Approved by Faculty vote October, 2018

Contents

ADMISSION.. 2

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT APPLICATIONS. 2

TRANSFER FROM MS TO PHD PROGRAM… 2

TRANSFER TO CMB FROM OTHER GRADUATE PROGRAMS AT CSU.. 2

TRANSFER OF CREDIT. 3

SELECTION OF ADVISOR AND GRADUATE COMMITTEE. 3

ANNUAL MEETING WITH GRADUATE ADVISORY COMMITTEE (GAC). 4

LABORATORY ROTATIONS FOR FIRST YEAR STUDENTS. 4

DIRECT RECRUITMENT INTO LABORATORIES. 5

STANDARDS OF PERFORMANCE. 5

GRADUATE ASSISTANTSHIPS. 6

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS. 6

CONTINUOUS REGISTRATION.. 7

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION.. 7

COURSES REQUIRED FOR THE MS DEGREE. 7

COURSES REQUIRED FOR THE PhD DEGREE. 8

COURSES REQUIRED FOR THE CANCER BIOLOGY SPECIALIZATION.. 8

ETHICS, TOPICS, STATISTICS & WRITING ELECTIVES. 9

CMB PREFIX COURSES. 10

OTHER ELECTIVES. 11

SAMPLE CURRICULUM – MS 15

SAMPLE CURRICULUM – PhD 16

EXAMINATIONS. 17

PUBLICATIONS. 21

STUDENT APPEALS OF GRADING DECISIONS. 21

Admission

The admission requirements of the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Degree Program (CMB) include a bachelor’s degree in any of the biological, biochemical, or physical sciences. The university requirements for admission to graduate school apply with the following additions: a minimum of one year each of organic chemistry, physics, and biology; mathematics through differential and integral calculus. A course in biochemistry is highly recommended. Additional science courses such as cell biology, microbiology, developmental biology, immunology, genetics, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, biophysics, physiology, and anatomy are considered in evaluation for admission. Promising students with deficiencies in entrance requirements may be accepted into the program provided all deficiencies are corrected during the first year. This may be accomplished by passing a background examination in the subject, by taking appropriate undergraduate courses, or by successfully completing graduate level courses that require the undergraduate courses as prerequisites.  One advanced examination in an area of science is strongly recommended for consideration of financial aid. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for the general examination are no longer a requirement, but may be submitted if available from the testing center, using the University Code 4075.  Applications are evaluated by the Admissions Committee and recommendations for admission are forwarded to the Graduate School. Final admission decisions are made by the Graduate School.

Students are admitted as graduate teaching assistants (GTA), as graduate research assistants (GRA) or, if they have governmental or other form of fellowship support, as GRA pre – doctoral fellows.

International Student Applications

The CMB Program is also committed to educate students from foreign countries, particularly those from developing countries. Foreign student applicants must meet the same admission requirements as United States applicants (including GRE requirements). In addition, they must show evidence of competence in the written and spoken English language as evidenced by a TOEFL score of 80 (internet – based) or 550 (paper – based) or higher, IELTS score of 6.5 or above, or a PTE Academic Score of 58 or above are also acceptable.

Transfer from MS to PhD Program

Students who have been admitted to the MS Program may apply to enter the PhD program with or without first completing their MS degree.  To be considered, students should provide the Program Director with the following:

  • Two letters of recommendation from CSU Faculty Members (one can be from the advisor)
  • A personal statement describing how a PhD fits into their career goals and what qualities they possess that will allow them to be successful in a PhD program
  • CSU Unofficial Transcript
  • A statement from the PhD advisor describing how the student’s stipend and research project will be supported

These documents along with the student’s original application to the program will be forwarded to the Admissions Committee for evaluation. The committee may also interview the student in person.   If the application is deemed acceptable, the student, Department Head, advisor and CMB Director must sign a letter describing the new commitment that the advisor and department are making to the student, prior to submission of the GS 7 – Change of Program form, that completes the transfer into the PhD program.

Transfer to CMB from Other Graduate Programs at CSU

Students from other programs [such as Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Neurosciences (MCIN), or the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Pathology PhD program] may transfer into the CMB program after the first year of their graduate studies.  On rare occasions, transfers may also be considered at a later point in the degree. In most cases these students will be directly admitted into a laboratory as a GRA.  Students wishing to transfer into CMB must provide the following:

  • Two letters of recommendation from CSU Faculty Members (one can be from the advisor)
  • A personal statement describing how a PhD or MS in Cell & Molecular Biology fits into their career goals and what qualities they possess that will allow them to be successful
  • CSU Unofficial Transcript
  • A statement from the advisor describing how the student’s stipend and research project will be supported

These documents along with the student’s original application to the University (which includes Under Graduate transcripts and GRE scores) will be forwarded to the Admissions Committee for evaluation. The committee may also interview the student in person.   If the application is deemed acceptable, the student, Department Head, advisor and CMB Director must sign a letter describing the commitment that the advisor and department are making to the student, prior to completion of the GS 7 – Change of Program form, that completes the transfer into the CMB program.

Transfer of Credit

Students completing an MS degree at another institution prior to entering the PhD program may transfer up to 30 credits as specified in the Graduate and Professional Bulletin.  Students completing an MS degree at CSU and then immediately entering the PhD program may potentially transfer a higher number of credits with the approval of their Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC). In each case, all transferred credits must be approved by their GAC. In addition, students must continue to participate in CM 792 and CM 793 once per year until they graduate.

Selection of Advisor and Graduate Committee

The Program Director with input from the Academic Committee will advise students concerning course work during the first year.  If a student is admitted as a GRA with direct support from a faculty member, the faculty member will serve as the advisor and co – advise on course selection. After registering, a graduate student must obtain approval from the Academic Committee or their advisor before adding or dropping a course. Students receiving support from the CMB Program or from fellowships generally rotate through three laboratories of their choice during their first two semesters in residence. This experience will allow them to become familiar with potential thesis projects and with several faculty members in their area of interest.

Final selection of an advisor should be made by the end of the second semester following enrollment, but must be made by the end of the first calendar year.  The Advisor, their Department Head, the student and the CMB Program Director will sign a letter describing the commitment that the Department and Advisor are making to the student prior to the student joining a lab.

The advisor and student shall select a Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC) that has expertise relevant to the major areas of the student’s graduate study. A minimum of three members is required for MS degree candidates and four committee members for PhD degree candidates, at least two (MS) and three (PhD) of the committee members must be members of the CMB faculty. In addition, the Graduate School requires the appointment of an outside member. This member must be a faculty member whose primary appointment is outside the home department of the student’s advisor. Faculty from outside of the University may also be appointed to committees (see the CMB Program Code for details).   The CMB Program Director and / or Academic Committee may require changes to the committee structure or request justification prior to approving the GS6.  This may be necessary to address, for example, conflicts of interest (e.g. committee members have a marital or mentor / mentee relationship) or perceived lack of relevant scientific expertise.  The development of a formal plan of course work and research activities is the responsibility of the GAC.

