PhD Core Curriculum


  • Lab Rotations: In conjunction with course work in the first year, students rotate in 8 week blocks through three of the Program’s participating research laboratories of the student’s choice. This allows students to become more familiar with BMS research and faculty.
    For more info and suggestions:

    Rules of Lab Rotations & Grading Criteria
    Choosing Rotations & Lab


  • Summer rotations: A first rotation can be completed in the summer before your PhD orientation. If a student has completed 3 rotations and is yet undecided about which lab to join you can continue rotations. This would occur in the summer following your first year.


  • Dissertation Advisor: Students should choose a Dissertation Advisor by the end of the second semester, but must choose one by the end of the third semester. 


  • Departmental Track: Students may choose to further specify their study by choosing an Area of Research Emphasis (a Departmental Track). Joining a departmental track will require classes specific to your area of research.


Core curriculum is described in the handbook delivered at PhD orientation of your incoming class. This includes fall and spring.


  • Summer Semesters: Student MUST register for BMSP-9990 every summer to maintain full-time status. Failure to do so WILL RESULT IN A SUBSTANTIAL FINE- NO EXCEPTIONS. 



  • A minimum of 48 credit hours of coursework and independent study is required.
    • Where necessary, a department may require additional hours of coursework.
  • All formal course work is to be completed within the first two years.
  • Students may take Independent Study (BMSP-7990 or equivalent) for 1-6 credits per semester for a maximum of 12 credits total during the first two years.
    • The remaining hours of coursework are selected from the elective curriculum by the student in consultation with the dissertation advisor.
  • Students wishing any deviation from the core curriculum must submit their request in writing to the BMS Steering Committee for approval.
  • Students ordinarily must complete the requirements for the Ph.D. degree within seven years from the date of matriculation in the program.
    • Only in unusual cases, with the approval of the department chair and Assistant Dean, will credit be approved for courses taken more than six years before first registration for graduate work.

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