In the first semester of the program, admitted students are assigned to a faculty advisor. In coordination with the program director, faculty advisors assist students in developing an individualized coursework plan. In addition, they may help students choose laboratory rotations. Through these activities, students obtain hands-on laboratory experience and can finalize the selection of a research mentor. Selection of a mentor typically occurs before students complete their required coursework, usually towards the end of the second year.

A total of at least 30 credits earned from coursework and laboratory rotations is expected to be completed by the end of the second year in the program prior to the qualifying examination. Based on the Graduate School policy on academic performance requirements, students must maintain a minimum, cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students are also expected to meet the highest standards of academic integrity.

The curriculum of the DBMS PhD program consists of four phases:

  1. Coursework:
    1. Core courses - Required for all DBMS PhD students:
      DBMS 608 - Introduction to Biomedical Research (1 credit)
      DBMS 618 (section 01) - Seminars in Biomedical Sciences (1 credit)
      DBMS 638 - Biostatistics (3 credits)
      CIPP 907 - Research Ethics (1 credit)
    2. Advanced courses
      All pre-candidacy students are expected to enroll in advanced DBMS and/or GPLS 600+ level courses. Students have maximum flexibility in selecting these courses based on their area of research interest and career goals.
  2. Laboratory rotations
    DBMS 708 - Laboratory Rotation (3 credits)
  3. Qualifying examination
  4. Doctoral dissertation research and thesis defense
    DBMS 898 - Pre-candidacy Research (up to 8 credits)
    DBMS 899 - Doctoral Dissertation Research (following advancement to candidacy).
    • Students must complete 12 credits of DBMS 899 prior to the final thesis defense. In addition, as part of the graduation requirements, students must have at least one first-author research paper that is either published or accepted for publication.