The GAC should be selected and meet within three months of selecting an advisor to prepare the formal plan of study (Form GS 6 – Program of Study). Subsequently, this committee should meet annually, or more frequently if necessary, to advise a student and to submit an evaluation of the student’s progress in completing their academic requirements and thesis research.

The procedures required for graduation are detailed by the Graduate School in the Graduate and Professional Bulletin.

Annual Meeting with Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC)

Annual Performance Evaluation by Graduate Advisory Committee

To assist in the evaluation of a student’s progress in research, each student must meet annually with their Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC). This annual evaluation will consist of the following:

  1. Completion of the progress report form. This form can be found on the CMB website and should be initiated at the time of the first GAC meeting and updated annually. Part 1 comprises sections describing progress in courses, professional development, teaching, mentoring, presentation skills and outreach.  In Parts 2 and 3, the student and advisor are each asked to assess the student’s development and progress. In part 4 the student should summarize their research progress. The first research summary should be prepared at the time of the first GAC meeting and should describe the student’s future research goals.  Subsequent research reports should briefly summarize the goals of the research and the progress made since the previous meeting with the Graduate Advisory Committee. The progress report must be distributed to the members of the Advisory committee at least one week before the scheduled meeting of the committee.  The GAC are asked to sign the progress report and a copy should be provided to the CMB coordinator within one week of its completion. Students beyond their first year who fail to submit an annual progress report to the CMB program coordinator by February 1 each year will have a hold placed on their registration for the fall semester and will be required to petition the CMB Academic Committee to get the hold removed.
  2. A research seminar in CM 793. Students are required to enroll once per year in CM 793 starting in their first year, and present a seminar in this course describing their progress in research starting their second year. Students should inform their committee well in advance of the date of their scheduled seminar and strongly encourage members of their GAC to attend. Optimally, students should give their written progress report to their committee a week prior to their research seminar and a meeting should be scheduled within two weeks after the seminar to clarify questions raised by the progress report and the seminar, and to solicit guidance and suggestions from the GAC concerning goals, methods, and evaluation of the research. The GAC members may evaluate the presentation as part of the progress report.

Laboratory Rotations for First Year Students

The advisor – student relationship is unique and it is the mutual strength, respect, and stimulus of this relationship that promotes scientific achievement. First – year PhD students who receive support from the CMB Program generally complete three laboratory rotations during the first two semesters in residence. The aim of this program is to introduce students to a variety of research approaches, techniques and projects, and to aid students in choosing an advisor for their dissertation research. The goal of each rotation is to allow the student to accomplish some research and to experience the culture of the laboratory. Students are expected to attend group meetings of the laboratories through which they rotate and complete some original research while learning the techniques and approaches of different disciplines.  At the end of each rotation the student should meet with the advisor to discuss their performance and the advisor will complete a Rotation Report that will be shared with the student and the CMB Program Coordinator and will be used to determine satisfactory performance for grading of Independent Study (CM 595 / CM 795) credits.  The Rotation Report form can be found on the CMB website and must be submitted to the Director within one week of completing a rotation.

Entering students will participate in an orientation program (CM 510) that will begin during the week prior to the first day of classes and also in training in experimental design (MIP 611: Advanced Microbiological Research Methods). The orientation will provide students with information on the breadth of research conducted by faculty in the program, the available research resources on campus, and faculty who are willing to provide laboratory rotations. It will also prepare students for graduate school and their future career. Students will submit a list of their preferred rotations. Matches will be made in consultation with the Academic Committee and / or Program Director.  Students will begin the first rotation in August and the second rotation in October. The third rotation begins in early January. The selection of an advisor should occur shortly after Spring break.  This allows the student maximum flexibility in making their final choice of advisor. In the unlikely event that a student has not found a good match they may complete a fourth rotation before the end of the Spring semester. After this time students who have not found a lab may approach additional faculty for further rotations but cannot rely on the CMB Program for stipend support.  A student who has not found an advisor by the start of the Fall semester following admission risks dismissal from the CMB program due to inability to make progress on the research portion of their studies.

In consultation with the Director or Academic Committee, PhD students should register for a variable number of CM 795 credits (Independent Study) for these lab rotations.

Direct Recruitment into Laboratories

Faculty will be allowed to recruit incoming students directly to their laboratories to immediately begin work on a thesis or dissertation project. Such students must be approved for admission into the CMB program by the Admissions Committee and the Graduate School and must be supported by funds other than those of the CMB Program, generally in the form of a teaching or research assistantship or fellowship.  The Admissions Committee must approve the advisor’s plan to support the student’s stipend and research project prior to admission of the student. Such students will not participate in rotations.

To protect the interests of the student in the unlikely event that the student and faculty member are incompatible, students who are recruited by a faculty member have the opportunity to change laboratories at the end of the spring semester, if they so desire. The laboratory that supported the student through the first year would have no hold on the student and would not be reimbursed for their support during the first year. Of course, the faculty member would have no further obligation regarding funding of students who left their laboratory.

Standards of Performance

The academic and research performance of each student is evaluated annually by the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC) and the advisor and the signed progress report must be submitted to the CMB Program to be put in the student’s file. Unsatisfactory performance in course work, laboratory rotations, or research is grounds for probation or dismissal from the CMB program following Graduate School guidelines. In course work, an unsatisfactory performance is based upon grade point average. For laboratory rotation and research, unsatisfactory grades are assigned based upon a comparison with the performance of successful students in similar disciplines. This requirement is to assure that students are making adequate progress and that failure to progress satisfactorily is addressed expeditiously. Following a committee meeting the GAC may recommend that the advisor enter a grade of U for research credits, or the committee may provide a letter describing unsatisfactory progress which can be shared with the CMB Academic Committee and the Dean of the Graduate School.  A student in this position will be required to hold another committee meeting after four months which will be attended by a member of the Academic Committee.  If there is no improvement the GAC may recommend to the Graduate School that the student be dismissed from the program. Each student must maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.00 in all didactic course work taken during their graduate program at Colorado State University, achieve a B or higher in all core courses and receive satisfactory grades in Independent Study and Thesis Research courses. After a second semester in which a student fails to attain a cumulative average of 3.00 or receives unsatisfactory grades in research / independent study, they will be dismissed in accordance with Graduate School procedures. Any exception must be initiated by the student in the form of a petition to the student’s GAC, or the CMB Director, if no GAC has been established. The advisor or the director may then appeal to the Dean of the Graduate School for reinstatement.

