Skip Navigation
  • students
  • microscope
  • lab
  • crystals
  • first years

College of Graduate Studies

Structure of the Curriculum

The goal of the Biomedical Sciences First Year Curriculum is to provide students with the critical knowledge, skills, and scientific insight necessary to be successful in any of the professional specialties in the College of Graduate Studies at MUSC. The First Year Curriculum lays the groundwork for the student’s later advanced coursework and research training in a specific Ph.D. program, or program track, with a specific mentor, advisory committee and Ph.D. dissertation project. 

The curriculum as a whole has five complementary elements: Foundations of Biomedical Sciences (CGS 701/702), Essential Scientific Practices (CGS 710/711/712), Laboratory Rotations (CGS 720/721), Important Unanswered Questions in the Biomedical Sciences Seminar Series (CGS 760), and Spring Selectives (various). To familiarize students with doctoral training programs offered by the College of Graduate Studies, a series of Program Exposures that highlight individual departments and/or programs are held at the beginning of the Fall semester. 

First Year Curriculum students are required to attend all classes in each of the five complementary elements of the curriculum, and each of the ten Program Exposures. Students must maintain a minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0. “A” level work is assigned a GPA of 4.0, a “B” is 3.0 to 3.9, “C” is 2.0 to 2.9, and “D” is 1.0 to 1.9. Students receiving less than a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the end of a semester will be placed on academic probation, and will be required to achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the end of the following semester to recover good standing. Students who remain on academic probation for two consecutive semesters are subject to dismissal from the PhD program. 

As a prerequisite for the PhD degree, the College requires that students demonstrate a predetermined level of statistical competence. This may be achieved by either enrolling in and completing CGS 700 in the second or subsequent years of graduate study, or by providing transcript evidence of satisfactory completion of previously-taken statistical course(s) that fulfill the College requirement.

A First Year Curriculum Calendar and class schedule is shown on the next four pages, followed by detailed syllabi and more information regarding all elements of the curriculum. Scheduling and location changes may occur in the course of the year, and these will be posted in the online Calendar at


© Medical University of South Carolina | Disclaimer