1. To expose our Ph.D. trainees to cutting edge science in the field of molecular genetics through:
  • course work (MMG1010 + five six-week topic courses)
  • attending student seminars (must attend 70% or more of student presentations until the completion of the student seminar courses)
  • attending scientific seminars of invited guests (as part of MMG1010 and then optionally thereafter)
  • exposure to different laboratory cultures and science through the rotation system
  • engagement in the science of their thesis lab

    2. To train our Ph.D. students to become independent scientists: 

We expect that by the end of their Ph.D. training, our students will be able to independently:

  • contemplate biologically interesting and relevant questions
  • review, understand, and internalize literature that is relevant to their problem and field of interest
  • conceive of hypotheses that address a pertinent biological problem
  • design and conduct experiments to test hypotheses
  • acquire publication quality data
  • interpret data
  • understand when experimentation has led to a deeper understanding of the biological problem of interest
  • effectively communicate their research as outlined below

   3. To train our Ph.D. students to effectively communicate scientific ideas and research through:

  • oral participation and written reports required in topic courses
  • presentation of their thesis work at three student seminars
  • presentation of their thesis progress at lab meetings, supervisory committee meetings, annual retreats, and occasional scientific meetings
  • writing of scholarship applications
  • drafting of manuscripts that describes their research
  • writing and oral presentation of their Reclassification/Qualification proposal and PhD thesis

The culmination of the student’s Ph.D. program is the writing and defense of their Ph.D. thesis.  The thesis must represent high scholastic attainment in a specialized field, demonstrated by independent and original thought and research.  

The introductory chapter should demonstrate the student’s knowledge and understanding of the field.  Good judgment should be apparent in what is included in, and excluded from, the introduction.      

The multiple data chapters (a minimum of two are expected) should each present a thorough investigation of a significant biological problem.  The Department’s expectations are that each of these data chapters will have been, or will be, published in a journal that is typical of that in which their lab publishes.  The overwhelming majority of our Ph.D .students have one or more first-author papers that have resulted from their research.  It would be unusual for one of our students not to have at least one first author publication by the time they defend their thesis.       

The concluding chapter (Future Directions) should clearly identify new gaps in our understanding of the biological problem of interest that have become apparent as a result of the students research.  This chapter should also suggest hypotheses and experiments that would potentially address the identified gaps.  In addition, a section in this chapter should be devoted to summarizing what impact the students research will likely have on their chosen field.