After completing three years in the MS program or six years in the PhD program, students must formulate a written plan for completion including a timeline that should be reviewed by the Program Academic Committee and their GAC.  At any time after this point the CMB Director may call a meeting of the GAC to review the student’s progress and performance.  This meeting and any subsequent meetings may be attended by the CMB Director or a member of the CMB Executive or Academic Committee.

Any time that a student experiences an event or issue that impacts their ability to make progress on their degree for more than three months, they should notify the CMB Program Coordinator or Director as well as their advisor.  The information will be kept confidential but will allow the Program to intervene and provide support and guidance.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships may be awarded to students who enter with a GPA of 3.00 or above. These are awarded on a competitive basis and most start at the beginning of the fall semester. A student entering with less than a 3.00 GPA is usually eligible only after he / she has completed one semester with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Any student holding a Graduate Assistantship and failing to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 will lose such support immediately and will be eligible again only after raising his / her cumulative GPA to 3.00 or above.

Students entering with support as a Graduate Teaching Assistant from the CMB Program receive a monthly stipend at least equivalent to either that recommended by the National Institutes of Health ($2068 per month in 2018) or the minimum stipend set by the Graduate School, whichever is higher.  Stipend is base-funded and tuition is provided by the GTA/GSA Base Tuition Program. Alternative and subsequent support for graduate students are provided through diverse sources, including fellowships, research grants awarded to faculty members, and GTA-ships from various departments that utilize different guidelines. However, the goal of the CMB Program is that all students should receive a stipend of at least that recommended by the NIH, or the level set by the departmental program of their advisor if it is greater than the NIH stipend.  The CMB stipend is currently set at $2111 per month.

The Graduate School provides a health insurance contribution to help offset the cost of health insurance to graduate assistants who meet all of the following criteria each fall and / or spring semester:

  • appointed to a 25% (10 hours per week) or more assistantship (GTA, GRA, GSA) by the end of the regular add / drop period in either fall or spring semester or both,
  • enrolled in CSU health insurance, and
  • enrolled in five or more resident-instruction credits (Audits, Continuous Registration, and CSU Online credits do not meet the Resident Instruction enrollment criteria for this policy).

    Students who have advanced to candidacy and are appointed to a graduate research assistantship are expected to devote a full-time effort to their research. It is the responsibility of the advisor to designate the work load. Graduate Assistants are considered temporary employees by the University and, as such, do not earn vacation time. The general CMB Program leave policy is two weeks per year for all Graduate Assistants, subject to approval of their advisor.

Graduation Requirements

The graduation requirements will in general follow those outlined in the current Graduate and Professional Bulletin. During the first two semesters, MS and PhD candidates are expected to complete graduate courses in Molecular Regulation of Cell Function (BC 565) and Molecular Genetics (BC 563) as well as CM 510 (Introduction to CMB) and MIP 611 (Advanced Microbiological Research Methods). All students must enroll in graduate seminar (CM 793), in which each student presents their thesis research, and CMB Seminar (CM 792) in which invited speakers present their research.  These two seminar courses aim to create community within the program and allow the program to evaluate student progress.  Every CMB student must enroll in these courses once each academic year in either the spring or fall.  STEM Communication (GRAD 550) is required and can be completed in the first or second year.  Appropriate courses to complete the elective requirements for Ethics, Statistics, Topic (CM 700 preferred) and Writing, along with additional courses appropriate for the planned thesis research, may be established by the Graduate Advisory Committee.

To advance to candidacy for the PhD degree, students are required to pass a preliminary examination administered by the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee according to the procedures described in the Preliminary Examination section of this booklet and in the Graduate and Professional Bulletin. The  MS Plan A degree in Cell and Molecular Biology is a research – oriented degree, so the Plan A Master’s thesis must be based upon laboratory research. The MS degree is not a prerequisite for the PhD degree.

The completion of a thesis is necessary for both the MS Plan A and PhD degrees. Each candidate is required to present a formal seminar summarizing their research and to pass a formal thesis defense administered by the Graduate Advisory Committee. In special cases a  MS Plan B degree may be awarded. The MS Plan B degree does not require a thesis, but does require a written report on a topic approved by the GAC and an oral exam.  The final corrected and approved thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School within one semester of the thesis defense. Any exception must be initiated by the student in the form of a petition to the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee.  If the thesis is not submitted in this time frame, the student will be considered to be making unsatisfactory progress towards the degree.  After two semesters, the GAC may recommend to the Graduate School that the student be dismissed from the program with no degree.

Continuous Registration

During periods where a student is not utilizing University Resources (other than library and computing resources) they may enroll in Continuous Registration (CR).  Examples of appropriate use of CR include medical or family leave, internships, and reaching the point of writing the dissertation full time.  In each of these cases, CR must be approved by the advisor and the GAC and the request must be accompanied by a plan for completion of the degree.  The form for CR approval will be provided by the CMB Program Coordinator upon request and is specific to CMB.  It must be completed for the first, fourth and eighth semesters of CR and signed by the student’s entire GAC then submitted to the CMB Office for record – keeping.  In general, students should require a maximum of two consecutive semesters of CR. CR may be used for the summer semester without approval when the student is planning to graduate during the summer.  At all other times students should register for Independent Study or Dissertation Credits that reflect the time being spent in the laboratory (three hours per credit per week).  Further details on CR can be found in the Graduate and Professional Bulletin.

Diversity and Inclusion

The CMB Program recognizes that each student has a unique set of merits, experiences and challenges and we value this diversity.  The Program is committed to giving every student the best possible chance for success.  With this in mind, members of the Academic and / or Executive Committee will work with individual students and their advisors to map out alternative paths to graduation if they find they cannot easily fit into the traditional path.

Courses Required for the MS Degree

Course NumberTitleCredits
BC 563Molecular Genetics4
BC 565Molecular Regulation of Cell Function
4
CM 510introduction to Cell & Molecular Biology1
CM 595Independent Study 1-3
CM 699Thesis (for Plan A)     1-4
CM 792†   Cell and Molecular Biology Seminar   1
CM 793†   Graduate Seminar   1
GRAD 550                                                STEM Communication 1
MIP 611Advanced Microbiological Research Methods 4
Ethics Elective*At least 1 credit in Ethical Conduct of Science1-3
Electives **At least 4 credits in regular graduate level courses4-8
Total Credits30

The MS degree requires 12 credits of upper level (500 or above) didactic course work. A total of 30 Credits are required.

Any variation from the required courses must be approved by the Academic Committee and the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee. Requests for course substitutions or omissions must be submitted to the Academic Committee by the student in writing. Each graduate student must present a seminar of his / her work before graduating.

