The first year core curriculum is a one-year interdisciplinary program. The two-semester series (IDL 580 and 581) in Fundamentals of Biomedical Science is designed to give students a broad didactic background in the fundamentals essential to advanced research training, ranging from biochemistry and molecular biology to mechanisms of human disease.

Fall Semester

Formal coursework:
IDL 580 -- Fundamentals of Biomedical Science I (8 credit hours)
IDL 577 -- Introduction to Research Methods (3 credit hours)
IDL 576 -- Literature Reports (1 credit hour)
IDL 594 -- Directed Studies Rotation (1 credit hour)
GIS 501 -- Responsible Conduct of Research (1 credit hour)
IDL 595 – Distinguished Scientist Seminar (0 credit hours)

Spring Semester

Formal coursework:
IDL 581 -- Fundamentals of Biomedical Science II (8 credit hours)
IDL 594 -- Directed Studies (3 credit hours)
IDL 576 -- Literature Reports (1 credit hour)
IDL 595 – Distinguished Scientist Seminar (0 credit hours)

Advanced coursework is determined by the track chosen by the student, along with recommendations made by the student's dissertation committee. 

Major Professor

Choosing a major professor for graduate training is an important benchmark in graduate education. In the first year of the program, there are numerous mechanisms by which students can interact with graduate faculty: during orientation, during coursework in the interdisciplinary core curriculum, seminar series and journal clubs organized by research focus groups in the College of Medicine, the annual COM Research Forum, and informal meetings. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss potential projects and rotations with faculty early in this first year.

The research rotation is a critical part of this process: students will participate in three 8-week rotations designed to allow the student to explore research opportunities with potential major professors. Rotation schedules are coordinated by the Office of Research Education and Training in the College of Medicine. At the end of the first year, students should have come to an agreement with a BMS major professor. This choice of mentor determines the track affiliation of a student for the duration of their studies.

Dissertation and Dissertation Committee

Throughout a student's graduate training, progress is monitored via evaluation of academic standing. However, after core and advanced course work are completed, evaluation of progress in dissertation research becomes an important benchmark. To assist in this process, each student selects a dissertation committee in consultation with their major professor. The major duties of the dissertation committee are to foster the academic and research training of the student and to administer the closed defense of the student's dissertation work at the end of the student's doctoral training.

Academic standards for the Graduate School and the BMS Graduate Program are detailed in the Undergraduate/Graduate Bulletin. The BMS Student Handbook contains the policies on Advanced Coursework Standards, the Admission to Candidacy or Qualifying Exam, and the defense of dissertation process and appeals mechanisms which are specific to the Graduate Program in Basic Medical Sciences.