Molecular and Cell Biology PhD Program
The MCB PhD program is designed to train students in the different fields of Molecular and Cell Biology. Students are admitted for starting in the Fall semester and begin by taking core curriculum classes [PhD workflow]. Starting in the Spring semester, students broaden their knowledge in specific areas while they specialize in their own research area in year two.
All incoming PhD students are required to take the following courses during their 1st year:
- MCB 6000 Rotations in MCB Laboratories (3 credits)
- MCB 6001 Introduction to MCB Research (3 credits)
- MCB 6002 Introduction to MCB Faculty Research (1 credit)
- MCB 5884 MCB Research in Progress (1 credit)
- MCB 5801 Scientific Writing and Project Development (2 credits)
- MCB 5884 MCB Research in Progress (1 credit)
- MCB 5910 Responsible Conduct in Research (1 credit)
- An area specific 3-credit course (consult with your major advisor before registration)
In consultation with the major advisor, the student should form a committee consisting of a major advisor and four associate advisors.
The student is required to have a committee meeting before the end of the spring semester where the written project from MCB 5801 and the Plan of Study for Doctor of Philosophy are discussed and the plan of study is completed and signed.
Students may not sign up for classes for the summer session or Year 2 Fall semester before the Plan of Study is submitted. The signed Plan of Study is given to the MCB Graduate Program Coordinator, Chelsea Bartos (BPB108).
PhD students typically take each semester (according to the Plan of Study):
- MCB 6897 (3 credits)
- An area of concentration specific course seminar (1 credit)
- An area of concentration specific course (3 credits) (consult with your major advisor before signing up)
Between years 2 and 4, all students must take MCB 5893 (Special Topics in Cellular & Molecular Biology)
Before the end of May of the second year, the students need to take the 2nd year review.
- The student independently writes a 2-3 page-long document (the “second-year review”) that describes background material for their research project. This can serve as the introduction to the prospectus proposal and should be properly referenced. (Note: the research advisor will not correct or review this document)
- The committee asks the student questions about the general area being studied and related to the 2nd year review document.
- The examination will not be chaired by the major advisor, but rather by another member of the committee. The outcome of the exam will be “pass”, “conditional pass” (which will require additional coursework and/or rewrite of the 2nd year review document), “fail” with permission to retake the exam, or “fail” with dismissal from the program.
- The signed report on the 2nd year exam is given to the MCB Graduate Program Coordinator, Chelsea Bartos (BPB108).
- Any corrective actions to the 2nd year examination need to be completed prior to authorization to take the General Exam in the third year.
PhD students on Assistantships typically take each semester 6-7 credits (according to the Plan of Study) including:
- GRAD 6950 (1-6 credits) (15 credits are required in order to graduate)
- An area specific seminar course (1 credit)
Before the end of August of the third year, the students need to take the General Examination.
- A written document describing the proposed research is prepared in the format of grant proposal. This can serve as the prospectus required by the graduate school.
- The Proposal is prepared with minimal input from the major advisor.
- The examination is chaired by a committee member other than the major advisor.
- The signed Report on the General Examination for the Doctoral Degree is given to the MCB Graduate Program Coordinator, Chelsea Bartos (BPB108).
Beyond the third year :
- Annual committee meeting.
- MCB PhD students are required to give biennial 20-minute seminars on their research project in graduate student seminar (MCB5899) starting from the 5th semester or sooner.
- PhD students typically take each semester (according to the Plan of Study)
- GRAD 6950 (6 credits) (15 credits are required in order to graduate)
- The Graduate School requires candidates to submit the “Dissertation Proposal for the Doctoral Degree” at least three months prior to the public defense date.
- At least two weeks before the defense, the “Dissertation Tentative Approval Page” must be submitted and the dissertation must be made publicly available.
- The “Report on the Final Examination for the Doctoral Degree” must contain signatures of approval by all committee members.
- At least five faculty members must be present for the defense.
- The signed “Report on the Final Examination for the Doctoral Degree” is given to the MCB Graduate Program Coordinator, Chelsea Bartos (BPB108).
August 12, 2019