School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Program Requirements

For the first year, all Ph.D. students in the School of Medicine enroll in a combined First Year curriculum, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences (IBS), which has the aim of providing a broad based knowledge of the important areas of Biomedical research. Faculty from all departments participate in teaching IBS 7015, which emphasizes critical discussion of primary and secondary literature. In addition, the fall semester covers a departmental Biochemistry course. During the winter semester of the first year, coursework includes two two-credit IBS course offerings chosen by the student, together with two required Departmental courses: BMB 7320, Protein Structure and Function and BMB 7330, Molecular Biology.

In addition to these courses, students undertake a series of eight - ten week laboratory rotations designed to acquaint them with the details of those research programs of greatest interest to them. During the first weeks of the fall semester, faculty members with available slots in their laboratories participate in a briefing session for incoming students to describe their research work. Further one-on-one discussion with individual faculty members is also encouraged. Students are urged to gather as much background information as possible before making these choices as they are likely to be a major factor in determining the direction of their entire professional career. Generally, each student does two - three rotations during the fall and winter semesters and on the basis of this experience, chooses the laboratory in which they will carry out their doctoral research.

Fall credits  Winter credits
IBS 7015 Interdisciplinary Molecular and Cellular Biology 7 Two selected IBS courses** 4
BMB 7010 General Biochemistry 3* BMB 7320 Protein Structure and Function 3
Lab rotation #1, Oct-Dec 0 BMB 7330 Molecular Biology 2
Lab rotation #2, Dec-Feb 0 Lab rotation #3, Feb-April 0
BMB 7890 Journal Club 0*** BMB 7890 Journal Club*** 1

 *BMB 7010 is a general 4-credit course offered to students from a wide variety of disciplines. Only students enrolled in the Biochemistry Ph.D. program take a subset of the full course for 3 credits, designed to remove overlap with the IBS 7015 course.

**Two–credit IBS courses offered in the Winter semester include: IBS 7030, Functional Genomics; IBS 7040, Biomedical Cardiovascular, Respiratory & Renal Systems; IBS 7050, Biomedical Neurobiology; IBS 7060, Biomedical Endocrine, Reproductive & Developmental Systems; IBS 7090, Biomedical Immunology. The student can select any two of these in the Winter semester.

*** BMB 7890, the Journal Club course runs all year but registration for 1 credit is only either Fall or Winter semester. Students are required to attend Monday 1pm presentations and Tuesday noon seminars, all year long.

After the first year in the program, students are able to choose courses from anywhere in the University, to focus on their particular interests. Six credit hours in an appropriate minor are required, which need not be confined to coursework offered in the School of Medicine. In fact, favorite choices for the minor include courses in computer science or chemistry. In addition, all students in year 2 and beyond are required to register for Journal Club (BMB 7890) each year. It is expected that most course work will be completed in the first and second years. All coursework must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the College. A minimum G.P.A. of 3.0 must be maintained throughout the program.

Written and Oral exams and dissertation committee
A written comprehensive qualifying exam is required by the end of the first year, followed by an oral exam by their dissertation committee in the subject area of the proposed thesis research. The dissertation committee should ideally be selected in the Year 2 Fall semester, and is composed of the Advisor to the candidate and three other members, including two from the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The third and subsequent years is primarily devoted to dissertation research. Each student in the third year and beyond is required to meet with their dissertation committee once a year (twice if the committee calls for it), to discuss progress in their research projects.