The Graduate Education in Medical Sciences (GEMS) Program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine (UI COM) at Chicago offers students integrated training in the biomedical sciences, leading to the PhD degree. The GEMS Program is centered in the large health science campus of the University of Illinois where investigator collaborations among basic and clinical scientists is fostered. The GEMS Program is designed to provide students with the intellectual and technical skills needed to ensure success as rigorous independent research scientists.
GEMS students engage, during their first year of study, in a core curriculum that focuses on the fundamentals of biochemistry and cell and molecular biology, and integrates these with topics in molecular medicine and physiology. Beginning in the second semester, students elect to take a variety of courses with the goal of concentrating more selectively within a chosen area of interest.
At the end of their first year, students select a mentor with whom they will undertake their thesis research. Students are able to choose from among the more than 150 faculty members in all departments of the College of Medicine. They initially pick three or four potential mentors in whose laboratories they spend 10-week rotations before selecting a thesis mentor. In their remaining (typically 3 – 4) years of study, students benefit from the more intimate environment of their chosen program, as well as the wealth of weekly seminars and journal clubs throughout the College of Medicine. All GEMS students are supported for the duration of their graduate school tenure.
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