Student Timeline

Yearly Timeline of Program Requirements

Within the MCB Program there are four degree-granting programs: Biochemistry/Cell Biology, Biological Sciences, Genetics (Molecular and Systems Biology), and Microbiology and Immunology. Students in these four programs are bound by the MCB Program Rules and Regulations.

The following are to be reported to the MCB Office:

  • Rotation choices
  • Thesis lab choice (2nd half of May, end of year 1)
  • TA selection
  • Advisory Committee members (before first RIP)
  • Qualifying exam committee members and date of oral exam (Oct. 15)
  • Date of annual advisory committee mtg- provide signed annual report (June 30, every year)
  • Date thesis defense
  • Identity of outside examiner

Program Requirements

  • Three research rotations in first year
  • Three-term core course
  • One term of teaching assistantship
  • Designated ethics course
  • A qualifying exam consisting of dissertation proposal, mock research idea, and oral defense
  • Upon satisfactory completion of these requirements, a student will be advanced to Ph.D. candidacy. (Students may be advanced to the Ph.D. candidacy before completion of the three advanced courses.)
  • Three advanced courses from approved course list
  • Attendance at and participation in journal club meetings and RIP (Research in Progress) seminars
  • Attendance at program functions
  • Preparation and presentation of thesis (seminar and defense)

Program Contacts

  • MCB Program Office - Janet Cheney
  • Biochemistry and Cell Biology - Helina Josephson
  • Biological Sciences - Sherry Finnemore
  • Molecular and Systems Biology - Julia K. Murphy
  • Microbiology and Immunology - Karen Thompson (Vail)

Year One Students

Research in Progress Colloquium (Fall, Winter, Spring)

Required of all Year One students for the first three terms. You are required to attend 60% of the RIPs offered during this time period and submit an evaluation of the presentations. Moderators will have the evaluation forms available at the beginning of each RIP and will collect them at the end. Students enroll in BIOL 271 in the Spring term to receive a grade for this Colloquium.

Research Rotations (Fall, Winter, Spring)

  • Discuss a possible rotation with 3-4 MCB faculty with whom you would like to work. Rotations are set at the beginning of each term.
  • Prepare a list (in order of preference) of three faculty who have agreed to accept you for a rotation.
  • Email or deliver the list to the MCB Program office prior to the deadline.
  • Rotation assignments are made by the MCB Graduate Committee.
  • Assignments will be announced by the MCB Program Office via email.

(Fall term > Sept-Nov Winter term > Dec-Feb Spring term > Mar-May)

Ethics Courses

In Fall term, first year students will enroll in UNSG 100 for the ethics requirement. In Winter term, students will then enroll in PEMM 124 for the second half of the UNSG 100 course.

Core Course

The three-term core course is required of all Year One students. You will register for BIOC101 in the Fall term and BIOL103 and MICR104 in the Winter term. The Spring term includes several modules split into three sections. You will select one module per section.

Thesis Advisor

  • Starting in mid-May, you should begin to meet with possible thesis advisors from among the labs where you performed research rotations.
  • Submit the name of your proposed thesis advisor to the MCB Program office by the deadline.
  • Final matches will be announced by the MCB Graduate Committee via email.
  • Once the assignments are announced you and your thesis advisor will be asked to sign a letter of agreement and submit it to the MCB Program office. Thesis work begins on June 1.

Teaching Assistant (TA) Assignments (BIOL 169)

  • In early June of your first year, you will receive a list of courses requiring teaching assistants for the next academic year.
  • Email the MCB office with a list (in order of preference) of the courses you would like to TA and include the term they are taught (some courses are offered more than once a year).
  • Submit the list to the MCB Program office prior to the deadline.
  • Teaching Assistant assignments are made by the MCB Graduate Committee.
  • Assignments will be announced by the MCB Program office via email.

Summer Term Enrollment

You are required to register for 3 course credits every term. Since most journal clubs do not meet during the summer term, you will need to adjust the Graduate Research course to meet your 3 credits, i.e. #197 = 1 credit, #198 = 2 credits, #199 = 3 credits. The 4-letter program designation will be determined by the program of your thesis advisor (BIOC, BIOL, GENE, MICR).

Students Years Two And Up

Advisory Committee - before RIP (In Year Two)

  • This committee should be comprised of your thesis advisor (serving as chair) and two additional Dartmouth faculty (at least one must be an MCB faculty member).
  • REQUIRED - Email the committee member names to the MCB office at least one week before your RIP for approval by the MCB Graduate Committee.

