PhD in Molecular Genetics and Genomics

90 credit hours in didactic and laboratory course work is required, including

7 credit hours in Interdisciplinary Molecular and Cellular Biology (IBS 7015)

Responsible Conduct of Research (GS 0900)

13 credit hours of major course work designated for the MGG degree (see below)

32 credit hours of other courses, including Research Training in Molecular Genetics and Genomics (MGG 7460) and Pre-Doctoral Candidacy Research (MGG 9990)

30 credit hours of Doctoral Candidate Status (MGG 9991, 9992, 9993, 9994)

Molecular Genetics and Genomics (MGG) Course Requirements

During their first 2 years, MGG students enroll in the following core courses.

MGG 7015 Introduction to Genetics (Cr. 2)

MGG 7030 Functional Genomics and Systems Biology (IBS 7030) (Cr. 2)

MGG 7600 Advanced Human Genetics (Cr. 4)

MGG 7050 Bioinformatics: Theory and Practice (Cr. 3)

MGG 7091 Scientific Communication II (Cr. 2)

MGG 7460 Research Training in Molecular Genetics and Genomics (Cr. variable)

FPH 7015 Biostatistics (Cr. 4)

Examples of Elective Courses

MGG 7020 Metabolism and Disease (Cr. 2)

MGG 7400 Molecular Biology of Cellular Signaling (Cr. 2)

MGG 8010 Quantitative Data Analysis for Biological and Medical Sciences (Cr. 3)

MGG 8680 Advanced Topics in Molecular Biology and Genetics (Cr. 1-3)

MGG 8770 Molecular Biology of Mitochondrial Disease (Cr. 2)

IBS 7030 Functional Genomics and Systems Biology (Cr. 2)

IBS 7050 Biomedical Neurobiology (Cr. 2)

IBS 7090 Biomedical Immunology (Cr. 2)

IBS 7100 Biomedical Neuropharmacology (Cr. 2)

IBS 7110 Introduction to the Business of Biotechnology (Cr. 2)

IBS 7115 Special Topics in Biotechnology Commercialization (Cr. 1)

IBS 7140 Foundations of Computational Biology (Cr. 3)

Timeline for Required Coursework.

MGG students register for 10 credit hours in the Fall, 10 credit hours in the Winter and 2 credit hours in the Spring/Summer terms.

Year 1

Fall: IBS 7015 (Cr. 7); MGG 7015 (Cr. 2); MGG 7460 (Cr. 1); GS 0900 (Cr. 0)

Winter: MGG 7030 (Cr. 2); MGG 7050 (Cr. 3); MGG 7600 (Cr. 4); MGG 7460 (Cr. 1)

Spring/Summer: MGG 7460 (Cr. 2)

Year 2

Fall: FPH 7015 (Cr. 4); Electives (Cr. 2-3); MGG 7460 (to complete 10 Cr.)

Winter: MGG 7091 (Cr. 2); Electives (Cr. 2-3); MGG 7460 (to complete 10 Cr.)

Spring/Summer: MGG 7460 (Cr. 2)

Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to retain their IBS Graduate Research Assistantship. A grade of B- in a required course is considered passing. A grade of C+ or lower in any required course is considered failing. More than two C grades in general course work will be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.

Research Training and Laboratory Rotations

During the Fall and Winter terms of their first year students are required to complete three laboratory rotations. The goal of these rotations is to select a PhD advisor, develop working relationships with different faculty that will serve on milestone committees and learn scientific techniques. Students receive a grade for each rotation. The overall grade will be the average of the three rotation grades and will be credited to MGG 7460 in the Winter term. Correcting for holidays and Spring break, each rotation is approximately 10 weeks long.

Students are supported by Graduate Research Assistantships, which means that there are no teaching requirements. Students are therefore expected to spend the maximum amount of time in the lab, as determined by the faculty member. Near the end of each rotation students will write and submit a report on their research to the faculty member of the laboratory they are rotating in and the Graduate Director. Students also give a 10-minute oral presentation on each rotation in the Research Conference series.

At the end of the third rotation all students will communicate their choice of PhD training laboratory to the respective faculty member and to the Graduate Director. All student-faculty matches must be approved by a vote of the CMMG faculty.

Financial Support

IBS Graduate Research Assistantships provide 100% financial support for the first two years. Support for all of year 3 and beyond is the responsibility of the student and advisor.

CMMG Seminars and Research Conferences

Students are required to attend all CMMG seminars and Research Conferences for the duration of their studies. Excuses in advance of an absence must be reported to the Graduate Director.

Each student will be required to give one presentation each year in the Research Conference series beginning in the second year. No course credit is given for these presentations. Students must invite the members of their dissertation committee to attend their presentation, and must schedule a committee meeting to follow shortly after the presentation. The outcome of this meeting is reported to the Graduate Director using the dissertation meeting report form.

Timeline For Advancing to PhD Candidacy

To attain PhD Candidate Status, students file a Plan of Work, developed in consultation with the Graduate Director and advisor, and then complete the Oral Qualifying Exam/Prospectus Meeting during which they defend their Dissertation Prospectus. 

After advancing to Candidate Status, students are required to enroll for 4 successive Fall/Winter terms as Candidate Status in MGG 9991, 9992, 9993, 9994.  If the dissertation is not completed after 4 terms the student will enroll in Maintenance Status, MGG 9995.


  Term Year
IBS 7015 Interdisciplinary Cell & Molecular Biology Fall 1
MGG 7015 Intro to Genetics Fall 1
GS 0900 Responsible Conduct of Research Fall or Winter 1
IBS/MGG 7030 Functional Genomics & Systems Biology Winter 1
MGG 7600 Advanced Human Genetics Winter 1
MGG 7091 Scientific Communication II Winter 2
Plan of Work filed Winter 2
Dissertation Committee formed Winter 2
Oral Examination/Dissertation Prospectus Winter 2
Oral Qualifying Exam/Prospectus Meeting Winter 2
MGG 7460 Research Training Every Term any
MGG 9991, 9992, 9993, 9994 Candidate Status Fall/Winter 3-4
MGG 9995 Fall/Winter >4