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Academics

The PIBS Year

As a PIBS scholar, there are courses that are required in addition to your lab rotations. While there is no official core curriculum, these courses provide students with an invaluable base to begin building a successful career in the sciences.

The first-year curriculum is structured so that students can concentrate on choosing rotations from our more than 500 laboratories and begin recommended coursework for the Ph.D. program(s) in which they are most interested. Faculty academic advisors work closely with students to ensure that their course schedules are compatible with the training programs of their choice.

All students are required to perform one research rotation during each of the Fall and Winter terms of the first academic year. Students may elect to perform two half-semester rotations during the Winter term. With the approval of the PIBS Director, students may register for additional rotations during the Spring and Summer terms.  More information about laboratory rotations.

Below is a typical PIBS-year curriculum. Students make choices in consultation with the PIBS Directors and Academic Advisors.

FALL
PIBS 503 Research Responsibilities and Ethics
PIBS 600 Research Rotation
In addition, most students choose two of the following four core courses:
Biochem 550
Cell and Developmental Biology 530
Human Genetics 541
Physiology 510

WINTER
PIBS 600 Research Rotation
Students usually choose two additional courses that are specific to their training program choice(s) in consultation with their academic advisor.

SPRING (half-term) informal research rotation or begin thesis research

SUMMER (half-term) informal research rotation or begin/continue thesis research
Optional and alternate courses for the PIBS Core Curriculum are available. For the most up-to-date course descriptions for these and all programs within PIBS, please review the latest Curriculum Guide (PDF).

At the end of the PIBS year, students choose a thesis mentor and a degree-granting program. Second year students enroll in specialized coursework and continue to perform research. First and second year students are considered by the Rackham Graduate School to be pre-candidates for the Ph.D..Qualifying examinations are given by each department/program at the end of the second academic year.  Students who successfully pass these examinations achieve candidacy and go on to pursue full-time doctoral research.