Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The graduate program in Cellular and Structural Biology provides a rewarding opportunity for students wishing to pursue a Ph.D. degree for preparation for a fulfilling career in biomedicine. 

The strength of our program is its diversity; faculty are performing state-of-the-art research in areas of animal models of human disease, cancer biology, stem cell biology, development and reproduction, molecular basis of aging, molecular genetics as well as neurobiology and endocrinology. The curriculum and research experience is aimed at producing trainees armed with critical thinking skills, competent in contemporary techniques and with broad scholarly background to become independent investigators, capable of designing and executing programs of excellence in research and teaching. All graduate students pursue a program of study designed to develop both their scholarly and laboratory aptitudes through one-on-one mentoring by members of the graduate faculty. In addition, in-depth instruction is also provided on effective seminar presentation as well as grant and manuscript preparation.

Cellular and Structural Biology Admissions Requirements

Applicants are required to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0.  Applicants should have received credit for courses taken in:

  • Biology1 2 yrs. as required for science majors
  • Chemistry1 1 yr. general chemistry and organic chemistry
  • Physics 1 yr.
  • Mathematics minimum of 1 semester of calculus
1

courses should include laboratory experience

All applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE must be taken within the last 5 years and the TOEFL within the last 2 years. There is no minimum score required for the GRE.

In addition to the GRE, international applicants are also required to take one of two English proficiency tests: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS: Academic module only). The minimum required scores for the TOEFL are 560 for the paper test and 68 for the internet test. The minimum score on the academic IELTS is 6.5.

Three letters of recommendation are required. The applicant must submit 3 essays stating the reasons for your interest in the program, a description of your professional goals and an outline of your undergraduate, industrial or summer research. On campus recruitment interviews are conducted during February and March. Phone interviews for international application occur in January and February.

The admissions committee makes its decision based on the candidate’s research experience, grade point average, personal statement, GRE score, interviews, letters of recommendations, and how the candidate matches up against other interested applicants.

Cellular and Structural Biology Degree Requirements

A minimum of 72 credit hours and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 is required for the Ph.D. degree.  In addition, all doctoral candidates must register for the CSBL 7099 Dissertation for at least two semesters in order to graduate; only one of the terms may be a summer session.  The student is required to demonstrate intellectual command of the subject area of the graduate program and capability to carry out independent and original investigation in the area. The student must successfully defend a dissertation and be recommended by their program COGS for approval of their degree to the Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. 

Biology of Aging Track - Plan of Study

First Year
FallCredit Hours
IBMS 5000Fundamentals Of Biomedical Sciences (Fundamentals of Biomedical Science) 8
CSBL 6097Research (rotations) 1-12
Spring
Biology of Aging Core Course  4
INTD 6002Ethics In Research .5
CSBL 6097Research (rotations) 1-12
CSBL 6049Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Aging 2
CSBL 6050Aging and Longevity Mechanisms 2
Summer
CSBL 6097Research 1-9
Second Year
Fall
CSBL 5095Experimental Design And Data Analysis 3
CSBL 5077Scientific Writing 2
CSBL 5089Graduate Colloquium 2
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Spring
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Summer
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Third Year
Fall
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
CSBL 6071Supervised Teaching 1-12
Spring
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Elective  3
Summer
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Fourth Year
Fall
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Spring
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Summer
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Fifth Year
Fall
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Spring
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 114.5-116.0

Cancer Biology Track - Plan of Study

First Year
FallCredit Hours
IBMS 5000Fundamentals Of Biomedical Sciences (Fundamentals of Biomedical Sciences) 8
IBMS 5008Lab Rotations (Lab Rotations) 2
Spring
CSBL 6068Cancer Biology Core 1 2
CSBL 6069Cancer Biology Core 2 2
CSBL 5089Graduate Colloquium 2
INTD 6002Ethics In Research 0.5
IBMS 5008Lab Rotations 2
Summer
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
CSBL 5007Methods In Cell Biology 1
Second Year
Fall
CSBL 5077Scientific Writing 2
CSBL 5095Experimental Design And Data Analysis 3
IBMS 6090Seminar (Seminar) 1.5
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Spring
IBMS 6090Seminar (Seminar) 1.5
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Summer
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Third Year
Fall
Elective(s) see department  3
CSBL 6097Research 1-9
IBMS 6090Seminar 1.5
Spring
Elective(s)  3
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
IBMS 6090Seminar 1.5
Summer
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Fourth Year
Fall
CSBL 6071Supervised Teaching 1-12
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
IBMS 6090Seminar (Seminar) 1.5
Spring
Elective(s) see department  3
CSBL 6097Research 1-9
IBMS 6090Seminar (Seminar) 1.5
Summer
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Fifth Year
Fall
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
IBMS 6090Seminar (Seminar) 1.5
Spring
Research/Dissertation  8
IBMS 6090Seminar (Seminar) 1.5
 Total Credit Hours: 115.5

