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Curriculum Requirements

Formal Courses

BPSD curriculum requires students to take 21 numerically graded credits prior to taking their General Exam. These credits include 9 credits of core BPSD classes and 12 credits of approved elective classes. Available elective courses cover a wide range of topics, including molecular and cellular biology, molecular structure and design, chemistry, and molecular biophysics. See courses for more details.

The Biomedical Research Integrity (BRI) Series is a sequence of lectures and workshops offered during Summer Quarter each year. Topics in past series have included mentoring, conflict of interest, authorship, conflict resolution, intellectual property, and digital imaging and publication ethics, to name a few. Students are required to attend three lectures and at least one discussion session in the summer of the first year.


To gain practical teaching experience, BPSD students will serve as Teaching Assistants for 2 quarters. Teaching is usually in the department of the supervisor, but other suitable assignments are appropriate and allowed. Non-conventional teaching experiences such as course development or outreach teaching are permissible upon petition to the BPSD Steering Committee.


Research Rotations: Students will rotate through three BPSD laboratories during their first year (AUT, WIN and SPR quarters) and will choose lab rotation advisors from the participating BPSD faculty roster. Lab rotations are intended to give each student a broad experimental experience, as well as to facilitate in choosing a lab in which to pursue thesis research. All research rotations require the consent of the rotation supervisor.

Thesis research: It is expected that each student will have chosen a thesis supervisor and obtained the consent for placement in that laboratory by the end of the Spring Quarter of their first year.

General Exam

BPSD students must take the General Exam during their third year (by spring quarter). Students will follow the degree granting departmental guidelines concerning the makeup of the General Exam Committee and the format of the written and oral components of the exam. For more information, see General Exam.