PhD Program Curriculum
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PIBS Curriculum

Required and additional courses

The PIBS Year
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As a PIBS scholar, several courses 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 PhD 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 two research rotations during each of the Fall and Winter terms of the first academic year. 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 - Before Fall Start (Optional)

  • PIBS 600 Research Rotation

 *Please note, due to federal regulations, the summer rotation is not available to new F-1 students entering the United States in the summer preceding their PIBS year. These students must begin rotations in the fall when their enrollment in classes begins.


  • PIBS 601: Research Rotation 1 (Lab, 2 credits, graded course) 1st half term
  • PIBS 602: Research Rotation 2 (Lab, 2 credits, graded course) 2nd half term
  • PIBS 800: PIBS Seminar Series (1 credit, graded course)
  • PIBS 503: Research Responsibilities and Ethics (1 credit, pass/fail course)*


  • PIBS 603 Research Rotation 3 (Lab, 2 credits, graded course) 1st half term
  • PIBS 604 Research Rotation 4 (Lab, 2 credits, graded course) 2nd half term
  • PIBS 800: PIBS Seminar Series (1 credit, graded course)
  • PIBS 504: Rigor and Reproducibility Training (This course is recommended for PIBS students but not required.)

Spring (Half-Term)

  • PIBS 600 Research Rotation (approval required)

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 PhD 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.

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Registration Information

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