Curriculum and Advising
Coursework is expected to be completed in the first and second years of the PhD program. A rich variety of courses are available within the program. There are also graduate courses in the university in many subjects, including Psychology, Physics, Chemistry, Biostatistics, Mathematics, Computer Science, and Electrical and Biomedical Engineering. Students may take courses offered in any Columbia department. Each student's education is tailored to fit his or her background and research interests.
Upon entering the program, each student interacts closely with program co-directors during orientation, first semester courses, and personal meetings, to advise him or her on coursework and rotation selection. Co-directors help the student with the selection of an appropriate curriculum, aid the progress of the student, and facilitate administrative assistance in matters such as housing and health insurance. Once the student has chosen a thesis advisor and has passed the qualifying exam, a thesis committee is formed to help guide the student through his or her thesis research. Throughout this period students receive extensive guidance in grant writing skills, professional development and scientific ethics, and career opportunities both within academia and science allied fields.