Program Requirements & Curriculum

The specific program requirements differ depending on whether you have entered the M&I Graduate Program via the Bioscience program (Molecular Biology (MB) / Biological Chemistry (BC)), the MD/Ph.D. program, or as a Directly Admitted student. You can find information on the Direct Admit Program and MD/ PhD program courses and curriculum below. Detailed information on the Bioscience program can be found here.

General Requirements for all students

  • Obtain a grade of “B” or better in all courses including laboratory rotations
  • Form a dissertation committee and hold annual committee meetings (bi-annual meetings from year 5 onwards)
  • Complete and maintain an Individual Development Plan
  • Pass the qualifying exam
  • Write a grant application
  • Submit an NIH grant application, if eligible
  • Attend and participate in the academic events of the program, including seminars, thesis defenses and Research-in-Progress
  • Have 1 first author primary research paper accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Write, successfully defend, and submit a dissertation
  • Fulfill Graduate School requirements and NIH recommendations such as undertaking training in research ethics and Teaching Assistant duty

Classes are organized into the core curriculum and electives. The core curriculum provides you with a comprehensive background in essential areas that covers all required coursework, while the electives let you tailor your studies to your personal interests.

Required Coursework for Directly Admitted Students

YEAR 1

Course

Title

Credits

Semester

PATH 7970

PhD thesis research credits

 9 minus total course credits

Fall

PATH 7880

Attendance and Participation in the Department of Pathology Research in Progress

 1

Fall

PATH 7150-001

Hypothesis design and Scientific Writing

 1

Fall

PATH 7800

Ethical Implications of Racism in Science and Medicine

1.5 

Fall

MBIOL 7570

Scientific integrity and Ethics of Scientific Research

 1

Fall

 

Elective 1

1.5-3 

 

 

Elective 2

1.5-3 

 

YEAR 2

Course

Title

Credits

Semester

PATH 7970

PhD thesis research credits

 9 minus total course credits

Fall

PATH 7880

Attendance and Participation in the Department of Pathology Research in Progress

 1

Fall

PATH 7970

PhD thesis research credits

 9 minus total course credits

Spring

PATH 7880

Attendance and Participation in the Department of Pathology Research in Progress

 1

Spring

 

Elective 1

1.5-3 

 

 

Elective 2

1.5-3 

 

YEAR 3

Course

Title

Credits

Semester

PATH 7970

PhD thesis research credits

 8

Fall

PATH 7880

Attendance and Participation in the Department of Pathology Research in Progress

Fall

PATH 7970

PhD thesis research credits

Spring

PATH 7880

Attendance and Participation in the Department of Pathology Research in Progress

Spring

YEAR 1

The required courses above plus elective courses and thesis research that total 9 credit hours/semester.

YEAR 2

The required second year courses above plus 3 credit hours of elective classes and thesis research that totals 9 credit hours / semester

YEAR 3 TO COMPLETION (ANNUAL REQUIREMENTS)

The required courses above plus thesis research that total 9 credit hours/semester.

Required Coursework for MD/PhD students

YEAR 1 (MS1)

Course

Title

Credits

Semester

 

Lab Rotation 1 & 2 (4 weeks each)

0

Summer

MD ID 7300

Foundations of Medicine

17

Fall

MD ID 7101

Layers of Medicine I

1

Spring

MD ID 7001

Clinical Method I

3

Fall

MD ID 7310

Molecules, Cells, Cancer

8

Spring

MD ID 7320

Host and Defense

9

Spring

MD ID 7102

Layers of Medicine 2

3

Spring

MD ID 7002

Clinical Method II

5

Spring

MD ID 7500

Year 1 Assessment

1

Spring

UUHSC 6201

Foundations of IPE

0.5

Spring

YEAR 2 (MS2)

Course

Title

Credits

Semester

 

Lab Rotation 3 & 4 (5 weeks each)

0

Summer

MD ID 7350

Metabolism & Reproduction

9

Fall

MD ID 7360

Circulation, Respiration, Regulation

12

Fall

MD ID 7103

Layers of Medicine 3

5

Fall

MD ID 7003

CMC 3

 5

Fall

MD ID 7340

Brain & Behavior

9

Spring

MD ID 7370

Skin, Muscle, Bone, Joint

7

Spring

MD ID 7103

Layers of Medicine 4

1

Spring

MD ID 7003

CMC 4

 5

Spring

UUHSC 6301

Interprofessional Telemedicine

0.5

Spring

YEAR 3 (GS1)

Course

Title

Credits

Semester

 

Capstone Course and Examination

0

Summer

MBIOL 7570

Scientific integrity and Ethics of Scientific Research

1

Fall

PATH 7150-001

Hypothesis design and Scientific Writing

1

Fall

PATH 7970

PhD thesis research credits

 

Spring

PATH 7880

Attendance and Participation in the Department of Pathology Research in Progress

1

Spring

PATH 6000+

Graduate-level didactic course

 

Fall

PATH 7970

PhD thesis research credits

 

Spring

PATH 7880

Attendance and Participation in the Department of Pathology Research in Progress

1

Spring

PATH 6000+

Graduate-level special topics course

 

Spring

YEAR 1

In the summer before the fall semester of medical school, MD/Ph.D. students will complete two four-week lab rotations. In addition, MD/Ph.D. students are required to successfully pass the courses listed above and an End of Year One Assessment Exam.

