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Students in the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Graduate Training Program in Life Sciences (DGP) typically take six courses in the first three quarters of year one and eight courses total in years one and two. All students take the three core classes (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell Biology), as well as Statistics. Beyond these four required courses, students take at least four other courses. Students may take more than eight courses if desired.

During the first year, students also rotate in three laboratories under the supervision of leading scientists, allowing them to explore the diverse interdisciplinary research opportunities available and hone their scientific interests. By the end of the first three quarters, students are expected to choose a thesis lab. Simultaneously, they will choose and begin to participate in the activities of one of the Research Clusters that will provide advanced, more focused, training activities over the reminder of their PhD studies.

In the spring quarter of the second year, students will take a qualifying exam. Upon passing the qualifying exam, students are ready to proceed to complete their thesis work. The thesis proposal is completed in fall quarter of year three.

DGP Course Offerings Listed by Quarter

The following table lists core and elective courses from DGP, but there are additional courses available at Northwestern.

Quarter Courses Offered
Fall Quarter Biochemistry (required), Statistics (required), Advanced Immunology, Microbiology, Topics in Developmental Biology, Data Science (Intro to Informatics), Tumor Cell Biology, Receptors and Signaling Mechanisms, Colloquium on Integrity in Biomedical Research
Winter Quarter Molecular Biology and Genetics (required), Cell Biology (required), Advanced Microbial Pathogenesis, Advanced Bioinformatics, Molecular Basis of Carcinogenesis, Topics in Drug Discovery, Structural Basis of Signal Transduction
Spring Quarter Immunology, Virology, Genetics, Introduction to Pharmacology, Science and Society
Summer Quarter Introduction to Translational Research, Introduction to Life Science Research (Proposal Writing)

DGP Electives and Full Course List

Course Name Course No. Note
Biochemistry 401 Required First Year Core
Molecular Biology and Genetics 410 Required First Year Core
Cell Biology 405 Required First Year Core
Statistics and Data Analysis for Life Scientists 484 Required First Year Core
Colloquium on Integrity in Biomedical Research 494 Required for Second-Year Students
Immunology 440 Elective
Microbiology 442 Elective
Virology 475 Elective
Advanced Immunology 403 Elective
Advanced Microbial Pathogenesis 433 Elective
Data Science for Biomedical Researchers (Informatics) 485 Elective
Advanced Bioinformatics (Genome Informatics) 486 Elective
Topics in Drug Discovery 425 Elective
Intro to Pharmacology 420 Elective
Receptors and Signaling Mechanisms 435 Elective
Topics in Developmental Biology 456 Elective
Genetics 430 Elective
Pharmacovigilance 460 Elective
Structural Basis of Signal Transduction 466 Elective
Tumor Cell Biology 450 Elective
Molecular Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis 480 Elective

In addition to DGP courses, DGP students may take relevant electives in other programs. Programs that offer courses most likely to be relevant to DGP students include IBiS, NUIN, and HSIP.

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