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Curriculum

Students admitted to the PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences at Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine must be enrolled in a minimum of nine credits for each fall and spring term, and six credits for summer terms. The program requires a minimum of 81 postbaccalaureate credits; of these, a minimum 24 credits must be for dissertation research.

Year 1

Required Courses and Laboratory Rotations

Course NumberCourse Name
GMS 6103 Molecular Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
GMS 6220 Molecular Genetics and Cellular Biology
GMS 6605 Basic Structure of the Human Body
GMS 6864 Principles of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
GMS 6939 Graduate Seminar
GMS 6942 Laboratory Rotations
GMS 6962 Formation of Committee: Appointment of Dissertation Committee: Preliminary Proposal
GMS 6979 Research Credits

During the first year, each student is required to:

  • Complete all required course work.
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, with no grade less than "B" in any mandatory course.
  • Actively participate in laboratory rotations (three required).
  • Regularly attend graduate seminars and specialty seminar series offered by basic science departments.
  • Select his or her dissertation advisor and Dissertation Advisory Committee members.
  • Register for elective courses in consultation with his or her Dissertation Advisory Committee.
  • Begin research and explore dissertation project opportunities.

Online Training Courses

Prior to beginning laboratory rotations, students must complete several safety training courses. The Laboratory Hazard Awareness, HazCom: In Sync with GHS, and Fire Safety training courses are required for every person working in a lab area. Additional trainings may be required for particular labs. For example, students using biosafety cabinets or fume hoods must complete the Safe Use of Biosafety Cabinets or Safe Use of Fume Hood training courses, respectively. The Environmental Awareness Part 2 training course is required for all students and faculty who handle hazardous waste. Students working with human cell lines must complete the Bloodborne Pathogens training course. More information on safety training courses can be found through the Department of Environmental Health and Safety.

Students involved in human or animal research must complete required training and obtain approval from the Institutional Review Board (for research involving human subjects) or from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (for research involving animals). Research involving recombinant DNA requires an approval from the Institutional Biosafety Committee.

Year 2

Required Courses

Course Number Course Name
GMS 6481 Physiology and Immunology
GMS 6939 Graduate Seminar
GMS 6979 Research Credits

In addition to the required courses, students must earn a minimum of 5 credits in elective courses. At their discretion, dissertation advisors or Dissertation Advisory Committee members may suggest other elective courses described in the FIU Graduate Catalog. Examples of elective courses are listed below.

Elective Courses

Course Number Course Name
BME 6545 Biosensors and Nanobioelectronics
CGS 5166 Introduction to Bioinformatics Tools
CHM 5305 Graduate Biological Chemistry
CHM 6088 Environmental Chemistry of Trace Elements
CHM 6157 Advanced Analytical Chemistry
CHM 6382 Advanced Biological Chemistry
GMS 6300 General Pathology
GMS 6500 Basic Pharmacology
GMS 6904 Introduction to Scientific Writing

During the second year, each student is required to:

  • Complete all required courses and elective credit requirements.
  • Regularly attend graduate seminars and specialty seminar series offered by basic science departments.
  • Make progress on research projects and define his or her dissertation project.
  • Perform duties for his or her teaching assistantship.
  • Take the Qualifying Examination (GMS 6961).

Year 3

Dissertation Proposal

During the third year, each student is expected to successfully complete the Qualifying Examination (GMS 6961), submit a Doctoral Dissertation Proposal (GMS 6963), and successfully defend this proposal as part of the Dissertation Proposal Seminar (GMS 6964). Students also must complete the Responsible Conduct of Research online training. Upon successful completion of these courses, students are allowed to register for Dissertation Research Credits (GMS 7980).  Students also should register for the Graduate Seminar (GMS 6939) during the spring term of the third year.

During the third year, each student is expected to:

  • Pass the Qualifying Examination.
  • Prepare a doctoral dissertation proposal and successfully defend the content of the proposal for admission to PhD candidacy.
  • Complete the Responsible Conduct of Research online training.
  • Attend specialty seminar series offered by basic science departments and present his or her own research.
  • Make substantial progress in research to achieve the aims of his or her dissertation project.
  • Present at a national scientific meeting.

Years 4 and 5

Dissertation Research

During the fourth and fifth years, students engage primarily in dissertation research and work toward completion of the doctoral degree. Students must register for the Graduate Seminar (GMS 6939) during the spring terms of each year. During this phase, students are expected to achieve expert knowledge and skills in their specialty areas, attain broad knowledge in various aspects of biomedical sciences, focus on developing research and communication skills, and present and publish major research findings. The average time to completion of the doctoral degree is 5 years. However, if significant progress is made, students may be able to graduate in the fourth year.

During the fourth and fifth years, each student is expected to:

  • Attend specialty seminar series offered by basic science departments and present his or her own research.
  • Present at national conferences or symposia.
  • Publish at least one manuscript on which he or she is first author.
  • Complete his or her dissertation research.
  • Write and successfully defend his or her dissertation.
  • Secure a job in academia, the government, medical research, or biomedical and biotechnology industries.