YEAR 2

In the summer before the fall semester of Year 2, MD/Ph.D. students will complete two five-week lab rotations and an off-topic research presentation. MD/Ph.D. students are also required to successfully pass the courses listed above and USMLE STEP 1 (Board Examination).

YEAR 3 TO COMPLETION (ANNUAL REQUIREMENTS)

In the summer before the fall semester of GS1, MD/Ph.D. students are expected to join a lab and to successfully complete an on-topic Capstone Course and Examination as well as complete any graduate courses required by the student’s Thesis Advisory Committee in addition to those listed above.

Required Coursework for All Students

  • Cumulation of at least 20 credit hours of PATH 7970 (PhD Thesis Research). Each semester all students must complete 9 credit hours in total made up of classes and PhD thesis research. Over the summer students that used Tuition Benefit (TBP) in the Fall or Spring prior, will register for 3 credits of Thesis Research. Those that are on T32, F awards, or have exceeded their TBP, or used XTB should check with Kim Springer prior to registering for Summer courses. 
  • Teaching Assistant (TA) duty is required for one semester or two half-semester courses, regardless of the source of individual stipends, for all students who have entered the M&I Graduate Program. Available TA assignments can be obtained from Kim Springer for various courses offered by the departments who participate in the combined MB/BC programs. International students are required to successfully pass a SPEAK test and attend the International TA Program Workshop prior to fulfilling their TA responsibilities. MD/PhD students are not required to fulfill this TA duty requirement.
  • Ethics Training An examination of research integrity and other ethical issues involved in scientific research. Topics may include scientific fraud, conflicts of interest, plagiarism and authorship designation, and the role of science in formulating social policy. The MBIOL 7570 and PATH 7800 courses are designed for graduate students, post-docs and regular faculty in the sciences. These courses are mandatory for all M&I Gradua­te students, but students admitted from the MB/BC program are exempt if they have already taken these courses in their first year.
  • NIH F31 / F30 proposal After completing your qualifying exam, the “PATH 7150-001: Hypothesis design and Scientific Writing” course will take you through mentored writing of an NIH F31 / F30 proposal that can be used to craft other grant applications.

Elective Courses

Regardless of the M&I Graduate Program track, you can choose electives to tailor your studies to your interests. It is advisable to talk with your thesis advisor about your elective choices.  You will need to take at least one graduate-level didactic course (numbered 6000 or above) and at least one graduate-level special topics course (numbered 6000 or above).  The specific elective courses you choose must be approved by your Thesis Advisor and/or Thesis Advisory Committee. Courses numbered 5000-5999 may be taken for graduate credit with prior approval by the student's Thesis Advisor and/or Thesis Advisory Committee. 

Elective courses might change from year to year. A list of currently available elective courses can be found on the Bioscience Program website.

Laboratory Rotations

  • Students entering the M&I program through the MB or BC program will complete 3 lab rotations to help select a thesis mentor and lab. Each rotation last for 6 weeks and you will spend about 20 hours/week in the rotation lab. There will be two rotations in the Fall semester and one rotation at the beginning of the Spring semester. You will choose a thesis advisor and lab at the end of the Spring semester. For your rotation, you may choose any of the M&I Graduate Program Faculty (link to M&I Graduate Program tab). For help with choosing your advisor, you can contact your first-year faculty advisor assigned by the MB and BC programs upon starting at the University of Utah.  More detailed information on lab rotations and first-year curriculum for Bioscience Ph.D. students can be found here.
  • Students entering the M&I PhD Program through direct admission do not need to complete any rotations. You can choose any of the M&I Graduate Program Faculty (link to M&I Graduate Program tab). Directly admitted students can contact the Faculty of the lab of choice to arrange to be considered for admission into the program. If you wish to rotate in a specific lab before committing, you will need to discuss this option with the Faculty of your selected lab and the M&I Director of Graduate Studies Tracey Lamb.
  • Students entering the M&I Ph.D. Program through the MD/Ph.D. program are expected to complete 4 lab rotations to help select a thesis mentor and lab. The two four-week lab rotations occur in the summer before the Fall semester of Year 1, and two five-week lab rotations occur in the summer before the Fall semester of Year 2. Students may do any number of rotations in other departments, as long as one rotation is with an M&I Graduate Program Faculty.