PROGRAM OF STUDY
GUIDELINES FOR PhD STUDENTS
The mission of the Field is to provide graduate training in the pharmacological sciences in preparation for careers in academia, biotechnology, the pharmaceutical industry, and government. Our objectives are:
Signal transduction - its mechanisms, regulation, and physiological consequences - is the unifying theme for the research programs of the training faculty and is fundamental to understanding the mechanism of drug action. The training program engages faculty from across the Cornell campus. Although based in the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), with members from the Departments of Molecular Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, and Microbiology & Immunology, participants also include faculty from Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Neurobiology and Behavior, and Applied and Engineering Physics. The program is uniquely positioned for training in pharmacology through integration on a single campus of biomedical science in a veterinary college with outstanding physical and biological sciences.
Our graduate program offers an intensive course of study and research emphasizing molecular, cellular, and systems pharmacology. The program prepares each student for a productive career in biomedical research and teaching. Upon completion of the curriculum, students will graduate with a Doctor of Philosophy degree.
The pharmacology graduate program accepts outstanding college graduates as well as physicians and veterinarians seeking advanced training in pharmacology. The program is flexible and designed to meet the needs of each individual student. The first year is devoted to selected courses and laboratory rotations. Students are encouraged to supplement their program in pharmacology by taking specialized courses in areas such as molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, biophysics, genomics, neurobiology, and physiology.
By the end of their first year, students will have selected their major advisor and Special Committee and will begin working on their thesis research project. This project will be closely supervised by the major advisor, but students are also encouraged to seek advice and guidance from other faculty involved in the pharmacology training program. Another important feature of graduate education in pharmacology is the Department of Molecular Medicine work-in-progress series in which students present their research results to members of the department.
During the academic year visiting scientists participate in the Molecular Medicine Seminar Series and several of these speakers are usually invited and hosted by the graduate students. Members of the department also attend other seminar series on campus. These include Biophysics, Biomedical Sciences, Infection and Immunity, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Chemistry & Chemical Biology, and Neurobiology & Behavior. Students are also encouraged to participate in journal clubs and study groups. Graduate faculty meet at least once a week with their laboratory groups to discuss research progress and developments in their specific fields of research.
In addition to writing a thesis on their research, graduate students are required to pass two oral examinations. The "A" Exam, or admission to Ph.D. candidacy examination, is usually taken in the second or third year. This is a comprehensive examination that certifies that the student is eligible to undertake advanced research for a Ph.D. degree. The final examination, the "B" Exam, is in two parts. The student first presents the thesis work in a seminar to students and faculty including the student's Special Committee. The student then defends the thesis before the Special Committee. By this time the student will have accomplished solid and original research work, usually with several publications in major journals in their field. Individuals graduating from this program should therefore be well qualified for productive careers in pharmacological research and academic medicine.
All applicants for admission to the Graduate School at Cornell University should
Students applying to the Field of Pharmacology are expected to take the general Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).
If your first language is not English, you are required to take the TOEFL test. This test must have been taken within two years of the application. Minimum scores on this test are (iBT) Writing: 20, Listening: 15 Reading: 20, Speaking: 22; (cBT) 213; (pBT) 550 (if taken within two years of application to Cornell). Official scores are required and should be sent to Cornell University, university code 2098 (department code 51). In order to be considered for admission, you must have the minimum score in each section of the iBT TOEFL. Results of IELTs are not accepted in place of the TOEFL. The only case in which you would be exempt from taking the TOEFL is if you have studied full-time for two or more years at an institution where English is the language of instruction and which is located in a country where English is the official language.More detailed information on admission requirements and application procedures can be obtained from The Office of Graduate Education Admissions Webpage.
2. Coursework, Seminars and Work-in-Progress
The Graduate School's degree requirements are kept to a minimum in order to give the Special Committee and the student freedom to determine appropriate degree requirements and to define a course of study best suited to the student's particular goals. No specific requirements for credits or courses are imposed by the Graduate School. Grades of C+ and below in a student's major area, however, do not normally constitute satisfactory progress.
The following recommendations and guidelines are provided for students majoring or minoring in the Field of Pharmacology:
3. Laboratory Rotations
Students are expected to complete three laboratory rotations before making a final choice of thesis project.
