Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program

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Cell and Molecular Biology Ph.D. Objective

cell-5.jpgThe overall objective of the PhD program in Cell and Molecular Biology is for each student to achieve competency in both the coursework and research components of the program and develop critical thinking and communication skills. With this knowledge base and skill set, graduating students will be equipped to pursue a variety of different career options.

To ensure that each student meets the objective of the PhD program, many different competencies will be evaluated, as listed below.

Information gathering and research planning

  • Master basic concepts of biochemistry, cell and molecular biology and incorporate a sufficient knowledge base for the initiation of independent research (course work)
  • Identify a topic of research interest
  • Search for literature relevant to a topic of interest
  • Critically evaluate research publications
  • Organize and integrate information obtained from a literature search
  • Develop informed questions/hypotheses about a research topic
  • Identify long-term research goals relevant to a topic of interest
  • Identify and prioritize accessible research questions/hypotheses that further research goals

Conducting research

  • Master basic laboratory skills
  • Identify feasible methods to test/explore questions/hypotheses
  • Collect and analyze data
  • Critically evaluate data; use results to refine previous hypotheses
  • Work as an effective member of a research team
  • Develop personal responsibility for research
  • Develop responsibility for directing research/teaching laboratory skills

Communication skills

  • Record research activity: the lab notebook
  • Prepare effective data presentations: graphs, tables
  • Organize an oral presentation of research
  • Write a logical, clear research paper for publication

It is expected that the mentor will discuss the above competencies with the student. A formal rating system can be developed (1 = not met, 2 = partially met, 3 = fully met). It is also expected that student progress in achieving these competencies will be shared with and discussed by the graduate program director and the student’s dissertation committee.