NYMC > Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences (GSBMS) > GSBMS Academics > Degrees & Programs > Doctor of Philosophy > Integrated PhD Program

Integrated Ph.D. Program

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ADMISSIONS UPDATE: The GSBMS no longer requires Ph.D. applicants to submit GRE scores! 

General Format
The Integrated Ph.D. Program (IPP) provides the most direct route to a Ph.D. degree in the Graduate School. In this program, students enter the Graduate School without initially declaring an academic discipline. Graduates receive a Ph.D. in one of our existing programs – biochemistry & molecular biology, cell biology, microbiology & immunology, pathology, pharmacology, or physiology.

Student Support
Qualifying students receive a financial aid package that includes a full tuition scholarship, a stipend, hospitalization and medical insurance (annual premium paid by the Graduate School), and a waiver of the Student Health Services fee.

PhD Degree Timeline

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Subsequent Years
   Students take a common set of courses (the core curriculum) in the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters, along with elective course options that may differ for each student. 
   First-year students also  participate in three different laboratory rotations – one in each academic term.
   At the conclusion of the first year, each student declares his/her program and joins the lab of the Dissertation Advisor.
   Students continue formal coursework towards an overall minimum of 32 didactic (i.e., letter-graded) credits. This includes both core and program-specific requirements and electives. Coursework should be complete or very nearly complete by the end of the second year.
   Students begin working in their dissertation laboratory and form an advisory committee.
   At the end of the second year, each student will attempt to pass a qualifying exam that tests the student’s integrated knowledge of the core curriculum and the discipline-based curriculum.
   During the third year, the student presents a formal dissertation proposal to the advisory committee.
   The student is required to engage in an approved teaching activity at least once during their enrollment in the program. Students may undertake various approved teaching activities within the GSBMS, other academic units of NYMC, or academic institutions external to NYMC.



   The student keeps the dissertation committee apprised of the progress of the research project and, when its major goals and objectives are achieved, the student writes a scholarly dissertation on the work and defends it publicly before the faculty and scientific community of the College.

Most students complete their Ph.D. requirements in five to six years.


Read about Tim's journey to research at NYMC... and hear what our alumni have to say about our Ph.D. program. 

Milestones and Student Progress

  1. Upon entry to the program, each student is assigned a first-year Academic Advisor who will (a) provide guidance with regard to GSBMS regulations and procedures, (b) advise the student on course and rotation selection, and (c) monitor the student's progress in the program. Each first-year research rotation will have a Rotation Advisor (a faculty member hosting a student in their laboratory for the period of that rotation). Once the student has declared a program, the Principal Investigator of the research laboratory the student has entered becomes the student’s Dissertation Advisor. The Program Director for the specific program the student has entered becomes the Academic Advisor, with special emphasis on course selection and guidance related to GSBMS program requirements and procedures. The Dissertation Advisor and the student establish the Advisory Committee in consultation with the Program Director. Once the student is ready to present a dissertation proposal, usually in the third year, the membership of the Advisory Committee may be modified to form the Dissertation Committee. Students are also encouraged to seek additional advice from other faculty on a one-to-one basis.
  2. Students declare their program at the end of the first year, by an announced date. Programs have the option to deny the student’s entry, which would force the student to declare a second choice. If no match can be made, the student will be dismissed from the Ph.D. program. According to this schedule, the student will have been admitted to a specific program by the Fall term of the second year, thus allowing an appropriate selection of courses for that term.
  3. This choice is normally made at the same time as the declaration of program, and is subject to the agreement of the proposed dissertation sponsor. In special circumstances, the selection of a dissertation sponsor may be delayed by one academic term. If the student has not yet selected a Dissertation Advisor, the first-year Academic Advisor will continue to serve on a temporary basis until the student finds a Dissertation Advisor.
  4. During the summer at the end of the second year, all students sit for the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination. In special circumstances, the exam for a particular student may be delayed for a short time. The student will be evaluated on his/her performance on the exam and on an assessment of his/her potential to conduct independent research. Passing the exam indicates that the student is prepared to undertake a doctoral dissertation and, therefore, will qualify the student for doctoral candidacy. Students who fail the qualifying exam on their first attempt may be allowed one additional attempt to pass the exam. Students who do not pass the qualifying exam will be dismissed from the Ph.D. program, but will be eligible to receive a Master’s degree, providing the appropriate requirements for that degree are fulfilled.

    Each exam will be constructed by the faculty of the student’s specific program, but the format will conform to standards set by the Graduate School. The format shall include both written and oral components. The student will be examined on his or her knowledge of the core concepts of the chosen discipline, including the core biomedical concepts taught in the first year. The student should also demonstrate an ability to think logically and critically, and demonstrate an understanding of how the scientific method may be used to address unanswered questions in his/her field.
  5. Once the student is ready to present a dissertation proposal (during the Fall term of the third year – i.e., shortly after passing the Qualifying Exam), the second-year Advisory Committee becomes the Dissertation Committee. Members of the Advisory Committee can be replaced if their expertise is not relevant to the student’s dissertation project.

    The Dissertation Committee should also include one member of the graduate faculty from a program/department other than the student’s program. One external member who is not a part of NYMC or GSBMS faculty can also become a member of the Dissertation Committee upon approval of the Dissertation Advisor and the IPP Steering Committee. The Dissertation Advisory Committee should meet at least three times per year to assess the student’s overall progress and to ensure timely defense and graduation of the student. Once the student is ready to present a dissertation proposal the Dissertation Advisory Committee will be the recipient of the student’s final thesis. For the dissertation/thesis defense, the Dissertation Advisory Committee should be expanded to include one external member who did not prior serve on the student’s Dissertation Advisory Committee.
  6. Each student shall present to his/her dissertation committee an acceptable formal research proposal by the end of the Spring term of the third year. It shall be written in grant proposal format, as specified by the Graduate School.
  7. The student shall present written and oral progress reports to the dissertation committee at every meeting. At some point, the committee shall decide that sufficient data have been collected and will authorize the student to prepare the dissertation itself.
  8. The student shall provide the committee with a final draft of the dissertation at least two weeks in advance of a public defense of the dissertation. Because a public presentation and defense of the dissertation research is an academic tradition and a Graduate School requirement, the dean must approve all proposed dissertation defense dates.