From its very beginnings, the Graduate School has offered an interdisciplinary approach to biomedical sciences education. This option has been maintained, and today approximately 25% of our students choose to develop their own tailor-made courses of study as an alternative to affiliating with one of the 16 formalized Programs of Study that currently exist in GSBS. These students frequently conduct their research in newly developing inter- or multi-disciplinary areas.
In order to pursue this independent course, a student in the Ph.D. program will complete the three tutorial laboratory rotations and required coursework of the first year of study. The student will then choose a faculty advisor and a five-person Advisory Committee. It is this committee, frequently composed of faculty from different disciplines, that will assist the student in determining appropriate coursework and the direction of his/her research.
In addition to completing a dissertation, the student must pass the Ph.D. candidacy examination. Students following the independent study option may request to take the written candidacy examination of one of the GSBS Programs or may form an ad hoc Examination Committee to administer the exam. Further questions about the interdisciplinary studies option may be directed to the Office of Academic Affairs (713-500-9870).