Requirements for a Ph.D.

Curriculum

The first two semesters are devoted primarily to formal course work and laboratory rotations, whereas the later years are devoted to thesis research and to specialty courses in cancer biology.

Courses:

Graduate students are generally expected to complete the equivalent of six full (3-credit) courses during their first two years in residence.

Required courses:

** For a full list of departmental courses, please refer to the University Bulletin:

  1. Cancer Biology I: Cellular Signaling (MOLCAN 760/CBI 760) taken in the second semester (3 units).
  2. Experimental Design and Biostatistics for Basic Biomedical Scientists (PHARM 733/CMB 733/NEUROBIO 733) taken any time, but typically in the 2nd year (2 units).
  3. Cancer biology II: Molecular Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOLCAN 818) taken in the third semester (2 units).
  4. Cancer as a Disease (MOLCAN 819) taken once in the fourth semester (2 units).
  5. Student Seminar (MCB 780) required for the first two years of the program, with presentations of ongoing work by advanced students in the program and critical evaluation of the literature linked to speaker presentation in the Regulatory Networks in Health and Disease (2 units). Attendance at the weekly departmental seminar series is expected of all students.

First and second semester courses:

In the first and second semesters, students generally take a combination of mini (half-semester) courses and full courses selected in consultation with the Advisory Committee (consisting of the Director, the Dean of Graduate Studies and additional faculty as appropriate.) The first year curriculum is designed to complement and extend the student’s undergraduate training. The course load expected is the equivalent to 2 1/2 –3 full courses in the first semester, and 2 - 2 1/2 full courses in the second.

MCB Course Requirements
MOLCAN 780 – Seminar (Thiele) – 4 Semesters
MOLCAN 760 - Cancer biology I/ Cellular Signaling (Caron)
MOLCAN 818 - Cancer biology II/ Molecular Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (Counter/Yao)
MOLCAN 819 - Cancer as a disease (Mathey-Prevot)
PHARM/MOLCAN 733 - Experimental Design and Biostatistics for Basic Biomedical Scientists (Slotkin) (**This is a required course but does not have to be taken before the preliminary exam).

MSTP/MCB Course Requirements

MOLCAN 780 – Seminar (Thiele) – 2 Semesters
MOLCAN 760 - Cancer biology I/ Cellular Signaling (Caron)
MOLCAN 818 - Cancer biology II/ Molecular Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (Counter/Yao)
PHARM/MOLCAN 733 - Experimental Design and Biostatistics for Basic Biomedical Scientists (Slotkin) (** This is a required course for all graduate students but does not have to be taken before the preliminary exam).

CMB/MCB Course Requirements
MCB students are expected to complete the following courses prior to their Prelim exam:
MOLCAN 780 – Seminar (Thiele) – 2 Semesters
MOLCAN 760 - Cancer biology I/ Cellular Signaling (Caron)
MOLCAN 818 - Cancer biology II/ Molecular Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (Counter/Yao)
MOLCAN 819 - Cancer as a disease (Mathey-Prevot)
PHARM/MOLCAN 733 - Experimental Design and Biostatistics for Basic Biomedical Scientists (Slotkin) (** This is a required course for all graduate students but does not have to be taken before the preliminary exam).

 

RCR Training Requirement (18 hours total)

*Beginning SUMMER 2014, there is a new 4 hour course requirement after year three. Additional details can be found here: (https://gradschool.duke.edu/academics/degree_reqs/rcr/requirements.php)

Basic Medical Science Track

  18 hours total

RCR Orientation - Beaufort Retreat

  12 hours

Graduate School or Dept. RCR Forums
School of Medicine, 4-hour course, Year 3-4

  2hours
4 hours

 

Lab Rotations:

Each first student is expected to complete a series of three laboratory rotations. Each rotation will involve approximately 10 weeks of work in a specific laboratory chosen by the student and agreed to by the director of the laboratory and the Director of Graduate Studies. Students are expected to spend a significant investment of time in laboratory work for each rotation. At the end of each rotation, the student will present to the lab director a report summarizing the experiments and results. The purpose of these rotations is two-fold: first to give the student close exposure to the techniques and problems in three different laboratories; and second to provide a basis for the eventual choice of a thesis laboratory. Performance after the rotation will be formally evaluated by the mentor.

The student should select a laboratory for thesis work following the third rotation and begin a research program in that laboratory. The choice of thesis laboratory must be agreed to by the thesis advisor (who must have the funding, laboratory space, and resources to support the research) and by the Director of Graduate Studies.

The Preliminary Examination for Doctoral Students in the MCB Program:

The preliminary examination is taken by all students upon completion of their required course work and no later than the fall semester of their third year of study. Successful completion of this exam is required to formally accept a student as a candidate for a Ph.D degree. The exam serves several purposes: (a) it evaluates a student's progress since entering their respective training programs, (b) it allows students to test their ability to function as independent thinkers, (c) it allows students to define particular strengths and weaknesses, and finally (d) it serves as an important milestone in Ph.D. training. The preliminary examination is an extremely important aspect of a student's graduate training.