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The Cell Biology & Physiology Curriculum requires students take four one-semester courses:

Two in the core Cell Biology & Physiology curriculum,

  • CBPH 852: Experimental Physiology of Human Health and Disease (Fall Section)
  • CBPH 853: Experimental Physiology of Human Health and Disease (Spring Section)

One elective course approved by the DGS,

  • Elective courses in genetics, pharmacology, immunology, computational biology, biochemistry, pathology, or another STEM discipline that enhances the student’s specific research focus.

One comprehensive statistics course or module,

  • Examples include BBSP 710, GNET 743, and BCB 720. Other high-level statistics courses with programming languages also fulfill this requirement.

Students supplement the above coursework with additional training in the following courses that do not count as electives.

  • CBPH 705: Improving Presentation & Communication of Scientific Results.
    1. Presentation course to improve scientific talks.
  • CBPH 706: Communicating Scientific Results.
    1. An introductory grant writing course on approaching student biomedical research grants (e.g. F31). Beneficial for preparing the dissertation proposal for the Qualifying Exam.
  • Annual enrollment in CBPH 855 (fall).
  • Annual enrollment in CBPH 856 (spring).
  • CBPH 895: Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).
    1. A refresher course in RCR taken in Fall of the fourth year.

Preliminary Written Examination

At the end of the BBSP year, after students have officially joined the CBP curriculum they must pass a written preliminary exam that tests their ability to read and understand published scientific literature. For more information about the preliminary written examination, visit this webpage.

Annual dissertation committee meetings

Students form a dissertation committee in their 2nd year. The committee helps guide the student through their PhD training and administers the qualifying examination and the final defense of their dissertation. Students are required to meet with their committee at least once per academic year. For more information on dissertation committees and annual committee meetings, visit this webpage.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination is taken in the fall semester of the student’s 3rd year and includes preparation of a written proposal (NIH/NRSA, NSF, or AHA fellowship-style) and an oral defense of the proposal. The examination determines if the student can reasonably be expected to be successful in achieving a PhD in the CBP Curriculum and allows their dissertation committee to approve the feasibility of their dissertation project. For more information about the dissertation proposal and qualifying exam, visit this webpage.

Seminar participation

Attendance at departmental and FUSION seminars is required for all students. Students present their research annually in the FUSION seminar series.

Retreat participation

The Cell Biology and Physiology department hosts an annual research day for students, postdocs, faculty, and staff to get together and share their research with the broad departmental community. Students are required to present a poster during Research Day.

Publish a first author peer-reviewed research paper

All CBP curriculum students must have a first authored (or co-first authored), peer-reviewed research paper formally accepted for publication before they are allowed to schedule their dissertation defense.

Oral dissertation defense and written dissertation

The final oral examination is a defense of the student’s dissertation. This exam starts with an advertised public dissertation seminar, followed by a private oral examination of the student’s dissertation by the dissertation committee. For more information about the dissertation defense and written dissertation, visit this webpage.

Graduation Planning

As students approach the end of their graduate training and their dissertation work, there are numerous important rules, guidelines, and dates they need to keep in mind.  For up-to-date deadlines see The Graduate School website.
The Graduate School only has one hooding ceremony per year that occurs in May. Students who graduate in the Summer or Fall terms cannot be hooded until the following May.
Notify the Graduate School of your intent to defend and graduate within ConnectCarolina before the semester’s deadline.  Also, notify the Student Services Manager.
Registered in the term you hold your oral defense.
Have your dissertation accepted by the graduate school by the term after your defense.
Dissertation must be accepted by the graduate school to graduate. Graduate school sets formatting guidelines, you and your committee are responsible for the content (the committee signs and approves the content before submission)
Early clearance for employment and visa requirements.