Graduate Year One/G1

BIG program core and elective coursework.

Students complete two 8 to 12 week lab rotations.

Students meet at least twice during year with academic advisor(s).


Graduate Year 2/G2

Core and elective coursework completed by the end of G2

Students take and pass Preliminary Qualifying Examination (PQE) by June of G2.


Graduate Year 3/G3

Dissertation laboratory declared by September 1.

Complete PQE.

First Dissertation Advisory Committee (DAC) meeting held no later than September 30 of the G3 year: A DAC report is submitted to the program administrator no more than two days after every DAC meeting.

Second DAC meeting held no later than the end of G3 year: Research progress should compel the DAC to confirm in the report that project can plausibly lead to a dissertation.


Graduate Year 4/G4

DAC meeting held no later than end of the G4 year: DAC confirms research direction and/or progress likely leads to dissertation within 18 months.


Graduate Year 5/G5

DAC meeting held no later than end of December of the G4 year or within 6 months of the previous DAC meeting: DAC confirms strong indication of progress towards completion.

Final DAC Meeting





Courses and Rotations:

Students will take courses as scheduled here: BIG Course Requirements.

In the first year, students will rotate in at least two laboratories.

Prior to each rotation, students submit the Rotation Registration.

After each rotation, students submit the Rotation Evaluation.

After choosing a dissertation advisor, students submit the Dissertation Advisor Declaration.


Student advising: Each student has a BIG faculty advisor with whom s/he will meet regularly throughout her/his time in graduate school. Also, a meeting for course selection with BIG faculty members will be required for the first two years at the beginning of each semester.


Teaching requirement: Each student is expected to serve as an unpaid Teaching Fellow (TF) for a class for the equivalent of 60 hours (usually one 4-credit course or two 2-credit courses).


Qualifying Exam (PQE): Students take and pass the Preliminary Qualifying Examination (PQE) between the summer after G1 and June of G2. See PQE Guidelines.


Dissertation Advisory Committee (DAC):

At least one member of the BIG faculty will serve on each student's DAC. Please refer to the Dissertation Advisory Committee Guidelines for more information. Each time you meet with your committee, you must submit the Dissertation Advisory Committee Report to the BIG program director.



Image courtesy: National Human Genome Research Institute

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