PIBS Curriculum

Lecturer gives a talk

The PIBS Year

As a PIBS scholar, there are courses that are required in addition to your lab rotations. While there is no official core curriculum, these courses provide students with an invaluable base to begin building a successful career in the sciences.The first-year curriculum is structured so that students can concentrate on choosing rotations from our more than 500 laboratories and begin recommended coursework for the Ph.D. program(s) in which they are most interested. Faculty academic advisors work closely with students to ensure that their course schedules are compatible with the training programs of their choice.

All students are required to perform one research rotation during each of the Fall and Winter terms of the first academic year. Students may elect to perform two half-semester rotations during the Winter term. With the approval of the PIBS Director, students may register for additional rotations during the Spring and Summer terms.

Below is a typical PIBS-year curriculum. Students make choices in consultation with the PIBS Director and Academic Advisors.

SUMMER (optional)

PIBS 600 Research Rotation


PIBS 503 Research Responsibilities and Ethics, PIBS 600 Research Rotation and two of the following: Biochem 550, Cell and Developmental Biology 530, or Human Genetics 541


PIBS 600 Research Rotation and two additional courses that are specific to your training program

SPRING (half-term)

Informal research rotation or begin thesis research

SUMMER (half-term)

Informal research rotation or begin/continue thesis research.

At the end of the PIBS year, students choose a thesis mentor and a degree-granting program. Second year students enroll in specialized coursework and continue to perform research. First and second year students are considered by the Rackham Graduate School to be pre-candidates for the Ph.D. Qualifying examinations are given by each department/program at the end of the second academic year. Students who successfully pass these examinations achieve candidacy and go on to pursue full-time doctoral research.