Sep 21, 2018  
Graduate Record 2015-2016 
Graduate Record 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Experimental Pathology

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University of Virginia
415 Lane Road, MR5, Room 3000
P.O. Box 800904
Charlottesville, VA 22908
(434) 924-1946 Fax: (434) 924-9213


The Department of Pathology offers a Ph.D. in Experimental Pathology through its Program entitled, “The Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease (MCBD).” Our students experience a unique interface between clinical, medical, and basic science realms, designed to elucidate the mechanisms of disease processes and cultivate the skills necessary to perform translational research.

First-Year Degree Requirements

Admission to the MCBD Program is normally through the Biomedical Sciences Program (BIMS) or the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). During their first year, prospective students take courses to establish the foundation for our 24-credit Ph.D. program. Listed below is a typical first-year schedule for a student entering through the BIMS program:

BIMS Core Course
Research Rotations

Modular Coursework appropriate for research interests, selected after consultation with the mentor and the MCBD Program Director.
BIMS 7100 Research Ethics

When the student identifies a mentor for their thesis/dissertation work (typically by approximately Feb 15th of their first year), he/she also declares a graduate program affiliation. When choosing the MCBD Program, he or she assembles a Thesis/Dissertation Committee with the help of his/her Mentor, the Program Director, and our faculty members. This committee assists the student in planning the best curriculum course for the remainder of the student’s time in the Program in order to meet his/her needs and interests, as well as serving (in most cases) as the exam committee for the qualifying exam and the dissertation defense.

Second-Year Degree Requirements

During the second year in the Program, students complete coursework, begin their research, and prepare for the qualifying exam.  Didactic courses must be approved by the Program Director.

A typical second-year curriculum:


  (Credits: 1, Journal Club/Pathology Research Progress Report)
Approved Didactic Electives; Coursework required by training grant 


  (Credits: 1, Journal Club/Pathology Research Progress Report)
Approved Didactic Electives; Coursework required by training grant 

Throughout their time in MCBD, other opportunities are available for students to supplement basic science training activities. Examples of these include workshops to define the concepts and processes involved with patents/intellectual property, and to develop skills necessary for grant writing/review.

Remainder of the Program

The remainder of the student’s time in MCBD is spent completing the following requirements:

Qualifying Exam: Written and oral components: Students are required to complete a written exam, similar in style to an NIH grant proposal, detailing the student’s research plan. Students are required to submit written copies of this thesis to their respective Graduate Committee members two weeks prior to the qualifying exam.
The oral Qualifying Exam for the MCBD Program is a successful defense of the thesis project before the student’s Graduate Committee. Students must meet this requirement by June 30th, at the end of the student’s second year.

Further research: leading to papers written by the student on his or her research. These papers are to be published in high quality peer-reviewed journals appropriate to the student’s field of study.
Good Academic Standing: Students must maintain good academic standing with the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, defined as a 3.0 current and cumulative grade point average.
Required Activities: Students must fully participate in MCBD Program research activities throughout their time in the Program, including attendance at PATH 8460 Seminars in Human Disease and Molecular Medicine and PATH 8050 Colloquium in Human Disease Research, the annual Pathology Research Retreat, and other events as announced.
Final Expectations: Completion of the PhD requires a final written Dissertation that conforms to all Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and University specifications, a closed oral defense of the document and research conclusions, and a public oral defense (seminar presentation). At least one first author research paper describing original work must be accepted for publication before final defense of the dissertation.

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