Cellular and Molecular Medicine Track - Plan of Study1

First Year
FallCredit Hours
IBMS 5000Fundamentals Of Biomedical Sciences 8
IBMS 5008Lab Rotations 2
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
Spring
CSBL 5089Graduate Colloquium 2
IBMS 5008Lab Rotations 2
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
INTD 6002Ethics In Research 0.5
Select one of the following:  
INTD 5007Advanced Cellular And Molecular Biology 4
INTD 6007Advanced Cell Biology (plus a course from Required Core Courses for Other IMGP Tracks table below) 2
INTD 6009Advanced Molecular Biology (plus a course from Required Core Courses for Other IMGP Tracks table below) 2
Summer
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
CSBL 5007Methods In Cell Biology 1
CSBL 5083Practical Optical Microscopy 1
Second Year
Fall
CSBL 5095Experimental Design And Data Analysis 3
CSBL 5077Scientific Writing 2
INTD 6008Mitochondria & Apoptosis 1
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Spring
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Qualifying Exam  
Summer
CSBL 6071Supervised Teaching 1-12
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
CSBL 7099Dissertation 0.5-12
Third Year
Fall
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Spring
CSBL 6090Seminar (Annual Progress) 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Summer
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Fourth Year
Fall
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Spring
CSBL 6090Seminar (Annual Progress) 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Summer
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Fifth Year
Fall
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 7099Dissertation 8
Spring
CSBL 7099Dissertation 0.5-12
 Total Credit Hours: 117.5-140.5
1

Students can tailor the required coursework for the CMM track to their specific interests including aging, cancer, immunology, neuroscience, metabolism and genetic disorders. They have two options to fulfill the 4-credit advanced course requirement:

Option 1: Take the full course (INTD 5007 Advanced Cellular And Molecular Biology).

Option 2: Take only one of the advanced course modules, either INTD 6009 Advanced Molecular Biology (2 credits) or  INTD 6007 Advanced Cell Biology (2 credits), then add 2 credit hours of required core coursework from any of the other IMGP tracks (list provided below).

These changes provide CMM students with the greatest flexibility, while emphasizing the importance of molecular and cellular approaches to studying health and disease.

 Genomics, Genetics & Development Track - Plan of Study

First Year
FallCredit Hours
IBMS 5000Fundamentals Of Biomedical Sciences 8
IBMS 5008Lab Rotations 2
Spring
CSBL 6064Genes & Development 4
CSBL 5089Graduate Colloquium 2
INTD 6002Ethics In Research 0.5
IBMS 5008Lab Rotations 2
Summer
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
CSBL 5007Methods In Cell Biology 1
Second Year
Fall
CSBL 5077Scientific Writing 2
CSBL 5095Experimental Design And Data Analysis 3
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Spring
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Summer
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Third Year
Fall
Elective(s) see department  
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
Spring
Elective(s) see department  3
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
Summer
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Fourth Year
Fall
CSBL 6071Supervised Teaching 1-12
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
Spring
Elective(s) see department  3
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
Summer
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Fifth Year
Fall
CSBL 6097Research 1-12
Spring
Research/Dissertation  8
CSBL 6090Seminar 1-9
 Total Credit Hours: 107.5-163.5

Cellular and Structural Biology Objectives/Program Outcomes

Students in the CSB graduate program will have the ability to review, interpret and critically evaluate scientific literature related to areas of biomedical science relevant to cellular and molecular biology in general and specifically to their project. Students will be trained to review and interpret original scientific literature through coursework and in their research.

Students in the CSB graduate program will have the ability to conduct original biomedical research. Students in the program will be able to analyze, plan, organize, and conduct high-quality biomedical research under the direction of supervising professors and guidance of research advisory (dissertation/thesis) committees as appropriate.

Students in the CSB graduate program will have the ability to communicate effectively in written and verbal presentations. Students will learn to effectively communicate ideas in written format via coursework, examinations and their research and to communicate ideas/concepts in verbal presentations during progress report seminars, research advisory committee meetings, oral examinations/defenses, and participation in scientific meetings.

Students in the CSB graduate program will demonstrate foundational knowledge and expertise in a select area appropriate to the research project. Students will be able to define, explain, and apply key concepts and fundamental principles related to the areas of biomedical science relevant to their track and to their specific research projects.

Students in the CSB graduate program will demonstrate fundamental knowledge of ethics in biomedical research. Students will be able to recognize ethical dilemmas and behave in accordance with ethical standards of conduct in the design, implementation, analysis, and dissemination of scientific research.