Curriculum

Mayo Clinic Ph.D. students reviewing data with faculty member

Like at all modern graduate schools, most research training at Mayo Clinic takes place away from the classroom, as part of active research laboratories generating new knowledge, publishing, and changing the faces of science and medicine.

During the first year, students do three eight-week rotations for mentor selection, and select from various core courses that provide fundamental knowledge and technical language to support advanced areas of specialization.

Upper-level courses and colloquia (visiting seminars, journal clubs, works-in-progress presentations) continue in subsequent years, supplementing research group meetings.

You qualify for thesis research by passing a written qualifying exam and an oral defense of a thesis proposal. You then meet every six months with your own thesis advisory committee to discuss progress and individual development plans.

Ph.D. training concludes with defense of a written thesis. At least one first-author scientific publication is required for graduation. Most students author several manuscripts and present at multiple scientific meetings during training.

Degree completion

To earn a graduate degree in biomedical sciences from Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, you must complete a total of 42 didactic credits (32 of which are selected from available core courses). Most students complete the majority of these courses in the first 18 to 24 months of the program while they’re doing laboratory rotations, choosing their thesis advisers and beginning thesis research.

On average, our students complete their Ph.D. in just 5.25 years.

Core course options

Summer quarter (4 credits)

CourseCredits
Genome Biology* 3
Responsible Conduct of Research** 1

*Required course for all students except those in Biomedical Engineering and Physiology.
**Required course for all students.

Fall quarter (6 credits)

CourseCredits
Chemical Principles of Biological Systems* 3
Immunology 3

*Required course for all students except those in Biomedical Engineering and Physiology.

Winter quarter (9 credits)

CourseCredits
Integrated Systems Physiology 3
Molecular Cell Biology 3
Molecular Genetics 3

Spring quarter (13 credits)

CourseCredits

Critical Thinking and Scientific Writing

2

Molecular Biophysics

3

Molecular Mechanisms of Human Disease

3

Molecular Pharmacology and Receptor Biology

2

Virology and Gene Therapy

3

Laboratory rotations

Laboratory rotations are an important part of your first year of graduate study. Through lab rotations, you’ll try out different types of research, experience different labs and mentors, and choose your area of specialization. All students complete three eight-week lab rotations. Your first rotation may be done during the summer before classes start.

Lab rotations are a great way to explore potential thesis research labs at Mayo Clinic's campuses in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, and Jacksonville, Florida. Mayo pays for travel and living expenses, and most courses are available through a real-time video communications link.

You’ll choose a thesis laboratory and specific track before the end of the first year.

Tracks

A feature of Ph.D. training at Mayo is the opportunity to select curriculum and scientific training culture in seven distinctive tracks. However, you can still choose to research in any lab that interests you, even if it’s not in your chosen track. Track preference is indicated at application and confirmed after admission.

Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Virology and Gene Therapy

Virology and Gene Therapy

Biomedical Engineering and Physiology

Biomedical Engineering and Physiology

Immunology

Immunology

Clinical and Translational Science

Clinical and Translational Science

Neuroscience

Neuroscience

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Regenerative Sciences Training Program

The Regenerative Sciences Training Program is a special doctoral training emphasis offered by Mayo Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Medicine to upper level Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. students in any track of the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Students compete for program acceptance after their first year of graduate training.

Anthony Windebank, M.D., talking with Ph.D. student in his lab
Academics ▸ Biomedical Research Training ▸ Ph.D. Program ▸ Curriculum