PhD Curriculum

Students in all tracks complete up to 24 didactic credits depending on their academic background.  Didactic credits consist of three required courses with the remaining courses completed as electives and tailored to address gaps in prior training and/or to better prepare the students for their research and career goals. Students are also required to attend a weekly journal club and seminars given by faculty members or invited speakers, and to present seminars based on their research activities.

Mandatory Courses

Research Work & Journal Club
PhD students in all the tracks will be registered for BMS 603 (Research) every semester, and for BMS 607 (Journal Club) every fall and spring semester. Credit is awarded for Research and Journal Club and does not count toward the required didactic credits.

  • Guided research on a topic suitable for a doctoral dissertation.

  • Students, along with faculty members, participate in a weekly Journal Club in which they discuss a paper from the current literature. The emphasis is on critical analysis, identifying the reasons that the research is significant, and understanding how the findings extend current knowledge. Students take this course every semester.

The following mandatory courses, in addition to an intermediate/advanced-level biostatistics course to be determined in consultation with the student's advisory committee and the Graduate Program Manager, count toward the required ten didactic credits.

  • This is an elementary course in statistics, designed to give an overview of the basics of statistical analyses, including probability theory, distributions, and hypothesis testing. It is a core course in the graduate curriculum, and as such the prerequisites are the same as those for entry into the graduate program. Topics to be covered include probability and sampling theory, frequency distributions, and hypothesis testing. Some hands-on exercises using statistical software are also offered, but it is anticipated that more advanced applications will require additional instruction. It is the instructor’s objective to familiarize students with central concepts and to save in-depth discussion of methodologies for advanced courses. When it is practical, however, students are encouraged to suggest topics for discussion and review.

  • The aim of the course is to discuss acceptable, unacceptable and controversial aspects of research ethics and responsibilities of a researcher. Students enrolled in the course participate in the discussions of topics using a case-based approach. The course topics include:

    1. Experimental techniques and the treatment of data
    2. Conflict of interest
    3. Publication and openness
    4. Allocation of credits and authorship practices
    5. Error and negligence in science
    6. Misconduct in science
    7. Use of animals in research
    8. Responding to violations of ethical standards

Elective Courses

Most elective courses are taken on Tufts’ Medford and Boston campuses, and at Boston University, Boston College, or Brandeis University through a consortium arrangement.

Students enrolled in the PhD program may choose courses from the veterinary curriculum listed below to fulfill their electives or to enhance their basic scientific knowledge if deemed necessary by the Thesis Advisory Committee and approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. These courses are cross-listed with the BMS prefix.

  • VET 102 - Veterinary Biochemistry and Metabolism - 3.0 credits
  • VET 137 - Cell and Tissue Types - 2.5 credits
  • VET 109 - Immunology - 2.0 credits
  • VET 112 - Applied Molecular Biology - 1.0 credit
  • VET 122 - General Pathology - 1.5 credits
  • VET 135 - International Veterinary Medicine - 1.0 credit
  • VET 201 - Microbial Pathogenesis - 3.5 credits
  • VET 203 - General Parasitology - 3.0 credits
  • VET 216 - Applied Epidemiology & Evidence-based Medicine - 1.5 credits

Our Research Tracks

The goal of all of our research tracks is to educate graduates who are experts in their field with depth and breadth of knowledge, and who possess well-developed communication skills and high ethical standards.