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Timeline of PhD program as described in text belowThe program starts on July 1st.  During that summer and first academic year, both Molecular, Cellular and Biochemical Pharmacology (MCBP) students and Systems Biology and Physiology (SBP) students take the same courses in pharmacology, physiology, molecular & cellular biology, and more.  In addition, students rotate through laboratories with the objective of identifying a dissertation topic and mentor by the end of the first year. Also by the end of the first year, they decide whether to join the MCBP or SBP program.

During the summer of their second year, the student constructs a grant proposal-like plan for dissertation research, which serves as a basis for a comprehensive qualifying exam.

Upon passing the qualifying exam, he/she is officially admitted into candidacy for the PhD degree, and thereafter performs research, which is periodically evaluated by their dissertation committee.  During the second year, and sometimes in later years, students take required and elective courses.

When the mentor and committee agree that the student has completed a sufficient body of research, he/she writes and defends the dissertation. After successful defense and submission of the approved dissertation, the PhD degree is awarded.