Curriculum

Overview

Exams

First Year Comprehensive Exam

At the end of the first year, PMCB students take a written comprehensive exam that tests their ability to think scientifically using concepts covered during core CONJ coursework (CONJ 661, 661, 663, 664, 670, 671). The comprehensive exam is prepared by the CONJ course directors under the oversight of the Comprehensive Exam Director and Co-Director. The exam is structured around journal articles that correspond with each of the CONJ courses; students will take the exams that correspond with the courses they took. These articles are given to students two weeks in advance of the exam, with the expectation that students become familiar with important papers that preceded each article. The exam aims to assess students' knowledge of the preceding literature, design of possible future directions, and understanding of the content and subject matter of the article.

Comprehensive Exams are typically scheduled the second week in July.
 

Second Year Qualifying Exam

By the end of the second year, and when required classes have been completed, students undergo the qualifying examination. This examination consists of two parts, a written examination based on the requirements of their chosen degree-granting program (typically an NRSA-style proposal), and an oral defense. Both portions of the exam are evaluated by a Qualifying Exam Committee consisting of five faculty members, three of which are members of the student's intended program and two from other programs. In addition, a member of the PMCB steering committee may attend the examination as a non-voting observer. The student is expected to answer questions regarding the scientific background, rationale, and methodologies of the proposal.

Upon successful completion of both portions of the qualifying exam, the student is advanced to candidacy.

Qualifying exam form