PhD Completion Requirements in MCP

Course Requirements

  • MCP 207: MCP Boot Camp (Aut)
  • MCP 208: MCP Journal Club and Professional Development Series (Aut, Wtr, Spr)
  • MCP 217: Foundations of Statistics and Reproducible Research (Aut)
  • BIOS 200: Foundations in Experimental Biology (Aut)
  • MCP 256: How Cells Work: Energetics, Compartments, and Coupling in Cell Biology (Spr)
  • MCP 221/BIOC 224: Advanced Cell Biology (Wtr)
  • Basic competency in molecular biology
  • This requirement can be met based on undergrad curriculum/research. If not met, then the Stanford undergrad course BIO 83 can be taken to meet the requirement.
  • Selected courses 
  • Take the equivalent of two (2) courses from the following list, where mini-courses count as ½ course
  • o   BIOC 241 (Biological Macromolecules)
  • o   MCP 222 (Imaging: Biological Light Microscopy) or BIOPHYS 232     (Advanced Imaging Lab in Biophysics)
  • o   Minicourse BIOS 294 (Chemistry for Biologists and Others)
  • o   Minicourse BIOS 202 (Understanding Kinetics for Biologists and Biology)
  • o   Minicourse NEPR 204 (Neuroscience Molecular Core; requires instructor     approval)
  • o   Minicourse NEPR 201 (Neuro-Cellular Core; requires instructor approval)
  • Advanced graduate courses or minicourses for a minimum of 6 units total. These courses do not need to be MCP courses but must be in a relevant scientific topic and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • MED 255:  The Responsible Conduct of Research; (required if you are funded on NSF or NIH training grants)
  • Attend the MCP Seminar Series/MCP Annual Retreat
  • Any additional courses required by your training grant, if applicable.
  • Service Requirement (see handbook)

Lab Rotations

In addition to the course requirements detailed above, a student is expected to complete laboratory rotations during the first year. While students typically explore three rotations, a large amount of flexibility is available in planning rotations. For example, if a student decides they would like to carry out their thesis in a lab after the first or second rotation, this scenario can be considered on an individual basis.  The first of these rotations must be in a laboratory within the Department, while subsequent rotations may be in any laboratory in the allied bioscience programs. The first rotation should last 8 to 10 weeks and each subsequent rotation shall last no longer than 8 weeks. Shorter rotations are encouraged, as long as the total length of the rotations is between 20 and 26 weeks. Continuation of rotations beyond the end of the spring quarter will require the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. Failure to complete rotations in a timely manner may be considered as evidence of unsatisfactory progress in the program. Following the completion of the rotations the student will join the laboratory where they will conduct their dissertation research by May 15.

Qualifying Examination

All students in the program must pass a Qualifying Examination to advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. It is expected that students will take the qualifying examination by the end of the Autumn quarter in the second year of study. Failure to pass the qualifying examination by the end of the second year will be taken as evidence of unsatisfactory progress in the program.

More information on the Qualifying Examination process is in the Student Handbook. 

Dissertation Research

Dissertation research generally starts during the student's second year.  Students may do their dissertation research in any department within the allied Biosciences while still receiving the MCP degree.  Projects are selected by the student with consultation by their faculty supervisor.

Dissertation Thesis

The final requirements of the program include presentation of a PhD dissertation as the result of independent investigation and constituting a contribution to knowledge in the area of molecular and cellular physiology. The student must pass the University oral examination, taken only after the student has substantially completed research. The examination is preceded by a public seminar in which the research is presented by the candidate. The oral examination is conducted by a dissertation reading committee.

Other Information

There is no formal teaching requirement that needs to be completed to earn the Ph.D. degree.  However, opportunities exist for students to gain teaching experience as teaching assistants (TA) in various courses.

There is no language requirement for earning the Ph.D. degree. However, students will be expected to be familiar with the relevant literature in their chosen field, regardless of the language of publication.