FAQ's from Current Students

Frequently Asked Questions from Current Students

Choosing a Lab

  1. How do I choose a lab after entering the PhD or Master’s (Research Option) program?

When entering our MS or PhD research program, you are required to do rotations in three (3) different laboratories, with each rotation consisting of about 120 hours. You may consult the Faculty Directory to learn about each professor’s research projects.


  1. What is a Colloquium?
    Colloquium courses are held within each Research Cluster to focus on current literature and enhance the knowledge base for both the student and faculty in their particular areas of research. 
  2. What is Seminar?
    Seminar is a course requirement of all enrolled students that focuses on student presentations. This class gives each student an opportunity to publicly communicate about science and his or her own research.
  3. What is the Communications course?
    Communications is a course requirement of all enrolled research students. It focuses on public speaking and scientific writing with the goal of enhancing the ability of students to communicate in a scientific manner.

Advisory Committee

  1. How and when do I choose an advisory committee?
    The advisory committee should be formed no later than the end of the first year of graduate education. You will select an advisory committee, with the help of your advisor, after you have chosen a lab and a particular area of research. The committee usually consists of about five faculty members with appropriate expertise. 
  2. How do I submit my thesis/dissertation?
    We have developed a partnership with ProQuest to provide students and faculty with a user-friendly and efficient process of thesis submission and publishing. For more details, see our thesis submission page

Comprehensive Exam

  1. What are the PhD comprehensive exam requirements?
    Students are given a “comprehensive” exam by their advisory committee that assesses their knowledge base of required courses and their areas of research. Upon passing the exam, students are required to complete a grant proposal similar to one that would be submitted to the NIH. Students are also encouraged to actually submit a revised version of this grant proposal to the NIH. 
  2. Where can I find the forms necessary for admission to PhD candidacy, to build a committee/fulfill committee meeting requirements, and to submit my grant proposal?
    These forms can be found on the Student Forms page.

Contact for Further Questions

  1. Who may I contact if I have more questions?

Feel free to contact Dr. Todd Green, Co-Director of Graduate Studies for the Biomedical Sciences Program. You may also contact any of our students listed in the Graduate Student Directory.