Mutidisciplinary Program

Multidisciplinary PhD Program in Biomedical Science composed of three interdisciplinary "tracks", which emphasize areas of research strength and funding on the Newark campus of RBHS. Each track brings together a broadly-based group of faculty members from multiple departments.

    • Track 1 (MBGC - Molecular Biology, Genetics, & Cancer) focuses on molecular biosciences
    • Track 2 (CBNP - Cell Biology, Neuroscience and Physiology) focuses on integrative biosciences
    • Track 3 (I3 - Infection, Immunity and Inflammation) focuses on immunology and infectious disease

The curriculum operates on a block schedule to facilitate sharing of courses between disciplines and to provide students with a broad menu of potential course offerings. The Department also participates in teaching and training of Master's level students. Both thesis-based Master of Science (MS) degrees and non-thesis-based Master of Biomedical Science (MBS) degrees are available. The MS degree entails a research thesis. Students may elect to switch between the two options.

Program Curriculum
Each curriculum block is 8-9 weeks in duration. Most courses are based on two credit units (4 contact hours per week per block). Three laboratory rotations are completed from October through June of year one. Each rotation is 10-12 weeks in duration. The Multidisciplinary PhD Program in Biomedical Science requires five courses for students in all tracks: Introduction to Biomedical Science (IBMS, 5 credits), Ethics (1 credit), Professional Skills-Presentations (1 credit), Professional Skills-Grantsmanship (2 credits), and Experimental Design & Statistics (2 credits). Each track designates a series of required and/or selective courses, ensuring that students obtain an appropriate core body of knowledge in their chosen research discipline. All tracks include courses with elements of literature readings, student presentations and professional development. Together with their class advisor, students develop an individualized learning plan that encompasses appropriate selective and elective coursework.

Capstones for advancement and graduation
Students are required to earn a grade of "B" in mandatory courses and an overall average of "B" in all courses. They are expected to complete 24-30 credits of coursework and 10-16 credits of research work prior to the candidacy exam, which usually takes place toward the end of the second year and qualifies them to enter the thesis research phase. There is training and continuous oversight of research progress by the Thesis Advisory Committee and department faculty. At the end of the thesis phase, students summarize their findings in the context of current knowledge in the field and undertake the thesis defense - a formal examination that determines whether the PhD degree will be awarded and whether revisions to the dissertation or additional research work is required. The publication of three original research articles, on one of which the candidate is first author or equivalent, is an expectation though not a requirement. At least one of these articles should be published, or at least accepted for publication, at the time of the thesis defense, affording further external validation of their research.

The next step
Our graduates move on to a wide variety of careers. Curricular experiences that prepare them for entry into the next step of their professional careers include formal courses in research techniques, seminar presentations, and grant writing. Students in year 3 and beyond give an annual research seminar to department members based on their own research work. They are encouraged to attend local, national and international conferences, to present their research results publicly, and to write fellowship applications. These experiences are extremely beneficial to their subsequent careers, and in all of these activities they receive faculty mentoring. We also encourage students to receive outside training, to attend workshops and courses, and participate in laboratory interchange programs to expand and hone specific experimental skills.

Faculty Contact

Carol Lutz, PhD

Dr. Carol Lutz
Associate Dean for Student Affiars, School of Graduate Studies (SGS)
Director of MBGC PhD Track
Phone (Microbiology): (973) 972-0899
Office (Microbiology): ICPH E350U
Phone (SGS): (973) 972-4411
Fax (SGS): (973) 972-5594