Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Graduate Group

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BMB 705 - Candidacy Exam Prep Class

Spring, every year, 1/2 semester, 1/2 credit

Candidacy Exam Prep Class (BMB 705) Spring, 2012

Instructors, Mark Lemmon, Ronen Marmorstein and Hillary Nelson

Goals: The goal of this class is to prepare each student to write and defend a grant proposal, which is a degree requirement. This is a half-credit class, and is graded.

Your candidacy exam is designed to prepare you for thinking about and performing research at the cutting edge of science. This is the time when you really dig into the literature, define a problem of your own, and articulate not only what you will do but also what you will learn and why it is important. To be sure, this is a large undertaking. Therefore, you should expect that this process will be:

A major goal of this class is to take as much of the guesswork out of writing the proposal as possible. We will work on both the mechanics of writing the proposal as well as the substance of your own specific aims. Thus, writing your proposal should not be frightening, confusing, or worrisome. We want your energy to go into researching, formulating, and writing the proposal, not fretting about it.


You will have three written assignments:

The remainder of the grade is based on:

Example Syllabus

Introduction, Course Organization

Elements of a proposal - For your candidacy exam you need to write a proposal.

Writing 1. Abstracts – All writing has an expected structure

Writing 2. Tell a story – Defining actions and characters

Writing 3. Sentence structure – Reader’s expectations for clear writing

Writing 4. Cohesion and coherence – how to link sentences together to form a paragraph

Mock Study Section.

Mock Study Sections (2-3 classes)

You will participate in a study section in which you will present, defend/attack, and

score the proposals you were assigned.

Oral presentation of Specific Aims (In groups – 4-5 classes)

Students give 15 minute presentation of their Specific Aims, with a maximum of two slides, and receive feedback from students and course directors.