It is the responsibility of each graduate student to know and meet all requirements of the Graduate School. These are listed in the Colorado State University Graduate and Professional Bulletin, Handbook on Graduate Study, and Guidelines for Graduate Advising and Committee Service. The latter two publications will be sent to students during the first term they are registered.

† Students are required to take CM 792 and CM 793 once each academic year starting in the first year.  Thus, if a student takes two years to complete the MS degree they will complete two Credits each of these courses.

* Ethics, Statistics, Topics and Writing Electives: Acceptable courses are listed below. Others may be substituted with approval of the Graduate Advisory Committee and Program Director.
 

Courses Required for the PhD

Course NumberTitleCredits
BC 563Molecular Genetics 4
BC 565Molecular Regulation of Cell Function 4
CM 510introduction to Cell & Molecular Biology1
CM 792†   Cell and Molecular Biology Seminar   4 or more
CM 793† Graduate Seminar4 or more
CM 795Independent Study ≥1
CM 799Dissertation≥1
GRAD 550  STEM Communication1
MIP 611Advanced Microbiological Research Methods 4
Ethics Elective*At least 1 credit in Ethical Conduct of Science1-3
Statistics Elective*At least 3 credits in graduate level Statistics3-4
Topics Elective* At least 2 credits in Topics/Literature Review2
Writing Elective*At least 1 credit in a graduate level Writing1-3
Other Electives **At least 6 credits in regular graduate coursesvariable
Total Credits72

Any variation from the required courses must be approved by the Academic Committee and the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee. Requests for course substitutions or omissions must be submitted to the Academic Committee by the student in writing. Each graduate student must present a seminar of their work before graduating.

It is the responsibility of each graduate student to know and meet all requirements of the Graduate School. These are listed in the Colorado State University Graduate and Professional Bulletin, Handbook on Graduate Study, and Guidelines for Graduate Advising and Committee Service. The latter two publications will be sent to students during the first term they are registered.

† Students are required to take CM 792 and CM 793 once each academic year starting in the first year.  Thus, if a student takes two years to complete the MS degree they will complete 2 Credits each of these courses.  Similarly, if a student takes five years to complete the PhD, they will take each course five times for a total of five Credits each.  These courses will only be taken once per year.

* Ethics, Statistics, Topics and Writing Electives: Acceptable courses are listed below. Others may be substituted with approval of the Graduate Advisory Committee and Program Director.

** Electives:  Cell and Molecular Biology courses listed below, possible elective courses offered by other departments listed below, and on the CMB website, but these lists are not exhaustive.  Other courses may be required by the Graduate Advisory Committee.

Courses Required for the Cancer Biology Specialization

CMB students may elect to specialize in Cancer Biology which leads to a Specialization noted on their transcript.  In addition to the CMB PhD requirements, at least five credits must be selected from courses below:

CourseTitleCredits
ERHS 611Cancer Genetics2
ERHS 510Cancer Biology3
VS 718Cancer Biology Clinical Practicum2
ERHS 733Environmental Carcinogenesis3

In addition, students specializing in Cancer Biology may satisfy the CM 792 seminar requirement by attending Clinical Oncology Seminar / Journal Club.

Any variation from the required courses must be approved by the Academic Committee and the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee. Requests for course substitutions or omissions must be submitted to the Academic Committee by the student in writing. Each graduate student must present a seminar of his / her work before graduating.

It is the responsibility of each graduate student to know and meet all requirements of the Graduate School. These are listed in the Colorado State University Graduate and Professional Bulletin, Handbook on Graduate Study, and Guidelines for Graduate Advising and Committee Service. The latter two publications will be sent to students during the first term they are registered.

 

Ethics, Statistics, Topics and Writing Electives

Ethics Electives:

All CMB Students must take at least 1 credit covering Ethical Conduct of Science.

Ethics Electives Course List

Choose a minimum 1 – 3 credits
CourseTitleCreditsOffered
CM 666 / PHIL 666Science and Ethics3Spring
BC 601Responsible Conduct in Biochemistry 1Spring in Even Years
MIP 654Research Policies & Regulations 1Fall
GRAD 544Ethical Conduct of Research1Fall / Spring
NSCI 575Ethical Issues in Big Data Research1Fall
CM 601 Responsible Conduct of Research in CMB1Spring

 

Statistics Electives:

CMB PhD students must take at least 3 credits of graduate level Statistics.

Statistics Electives Course List

Choose a minimum 3 – 4 credits
CourseTitleCreditsOffered
STAT 511ADesign & Data Analysis for Researchers I4Fall / Spring
STAT 512Design & Data Analysis for Researchers II4Spring
STAT 540Data Analysis & Regression4Fall
ERHS 542Biostatistical Methods for Qualitative Data3Fall
ERHS 544 / STAT 544Biostatistical Methods for Quantitative Data3Spring
VS 562Applied Data Analysis3Spring
VS 733Advanced Veterinary Epidemiology4Spring

Courses listed under the STAA prefix may also be considered and can be taken online or on campus.

 

Topics / Literature Electives:

CMB PhD Students must take at least two credits of graduate level Topics/Literature Analysis classes.  CM 700 is preferred but other courses may be substituted.

Topics Electives Course List

Choose a minimum 1 – 18 credits
CourseTitleCreditsOffered
CM 700Critical Analysis of the Literature1Fall / Spring
MIP 700Topics in Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology1Fall / Spring
BC 692Topics in Animal Development1Spring
HES 796Group Study1Fall / Spring
BMS 796A / NB 796CTopics in Neuroscience1Fall / Spring
BC 711Advanced Topics in Structural Biology1Fall / Spring
BC 763Advanced Molecular Genetics Topics1Fall / Spring
BSPM 502Topics in Plant Pathology1Fall
CBE 707Advanced Topics in Biochemical Engineering1Fall
CHEM 651Special Topics in ChemistryvariableFall / Spring
FSHN 650Recent Developments in Human Nutrition2Fall / Spring
SOCR 730Topics in Plant Breeding & Genetics1Fall
HORT 601Current Topics in Root & Rhizosphere Biology2Spring

 

Writing Electives:

CMB PhD students must take at least 1 credit of courses covering Scientific Writing.  These may focus on grant writing and/or manuscript writing.  The writing elective should be completed prior to taking the preliminary exam.

