The Graduate School does not set course requirements; these are set by the Field of BMCB and your Special Committee (see Course Enrollment).  You should talk to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and/or your Special Committee about the courses that you should take.  Dates for course enrollment are set by the University Registrar (  Make sure that you register in accordance with the published dates.  NOTE:  The Graduate School will only consider Course Enrollment Petitions in extremely extenuating circumstances.

Federal regulations require that all students enroll in at least 12 credit hours/semester.  You should not feel obligated to enroll in 12 credit hours of actual coursework unless your DGS/Special Committee consider(s) it necessary.  Enroll only in the courses that you need/want to take.  In the fall and spring semesters, the Graduate School will enroll students in their Graduate Dissertation Research course in order to ensure that your record reflects 12 credit hours.  

Summer Enrollment:  All graduate students are required to enroll in the Graduate Dissertation Research (via Student Center) for the summer; the deadline for this is the end of May.  This is necessary if you are receiving a stipend or plan to use university facilities such as libraries, computer centers, and the Gannett Health Center.  (Please note:  If you register after May 31, FICA taxes will be withdrawn from your paycheck.)

Time Away From the University:  The graduate student schedule/calendar does NOT follow the undergraduate schedule.  Graduate students are paid on a 12-month stipend and are expected to be present and actively working on their academics and research project unless the university itself is officially closed.  If you plan on being gone for a significant period of time, you must have the approval of your advisor and notify the Graduate Field Assistant of your intentions.

Required Coursework in BMCB Major
Laboratory research
  • BIOMG 7940 Current Topics in Biochemistry:  Grant Proposal Writing Course – (Fall)
  • BIOMG 8310 Advanced Biochemical Methods I – Lab 01 (weeks 1-7) (Fall)
  • BIOMG 8310 Advanced Biochemical Methods I – Lab 02 (weeks 8-14:  1st rotation) (Fall)
  • BIOMG 8320 Advanced Biochemical Methods II (2nd and 3rd rotations) (Spring)
  • BIOMG 8369 Foundations & Frontiers in Cell & Molecular Biology (Fall)
  • BIOMG 8370 Foundations & Frontiers in Cell & Molecular Biology (Spring)
Focused Research
  • BIOMG 6310 Protein Structure, Dynamics, and Function (Nicholson) – Fall
  • BIOMG 6330 Biosynthesis of Macromolecules (Roberts) – Fall
  • BIOMG 6360 Functional Organization of Eukaryotic Cells (Hu)  – Spring
  • BIOMG 6370 Tricks of the Trade: How to Use Genetics to Dissect Cells, Molecules and Developmental Pathways (Goldberg, Wolfner) – Spring — offered every two years in the Spring; students can take this in year one or two
  • BIOMG 6390 The Nucleus (Lis) Spring
One quantitative methods course (to be taken in the first or second year)
  • BIOMG 8340 Quantitative Biology for Molecular Biology and Genetics, 2 credits (Pleiss) Spring  OR
  • BTRY 6010 – Fall OR
  • BTRY 6020 – Spring

Please note that there is apparently a long break between the two semesters.  However, graduate students are expected to be working on their first or second rotation (see Laboratory Rotations) during the intersession period.  The only time that a graduate student should expect to not be in the lab are the times when the university is officially closed.


  • BIOMG 7510 Ethical Issues and Professional Responsibilities (Hanson) Spring
  • BIOMG 8330 Research Seminar in Biochemistry, 1 credit Fall/Spring
  • BIOMG 8300 Friday afternoon BMCB/GGD seminar
  • BIOMG 8380 Scientific Communication in BMCB, 1 credit (Shalloway) Spring
  • BIOMG 7940: Careers in Bioscience Course (offered every other year; students are required to take one Careers course prior to graduation but are encouraged to participate in more.  Each Careers course is developed by different faculty and thus, is different each time it is offered).


  • BIOMG 8330 Research Seminar in Biochemistry, 1 credit Fall/Spring
  • BIOMG 8300 Friday afternoon BMCB/GGD seminar


  • BIOMG 8330 Research Seminar in Biochemistry, 1 credit Fall/Spring (Students in their fifth year and beyond must present a seminar each year but are not required to register)
  • BIOMG 8300 Friday afternoon BMCB/GGD seminar

Grade Expectations: For courses with a letter grade, students are expected to receive a “B” (3.0) or better in order to remain in good standing in the program.  If a student receives a C+ or lower grade in any core BMCB course, no credit is given for that course, implying that the course must be retaken if it is a required course.  

