The Chemical, Physical, and Structural Biology Graduate Program at Baylor College of Medicine will provide you with a deep understanding of fundamental aspects of disease biology at the chemical, molecular and supramolecular level.
At its core, science is a means of inquiry to reveal the inner working of the natural world. Our courses focus on problem-solving and skills development rather than fact accumulation. Core classes that survey biology are complemented by workshops that focus on specific skills that can be used directly in your research.
Flexible Curriculum to Match Your Interests
You have the option to pursue one of several curricular tracks tailored to meet your own educational interests and needs. These include a Biophysics Track and a Pharmacology & Drug Discovery Track. There is also a Flexible Track through which you may work with your advisor to tailor your coursework to match your goals. For MSTP students, medical school classes substitute for elective coursework.
We will teach you how to develop the critical thinking, speaking, and writing skills that are necessary for your professional success in graduate school. Through student seminars, you will present your work to other students and faculty, learning how to organize and present your research and to handle research-related questions.
Research Rotations and Thesis
As with all graduate programs in the biological sciences, the majority of your training is in the context of laboratory research and the completion of original research projects that contribute to the scientific literature.
You will have the opportunity to rotate through as many as five different laboratories to gain hands-on research experience and select a faculty mentor for your thesis research. By the end of your first year, you will select your faculty mentor so that you are ready to begin writing your research proposal for your thesis topic. You will then defend this proposal in an oral presentation as part of your qualifying exam. This exam is designed to encourage you to think deeply about your thesis research from the very beginning, helping you to transition from the classroom to the lab bench.
You will conduct your thesis research under the supervision of your faculty mentor and a thesis advisory committee. Thesis projects normally take three-five years to complete—about the national average—and serve as the basis for high-quality, peer-reviewed publications and for the Ph.D. dissertation.
As someone coming from a chemistry background into a Biochemistry lab, I found that my mentor and the other students in the program were incredibly helpful in teaching me new techniques and helping me think more as a biologist. -- Elizabeth Bowling
Our most essential strength is a community of highly collaborative scientists that are focused on the success of our science and our students.
A unique aspect of our program is the level of student involvement in leadership and governance. Students have a voice at nearly every level of the program and organize seminars and career symposia. Correspondingly, there is a strong emphasis on effective mentorship and teamwork to enable your success now and in the future.
Preparing for Your Future
- Career Development Activities
The CPSB program includes activities designed to help you explore the many career opportunities available on graduation and to further develop your career beyond the laboratory. Part of this is the student-sponsored Career Development Seminar, through which student invite leaders in a variety of fields to discuss their career paths.
The BCM Career Development Center also offers many workshops and seminars as well as one-to-one counseling and other services.