Writing Electives Course List

Choose a minimum 1 – 3 credits
CourseTitleCreditsOffered
CM 640Creative Science Writing3Spring
CM 701IPlanning Research & Grant Proposals2Fall / Spring
MIP 666Writing Scientific Manuscripts3Fall
MIP 680Grant Writing1Spring
BC 701Grant Proposal Writing & Reviewing1Fall
BIOM 750 Grant Proposal Writing and Reviewing1Fall
NB 771Writing, Submitting, and Reviewing Grants1Fall
BSPM 530 / SOCR 530Scientific Writing2Spring
BZ 544Presenting Research in Biology2Fall
HES 700Professional Skills in Bioenergetics3Fall

 

CM Prefix Courses

CourseTitleCreditsOffered
CM 640Creative Science Writing3Spring
CM 701Planning Research & Grant Proposals2Fall / Spring
CM 505Nucleic Acids for Non-Life Scientists1Fall
CM 510Introduction to Cell & Molecular Biology1Fall
CM 506Protein Basics for Non-Biologists1Fall
CM 595MS Independent StudyvariableFall / Spring
CM 699MS ThesisvariableFall / Spring
CM 700Critical Analysis of the Literature1Fall / Spring
CM 702BMethods in Cell & Molecular Biology: Mammalian Tissue Culture1Fall of Even Years
CM 702DMethods in Cell & Molecular Biology: Radiation Cytogenetics1Fall of Odd Years
CM 792Cell & Molecular Biology Seminar - must be taken once each Academic Year1Fall / Spring
CM 793Graduate Seminar - must be taken once each Academic Year1Fall / Spring
CM 784Supervised College TeachingvariableFall / Spring
CM 795PhD Independent StudyvariableFall / Spring
CM 799PhD DissertationvariableFall / Spring
CM 666 / PHIL 666Science and Ethics3Spring of Odd Years

Other Electives

CMB faculty have interests aligned with several different research fields.  Students wishing to gain additional training in one of these areas may find the lists of electives below helpful.  This list is not exhaustive and other courses may be applied towards the degree if the Program Director and/or the student’s advisory committee approves.

 

Regulation of Gene Expression

Many of the courses offered through Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) are pertinent to this research focus.

CourseTitleLimited Offering
BC 511Structural Biology I
BC 512Principles of Macromolecular Structure
BC 611Structural Biology II
BC 663Gene Expression
BC 665Advanced Cell Biology
BC 665 AAdvanced Topics in Cell Regulation: Microscopic Methods
BSPM 540Understanding Genomes
BZ 576Genetics of Model OrganismsFall, Even Years
CBE 570Biomolecular Engineering / Synthetic BiologySpring
CS 548Bioinformatics Algorithms
CS 580Programming for the Life Sciences
MIP 543RNA Biology
MIP 570Functional Genomics

 

Infectious Disease 

Many of the courses offered through Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology (MIP) are pertinent to this research focus.

CourseTitle
MIP 540Biosafety in Research Laboratories
MIP 530Advanced Molecular Virology
MIP 636Mechanisms of Viral Infection and Diseases
MIP 533Epidemiology of Infectious Disease
MIP 555Principles and Mechanisms of Disease
MIP 628Immunity to Infection


Cancer Biology

Many of the courses offered through Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences (ERHS) are pertinent to this research focus

CourseTitle
ERHS 530Radiological Physics and Dosimetry I
ERHS 532Epidemiologic Methods
ERHS 542Biostatistical Methods for Qualitative Data
ERHS 544 / STAT 544Biostatistical Methods for Quantitative Data
ERHS 550Principles of Radiation Biology
ERHS 630Radiological Physics and Dosimetry II
ERHS 640Advanced Epidemiology
ERHS 701Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Modalities
ERHS 714Radiation Therapy Physics
ERHS 721Radiation Oncology
ERHS 751Advanced Radiation Biology I
ERHS 753Advanced Radiation Biology II
ERHS 770Radiation Biology Basic to Tumor Therapy
MIP 651Immunobiology
VS 750Clinical and Applied Pharmacology

 

Plant Biology

Many of the courses offered through Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management (BSPM), Horticulture (HORT), Biology, and Soil & Crop Sciences (SOCR) are pertinent to this research focus.

CourseTitleLimited Offering
BSPM 510Insect Plant Disease Relationships
BSPM 526Evolutionary Ecology
BSPM 540Understanding Genomes
BSPM 550 Molecular Plant - Microbe Interactions
BZ 555Reproduction in Higher Plants Spring, Even Years
BZ 570Molecular Aspects of Plant Development
BZ 572Phytoremediation
BZ 642Plant Metabolism
FSHN 508International Nutrition and World Hunger
FTEC 578 / HORT 578Phytochemicals and Probiotics for Health
HORT 571Soil - Plant - Water Relations / Water Stress
HORT 575Plant Germplasm Conservation
HORT 675 Plant Stress Physiology
HORT 580 Phytochemicals to Improve Human HealthMultiple Campuses
SOCR 535 Origin and Evolution of Cultivated Plants
SOCR 540 Soil - Plant Nutrient Relationships
SOCR 720 Advanced Plant Breeding
SOCR 725 Quantitative Inheritance in Plant Breeding
SOCR 730 Topics in Plant Breeding and Genetics
SOCR 731 Plant Breeding Data Management
BSPM 740 / SOCR 740 Plant Molecular Genetics


Metabolic Regulation

Many of the courses offered through Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) and Heath and Exercise Science (HES) are pertinent to this research focus.

CourseTitleLimited Offering
BMS 500Mammalian Physiology I
BMS 501Mammalian Physiology II
BMS 631Mechanisms of Hormone Action
BMS 632Metabolic Endocrinology
BMS 640Reproductive Physiology and Endocrinology
CHEM 541Organic Spectroscopy
CHEM 566Bioinorganic Chemistry
NB 501Cellular and Molecular Neurophysiology
NB 750Physiology of Ion Channels
VS 628Physiology and Pathophysiology
VS 750Clinical and Applied Pharmacology
ERHS 502Fundamentals of Toxicology
ERHS 510 Cancer Biology
ERHS 602Toxicological Pathology
FSHN 675Regulation of Energy Intake
FSHN 504 MicronutrientsOnline Course
FSHN 505Nutrition and Physical Activity in AgingOnline Course
FSHN 540Nutrigenomics and Advanced Lipid Metabolism
FSHN 550Advanced Nutritional Science I
FSHN 551Advanced Nutritional Science II
FSHN 630 / HES 630Integrative Exercise and Nutrition Metabolism
FTEC 578Phytochemicals and Probiotics for Health
HES 610Exercise Bioenergetics
HES 704Advanced Topics in Human Bioenergetics
HES 710Exercise in Disease Prevention
HES 730Cardiovascular Pathophysiology
HES 735Human Cardiovascular Control
HES 793Bioenergetics Seminar

 

Neuroscience and Molecular Physiology

Many of the courses offered through the Molecular and Cellular Integrative Neurosciences Program (MCIN / NB) are pertinent to this research focus.

