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Frequently Asked Questions

Points to consider when choosing where to do your graduate training (for more detailed information, please refer to the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences website):

What kinds of students are a good fit for the BMB department?

·       Students who share our passion for understanding the fundamental mechanisms of life will find a welcoming home in the BMB department. A strong work-ethic, positive attitude and healthy dose of curiosity are common qualities amongst those in our department. Students with backgrounds in math, computer science, physics and chemistry are especially encouraged to contact us. Per our Culture Statement, members of our department are welcoming to others and believe in the importance of a diverse scientific workforce. 

What are the graduation requirements for the umbrella program?

General information about PhD requirements can be found in the PhD Program Schedule from the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences webpage.

Are there any unique requirements for the BMB program within the umbrella program?

The only unique requirement is that at least two of the three electives outlined in the general program schedule come from the Biochemistry & Molecular Biotechnology program. NOTE: you do not have to be in the BMB graduate program to work in a lab associated with the BMB department, nor are you restricted to working with labs in the BMB department if you’re part of the BMB graduate program. Many of our students are members of different graduate programs.

What kinds of courses can I take as my electives?

This link lists all the courses available through the graduate school. There are several courses that are usually offered by faculty in the BMB department, including Chemical Biology and Molecular Biophysics. Check the link above for updated course listings.

What is the cost of the application fee?

The current application fee can be found here. Fee Waivers are available for those experiencing financial hardship or for those who have underrepresented or disadvantaged identities in science. The application for the waiver can be found here.

How long are the lab rotations, and how many will I complete?

Students take three to five different lab rotations during their first year. Each rotation lasts six to eight weeks.

What are qualifying (AKA candidacy) exams like?

Qualifying exams (QE’s) consist of the development of a written research proposal, and the presentation and defense of that proposal to a committee of faculty. This is a standard format for QE’s across much of biomedical graduate education. Since we view QE’s as a training opportunity, students take courses to help prepare them for their QE.

What opportunities will I have to present my research?

Presenting our research in a clear and engaging way is a critical skill, and discussions of our research with our peers can lead to new ideas that can push our research in exciting directions. As such, each student in the BMB graduate program is required to present their work to the department once a year. We also have an annual retreat in collaboration with the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at UMass Amherst every summer where students can present their work.

Students are also encouraged to present their data at national scientific meetings. Attending a national meeting is an excellent opportunity to improve presentation skills, network with colleagues, and discuss science with the leaders in the field.

What is the average time to graduation?

The graduate school is currently working to reduce our time to graduation. The average time to graduation from the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is just under 6.5 years.

Who will my classmates be?

The entire graduate student body is currently made up of over 300 students that represent many different identities. For more information on the students of the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, click here!

Are there career development and mentoring resources available?

Absolutely! Faculty in the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences are international leaders in graduate education and career development. The Center for Biomedical Career Development is the hub of career development for the graduate school. Furthermore, the dedication of our faculty to education and mentoring has been recognized by institutional awards.

What careers do UMass Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences alumni pursue?

The Center for Biomedical Career Development advises students in their pursuit of various careers. The Graduate School tracks short- and long-term career outcomes for our alumni. Initially, the majority of alumni go on to academic postdocs. In the long-term, the majority of Morningside Graduate School alumni end up working in industry. It should be noted that our proximity to hubs of biotech and pharmaceutical companies (e.g. Boston, New York City) facilitates relationship building that can lead to desirable career outcomes in industry for our graduates.

For more detailed information about our alumni outcomes, check out the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences website or peruse examples of the careers of graduates from BMB labs.