During the first two years, BGS students take a combination of didactic courses, seminars, laboratory rotations, and independent studies. In general they take the equivalent of four course units in the fall and spring semesters and two course units in the summer sessions. After completing their coursework, students are required to undergo the preliminary examination, which is administered by the graduate group. They then arrange to complete their dissertation research in the laboratory of a faculty advisor with the approval of the graduate group. The dissertation progress is monitored by a dissertation committee, which consists of faculty engaged in relevant research. Students are required to meet regularly with their dissertation committee, on a schedule determined by their graduate group. Each graduate group sets its own specific curriculum requirements.
The BGS Office collects and maintains information about courses offered each semester and the course requirements across graduate groups. While BGS generally schedules courses according to the University schedule, it is important to note that not all BGS courses observe the University fall and spring breaks, reading days or exam days.
The BGS Office provides direct staff support and other resources for the two core BGS core courses: BIOM 600 Cell Biology and Biochemistry, which runs in the fall semester, and BIOM 555 Regulation of the Genome, which runs in the spring semester.
This committee is chaired by the Director of BGS and meets two to three times a year to consider new courses, evaluate existing courses, and monitor the performance of students in the first two years of training. The current graduate group representatives on this committee are:
Faculty who propose a new course should have the course approved first by the appropriate graduate group. They are required to send a proposal to the BGS Office and be prepared to present the course to the Curriculum Committee for approval. The proposal should include a detailed course outline and should address the following:
BGS courses with significant enrollments are evaluated at the end of each semester. The student evaluations are summarized by a BGS Curriculum Committee member and discussed at the committee meetings. The review summary and any recommendations are forwarded to the course director and graduate group chairs.