CourseTitle
BMS 500Cellular and Molecular Neurophysiology
BMS 503 / NB 503 Developmental Neurobiology
BMS 545Neuroanatomy
NB 500Readings in Cellular Neurobiology
NB 505Neuronal Circuits, Systems & Behavior
NB 600Advanced Psychology - Sensation and Perception
NB 750 Physiology of Ion Channels
NB 771Writing, Submitting, and Reviewing Grants
NB 793Neuroscience Seminar
NB 796*Varied Group Studies (*A - E)

 

Reproductive and Developmental Biology

CourseTitle
BMS 500Mammalian Physiology I
BMS 501Mammalian Physiology II
BMS 631Mechanisms of Hormone Action
BMS 632Metabolic Endocrinology
BMS 640Reproductive Physiology and Endocrinology

Many of the courses offered through Biomedical Sciences (BMS) are pertinent to this research focus.

 

Quantitative Biology

Many of the courses offered through Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology (MIP), Computer Sciences (CS), Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management (BSPM), Data Science (CNS DSCI), Mathematics (MATH), Botany / Zoology (BZ), and Natural Sciences (NSCI) are pertinent to this research focus.

CourseTitle
MIP 570Functional Genomics
CS 425Introduction to Bioinformatics Algorithms
CS 548Bioinformatics Algorithms
BSPM 540Understanding Genomes
DSCI 510Linux as a Computational Platform
DSCI 511Genomics Data Analysis in Python
DSCI 512RNA - Sequencing Data Analysis
MIP / BZ 565Next Generation Sequencing Platform / Libraries
MATH 532Mathematical Modeling of Large Data Sets
MATH 676Topics in Mathematics
GRAD 510Fundamentals of High Performance Computing
GRAD 511High Performance Computing and Visualization
STAT 600Statistical Computing
BZ 360Bioinformatics and Genomics
MIP / BZ 578Genetics of Natural Populations
MIP / BZ 577Computer Analysis in Population Genetics
NSCI 677Microscopic Image Collection & Processing

This is a rapidly growing area at CSU and more courses are likely to be available soon….

 

Career Development

Business & Management

CourseTitle
MGT 450 Biomedical Entrepreneurship I
MGT 305Fundamentals of Management
MGT 320Contemporary Management Principles / Practices
BMS 610AManaging a Career in Science: Survival Skills for Coursework (M.S.)

 

Safety, Philosophy & Ethics

CourseTitle
MIP 540Biosafety in Research Laboratories
PHIL 564Seminar in Animal Rights
HIST 463Science and Technology in Modern History

 

Scientific Journalism & Communication

CourseTitle
JTC 372Web Design and Management
JTC 461Writing About Science, Health, and Environment
JTC 464Technical Communication
JTC 465Specialized and Technical Editing
JTC 501Process and Effects of Communication
JTC 660Communication and Innovation
JTC 662Communicating Science and Technology
GRAD 550STEM Communication
MIP 666Writing Scientific Manuscripts


Teaching

CMB students are encouraged to work towards a Graduate Teaching Certificate through The Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT).

Sample Curriculum – MS

This is based on a Plan A – MS degree requiring a thesis. It may be possible to compete the requirements in fewer than four semesters. A Plan A Masters degree requires 30 credits of which 12 credits are at the 500 level or above in regular course work.

Suggested First Semester Courses for MS Degree

Course NumberTitleCredits
BC 563Molecular Genetics4
CM 510introduction to Cell & Molecular Biology1
CM 595Independent Study credits to fill schedulevariable
MIP 611Advanced Microbiological Research Methods 4

Suggested Second Semester Courses for MS Degree

Course NumberTitleCredits
BC 565Molecular Regulation of Cell Function
4
CM 595Independent Study credits to fill schedule1-3
CM 792  Cell and Molecular Biology Seminar   1
CM 793  Graduate Seminar   1
Ethics Elective1-3

Suggested Third Semester Courses for MS Degree

Course NumberTitleCredits
CM 699Thesis (for Plan A)     1-4
CM 792  Cell and Molecular Biology Seminar   1
GRAD 550                                                STEM Communication 1
Electivesvariable

Suggested Fourth Semester Courses (if needed) for MS Degree

Course NumberTitleCredits
CM 699Thesis (for Plan A)     1-4
CM 793 Graduate Seminar1
Electivesvariable

Note that the coursework described here may differ from the Approved CMB Curriculum due to the fact that approval of changes in the curriculum takes up to a year.  Any updated and Approved CMB Curriculum takes precedence for new admissions past the approval date.  The coursework described here is what is currently recommended, available and approved by the CMB Faculty.

Sample Curriculum – PhD

A PhD degree requires 72 credits of which 37 credits are at the 500 level or above in regular course work.

Suggested First Semester Courses for PhD Degree

Course NumberTitleCredits
BC 563Molecular Genetics 4
CM 510introduction to Cell & Molecular Biology1
CM 795Independent Study credits to fill schedule variable
MIP 611Advanced Microbiological Research Methods 4

Suggested Second Semester Courses for PhD Degree

Course NumberTitleCredits
BC 565Molecular Regulation of Cell Function 4
CM 792  Cell and Molecular Biology Seminar   1
CM 793Graduate Seminar1
CM 795Independent Study credits to fill schedulevariable
Ethics ElectiveAt least 1 credit in Ethical Conduct of Science1-3
Statistics ElectiveAt least 3 credits in graduate level Statistics3-4

Suggested Third Semester Courses for PhD Degree

Course NumberTitleCredits
CM 792†   Cell and Molecular Biology Seminar   4 or more
CM 700Critical Analysis of the Literature1
CM 795Independent Study credits to fill schedule variable
GRAD 550  STEM Communication1
Writing Elective*At least 1 credit in a graduate level Writing1-3
Other Electivesvariable

Suggested Fourth Semester Courses for PhD Degree

Course NumberTitleCredits
CM 700  Critical Analysis of the Literature   1
CM 793Graduate Seminar1
CM 795Independent Study credits to fill schedulevariable
Electivesvariable

Suggested Courses for PhD Degree beyond the Fourth Semester

Course NumberTitleCredits
CM 793Graduate Seminar1
CM 795Independent Study credits to fill schedulevariable
CM 799Dissertation to be taken last semester while writing Dissertationvariable
Electivesvariable

Note that the coursework described here may differ from the Approved CMB Curriculum due to the fact that approval of changes in the curriculum takes up to a year.  Any updated and Approved CMB Curriculum takes precedence for new admissions past the approval date.  The coursework described here is what is currently recommended, available and approved by the CMB Faculty.

Examinations

See the current Graduate and Professional Bulletin for details concerning administration of examinations and requirements for submitting specific forms to the Graduate School Office including graduation requirements.

