Academic Programs

Integrated Bioscience abandons the traditional model of preparing PhD students to be experts in a narrow sub-discipline in favor of one emphasizing the integration of ideas across disciplines. To effectively confront the emerging biologically-based research questions of the 21st century, we must train students to both be experts in their respective disciplines, but also to be able to “think outside the box” of traditional fields.

The IB program accepts the fact that most students will have been taught in a traditional, discipline-based framework. Our job is to expose students to the broader perspectives required to successfully confront the increasing complexity and interdisciplinary nature of bioscience questions of the 21st century.

Our curriculum is not designed to make students “experts” in multiple fields simultaneously. Instead we give students tools and experience in how to co-opt experts in other fields to work as part of a team in attacking problems that span disciplinary boundaries. To do this effectively, integrated bioscience researchers must communicate their ideas efficiently with experts from other disciplines. Our core courses lead to this capacity by (1) introducing the students to the range of bioscience research techniques available for assessing bio-related problems, (2) training students from diverse disciplines to communicate with one another and begin thinking about how they can combine intellectual resources to approach bioscience questions, (3) introducing students to established integrated bioscience researchers (through an integrated biosciences seminar series), and (4) having students work in teams on one or more bioscience research projects.

Combining the core courses with Ph.D. advisory committees that are interdisciplinary helps extend the skills of “thinking outside the box” into an appropriately integrated research plan for the dissertation.

Download the IB Graduate Student Handbook for more information