Storke Sunrise

Foundation Building

The MCDB PhD program is designed to provide a solid intellectual foundation that prepares students for pursuing the PhD and for a variety of careers. A rigorous core course series in year 1 is followed by a Proposal Writing course in year 2. The core is complemented by a paired journal club and seminar speaker series that exposes students to a breadth of literature and approaches across the sub disciplines and provides the opportunity for meetings with visiting researchers.

Please see the MCDB Graduate Student Guide for more details.

Lab Rotations

During the first year, PhD students conduct three, 10-week research rotations in MCDB laboratories. Students submit rotation requests prior to the start of each quarter and rotation assignments are made by the Graduate Committee. A Departmental Research Retreat near the start of the Fall Quarter introduces incoming students to the available rotation laboratories. First year students are encouraged to consult with faculty about rotation options.

Course Requirements

Seminar Courses for Graduate Students

MCDB students are required to enroll each quarter for the mandatory department seminars:

Course Number Course Name Quarter Units
MCDB 262 Friday Noon Seminar Fall / Winter / Spring 1
MCDB 263 Research Seminar Fall / Winter / Spring 1
MCDB-CORE Graduate Curriculum

The MCDB Core Courses are revised beginning Fall, 2020. See previous versions of the MCDB Graduate Guide for previous years’ core courses.

Course Number Course Name Quarter Units
MCDB 229 Protein Biochemistry Fall 2
MCDB 218A Method & Logic in MCD Biology I Fall 3
MCDB 218B Method & Logic in MCD Biology II Winter 5
MCDB 221 Proposal Writing & Evaluation Fall, Year 2 3
MCDB 260 Research Strategies in MCDB (every qtr, years 1 & 2) Fall / Winter / Spring 1

Elective coursework (5 units) is individualized (see Appendix I in the MCDB Graduate Guide for pre-approved elective course list); other courses may be substituted upon prior written approval of the Faculty Graduate Advisor.

Teaching Assistant Courses

All PhD students must qualify for and hold a teaching assistantship for the equivalent of two quarters in order to obtain teaching experience. To qualify, students must complete the following courses, which are generally taken in year 1.

Course Number Course Name Quarter Year Units
MCDB 500 Campus Orientation Fall 1 1
MCDB 501 Practicum in Instruction N/A N/A 1-4
MCDB 502 Teaching Techniques Fall 1 1

To see the list of pre-approved electives, check out the Graduate Handbook in the Graduate Resources.

View Resources

Additional Information

For more details about the program and the time course to the degree, see the Graduate Handbook in the Resources.