Course Requirements

The Graduate School requires the plan of study for the Ph.D. degree to include not less than 90 semester graduate credits.

  • Of the 90 total credits, not less than 27 credits must be in courses other than seminar or research credits.
    • Of the 27 course credits, 15 credits must be at the 700-789 course level.
    • The CMB Ph.D. Program requires students to complete a series of seven courses totaling 21-23 semester credits in four 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.

Core Courses

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • BIOC 701: Comprehensive Biochemistry I
  • BIOC 702: Comprehensive Biochemistry II
Cellular Biology
  • BIOL 720: Advanced Cell Biology
Molecular Biology
  • BIOC 674: Methods of Recombinant DNA Technology
  • One of the following:
    • BIOC 719: Molecular Biology of Gene Expression and Regulation
    • MICR 783: Advanced Bacterial Genetics and Phage
    • PLSC 731: Plant Molecular Genetics
Techniques
  • One of the following:
    • 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 elective courses may be taken at any time during the program prior to defense of the dissertation. The elective courses are typically classes offered by the department in which the student is doing research or other departments participating in the CMB program. Each student is also expected to attend all CMB seminars and present at least one seminar per year throughout their program tenure.

Advisory Committee

By the end of the first academic year, the student will select an academic advisor 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 advisor, at least one additional CMB faculty member, and an appointee of the Graduate School. One committee member must also be from outside the student's academic college.

Plan of Study

A plan of study will be prepared by the student, in consultation with the major advisor, 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 (from the department in which the student is housed), 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, and it must be updated (if necessary) prior to filing for graduation.

Comprehensive Examination

Comprehensive 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 (NIH) or National Science Foundation (NSF) Postdoctoral Fellowship research proposal. Following submission of the proposal to the Advisory Committee, the student will defend the proposal in the form of an oral examination. Following successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the student will be formally admitted to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.

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.
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