Final MS Examination – The final examination will be oral and is conducted by the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee that is chaired by their advisor. The examination for Plan “A” is primarily a defense of the student’s thesis. The examination for Plan “B” is based upon the completed course work and the topic selected for the final report due under Plan “B”. A copy of the thesis/report must be circulated to the student’s Graduate Committee at least two weeks before the final examination. All CMB faculty and students are invited to attend. The graduate student has the responsibility to check with each committee member in order to schedule a suitable time and place for the oral examination, and to inform the CMB Administrative Assistant so that the CMB faculty can be notified at least two weeks in advance of the examination.

Preliminary Examination for PhD Degree – After formal acceptance into a PhD degree program and completion of major course requirements, a comprehensive preliminary examination is administered to determine if the student is qualified to continue toward the doctorate degree. This examination should ascertain the student’s potential to become a research scientist capable of making significant contributions to their field of learning. Therefore, during the examination the student will be expected to demonstrate their ability to interrelate knowledge and concepts acquired in undergraduate and graduate courses, with emphasis on the specific courses listed under Minimum Graduation Requirements, and to be able to apply these concepts to a fundamental research investigation.

Students are expected to have knowledge beyond the scope of the research area with which they are affiliated. Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of material taught in the required core courses and the completed elective courses. These subject areas are considered to be the basic foundation for cell and molecular biologists and are covered on the oral preliminary examination.

Timing

The comprehensive preliminary exam is to be administered by the end of the 5th semester in the graduate program (Fall semester of 3rd year) by which time the student should have completed all of the required classes.  For students transferring from MCIN, the preliminary exam should be completed by the end of the 5th semester after enrolling at CSU.  For students transferring from other programs (e.g. Resident/PhD students) the timeframe for completing the preliminary exam should be defined through discussion with the GAC and the CMB Program Office notified of the expected date of completion.  Failure to comply with these requirements will result in the CMB Graduate Education Office placing a hold on registration.  Exceptions may be made in extraordinary circumstances but must be approved by the CMB Academic Committee and the CMB Program Director.  The student is responsible for notifying the CMB Program Office of intent to hold the examination. In addition, the student will provide the CMB Program Office with documentation (copies of the GS 16 – Report of Preliminary Examination for the PhD Degree form, the proposal and the examiners’ evaluation) upon completion of the exam, regardless of the outcome.

A suggested timeline of the examination process is provided below, additional explanation contained below the table:

Early Fall Semester of Second yearAll Second year students should attend a Preliminary Exam Information Meeting during which the format and timing of the CMB Preliminary Exam will be discussed.
Fall or Spring Semester of Second yearThe student should prepare a research proposal on their own project, either as part of a grant writing class and / or in close collaboration with the primary advisor. This proposal should be shared with the examination committee at least one week ahead of a Pre-Exam Committee Meeting along with a copy of the “Guidelines for the Comprehensive Preliminary Exam” (this document).
Spring / Summer of Second year or Early Fall of Third yearA Pre-Exam Committee Meeting should be held at which the first research proposal will be approved / discussed. In addition, the role of the advisor, chair of the committee and format and date of the exam will be finalized. This committee meeting may also double as the student’s annual committee meeting.
Seven weeks prior to the exam (and before the last week in October)The student should provide the examination committee with a one page document describing the Specific Aims of their independent proposal.
Six weeks prior to the examThe committee should provide comments on the specific aims to the student (by email).
Four weeks prior to the examAny revisions to the Specific Aims should be approved by the examination committee (by email). The CMB Office should be notified of intent to take the examination and the date. The student should allow two – three weeks of full time effort to complete the proposal.
One week prior to the examThe final independent proposal should be handed to each committee member for evaluation, along with a copy of the preliminary examination evaluation form. The student will also provide the committee with a completed Assistance Form detailing the contributions of others to the proposal.
Day of the Exam (must be completed by end of Fall semester in the Third year)Student and committee meet for the oral examination. Committee members provide their written evaluation forms to the chair after the exam.
Within two days after the examThe original, signed GS 16 - Report of Preliminary Examination form, must be submitted to the Graduate School. Copies of GS 16 and the proposal will be provided to the CMB Office. Copies may be electronic.
Within one week after the examThe chair of the committee will provide the student, other committee members and the CMB office with a summary statement describing the student’s performance in the examination.

Preliminary Examination Information Meeting

During the fall semester, all second year CMB students should attend an information meeting during which the format and timing of the CMB preliminary examination will be discussed.

Preparation

In order to pass the preliminary exam the student must be able to independently formulate a hypothesis and design experiments to test this hypothesis.  In addition, the student needs to be able to concisely and coherently convey their ideas to the examiners both orally and on paper.  To develop these skills prior to the examination the student should prepare a research proposal (Thesis Proposal) on their own project in collaboration with the primary advisor and / or as part of a grant writing class.  This proposal should be shared with the examination committee prior to the Pre-Exam Meeting to allow them to evaluate whether the student is adequately prepared for the examination and familiarize themselves with the student’s research area.

 Pre-Examination Committee Meeting

Once the student has completed the Thesis Proposal on their own research and it has been approved by the primary advisor and / or received a passing grade in a grant writing class, they should arrange the Pre-Examination Committee Meeting.  This committee meeting may also serve as the student’s annual committee meeting and all committee members should be present.  In addition, the CMB Program Director (or Chair of the CMB Academic Committee) should attend this meeting in order to describe the CMB Preliminary Exam and the purpose of the meeting to the Committee.  The purpose of the Pre-Exam Meeting is:

(i)                  To Approve the Thesis Proposal.   The committee should determine whether the Thesis Proposal meets expectations and demonstrates that the student is ready for the Preliminary Examination.  The student may present the proposal orally as part of CM 793 or during the committee meeting, if desired.  If the proposal does not meet expectations, the committee should provide detailed guidance as to what is needed to bring it up to standard.

(ii)                To Select a Chair of the Examination Committee.   The chair will communicate directly with the student during preparation of the independent proposal and provide a comprehensive written evaluation after the examination.  The Chair of the Examination Committee may be the primary advisor if the rest of the committee agrees.

(iii)               To Define the Role of the Primary Advisor(s).  The Committee as a whole will determine whether the student’s major advisor(s) may be present for the oral examination, whether they may actively participate in the examination, and whether they may vote as to whether the student passes or fails the exam.  If the committee decides to exclude the primary advisor(s) from the exam process then an alternate examiner should be identified from among the CMB Faculty.  In this case, it will be necessary to submit – in writing – a petition to the Graduate School requesting the temporary change of committee personnel and / or obligations.  If a permanent change in committee make up is necessary, a GS 9 – Change of Committee form should be submitted to the Graduate School as soon as possible, and no later than the GS 16 form is submitted.

