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About the PhD Program

PhD Curriculum

The Medical Sciences graduate program provides students with resources, a formal course work and the experimental research frame that leads to earning the Ph.D. degree. Our holistic curriculum teaches critical thinking and promotes interdisciplinary training with core values in Rigor, Reproducibility, and Responsible Conduct of Research. The research core competencies are complemented with communication, grantsmanship, career development, and leadership skills. Students are expected to demonstrate the highest research and professional skills to transcend their knowledge to other disciplines and solve problems systematically and collaboratively with other scientists.

The research, coursework and professional skills developed during the program will provide a three-dimensional view that expands the students' research interests blurring with other student areas and becoming interdisciplinary to solve global and complex questions through collaborative work. It is expected that research worthy of a Ph.D. will constitute a significant contribution to the field in general and should be publishable in a peer-reviewed journal. Evaluation of the quality and quantity of the student's research will be the responsibility of the student's Advisory Committee before the students defend their Ph.D. dissertation.

Required Coursework

  • Contemporary Topics in Advance Cell Biology - MSCI 601 (5 CR)
  • Responsible Conduct of Research - MSCI 609 (1 CR)
  • Statistics (2 CR)
    • Biostatistics (MPHY 624)
    • Biostatistics I (STAT 643)
    • Biostatistics II (STAT 644)
    • Statistical Bioinformatics (STAT 646)
    • Statistics in Research I (STAT 651)
    • Statistics in Research II (STAT 652)
  • Seminar (1 CR)

Elective Coursework

Our flexible curriculum allows our PhD students to choose a minimum of other 17 graded credits from a comprehensive pool of courses across the entire campus. Below are some of the available courses offered by the School of Medicine. At the same time, the PhD student can expand the course registration to many other courses across the Texas A&M catalog provided student chair, committee and department approval.

MSCI 612 - Current Topics in Cell Signaling (3)
MSCI 630 - Pathogenesis of Human Disease (4)
MSCI 689 – Special Topics in Elements of Research Grantsmanship (3)
MSCI 689 – Special Topics in Clinical Research (3)
MSCI 689 – Special Topics in Tumor Microenvironment and Cancer Metastasis
MSCI 689 - Special Topics in Applied Microscopy for Biomedical Research
MSCI 689 - Special Topics in Fellowship Grant Development and Scientific Writing Workshop

MPHY 624 – Biostatistics (2)
MPHY 625 – Bioinformatics (2)
MPHY 632 - Cardiovascular and Lymphatic Pathobiology (4) [Cardiovascular Pathobiology]
MPHY 634 – The Lymphatic System (3)
MPHY 635-  Lymphatics- Regulation of Immunology and Inflammation

MPIM 601 - Microbial Pathogenesis of Human Disease (3)
MPIM 602 - Immunoregulation (3)
MPIM 635 - Mammalian Immunobiology (3)

NEXT 603 – Neuropsychopharmacology (4)
NEXT 620 - Gross Anatomy (8)
NEXT 622 - Teaching Medical Histology (3)


The first-year curriculum is meant to provide a broad-based foundation through core courses in Medical Sciences and through research rotations leading to the selection of a faculty research advisor. In the first year, students join a research lab and are allowed the flexibility to tailor coursework based on their research interests, after discussing with their Ph.D. Advisory Committee. After passing a preliminary exam and becoming a Ph.D. candidate, students can benefit from professional certificates that will contribute to forging a career path in academia, industry, government or entrepreneurship. A general timeline for the program is shown below:

Year 1

  • Core Courses (MSCI 601, MSCI 609, MSCI 681 and Statistics)
  • Complete lab rotations. Lab rotation forms must be submitted before rotations
  • Choose Research Advisor, advisory committee members, and file degree plan
  • Start Research Project

Year 2

  • Annual meeting with the Advisory Committee
  • Elective coursework based on research needs

Year 3

  • File Proposal and take the preliminary exam- before the Spring semester of 3rd year
  • Meet with Advisory Committee
  • Admission to Candidacy

Years 4-5

  • Research
  • Give Research Seminar
  • Meet with Advisory Committee
  • Professional certificate (optional)
  • Final Dissertation Defense