Mandatory Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training

The integrity of research conducted at Cornell University is of the utmost importance to the institution as well as to the BMCB Field. Cornell is committed to promoting and supporting the ethical and responsible conduct of research across all disciplines.  As a result, all students are required to take the on-line RCR training in their first year of study.  For more information and to access the training, go to   

In addition, all BMCB students are required to participate twice in the Annual RCR Symposium, offered in January of each year.  In addition, each student must participate in lab group meetings where RCR is discussed once a year and report the date of that meeting on their annual progress report.

Monday Graduate Student Seminars (BIOMG 8330)

All graduate students must give a yearly seminar to present their research progress.  Students will be exempt from this requirement only if they are officially scheduled to graduate during the semester in which they would normally present a seminar.   The most senior students present first, starting at the beginning of the fall semester.  Any student who would like to change their seminar date should arrange to switch with another student and inform the GFAs after this has been agreed upon between the students in question.  If a student wishes to cancel because of scheduled graduation, they should contact the DGS and the GFAs to get permission to do so.  

All 2nd-4th year graduate students must register for this course (BioMG 8330, S/U, 1 credit).  Attendance is required for at least 2/3rds of all the seminars over the course of the academic year in order to receive a satisfactory grade for the course.  (Second year students who have a TA conflict, and occasionally other students with conflicts, as determined by the DGS, may be exempted from this requirement and should contact the DGS and the GFAs to let them know about the conflict).  

First year students are encouraged to attend these seminars to gain perspective on the scope of research going on in the Field and to help them choose a lab in which to work.  Students in their fifth year and beyond are not required to register or attend, although they are required to present in this seminar each year until they graduate.  

These seminars are held at 12:30 pm every Monday in Room 226 Weill Hall.  At least 10 days before your seminar, email your seminar title and a one paragraph abstract, including a recent reference or two, to the GFAs.  They will prepare a flyer to advertise your seminar.

You should remind your committee members about your seminar a week before and again the Monday morning of your seminar.  You may also wish to designate a faculty member outside your committee who will meet with you after the seminar specifically to critique the presentation itself.  In addition, it is advisable to invite some other faculty who you think may give you some additional feedback on your work.  If you extend them a personal invitation, they will likely attend.

MBG Friday Seminar (BIOMG 8300)

The Friday MBG Seminar is held at 4:00-5:00pm every Friday during the Fall and Spring semesters, and occasionally during the Summer, in the G10 Biotechnology Building Conference Room.  These talks are given by scientists visiting from other institutions and provide an opportunity to hear and meet some of the most distinguished researchers in the area of biochemistry, molecular and cell biology.  

Speakers are usually invited and hosted by faculty members, but one or two slots every semester are reserved for student-invited speakers.  The student representatives typically solicit suggestions for names for possible speakers.  Students also often suggest names of speakers to their major professor.  

Coffee, tea and cookies are available at 3:45pm.  There is a happy hour after that allows you to interact with faculty, students and postdocs on an informal basis.  

If you are interested in talking individually with a speaker, you should contact the faculty host of that particular speaker.

Required Courses in the BMCB Minor

For Ph.D. candidates with a minor in BMCB, the suggested requirements are at least six credits of advanced lecture courses (usually at the 6000-level, but some 4000-level courses may be appropriate, e.g., BIOMG 4370, BIOMG 4380, BIOMG 4450.  Appropriate courses in BMCB include: BIOMG 6310, 6330, 6360, and 6390.  6000- and 7000-level courses in other departments, i.e., Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Plant Biology, Vet Molecular Medicine, and Vet Microbiology & Immunology, may also be suitable, as determined by the Special Committee.   If a student who wants to minor in BMCB has not been exposed to appropriate lab work in the general area of BMCB, then he/she should also take the lab course BIOMG 4400.

For MS candidates with a minor in BMCB, the suggested requirements are at least four (4) credits of advanced lecture courses and a lab if appropriate.  Some suggestions for appropriate courses are indicated in the paragraph above.

Note that requirements are determined by Special Committees, and that the recommendations above are guidelines offered by the Field.


Mini-courses are just that –  courses that are shorter than traditional semester-long courses.  They are based on a specific research topic offered by individual faculty, so offerings vary each semester and from year to year.  

There are sometime workshops offered which can count toward the mini-course requirement.  

Fall 2018