Following the completion of the research tutorial rotations and the identification of the dissertation research advisor, the Ph.D. student joins a Program (Program affiliation is required for Ph.D students entering in the Fall term of 2012). GSBS offers twelve Programs of study (http://www.uthouston.edu/gsbs/current-students/academics/programs/phd/index.htm) for Ph.D. students. Students pursuing the M.S. degree can formally affiliate with only the Experimental Therapeutics Program or the Specialized Masters Programs in Medical Physics and Genetic Counseling.
Most Programs stipulate a basic core curriculum, including didactic lecture-based courses, seminars and literature survey courses. In most cases, the Program lecture-based courses fulfill the basic GSBS area course requirements. Most Ph.D. students take the majority of their GSBS area requirements during their first year of study, concurrent with their tutorial rotations. Consequently, much of the required coursework is completed before a student is able to make the choice to join a Program, and, therefore, before a student is fully aware of the Program requirements. If a first-year student has a strong interest in the research focus of one of the GSBS Programs, the student should review that specific Program’s course requirements before registering for courses for the first term of study, and direct their choice of courses along the line of those required by the prospective Program.
There are many advantages to formal affiliation with a Program. Not only does the Program require a core curriculum that provides the student with both breadth and depth in that specific area of biomedical science, but the Program also provides the students with a network for scientific collaboration and social interaction. This network includes the other students in the Program, and also Program-affiliated GSBS faculty members. Most Programs include faculty members with primary appointments at both MD Anderson Cancer Center and UTHealth, thereby providing students in the Program access to resources at both institutions.
An additional advantage of Program affiliation is the placement of the Program name on the diploma and transcript at the time of graduation. Graduates can place up to two Areas of Research Concentration (ARCs, which generally correspond to the names of Programs) on their diplomas. The Program with which a student is affiliated must be the primary listing. If it is desired to list a second ARC on the diploma, the signature of the Program Director must be obtained. Students who do not formally affiliate with a Program will have Biomedical Science as their primary affiliation, and they, too, must obtain the signature of the Program Director to place a second ARC on the diploma. Upon completion of the degree requirements, only the primary ARC will be listed on the student’s transcript.