The goal of the PhD training program is to prepare the student for a professional career in science through the acquisition of a general base of scientific knowledge, the development of logical skills, and a set of methodological tools to identify relevant scientific questions and search for their answers. The students will learn to search the scientific literature and data repositories, and to evaluate and select the relevant information from these sources. They will also learn to communicate clearly with their science colleagues and with the lay public. The ability to challenge current paradigms, and apply critical thinking to new problems is central to this training. The training process is initially mentored by an established scientist, with the end goal of becoming an independent scientist. Nevertheless, in a sense, the training will stretch throughout the scientist’s career, in the postdoctoral years and beyond, with the initial mentoring replaced by continued interactions with peers and students.
The PhD degree is conferred after demonstrating certain competencies:
- Acquisition of general knowledge base in the biomedical sciences.
- Acquisition of deep knowledge in a more specific field within these sciences.
- The ability to identify relevant original questions, and to propose and execute critical experimental designs to address these questions.
- The ability to search and critically evaluate the scientific literature and scientific data.
- Acquisition of oral and written communication skills for scientific peers and the general public.
- Ability to mentor junior scientists.
The PhD degree is offered via the Integrated Program in Biomedical Sciences (IPBS), which consists of six academic tracks of study:
- Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Cell and Molecular Physiology
- Integrative Cell Biology
- Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics
- Microbiology and Immunology
PhD students are admitted into the IPBS, and Dissertation Advisor and track selection occurs at the end of the first year of study. The PhD curriculum is organized to allow for cross-discipline coursework and research to suit the needs and desires of the individual student.