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Program Requirements

By the end of the first academic year, the student will select an academic adviser from among the CMB faculty and arrange for the appointment of a Graduate Advisory Committee. This committee will consist of at least four members of the graduate faculty. This includes the student's major adviser, at least one additional CMB faculty member, and an appointee of the Graduate School. One committee member must be from outside the student's academic college.

The plan of study will be prepared by the student, in consultation with the major adviser, by the end of the first year in residence. The plan shall be approved by the student's Graduate Advisory Committee, the CMB Program Director, the department chair, the academic dean, and the Graduate School dean. The plan of study must be filed in the Graduate School prior to scheduling the comprehensive written examination.

The Graduate School requires the plan of study for the Ph.D. degree to include not less than 90 semester graduate credits. Of this total, not less than 27 credits must be in courses other than seminar or research credits. Of the 27 course credits, 15 must be at the 700-789 level. The CMB program requires students to complete a series of 7 courses totaling 21-23 semester credits in 4 core areas. The student will complete additional elective courses to fulfill the Graduate School requirement of 27 semester credits in academic courses. An overall GPA of 3.0 or better must be maintained.

Course Requirements

1. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (all are required)
Bioc 701, 702 Comprehensive Biochemistry I and II
Bioc 673 Methods of Biochemical Research

2. Cellular Biology
Bot/Zoo 720 Advanced Cell Biology, required
Biol 722 Current Topics in Cell and Molecular Biology, optional

3. Molecular Biology
Bioc 674 Methods of Recombinant DNA Technology, required
One of the following is required:
Bioc 719 Molecular Biology of Gene Expression and Regulation
Micr 783 Advanced Bacterial Genetics and Phage
PlSc 731 Plant Molecular Genetics

4. Technique Courses (one is required)

Bot 680 Plant Tissue Culture
PPth 756 Techniques in Electron Microscopy
PlSc 684 Plant Tissue Culture and Micropropagation
Micr 645 Animal Cell Culture Techniques

The core courses will normally be completed by the end of the second year in residence. These courses must be completed before the student takes the preliminary written examinations, whereas the elective courses may be taken at any time during the program prior to defense of the dissertation. The elective courses will normally be classes offered by the department in which the student is doing research or other departments participating in the CMB program. Each student is expected to attend all CMB seminars and present at least one seminar per year throughout the program.

Preliminary Examination
  1. Written Preliminary Examination covers the first three core areas (biochemistry and molecular biology, cellular biology, and molecular biology) and is normally taken at the end of the second year in residence. The written preliminary examination must be passed before the comprehensive oral examination can be scheduled.
  2. Comprehensive Oral Examination shall be taken no later than the end of the third year in residence. This examination will be based on a non-dissertation research topic that will be submitted in the format of a National Institutes of Health or National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship research proposal. After successful completion of the comprehensive oral examination, the student will be formally admitted to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. At least one academic semester, and preferably two semesters, shall elapse between the preliminary oral examination and the oral defense of the research-based dissertation.
Dissertation Research

A short proposal describing research suitable for preparation of a dissertation in Cellular and Molecular Biology shall be prepared and submitted to the student's Graduate Advisory Committee and the CMB Steering Committee for review and approval. The dissertation must show originality and demonstrate the student's capacity for independent research. It must embody results of research that constitutes a definitive contribution to knowledge.

In addition to the defense of the dissertation in the final oral examination, the candidate will present a final public seminar based on the dissertation research.

Program Administration

This interdisciplinary graduate program is administered by the CMB Steering Committee. The committee is composed of five CMB faculty members representing five different academic departments. Steering Committee members, who serve overlapping three-year terms, are elected at a yearly meeting of the CMB faculty. A committee chair/program director is elected annually by the committee.

The duties of the Steering Committee include 1) review of each CMB student's plan of study, proposed research topic, and general progress; 2) review of applications for membership in the CMB faculty; and 3) implementation of the CMB program by established procedures.


Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Last Updated: Friday, August 05, 2011 12:47:50 PM