Bridging the gap between science research & clinical medicine

Students in lab with Dr. DiPatrizio

Ph.D. Curriculum


Ph.D. Curriculum Overview

The aim of the graduate program in Biomedical Sciences is to train Ph.D. scientists in a specific area of research specialization who also have enough general knowledge in the basic medical sciences to apply their research expertise to unraveling the basis of disease. This approach includes understanding not only pathogenic manifestations of disease but also the normal physiologic state.

In year one of the Ph.D. program, students participate in a very rigorous medical curriculum coupled with problem based learning sessions designed to develop analytic research skills in the design and interpretation of experimental models of human pathophysiology.

By year two, the primary focus of our students is their dissertation research. In second and third years, students can elect to pursue specialized optional coursework relevant to their dissertation research by enrolling in a specific designated emphasis.

Normative time for completion of the program is five years.

Core Requirements of the Ph.D. Curriculum

Students in the Ph.D. program complete a core and elective curriculum, the latter tailored to the student's research interests. The core requirements include:

BMSC 229: Foundations in Translational Research

The introductory course in our doctorate program begins mid-August and immediately introduces students to a fast paced, integrated systems-based medical curriculum. This course also includes graduate student specific sessions introducing students to the conduct (and misconduct of science), research as intellectual property and “good laboratory practice” (GLP) standards used in biotechnology and in biomedical translational research (8 units).

BMSC 232, 233, 234 & 235: Foundations of Medicine Series

The foundation of the first year biomedical graduate curriculum is a year-long series of courses drawn from our disease-based integrated medical school curriculum. This series brings together graduate students and medical students for shared instruction in human physiology, pathophysiology, histopathology, epidemiology and biostatistics. This amalgamation between our medical students and our graduate students is highly innovative and benefits both groups (units vary by quarter).

BMSC 260 A, B, C: Topics in Biomedical Research

The course will lead graduate students through the process of developing skills in communicating with peers, reading scientific literature and learning how to apply the information to the project. Students led by a faculty facilitator will explore the theoretical and practical aspects of developing hypothesis, designing and interpreting experimental models of human disease, collecting data and analyzing/validating results in support of their research projects. This course will also provide graduate students with training in oral presentation and written skills.

The entire three quarter series is required in the second year of graduate education. (2 units/quarter).

BMSC 261: Methods in Biomedical Research

Students in year one of the Biomedical Sciences program are required to participate in two (2) five-week technique tutorials each quarter. These tutorials introduce students to laboratory methods and experimental models at the forefront of translational research, and familiarize students with faculty members and their research expertise. Enrollment required all three quarters of the first year of graduate education. (1 unit/quarter).

BMSC 252: General Seminar in Biomedical Sciences

Each quarter, seminar presentations from leading scientists focus on a specific disease-based research topic. In addition to the formal seminar, students participate and have the opportunity to host student-only lunch forums with invited speakers. Enrollment required each quarter (1 unit/quarter).

BMSC 254: Graduate Seminar in Biomedical Sciences

This is work-in-progress forum in which students, fellows and faculty present and critically discuss their ongoing research while gathering for pizza lunch. Students participate and present each year that they are in the graduate program. Enrollment required each quarter (1 unit/quarter).

BMSC 302: Directed Teaching Practicum

Required for all Biomedical Sciences graduate students. Fulfills the teaching portion of the
teaching requirement for the Ph.D.; four units are required for the Ph.D. Graded Satisfactory (S) or No
Credit (NC). Course is repeatable to a maximum of 6 units
Not required of M.D./Ph.D. students.