BMG Degree Requirements

The backgrounds of students admitted to the program are diverse, and the program attempts to educate all students up to a level of basic understanding in several areas deemed fundamental to modern biochemistry and molecular genetics. In addition, it is hoped that students will become more expert in some area related to their research, thus gaining a measure of confidence. It is likely that most students would have had (or would make up remedially) calculus, physical chemistry, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, genetics, and several courses in biology. They will then be required to satisfy the following departmental requirements:*


24 hours (12 credits each semester of first year)

BIMS 6000: Core Course in Integrative Biosciences

Minimum of two additional modules (4-6 credits total)

BIMS 7100: Research Ethics

Journal Club (aka Biochemical Literature) and Colloquium (aka Seminar) – attendance is required following mentor selection and for the duration of the student enrollment in the BMG program.

Qualifying Exam

The student will prepare a research proposal and defend it orally before his or her proposal committee. This exam will be open to the faculty only. The student will be advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree upon a satisfactory performance in this exam.

Function: To review the student’s ability to formulate a research problem and to design a research program aimed at elucidating the problem. A general questioning period will be included on subjects determined by the committee.

Timing: Must be completed by the beginning (September) of the third academic year. Only special circumstances should modulate this deadline. The proposal is presented to the three member proposal committee.

Format: The basic elements of a formal faculty research grant proposal should be present. These elements include: Background and Significance; Specific Aims; and Experimental Design and Methods. The format of the following granting agencies would be appropriate: NIH, NSF, ACS, etc. Unlike most faculty grant proposals, there is no requirement for preliminary results or supporting data from the student. The proposal must contain ideas/hypotheses that are new and untested.

Dissertation Defense

BMG requires a minimum of three faculty with primary or secondary appointments in BMG for Advancement to Candidacy examinations and thesis advisory committees.  A fourth faculty member who does not have an appointment in BMG is required for the dissertation examination per the requirements of the School of Medicine (below).  Furthermore, committees are encouraged (but not required) to include the fourth member in advising and committee meetings well before creation and defense of the written dissertation.

School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences
Completed dissertations must be submitted to the department/program for examination by the dissertation committee. This committee will consist of a minimum of four tenured or tenure-track members of the faculty. One member of the committee will serve as a representative of the School of Medicine to affirm that the student has been assessed fairly and with due rigor. This representative must hold a primary appointment outside of the student’s department/program. This representative may be drawn from the tenured or tenure-track faculty of other graduate schools at the University, but must hold a Ph.D. A Director of Graduate Studies may petition to permit a reader from outside the University who holds a Ph.D. to serve as one of the four core members of the committee by providing the Associate Dean for Graduate and Medical Scientist Programs or the Assistant Dean for Graduate Research and Training with the reader’s CV and a statement regarding the reader’s particular suitability for the committee. This external reader may not serve as the representative of the School of Medicine. Once these minimum requirements have been met, additional committee members from within the University or other institutions may be added.