(iv)              To Establish Acceptable Practices during the Writing Process.   Although the primary advisor may NOT collaborate with the student on the independent proposal, the committee may specify whether the proposal can be discussed with peers, whether the student may obtain assistance with English language editing (this should generally only be considered for those students with English as a second language or a disability such as dyslexia), and may also provide a list of acceptable topics.

(v)                To Determine a Date and Time for the Examination.  The decisions made at this meeting should be documented on the form provided (Pre-Examination Form, Page four of these guidelines) and the student should provide the CMB Office with a copy.

Format of the Proposals

Both the Thesis Proposal and the Independent Proposal should be in the format of an NIH R03/R21 application and use the template provided on the CMB Program Website.  The entire document should not exceed seven single-spaced pages including one single-spaced page allocated to the Specific Aims.  Margins should be no less than 0.5” and the font should be no smaller than 11 pt Arial. The main proposal should be divided into Significance, Innovation and Approach sections.  Figures should be embedded in the text and have a font size of no smaller than 8 pt. Use of color figures is acceptable and encouraged.  References are not included in the seven page limit.  If a grant writing course specifies a different format for the Thesis Research Proposal,  that format is acceptable for that document, but the Independent Proposal should still follow the guidelines outlined above.

Preparation of the Independent Proposal

The independent proposal should be prepared by the student, without discussion of the approach or hypothesis with the advisor(s).  The student should rely on the literature and their own background knowledge to develop a strong, original hypothesis and design an experimental approach to test it.  Potential pitfalls and alternative approaches should be considered and the techniques proposed should be appropriate and state – of – the – art. The experimental approach should rely mainly on techniques other than those the student routinely uses in their own research.  For example, if the student’s research project extensively utilizes ELISA assays and flow cytometry, these types of assay may not form the bulk of the experiments in the proposal, although they need not be completely avoided.  Additional guidelines are provided on the CMB Program Website.

The proposal should be written in English.  Students who feel they are deficient in their written language skills are encouraged to consult the CSU Writing Center for assistance.  Students are also cautioned that the proposal should be an original, independently prepared document. Plagiarism of ideas or inappropriate use of passages from published documents will result in immediate dismissal from the PhD program.

At the time the proposal is submitted to the committee, the student should also submit the Assistance Form (Page Five) describing the contributions of other individuals (if any) during the preparation of the proposal.

Evaluation of the Specific Aims

The committee or advisor may provide the student with a list of four or five acceptable areas of study if they wish but experimental approaches and specific problems to be addressed should not be discussed. The committee is asked to evaluate the Specific Aims before the student prepares the main proposal. Comments and suggestions should be communicated to the student by email approximately six weeks prior to the oral examination.  In particular the committee should:

(i)                  Evaluate whether the student is proposing research in a relevant area that is neither too close, nor too far from their own area of expertise.  For example, a student working on replication of HIV – 1 could propose to investigate replication of an alphavirus, or perhaps examine immunity to HIV – 1, but it would be inappropriate to focus on the replication of a related retrovirus such as FIV.  Equally, it would be unsuitable for this student to propose experiments on plant pollination as this topic has no obvious connection to the student’s chosen field of study.  The committee is encouraged to use their discretion to determine whether aims are appropriate. Finally, the proposal should not overlap significantly with other projects in the laboratory supervised by their major advisor.  In general, the subject matter of the proposal should be close enough to the student’s own area that the knowledge garnered will enhance the student’s understanding of their own research.

(ii)                Give the student guidance regarding the scope of the specific aims and make suggestions that could help focus the proposal.  For example, if the student proposes too broad a study the committee members could suggest which Aims should be discarded and which expanded.

The committee should not overtly suggest better experimental approaches or better hypotheses; although it is acceptable to ask that the student formulate another hypothesis and develop new specific aims if those submitted are considered unacceptable.

The Examination

At the start of the oral examination the student will give an approximately 20 minute presentation covering the material in the independent proposal.   The committee will then question the student to determine how well they understand the literature in their chosen field of study as well as the background information relevant to the written proposal. The committee will also test the student’s ability to think creatively and communicate their ideas orally.  In addition to the material presented in the proposal, the student can expect to be questioned on material taught in BC 563 and / or BC 565 or other graduate classes they have completed, as well as on material they presented in the Thesis Proposal. The CMB Program Director should be invited to attend the Preliminary Exam as an impartial observer and in an advisory capacity.

Overall Evaluation

An evaluation form is provided on the CMB Graduate Program Website.  The independent proposal should not be evaluated as if it were being considered for funding.  One goal of the preliminary exam is to ascertain whether the student understands their chosen field of study sufficiently that they can formulate an interesting and original hypothesis and develop a means to test it.  The exam also tests the student’s ability to communicate their ideas effectively orally and on paper.  The written proposal, the oral presentation and the student’s performance in the questioning period will all be evaluated.

Failing the Examination

The student must pass both the written and oral parts of the examination in order to pass the preliminary exam. If performance in either portion is inadequate, the student fails the examination.  In this case, if the committee agrees, the exam may be administered a second time no sooner than two months and no later than four months from the date of the original examination.  The requirements to pass the second exam should be clearly defined by the committee and may include rewriting the proposal, taking additional classes and / or repeating the oral defense.  If the student fails the second examination they will be immediately dismissed from the PhD program.

Final PhD Examination: The final examination will be oral and is conducted by the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee that is chaired by their advisor. The examination is primarily a defense of the student’s thesis.  A copy of the thesis must be circulated to the student’s GAC at least two weeks before the final examination. All CMB faculty and students are invited to attend. The graduate student has the responsibility to check with each committee member in order to schedule a suitable time and place for the oral examination, and to inform the CMB Program Coordinator so that the CMB faculty can be notified at least two weeks in advance of the examination. All committee members must participate in the examination either in person or remotely.  If a committee member is unable to participate, the exam should be postponed or the missing member can be replaced by completing and submitting the GS 9 – Change of Committee form, submitted and approved by the Graduate School.  A GS 9 should be submitted as early as possible, and not later than with the GS 24 – Report of Final Examination.

Publications

Presentation of research results is an important aspect of graduate education. PhD candidates must prepare and submit a manuscript for publication in a peer – reviewed scientific journal with the student as first author. The CMB Program should be noted as the student’s affiliation in all publications.

Student Appeals of Grading Decisions

Faculty members are responsible for stating clearly the instructional objectives of the course at the beginning of each term and for evaluating student achievement in a manner consistent with these objectives. Students are responsible for meeting standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled. Faculty members and instructors are responsible for determining and assigning final course grades. Graded examinations, papers and other materials used as a basis for evaluating a student’s achievement will be available to the student for inspection and discussion. Students may appeal faculty grading decisions through the mechanism described in the Code of the CMB Program, which is in line with procedures described in Section I.7 of the Faculty Manual.