During their education in the GEMS PhD Program, students undergo unique educational experiences tailored to their specific research projects in the field of biomedical research. The aim is for each graduating PhD student to become a leading expert in their research area, which typically involves exploring uncharted territory. The nature of a dissertation project is not predetermined but requires students to navigate unknowns with mentor guidance and take control of their research to completion. The program emphasizes not only deep knowledge in a specific area but also the ability to generate significant new understanding in previously unexplored domains, as evidenced by the program’s newly revised interdisciplinary core.
In the first year, students engage in three lab rotations to gain exposure to different research environments, areas, and techniques. This experience helps them make informed decisions about selecting a lab for their thesis dissertation research. Additionally, all GEMS students are required to complete a series of core fundamental courses, which focus on developing essential skills and competencies while providing a fundamental knowledge base for conducting modern biomedical research. The first-year curriculum equips students with the necessary skills and knowledge to embark on their research projects and establishes the foundation for their PhD education.
After the first year, the GEMS curriculum becomes more individualized. Students must take three elective or research concentration-specific courses before completing their PhD. Two of these electives should be related to their research concentration, allowing students to choose topics and areas of study within a structured course framework. The bulk of the curriculum comprises individualized learning experiences, including successful completion of a preliminary exam. After being admitted to doctoral candidacy, students participate in regular thesis committee meetings, receiving guidance from their Chair and committee members focused on the student’s research, research presentations and refinement of presentation skills. Finally, the completion of a written thesis dissertation followed by a public thesis defense, leads to the conferral of the PhD degree in Biomedical Sciences.