4. Special Committee A student's Special Committee should be formed by the end of the first year, but until that time, the Executive Committee of the Field of Pharmacology, together with the student's major adviser or sponsor(s), will act in that capacity.
The Special Committee, when formed, should consist of:
The student should convene a formal committee meeting at least once a year. As a result of this meeting, the major advisor will submit a written report on the student's progress to the Director of Graduate Studies for evaluation by the Executive Committee. Faculty mentors report on student progress at the annual Field meeting.
There is a requirement of one semester of teaching for students majoring in the Field of Pharmacology. This is typically fulfilled in the second or third year of graduate study. Teaching assistantships are administered through the Office of Graduate Education in the College of Veterinary Medicine
A comprehensive Admission to Candidacy examination is taken when a student has completed all the recommended courses and other requirements of his or her Special Committee and has earned at least two units of registration credit. For the "A" Exam in the Field of Pharmacology, the student will prepare a written proposal, in the form of a grant application, in his or her area of research. The Special Committee should receive a copy of the proposal in final form no later than one week prior to the examination. This will be presented and defended by the student before his or her Special Committee. At least two weeks prior to the exam the Schedule of Examination Form should be filed with the Graduate School and a copy of the completed form with the Office of Graduate Education, College of Veterinary Medicine. After the examination the Results of Examination Form must be filed with the Graduate School within three days and a copy of the form with the Office of Graduate Education within a week. Students are expected to complete their "A" Exam by the end of the first semester of their third year of graduate study.
This is given after completion of the doctoral dissertation. Detailed guidelines for the preparation, submission and examination of the thesis are described in Doctoral Dissertation and Master's Thesis: Formatting, Production, and Submission Requirements available on the web and published by the Graduate School at Cornell University.
The Field of Pharmacology expects that a draft or detailed outline of the thesis be given to each Special Committee member at least six weeks before the proposed date for the "B" Exam. A brief outline is not sufficient. The committee will be allowed a maximum of one week to examine the draft, before deciding whether the student should be allowed to proceed with the "B" Exam. The final examination must be at least five weeks after the date on which approval to proceed has been given by all members of the Special Committee.The "B" Exam must be formally scheduled at least 14 days in advance by filing a Schedule of Examination Form with the Graduate School and a copy of the completed form with the College Office of Graduate Education. A complete thesis must supplied to the members of the student's Special Committee at least two weeks before the "B" Exam.
The student will present the results of his or her research at a Field Seminar, which is open to all members of the university. The "B" Exam, at which the student defends the thesis before his or her Special Committee, takes place after this seminar. After the examination the Results of Examination Form must be filed with the Graduate School within three days and a copy with the College Office of Graduate Education within a week.
8. Current Faculty, Field of Pharmacology
Department Maurine Linder Molecular Medicine Director of Graduate Studies Richard Cerione Molecular Medicine Field Executive Committee Huai-hu Chuang Biomedical Sciences Field Executive Committee Ruth Collins Molecular Medicine Field Executive Committee Hening Lin Chemistry and Chemical Biology Field Executive Committee Avery August Microbiology and Immunology Barbara Baird Chemistry and Chemical Biology Brian Crane Chemistry and Chemical Biology Robin Davisson Biomedical Sciences Joseph Fetcho Neurobiology and Behavior Robert Gilmour Biomedical Sciences Bill Horne Clinical Sciences Mike Kotlikoff Biomedical Sciences Natasza Kurpios Molecular Medicine David Lin Biomedical Sciences Manfred Lindau Applied and Engineering Physics Linda Nowak Molecular Medicine Robert Oswald Molecular Medicine Mark Roberson Biomedical Sciences Carolyn Sevier Molecular Medicine Holger Sondermann Molecular Medicine Watt Webb Applied and Engineering Physics Gary Whittaker Microbiology and Immunology
Field faculty not currently accepting students
Clare Fewtrell Molecular Medicine George Hess Molecular Biology and Genetics Roy Levine Molecular Medicine Wayne Schwark Molecular Medicine Geoffrey Sharp Molecular Medicine Gregory Weiland Molecular Medicine
last modified: Friday, November 5, 2010 gaw