Timeline of your degree. This is a typical plan; there will be lots of variation across the different CMB tracks. Please see track specific requirement information below.


First Year

  Summer                                Fall                                       Spring                                        
 Rotations            Optional early rotation                            

Rotation 1
Rotation 2 begins

Rotation 2 continues
Rotation 3 begins
Join permanent lab by May 15


RCR on-line training     
Safety courses                   

MOL 395G
MOL 395J

RCR on-campus training
MOL 395F
MOL 395H

 General info          

ICMB support ends May 31
Lab support begins June 1
Join Track end of August 


Second Year

  Summer                                    Fall                                           Spring                                       
Research             Ongoing →

Courses TA Training Workshop

BIO 384C or BIO 394 grant writing courses
Track-specific req.

Track-specific req.

Teaching   Complete one long-semester teaching requirement (may be completed after 1st year and before end of 4th year)


Qualifying Exam
Apply to Candidacy after passing Qual and required coursework


Third Year





Ongoing; Annual Meeting →


 Track-specific req.
Dissertation Hours 399R, 699R, or 999R (enroll in "R" course the first semester in candidacy only)

Track-specific req.
Dissertation Hours 399W, 699W, or 999W
(enroll in "W" course the second semester in candidacy and every year thereafter until graduation)


Teaching    Complete one long-semester teaching requirement (may be completed after 1st year and before end of 4th year)

General     Annual Committee Meeting every year after admitted to candidacy

Fourth Year - Graduation

  Summer                                   Fall                                          Spring                                     
Research             Ongoing; Annual Meeting →

Track-specific req.
Dissertation hours           

Track-specific req.
Dissertation hours


During your final semester:
File to graduate early in semester
Schedule final defense with committee
Complete all forms, graduation procedures
Meet all deadlines required by Graduate School
All defense and graduation procedures, deadlines and forms can be found here.


Choosing a research adviser and a thesis research project are some of the most significant decisions you will make in graduate school. First year lab rotations provide students the opportunity to explore different research interests and lab management styles prior to the selection of a Ph.D. supervisor. Students will have the opportunity to complete three rotations within the first academic year, with an optional early rotation during the summer.  You may do first year research rotations with any faculty member on the Cell and Molecular Biology, Biochemistry or Microbiology Graduate Studies Committees.

To help make an informed decision about your lab rotations:

  • Attend seminars by faculty members.
  • Meet individually with faculty members.
  • Consult with other graduate students.
  • Complete three research rotations during the first year.

Rotation Schedule for 2016-2017 fiscal year

  • Early Rotation: June 1, 2016 - August 19, 2016
  • Rotation #1: September 5, 2016 - November 11, 2016
  • Rotation #2: November 14, 2016 - February 3, 2017
  • Rotation #3: February 6, 2017 - April 28, 2017

Students join the laboratory of a Ph.D. mentor after rotations (typically by May 15). From that point forward, the emphasis of the student’s training is on laboratory research rather than formal course work.