PhD

The PhD requires a minimum of at least three years of full-time resident commitment to the discipline, an approved sequence of course work, a qualifying examination, research leading to the PhD dissertation, and a final oral examination. For students entering with an undergraduate degree, 4 and 1/2 years are generally required to complete the PhD in Biotechnology degree. The MD/PhD requires at least an additional three years beyond the medical school curriculum.

The following list is an overview of the requirements for a Ph.D. in Biotechnology. For more specific details, please refer to the Biotechnology Graduate Program Guidelines.

  • University requires 3 years of full time study (24 tuition units).
  • A maximum of 8 tuition units (e.g. 8 standard courses) can be transferred from post-baccalaureate work.
  • Must receive a grade of B or better, courses must be taken for a grade rather than credit/no credit.
  • Choose a thesis advisor no later than end of first semester.
  • Complete Ethics Training Course in first year.
  • Academic and research progress of first year reviewed by Graduate Program Committee.
  • Complete six structured (not seminar, not independent study) upper level courses (1000, 2000 level) and at least 2 of the 6 must be at the 2000 level. 4 of the 6 must be in one of three research tracks, 2 of the 6 must be in general biotechnology.
  • Enroll in each seminar class (BIOL 2230 2240), attend departmental seminars and give at least one seminar per year.
  • By 1 month past semester 4, pass Qualifying Examination. (Submit written part at least 2 weeks prior to Exam).
  • Annual progress reports to Thesis Advisory Committee.
  • Submit to Thesis Committee the final version of the thesis (approved by advisor) at least 2 weeks prior to defense.
  • Present work as a seminar and pass final oral examination.
     

The following Committees are selected by the student and the advisor:

Qualifying Examination Committee

  • Thesis advisor
  • Three other Brown faculty (Chemistry, Engineering, Physics and/or Biology/Medicine)
  • One must be a member of the Graduate Program Committee

Thesis Advisory Committee

  • Thesis advisor
  • Three other Brown Faculty (chemistry, engineering and or Biology/Medicine)
  • Outside expert (optional, but strongly recommended)

Thesis Committee

  • Thesis advisor
  • Three other Brown faculty (chemistry, engineering and or Biology/Medicine)
  • Outside expert

The PhD requires students to complete six structured (not seminar, not independent study) upper level courses (1000, 2000 level) and at least 2 of the 6 must be at the 2000 level. Depending on their research interests, students select one of the three tracks (drug and gene delivery, drug discovery, or cell therapy) and they are required to complete four courses in that track to provide depth of understanding. To achieve breadth, students in the PhD program are required to complete two other courses selected from the list of Courses in General Biotechnology (Biotech: Diseases, Biotech Industry). All students in the PhD program are required to enroll each semester in the seminar course (BIOL 2230 & 2240) and to enroll in independent study with their research mentor. The curriculum is summarized as follows:

  • 4 courses from one research track (drug & gene delivery, drug discovery OR cell therapy)
  • 2 courses from general biotechnology list (biotechnology diseases and/or biotechnology industry)
  • seminar course, all semesters
  • independent study with research mentor, all semesters 

COURSES IN BIOTECHNOLOGY RESEARCH TRACKS

 

 

 

 

DRUG & GENE DELIVERY

Polymer Science for Biomaterials (BIOL 1090)

Biomaterials (BIOL 1120)

Virology (BIOL 1560)

Applied Materials Chemistry (CHEM 1560M)

Nanoscale Materials (CHEM 1700)

Drug and Gene Delivery (BIOL 2110)

In Vitro Models for Disease (BIOL 2167)

Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology (BIOL 2170)

Physiological Pharmacology (BIOL 2260)

 

 

 

 

 

DRUG DISCOVERY

Topics in Signal Transduction (BIOL1110)

Protein Biophysics and Structure (BIOL 1200)

Biomolecular Interactions: Health, Disease & Drug Design (BIOL 1300)

Development of Vaccines to Infectious Diseases (BIOL 1600)

Molecular Targets of Drug Discovery (BIOL 2145)

In Vitro Models for Disease (BIOL 2167)

Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology (BIOL 2170)

Physiological Pharmacology (BIOL 2260)

Molecular Mechanisms of Disease (BIOL 2860)

 

 

 

 

 

CELL THERAPY

Cell Physiology and Biophysics (BIOL 1100)

Biomaterials (BIOL 1120)

Tissue Engineering (BIOL 1140)

Stem Cell Engineering (BIOL 1150)

Biology of the Eukaryotic Cell (BIOL 2050)

In Vitro Models for Disease (BIOL 2167)

Analysis of Development (BIOL 2310)

Developmental Biology (BIOL 2320)

Blood Substitutes & Therapeutic Development (BIOL 2245)

 

 

COURSES IN GENERAL BIOTECHNOLOGY

 

 

 

BIOTECHNOLOGY DISEASES

Biotechnology and Global Health (BIOL 1070)

Cancer Biology (BIOL 1290)

Innate Immunity (BIOL 1520)

Biology of Emerging Microbial Diseases (BIOL 1550)

The Diseased Brain (NEURO 1740)

Environmental Health and Disease (BIOL 1820)

Neurogenetics and Disease (BIOL 2340)

The Biology of Aging (BIOL 2350)

 

 

 

BIOTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY

Biotechnology Science and Industry (BIOL 2020) 

Importance of Intellectual Property in Biotechnology (BIOL 2089) 

Management Strategies in Biotechnology (BIOL 2000 level) 

Commercialization Pathways in Biotechnology (BIOL 2000 level) 

Experiential Learning Industry (BIOL 2130)

 

* Other courses may be approved by the Program Director.

 

Featured Student: Jess S.

After completing an undergraduate degree in botany, Jess worked for a hospital and a small biotech firm - the experience motivated her to pursue doctoral training at Brown, where she was able to combine her interest in neurogenerative diseases with her research mentor's focus on cell heterogeneity.