First Year Curriculum Ph.D. students are required to enroll in three 10-11 week laboratory rotations spanning fall (2 credit hours) and spring (5 credit hours) semesters of the first year. To achieve full credit in the spring semester, students will be required to attend the seminars and journal clubs of the program in which they are participating. Students receiving a Dean's Scholarship or CGS grant support will rotate through at least two different laboratories (different mentors) to maximize their exposure to a diversity of scientific experiences. Self-funded or mentor supported students while not required to rotate through two separate laboratories in the Fall semester of the first year are still encouraged to do so.
MS degree students do not sign up for laboratory rotations through the core curriculum. MS degree students should consult with their respective graduate coordinator and/or mentor to decide on the appropriate number of laboratories in which to rotate.
Laboratory Rotation Mentor Selection: Having reviewed each research program in PhD Program Exposures during the first two weeks of the fall semester and having consulted with graduate faculty of interest, students will submit their first and second mentor choices for laboratory rotations via an online form to Keisha Vaughn in the Graduate Office. Every effort is made to accommodate students' first choices; however, if several students select the same mentor, students who delay deciding and/or submitting their choices may be assigned their second choice of mentor or they may be advised to select another mentor. Laboratory resources should be weighed carefully in selecting rotations; students should ensure that space and financial support would be available if they would like to pursue their dissertation research in that mentor's lab. Only Full Members of the graduate faculty are eligible to serve as Ph.D. dissertation advisors. A list of graduate faculty can be found at https://people.musc.edu/gradstudies/docs/GradFacultyList/. Schedules for the laboratory rotations and form submission deadlines are shown below and in the First Year Curriculum Calendar (page 9).
|Rotation||Submit Choices||Begin||End||Evaluations Due|
|First||Sept 10, 2012||Sept 12, 2012||Nov 30, 2012||Nov 30, 2012|
|Second||Nov 28, 2012||Dec 3, 2012||Mar12, 2013||Mar 1, 2013|
|Third||Feb 27, 2013||Mar 4, 2013||May 22, 2013||May 24, 2013|
Laboratory Safety: Before starting Lab Rotations, all students are required to attend a biosafety seminar addressing issues pertaining to compliance, occupational safety, and biological and chemical hazards. The website http://www.musc.edu/biosafety is an invaluable resource in this context.
Laboratory Rotation Guidelines: To improve the lab rotation experience, specific rotation guidelines will be sent by Dr. McGinty to mentors and students at the beginning of each rotation. The objectives of each rotation generally include the following:
- To acquaint students with potential dissertation mentors. Students will:
- Receive a briefing on the research focus of the laboratory
- Receive 1-3 review and/or research papers to read and discuss with the mentor during the rotation
- Conduct a research study with the goal of understanding the basis for the hypothesis being tested and the general approach to test the hypothesis
- Participate in weekly group or laboratory meetings
- Learn techniques (theory, limitations, etc) associated with the rotation project by collaborating with a mentor, graduate student, postdoctoral trainee and/or technician)
- Conduct laboratory research throughout the week and weekends when indicated
Evaluation of Laboratory Rotations: At the end of each rotation, mentors will submit an online evaluation form to Keisha Vaughn in the Graduate Office. Prompt submission of the evaluation form allows the Course Director to assign an Honors/Pass/No Pass grade. After completion of all three lab rotations in May, the course Coordinator will submit an aggregate CGS 720 grade to Enrollment Management that will appear on the student's transcript. In addition, students are required to complete an online evaluation of each laboratory rotation. Failure to submit timely evaluations will result in an incomplete grade for the course.
Selection of Dissertation Advisor: Laboratory Rotations, Program Exposures, Spring Selectives, attendance and participation in journal clubs and seminars, and focused discussion throughout the year with faculty advisors, mentors, and senior students regarding all aspects of available Ph.D. programs should facilitate selection of a program and dissertation mentor by the end of the spring semester. In addition, students should discuss with each Principal Investigator in whose lab they rotate the prospects (including potential stipend funding) for performing their dissertation research in that lab. Students should submit an online Ph.D. Program and Advisor selection form to the Graduate Office during the week following the last laboratory rotation (deadline June 3, 2013). Students enter mentor's laboratory on June 5, 2013.