The Graduate School does not set course requirements; these are set by the Field of GGD and your Special Committee.  You should talk to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and/or your Special Committee about the courses that you should take.  Dates for course enrollment are set by the University Registrar (  Make sure that you register in accordance with the published dates.  NOTE:  The Graduate School will only consider Course Enrollment Petitions in extremely extenuating circumstances.

Federal regulations require that all students enroll in at least 12 credit hours/semester.  First-year GGD students are required to enroll in 12 credits of graded courses, but beyond the first year, you should not feel obligated to enroll in 12 credit hours of actual coursework unless your DGS/Special Committee consider(s) it necessary.  Enroll only in the courses that you need/want to take.  In the fall and spring semesters, the Graduate School will enroll students in their Graduate Dissertation Research course in order to ensure that your record reflects 12 credit hours.  

Summer Enrollment:  All graduate students are required to enroll in the Graduate Dissertation Research (via Student Center) for the summer; the deadline for this is the end of May.  This is necessary if you are receiving a stipend or plan to use university facilities such as libraries, computer centers, and the Gannett Health Center.  (Please note:  If you register after May 31, FICA taxes will be withdrawn from your paycheck.)

Time Away From the University:  The graduate student schedule/calendar does NOT follow the undergraduate schedule.  Graduate students are paid on a 12-month stipend and are expected to be present and actively working on their academics and research project unless the university itself is officially closed.  If you plan on being gone for a significant period of time, you must have the approval of your advisor and notify the Graduate Field Assistant of your intentions.

The Field of Genetics, Genomics and Development has a core curriculum comprised of a small set of courses designed to foster critical thinking skills and to provide foundational knowledge in Genetics, Genomics and Development.  Graduate students must take the following courses prior to graduating.  Please note that GGD graduate students are expected to take a minimum of 12 credits of GRADED courses during their first year in our program.

  • BIOMG 7810: Problems in Genetics and Development (Fall, first year)
    All entering students take this course in the Fall semester of their first year. This course will combine didactic lectures with student-led presentations and critical analysis of key literature on topical issues in genetics, genomics, and development.   
  • BTRY 6010: Statistical Methods or equivalent, (Fall, first year)
    This course develops and uses statistical methods to analyze data arising from a wide variety of applications. Topics include descriptive statistics, point and interval estimation, hypothesis testing, inference for a single population, comparisons between two populations, one- and two-way analysis of variance, comparisons among population means, analysis of categorical data, and correlation and regression analysis. Introduces interactive computing through statistical software. Emphasizes basic principles and criteria for selection of statistical techniques.
    (Students may substitute this course with one of the following courses:  BIOMG 8340: Quantitative Biology for Molecular Biology & Genetics; BTRY 6381: Bioinformatics Programming; BTRY 6830: Quantitative Genomics & Genetics; BTRY 6840: Computational Genomics; BTRY 6700: Applied Bioinformatics).
  • BIOMG 7800: Current Topics in Genetics and Development (seminar course). Students will be required to take three BioMG7800 courses, with one on grant proposal writing, one focusing on material presented by each week’s MB&G seminar speaker, and a third one of student’s choice, but not a repeat of the above two.
    • Grant proposal writing course (Fall, first year) will be co-taught by two or three GGD field faculty members and offered in the fall semester each year. It is required by all first year GGD students. The purpose of the course is to teach students how to write a successful research proposal, mainly in the NSF predoctoral fellowship format.  Each student will be required to put together an application during the first month of the fall semester. The proposals will be critiqued by fellow classmates and the faculty instructors through a series of mock review panels. After revising and hopefully improving the proposals through this exercise, all eligible students will submit their proposals to the NSF for real at the end of the class. Before arriving on campus, incoming first year students will be informed by the DGS of this Proposal Writing Course and that their first rotation mentors will serve as their proposal-writing mentors (see more in Laboratory Rotations). They will be asked to research the field website to find possible first rotation mentors that they can either contact before their arrival, or talk to right after they arrive, on campus. The students will then work with their mentors to come up with a research topic and proposal.
    • The other two forms of BioMG7800 emphasize presentation skills; generally, each student presents one seminar per course based on current research literature in the course topic.  Students will be given formal feedback on their presentation by course instructors.  This course is led by different faculty members each semester so that the focus varies. Each year, one to two BioMG7800 courses focused on a specific topic, and one BioMG7800 based on the MB&G seminar series will be offered.  The latter is designed to encourage discussion of experiments performed by the speaker and his/her field of interest.
  • Three courses in a Breadth Requirement
  • A course on ethical issues in science (e.g., BIOMG 7510 Ethical Issues and Professional Responsibilities)– All students are required to take this or a comparable course in scientific ethics.   BioMG7510 is offered in the Spring semester.  The opportunity to discuss these issues openly will be an important and valuable part of your graduate training.
  • Seminar Courses: All GG&D students also are required to attend and participate in the Wednesday Field Seminars (12:20 pm; BIOMG7860) and in the Friday Molecular Biology & Genetics Seminars (4:00 pm; BIOMG7870). (See individual seminar course tabs)
  • Additional course requirements, including the graduate minor, are set by the members of the student’s Special Committee. Students are strongly encouraged to complete their breadth and minor requirements by the end of their first year.

Grade Expectations: For courses with a letter grade, students are expected to receive a B (3.0) or better in order to remain in good standing in the program. Grades below B- in a student’s major area do not constitute satisfactory performance, and the course(s) must be retaken if it is a required course. If a student receives a grade below B- in two or more classes, he/she is at risk of being asked to leave the program.