Program Timeline

This is a typical plan; there can be lots of variation.


First Year

  Summer                                 Fall                                       Spring                                 
 Rotations            Optional early rotation                            

Rotation 1
Rotation 2 begins

Rotation 2 continues
Rotation 3
Join permanent lab by 5/15.          


required on-line training          
safety courses                     

BIO 395G
BIO 395J

BIO 395M
BIO 395H     

 General info        


Program support ends 5/31
Lab support begins 6/1


Second Year

  Summer                               Fall                                     Spring                                       
Research             Ongoing →
Courses TA Training Workshop
(must be completed before
the first TA-ship)

Microbiology elective*
BIO 391 Prelim prep

Microbiology elective*


Complete one long-semester teaching requirement**

Exams     Qualifying Exam


*A one semester, 3-credit Microbiology elective is required to complete the doctoral degree.  This course can be taken anytime in the second or third year.

** The one long-semester teaching requirement can be completed in the second or third year.

Third Year

  Summer                               Fall                                     Spring                                      
 Research            Ongoing →

BIO 396R Seminar
Dissertation Hours 
Microbiology elective*

BIO 396R Seminar
Dissertation Hours 
Microbiology elective*


Construct Dissertation
Committee and apply for Candidacy#

First Annual Committee Meeting
(conduct within 6 months of
passing the Qualifying Exam).                             


# Advancement to Candidacy requires: completion of 4 core coures with B or higher, overall GPA of 3.0 or higher, and successful completion of the Qualifying Exam.  Please see below for more details. Candidacy information and application can be found here.

Fourth Year - Graduation

  Summer                                     Fall                                          Spring                                     
Research             Ongoing; Annual Meeting  →

BIO 396R Seminar
Dissertation Hours

BIO 396R Seminar
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.


 Program Requirements



Choosing a research adviser and a dissertation 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 Microbiology, Biochemistry or Cell and Molecular Biology 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 at least three research rotations during the first year.

Rotation Schedule for 2017-2018 fiscal year

  • Early Rotation: June 1, 2017 - August 25, 2017
  • Rotation #1: September 5, 2017 - November 10, 2017
  • Rotation #2: November 13, 2017 - February 2, 2018
  • Rotation #3: February 5, 2018 - April 27, 2018 

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.