Skip to main content

Program of Study

The Field of Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBS) is a member of the Biological & Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program (BBS);  therefore, program requirements of the BBS should be followed by all graduate students in the Field (with the exceptions of those admitted through the Employee Degree Program).  You should consult the BBS Program guidelines to ensure that you are compliant with all requirements.  Consult the Office of Graduate Education with any questions you might have.

Requirements particular to the Field of CBS are detailed below


Faculty in the Field can represent one (or more) of five concentrations:  cellular & molecular medicine; developmental & reproductive biology; infectious diseases; population medicine & epidemiology; structural & functional biology.

Special Committee

As a member of the BBS Program, the Field of CBS requires three laboratory rotations during the first academic year. During this time, the Director of Graduate Studies serves as temporary Chair of your committee.

By the end of the rotation period, you should have a Special Committee Chair.  By the end of your third semester of registration, you should have a full Special Committee. Please go online to Student Center to update your special committee members.

The Graduate Field of Comparative Biomedical Sciences requires you to have four faculty on your Special Committee:

  • Special Committee Chair:  Faculty mentor in whose laboratory you are doing your research. 
  • Faculty Representing Two Minors:  The minor members can represent another Graduate Field or a CBS concentration other than the one represented by the Special Committee Chair.  Please note that a choice of concentrations that leads to over-specialization or a narrow view of science and scholarship will not be acceptable.  You are encouraged to form a Special Committee that will bring breadth and diversity to your training.
  • Field-Appointed Minor Member:  A Field-Appointed Minor Member is assigned by the DGS in consultation with the Executive Committee of the Field.  In order to have a Field-Appointed Minor Member assigned to your Committee, you should submit your committee membership and a short paragraph detailing your research project to your DGS. Please note: The Field-Appointed Minor Member is a permanent member of your committee and must be included in all meetings and exams.


During your first year, your coursework is chosen in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who serves as your Special Committee Chair until a permanent committee chair is selected at the end of your rotations.

Subsequently, your Special Committee is the final arbiter of the courses that you should take.  Once your Special Committee is selected, you should meet with the entire Committee to formulate a program plan, in which coursework is included.  Each faculty person will determine the courses that you should take to meet major and minor requirements.  Coursework should be designed to meet the needs of your research program and to assure a broad range of knowledge in the field expected of a PhD candidate.

Teaching Experience

As a member of the BBS Graduate Program,the Field of CBS requires a one-semester teaching experience of all CBS students. 

Student Progress Review

All CBS students are required to submit a Student Progress Review (SPR) form annually. You should meet with your entire Special Committee by the end of the Spring semester to review progress over the academic year and to set goals for the coming year.  First year students should meet with their DGS.  The online annual report needs to be completed by all Biological and Biomedical Science PhD students by June 15th.


The format of your A-exam is determined by your Special Committee; it may be written or oral or a combination of both.  You should consult with your Special Committee to determine the format and the content of the exam well in advance of the projected exam date. 


The B-exam is based on the content of the PhD thesis.  You are required to present a one-hour seminar on the results of your thesis research prior to the exam; this seminar is open to the College and University communities. You should consult with your entire Special Committee to set the time frame for delivery of the thesis draft to your committee members.  A relatively-polished draft of the thesis (including all tables, figures, appendices and references) must be presented to all members of the Special Committee at least one week before the Final Exam.

Share this: