to register for Seminars on Molecular Medicine (MMED 6091). Students will present research Progress Reports to the Molecular Medicine community on an annual basis. In the second year, students will register for Supervised Teaching (MMED 6071) in the Advanced Molecular and Cell Biology (MMED 6016) and Graduate Colloquium (MMED 5019) courses.

Ph.D. and M.S. Level Qualifying Examination. During the third year of their tenure, students and their mentors shall request that the Examinations Chair schedule their Qualifying Examination. The Qualifying Examination consists of an oral defense of a written research proposal. The Examinations Chair will provide specific information regarding its format. The topic of the proposal will be the student's pending dissertation project. The purpose of the Qualifying Examination is to test the ability of the student to: (1) develop an original hypothesis, (2) design feasible experiments to test that hypothesis, and (3) orally defend their proposal. The Examinations Chair will select the Qualifying Examination Committee, distribute the student’s proposal to the committee, and coordinate the Qualifying Examination according to the current guidelines. The Examinations Chair may grant an extension of up to six months.

Admission to Candidacy. After the student has passed the Qualifying Examination, and after receiving the approval of COGS, students are eligible to submit a Petition of Admission to Candidacy to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Dissertation (Ph.D.) and Thesis (M.S.) and Final Oral Examination

Supervising Committee. The candidate and Supervising Professor recommend the composition of the Supervising Committee to the COGS. It shall be the responsibility of the Supervising Professor to present the list of committee members to the COGS for its approval. The functions of the Supervising Committee are, with the Supervising Professor, to guide the candidate through the dissertation (Ph.D.) or thesis (M.S.) research, to certify to the COGS that the candidate has carried out a meritorious research investigation of the caliber appropriate for a Ph.D. dissertation or an M.S. thesis, and, in their opinion, defended it satisfactorily.

Temporal Expectations for Completion of Ph.D. and M.S. Degree

It is expected that that the Ph.D. degree program should take no longer than six years and the M.S. degree program no longer than three years to complete from the date of matriculation. If a student has not graduated within these designated time frames, the COGS Chair will form a special committee independent of the student’s advisory committee to review progress with the student and his/her advisor. The committee’s responsibility will be to either recommend a course of action to expedite completion of the Ph.D. training or to recommend termination of the enrollment of the student in the Program.