Curriculum & Timeline – First Year

Formal Coursework:  Choice of Two GGSB Tracks: Empirical Track or Computational Track

To obtain a Ph.D. in the Division of Biological Sciences, nine graded courses are required as detailed below.

GGSB has two tracks, one “Empirical Track”, and the other “Computational Biology”. While the two tracks are united by the common goals of using genetic, genomic and systems biology approach to address important biological questions, the training focus is different. Training of the first track is more focused on experimental techniques, especially those quantitative in nature, while the second track builds computational skills of students.  The curriculum of the two tracks, as a result, will be different, as outlined below.

CHOICE #1: GGSB EMPIRICAL TRACK (4 REQUIRED COURSES AND 4 ELECTIVES)

Suggested “tracks” for students interested in concentrating in the Empirical track have been developed by the CSAC. (Model Systems, Population Genetics, Human Genetics, Developmental Genetics, and Genomics & Systems Biology) have been developed by the CSAC. A summary of the five suggested tracks is given in Appendix A.  Students are required to consult with their assigned mentor prior to registration each quarter.

A total of four graded electives must be taken, one of which may be a reading course.  The electives can be selected according to the student’s interests and the availability of courses.

Four  Required Courses:

Genetic Analysis of Model Organisms  AND  Genomics and Systems Biology   

Plus One of the Following Two Courses:

Molecular Biology I OR  Molecular Biology II

Plus One  of the Following Four Courses:

Fundamentals of Molecular Evolution OR  Principles of Population Genetics I OR Evolutionary Genomics OR Human Variation & Disease

Empirical Track Course Electives [4 courses]

  • Must take 4 courses (see list of approved electives).
  • Students may petition the CSAC for approval of courses not listed in this handbook as “approved”.
  • At least 3 of the 4 electives are to be taken before the Preliminary Exam.
  • All 4 electives should be taken before the Qualifying Exam.
  • One of the 4 elective courses may be taken pass/fail subject to CSAC approval.
  • One of the electives may be a graded reading course (see guidelines for reading courses).

CHOICE #2: GGSB COMPUTATIONAL TRACK – 3 REQUIRED COURSES AND 3 CORE ELECTIVES AND 2ADDITIONAL ELECTIVES

Suggested “tracks” for students interested in concentrating in the Computational Biology Track have been developed by the CSAC. (Population Genetics & Evolution, Statistical Genetics, Computational Genomics, and Computational Cell Biology) A summary of the four suggested tracks is given in Appendix B.  Students are required to consult with their assigned mentor prior to registration each quarter.

for additional information please click here to view the Doctoral Training in Computational Genomics website.

Three Required Courses in Computational Biology and Statistics:  

Statistical Theory and Methods I AND Fundamentals of Computational Biology: Models and Inference AND Fundamentals of Computational Biology: Algorithms and Applications

 Plus Three  Core Elective Courses Chosen from the Following List:   

Human Genetics I  OR Genetic Analysis of Model Organisms OR Introductory Statistical Genetics OR Principles of Population Genetics I  OR Evolution of Biological Molecules OR Biophysics of Biomolecules OR Human Variation and Disease OR Genomics and Systems Biology OR  Quantitative Analysis of Biological Dynamics

Plus Two [2] Additional Elective Courses Chosen From the Following List:  

Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology OR Applied Linear Statistical Methods OR Topics in Statistical Machine Learning OR Computational Systems Biology OR Mathematical Computation I – Matrix Computation OR Introduction to Scientific Computing for Biologists OR  Fundamentals of Genetics OR Statistical Theory and Methods II OR Multivariate Statistical Analysis: Applications and Techniques OR Theoretical Ecology OR Pattern Recognition OR Bayesian Analysis and Principles of Statistics OR Statistical Genetics OR Machine Learning  

Computational Track Course Electives [5 courses]:

  • Students may petition the CSAC for approval of courses not listed in this handbook as “approved”.
  • At least 4 of the 5 electives are to be taken before the Preliminary Exam.
  • All 5 electives should be taken before the Qualifying Exam.
  • One of the 5 elective courses may be taken pass/fail subject to CSAC approval.

Click below for a list of GGSB course descriptions, elective and student tracks:

Rotations

All GGSB Students are required to undertake short research projects in at least two different laboratories before beginning their dissertation research. These rotations occur during the Spring and Summer quarters of the first academic year. Spring quarter rotations are 10 weeks long (part-time). Summer quarter rotations are five weeks long (full-time).

Allstars

In addition to the course requirements, all GGSB students attend the Faculty Research Seminar Series (also referred to as “AllStars”), to acquaint themselves with the research community and potential mentors. All first year students in the Biological Sciences Division are required to attend a scientific ethics course.

Preliminary Exam

In September, before the start of the second year of the program, students take the Preliminary Exam as a first step towards candidacy for their Ph.D. This is an oral exam in front of an exam committee during which students present answers to questions