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BBS PhD Program


All students enrolling in the BBS PhD Program will take a core curriculum that is intended to provide training in research design, translational science, oral and written scientific communication, and research ethics. The student will also select a concentration that is associated with the area of their thesis research. In addition to coursework, students are required to complete 3 research rotations in the first year, complete a one-semester teaching experience in the second or third year of training, and participate in professional development opportunities.

All BBS PhD students are required to complete the following:

  • VTBMS 7200 - BBS Seminar - Work-in-Progress (WIP) during Fall and Spring semesters.  Designed to highlight and disseminate BBS student research, students are required to enroll in WIP and present on an annual basis through their 5th year of enrollment. All BBS students are required to attend 75% of the BBS WIP and provide feedback via Qualtrics survey for 50% of presenters (attendance and feedback will be tracked). All BBS faculty are encouraged to attend. First-year students will give a presentation on their rotation projects. Students beyond the first year should coordinate their annual Special Committee meeting with their BBS WIP research presentation and request their committee members attend the seminar. 
  • BIOMG 7510 - Ethical Issues and Professional Responsibilities Ethical issues in research and the professional responsibilities of scientists are discussed based on readings and occasional lectures. The topics are intended to cover the requirements for ethical training of graduate students on training grants and follow the recommendations of the Office of Research Integrity.
  • Attend at least eight seminars per semester related to your research interests
  • The remainder of the coursework you will take is determined by your special committee.

Required Milestones

  • Selection of your Special Committee chair takes place at the end of your second semester, once you've completed the three lab rotations. 
  • Take the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)- Full Course training by the end of your second semester. 
  • Your full Special Committee needs to be selected by the end of your third semester.  In addition to your chair, your Special Committee should be made up of two minor members and a field-appointed member.
  • The admission to candidacy exam (A exam) should be taken no later than the end of the fifth semester of enrollment and consists of a written proposal on the thesis project, an oral presentation, and an examination by the thesis committee.
  • Completion of the Ph.D. program requires a written thesis and oral examination (B exam).

IID Concentration requirements

For those who matriculated in Fall 2022 or beyond -  Immunology, Virology, and Microbiology concentration requirements are available HERE