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Doctoral Program Coursework

The core programs of instruction are intended to provide a thorough grounding in the disciplines and techniques that contribute to research in Cellular Biology and Structure with an emphasis on Biochemistry and Pathobiology of disease. The combination of educational excellence and basic and clinical research expertise provided by Kent State University and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation will expose the student to the most current information and methodology in a specific field of concentration related to his or her dissertation.

The curriculum provided below includes a core of coursework and allow flexibility in the selection of electives depending upon the interests of the student and advisor. The program of study should be established as early as possible by the Guidance Committee but in any case by no later than the end of the first year of graduate work.

1. School of Biomedical Sciences Core (Waivers or substitutions may be offered by a student, with the concurrence of the student's major advisor, and approved by the Director)

a. Cell Biology

  • BSCI/5/70143 Eukaryotic Cell Biology (3 cr) Current study of the structure and function of eukaryotic cells, including recent advances in research technology.
  • Must be taken concurrently with BSCI 6/70144 Readings in Cell Biology (1 cr)

b. Biochemistry (must take one of the following):

  • CHEM 5/70261 Principles of Biochemistry I (3 cr) Introduction to biochemical principles, including chemistry and metabolism of biochemically important compounds
  • CHEM 5/70262 Principles of Biochemistry II (3 cr) Supramolecular and cellular biochemistry, including transcription and translation
  • BSCI 5/70142 Bioenergetics (3 cr) Respiration and photosynthesis, their origin, development, and control in living systems. Concepts are introduced from fundamental principles

c. Quantitative Methods and Statistics (one of the following courses):

  • BSCI 6/70103 Biological Statistics (3 cr) Principles of probabilistic analysis
  • PSYC 6/71651 Statistical Inference in Psychology (3 cr) Rationale of statistical inference, analysis of variance and non-parametric techniques
  • BMS 78637 Analysis of BioAnthropological Data I (5 cr) Examination of methods of univariate and bivariate experimental design. This survey emphasizes tests of hypothesis and estimation techniques with both classical and non-parametric procedures.
  • BMS 78638 Analysis of BioAnthropological Data II (3 cr) This survey of multivariate analysis includes one-sample data exploration, multiple sample problems, and regression methods.
  • Equivalent course approved by Director

d. Seminar

  • BMS 60291 Introduction in Biomedical Sciences (1 cr)

e. Laboratory Rotation. A minimum of two laboratory rotations per semester by arrangement with faculty members. No more than two rotations may occur at either institution.

  • BMS 6/70120 Laboratory Techniques in Biomedical Sciences (2 cr)

f. Laboratory Techniques (one of the following)

  • BSCI 5/70159 Molecular Biology Laboratory (2 cr) Experience in research methods for studying cellular and molecular processes in plant and animal systems
  • CHEM 5/70249 & 5/70250 (Biochemical Techniques (2 cr ea) Laboratory work emphasizing modern methods of biochemical investigation. Experiments illustrating use of spectrophotometric, chromatographic and isotopic methods.

2. General Electives - with the advice and concurrence of the Guidance Committee the student will complete additional course offerings (see on-line KSU graduate catalog) in preparation for the doctoral candidacy examination, as needed.



The primary aim of the Kent State University/Cleveland Clinic Foundation doctoral program in biomedical sciences is to prepare doctoral graduates for productive research careers.


The Master of Science degree may be awarded upon completion of 32 hours of graduate coursework including a doctoral core listed above and 6 hours of thesis during which a master's thesis will be completed. There is no non-thesis option.


A Master's student may either complete that degree or may petition for admission to the doctoral program upon the satisfactory completion of 20 semester hours of formal graduate coursework

Upon the recommendation of the student's Guidance Committee and the approval of the Executive Committee, the change in degree program will be made.



Each student shall form a guidance committee by the end of the first year of classes. The guidance Committee shall consist of a minimum of four graduate faculty members, at least two of which are full-time faculty members at Kent State University. The purpose of the guidance committee is two-fold: 1) to assist the candidate in coursework and research and 2) to deliver a candidacy exam following completion of all coursework.


It is intended that all students complete coursework and candidacy exams no later than the end of the second year of study; in many cases, it is expected that coursework can be completed by the end of the third semester of enrollment, excluding summer.

The candidacy exam is comprehensive and consists of written portions encompassing (a) the major field of Cellular Biology and Structure as it encompasses Biochemistry and Pathobiology, (b) the dissertation minor, based upon material relevant to the student's proposed dissertation area, and (c) a cognate minor. The time allotted for these examinations will be approximately eight hours for the major and four hours for each minor, and these are to be completed within a one-week period. The major advisor shall convene the guidance committee and organize the written examination, within the above three areas. When the Guidance Committee has determined the satisfactory completion of the written portion the oral examination will be scheduled; this should be done within two weeks of the completion of the written portion.


To be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. the student must complete the core course sequence as outlined above and additional electives if recommended by the Guidance Committee, and satisfactorily complete candidacy examinations consisting of written and oral portions.


As soon after the successful completion of the Candidacy Examination and admission to doctoral candidacy as possible, the Dissertation Committee will be formed. This committee will consist of the Guidance Committee and an additional graduate faculty member from a discipline outside that of the doctoral candidate. For example, this faculty member may be from another department at KSU, another program committee of the School of Biomedical Sciences who is not also a member of the Cell Biology and Structure program area, or a faculty member from the Cleveland Clinic not officially associated with the doctoral program. In the latter case, the outside member, upon presenting academic credentials to the Director indicating the concurrence of the candidate and his/her committee, will be added to the graduate faculty of Kent State University for the purpose of serving as outside member on the candidates committee.

The purpose for this additional faculty member is to provide both added expertise and resources critical to a candidate's dissertation research, as well as to provide a broader perspective to the candidate's academic training experience.



Within 6 months of the completion of the candidacy exam, the student will submit to this Committee a prospectus for the dissertation. The format of the prospectus will parallel that utilized for NIH grant proposals (without biographical, budget, and facilities information). The Dissertation Committee will examine the student on the prospectus and may elect to accept it as submitted, to modify it, or may reject it with specific reasons and recommendations for reformulation. After acceptance of the prospectus the Graduate College form ""Notification of Dissertation Topic"" will be submitted to the Director of the School of Biomedical Sciences for approval. The purpose of this document is both to ensure academic standards for dissertation research and to inform both the student and the committee of the plan of study. It is understood that changes in a student's research findings may alter this document. Hence, as needed, this document may be reformulated with the concurrence of the dissertation committee.

Completion of the dissertation and its defense will be accomplished according to the procedures and guidelines set forth by the Division of Research and Graduate Studies.


It is the goal of this program to prepare outstanding scientists for careers in the biomedical sciences. Hence, it is encouraged that candidates for the Ph.D. engage, to every extent possible, in other activities beneficial to their professional development. The combined resources of the participating institutions provide a world-class learning experience, both in the classroom and laboratory. Teaching experience as appropriate is considered highly valuable and students should have the opportunity for this experience during their graduate career. Students should also seek membership in professional organizations, attend meetings to present research results, and maintain currency in the relevant literature. It is the intent of the program faculty to provide every opportunity for these experiences.