Advisory Committee Meeting Report - June 30

REQUIRED - A meeting of your Advisory Committee must be held each year and a signed summary report submitted to the MCB office prior to June 30. The report is to be signed by all members of the Advisory Committee. The Adv Cmte meeting report template is available on the MCB website and from the MCB office. A good rule of thumb is to schedule your committee meeting and submit your summary report no more than 30 days following your RIP presentation. Senior students planning to defend within the year (January 1 through June 30) are still required to meet with their AC and submit signed report by the deadline.

Failure to hold your committee meeting and submit report by the June 30 deadline will result in the withholding of the increase granted upon completion of the qualifier by $100/month for each month the report is delinquent. Extensions will be granted only in exceptional cases. If no report is filed by December 1 of the year it is due, the student will be separated from MCB program.

Journal Clubs

All students are required to attend at least one journal club each term (except summer term) while in the program. See list of courses and journal clubs on the website.

Qualifying Exam Committee - June 1 (In Year Two)

Select two committee members in consultation with your thesis advisor. Distribute your dissertation proposal to the cmte members and set up a date for the oral exam (within two weeks of proposal distribution if possible).

Qualifying Exam: oral exam - December 15

By the end of Fall term all sections of the qualifying exam are to be completed, including a second oral exam attempt if required.

Teaching Assignments (BIOL 169) (In Year Two)

You will register for BIOL 169 during the term that you are assigned to do a TA. Teaching assignments are made the end of the Spring term of the first year in the MCB Program. This teaching assignment is a program requirement.

RIPs

All students, from Year Three on, are required to give a RIP presentation each year.

Those students who are contemplating defending their thesis before the end of the academic year will still be required to present their RIP unless they have submitted to their program office the name of the outside examiner and the defense date before August 1.

Thesis Preparation

When you are ready to begin your thesis preparation, notify your program administrator (Karen, Helina, Julia or Sherry). Please review the thesis guidelines found on the Graduate Studies Office web site. These include margin size, font size, length of document, etc. If you have questions about the guidelines contact the Graduate Studies Office.

Course Enrollment Quick Guide

All MCB students must have three course credits for each term they are enrolled in the MCB Program.

Year One

Although you may take elective courses during your first year, we strongly encourage you to wait until the second year so you can concentrate on the core course components.

Fall Term

  • Journal Club (see course list on the website for journal clubs available)
  • Research Rotation (Graduate Research I)
  • #197 equals 1 course credit
  • #198 equals 2 course credits
  • #199 equals 3 course credits
  • The program designation is determined by your research rotation assignment for the term, i.e. MICR or BIOL or BIOC or GNTC.
  • Core course -- BIOC 101
  • UNSG 100 Ethics Course

Winter Term

  • Journal Club
  • Research Rotation (Graduate Research I)
  • #197 equals 1 course credit
  • #198 equals 2 course credits
  • #199 equals 3 course credits
  • Core course -- BIOL 103 and MICR 104
  • PEMM 124 Ethics course

Spring Term

  • Journal Club
  • Research Rotation (Graduate Research I)
  • #197 equals 1 course credit
  • #198 equals 2 course credits
  • #199 equals 3 course credits
  • Core course -- (course numbers to be determined)
  • BIOL 271 (RIP Colloquium)

Summer Term

  • (no journal clubs offered during summer term)
  • Graduate Research I
  • #197 equals 1 course credit
  • #198 equals 2 course credits
  • #199 equals 3 course credits
  • BIOL 169 - if you are assigned a TA for the summer term, register for this course number

  • REMINDER - you are required to be on campus during at least part of every term. Vacation time is not to exceed 1 month per year without special permission of advisor and MCB Graduate Committee.

Year Two

Fall, Winter, Spring Terms

  • Graduate Research I (197, 198, 199) Thesis lab determines program designation.
  • Journal Club
  • TA Assignment - If you are assigned to TA for one of these terms, register for BIOL 169 in that term.
  • Elective Courses - consult the MCB course listing for course availability.

Summer Term Graduate

  • Research (197, 198, 199)
  • No journal clubs during summer term so pick the appropriate Graduate Research number to bring you to 3 course credits for the term.

  • REMINDER - you are required to be on campus during at least part of every term. Vacation time is not to exceed 1 month per year without special permission of advisor and MCB Graduate Committee.

Years Three and Above

(Upon successfully completing your qualifying exam, you will then enroll in Graduate Research 297-298-299)

Fall, Winter, Spring Terms

  • Graduate Research (297, 298, 299)
  • Journal Club
  • Elective Courses
  • REMINDER - you are required to be on campus during at least part of every term. Vacation time is not to exceed 1 month per year without special permission of advisor and MCB Graduate Committee.

Summer Terms

  • Graduate Research (297, 298, 299)
  • Elective Courses
  • No journal clubs during summer term so pick the appropriate Graduate Research number to bring you to 3 course credits for the term.