PhD Program

MPP 1st Year Students 2018-2019The Therapeutic Sciences Graduate Program (TSGP) offers advanced training appropriate for academic and research careers in the fields of biology and medical sciences with a focus on determining disease mechanisms, drug actions, and developing novel therapies.  The program offers students a very diverse, welcoming, collaborative learning environment that draws upon faculty experts from the life and physical science departments as well as physicians at Brown's affiliated hospitals.  Together, students and faculty form a community of scholars committed to Brown's core mission that includes advancing knowledge and scientific discovery.

  • BIOL 2250, Survey of Modern Therapeutics (Year 1, Semester 1)
  • BIOL 2170, Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology (Year 1, Semester 2)
  • Practical Statistics Module (2 weeks in January of Year 1, between Semesters 1 and 2)
  • 3 Therapeutics-related Elective Courses (taken any year) from the following list:
  1. BIOL 2410 Current Topics in Signal Transduction
  2. BIOL 2300 Biomolecular Interactions: Health, Disease and Drug Design
  3. BIOL 2865, Toxicology
  4. BIOL 2160 Physiological Pharmacology
  5. BIOL 2110 Drug and Gene Delivery
  6. BIOL 2010 Quantitative Approaches to Biology
  7. BIOL 2860 Molecular Mechanisms of Disease
  8. BIOL 1290 Cancer Biology
  9. BIOL 2145 Molecular Targets of Drug Discovery
  10. BIOL 2167 In Vitro Models of Disease
  11. BIOL 1070 Biotechnology and Global Health
  •  One additional elective course is to be selected by the student to match their research interests and/or career goals, and this elective is not required to be from the list of therapeutics-related courses, but may be if desired.  More than one elective is allowed, but not required.  Elective courses must have Program approval. 
  • Monthly TSGP Meetings -- a combination of data club, journal club, and career development activities
  • Attendance at weekly TSGP seminars
  • Teaching assistantship -- one course in either the fall or spring semester of the second year; foreign students must obtain certification from the Center for Language Studies (English for International Teaching Assistants) before they can serve as teaching assistants.
  • Presentation of thesis research in at least one scientific conference
  • First-year talk -- approximately 10-15 minutes, describing a rotation, in an TSGP seminar slot in May
  • 3rd-year talk -- a full seminar in the TSGP seminar series, usually Dec-Feb, about research progress
  • Writing of scientific articles -- at least one first-authored, peer-reviewed paper accepted for publication by graduation
  • Submission of a fellowship application
  • Fall Welcome Dinner and New-student Orientation -- incoming students greeted by others and the graduate program committee, and receive information on their first-year processes
  • Annual TSGP Retreat -- in May, with posters and talks by students, talks by faculty and a keynote speaker, breakout group of graduate program committee with students
  • Standard training in research ethics (RCR: responsible conduct of research), rigor & reproducibility, writing of individual development plans, and various lab safety trainings
  • Fall Breakfasts -- September-November, meetings of new students with individual faculty to help set up spring lab rotations
  • Monthly Faculty-student gatherings -- spread throughout the year, one faculty trainer at each, along with several students, to get to know the faculty and discuss career paths and experiences

Brown is famous for its outstanding curriculum and the competence and devotion of its teachers, as well as for its close-knit, personalized, collegial environment.  Consistent with this reputation, the Therapeutic Sciences PhD program provides access for its students to numerous exciting and varied courses.  Here are a few examples of the many possible elective courses that are not on the list of therapeutics-related courses above:

  • BIOL 2270 Advanced Biochemistry
  • BIOL 2030/2040 Advanced Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology
  • BIOL 1150 Stem Cell Engineering
  • CHEM 1230 Chemical Biology
  • BIOL 1120 Biomaterials

In addition, we provide an optional 8-10 week summer internship at Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company between the first and second years of the program (see handbook).

Extensive mentoring and student support occurs in many of the required activities listed above, e.g., the Fall Welcome Dinner & New-student Orientation, and the Monthly TSGP Meetings.  However, there are many other sources of mentoring and support.  For example, there is academic and career advising by the Graduate Program Committee throughout the program, as well as research and career advising by thesis mentors, and extensive peer-to-peer mentoring as well.  There are career panels and ad hoc lunches and dinners in which current and past students advise students who are less experienced.  One strength or our program is its individualized mentoring that focuses on the specific needs of each student.  Please see the TSGP PhD Student Handbook for links to many advising and mentoring resources at Brown.