1. Core Curricula –
All PhD and MD/PhD students must complete a Core Curriculum. The Core Curriculum will vary depending on the training area and the specific PhD degree (Biomedical Sciences or Neuroscience). The Core Curriculum provides the students with a strong set of general concepts and vocabulary that underpins so much of cutting-edge biomedical research in their area of interest.
The majority of students in the PhD in Biomedical Sciences program will complete Biomedical Sciences Core, a yearlong course that consists of six units. They are: (Fall: Enzymes and Metabolism; Genetics and Genomics and Gene Expression and Biological Chemistry); (Spring: Cell Biology; Development and Regeneration and Mechanisms of Disease). Some MTAs may require that students take a Core III course.
Some students may choose to enroll in the Biophysics and Systems Pharmacology (BSP) training area Core course, instead of the BMS Core and some training areas will accept BSP Core as a substitute for BMS Core. This will be decided on an individual basis and will depend on the student’s prior course work. It is possible that some training areas will require that the student take all or part of BMS Core in their second year, if they took the BSP Core in their first year. In such a case, the BSP Core may be counted as elective credit.
Students in the Neuroscience Ph.D program must complete the Neuroscience Core curriculum. See the Neuroscience MTA section of this Handbook for details of that curriculum.
In exceptional cases, students who have had prior graduate level coursework relevant to a Core Curriculum may seek exemption from a core course. Refer to Chapter 1: Policies, Procedures, and Services for information about course waivers and transfer credits.
2. Seminars and Journal Clubs –
Seminars and journal clubs are central to the educational program. The opportunities to regularly encounter scientists and build critical analysis and presentation skills are of major importance. All students are required to participate in seminars and journal club activities during the entire duration of their Program.
First-year students will fulfill the journal club requirement with Introduction to Journal Club (fall and spring semesters) or Neuroscience Journal Club (NEU students) and will generally fulfill the seminar requirement with the Dean’s Seminar (fall and spring semesters). They are encouraged to attend additional seminars and journal clubs in areas of their particular interest or in areas that they wish to explore.
Advanced students are expected to participate in the journal club and seminar activities of their MTAs and to participate in laboratory journal clubs and departmental seminars that are recommended by their dissertation advisor.
3. Teaching –
There is no program-wide teaching requirement, but many students seek to take advantage of the opportunities to teach in a variety of modes and settings either because it enforces the mastery of core material, is intrinsically rewarding or because it is a major part of their career plans. Teaching opportunities include: teaching assistantships for the Core courses; teaching assistantships for additional Medical and Graduate School courses; one-on-one tutoring opportunities for graduate or medical courses; tutoring and special teaching programs at the Life Sciences Secondary School with which ISMMS has a special relationship; student mentorships in the RCR course; and student mentorships in the Introduction to Journal Club course.