Students arrive on campus at the end of July. After a one-week orientation, they engage in their first five-week laboratory rotation. This rotation is organized prior to arrival on campus, in consultation with the student’s first year mentor and the dean.

The first year mentor meets with the student regularly to provide advice and guidance during the coursework, as well as to assist with the selection of laboratories for additional rotations.

During the first year of study, students complete:

  • the year-long Core Course, consisting of a combination of didactic lectures and discussions of research papers from the primary literature
  • the Responsible Conduct of Research course
  • a mini-course on logic and critical analysis
  • two semesters of the President’s Research Seminar Series Journal Club
  • the first-year clinical program
  • three five-week laboratory rotations

All students enter our PhD program without a formal commitment to a particular laboratory. This allows our students the flexibility to explore potential research mentors, participate in the first-year curriculum, and learn about new areas of research through meetings with the faculty.

During the first year, students have a home in the Student Center, which is fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology and provides individual study spaces for each student.

Students also visit several clinics as observers. In addition, they attend research seminars at Memorial Sloan Kettering – including the President’s Research Seminars – and meet with the speakers.

Following the end of the spring semester, students are expected to formally choose a research mentor and begin dissertation research.

First Year Core Course Curriculum

2015-2016 Academic Calendar

July 20 Orientation Week
July 27 Laboratory Rotation #1 Begins
July 27 Logical & Critical Analysis Course Begins
August 28 Laboratory Rotation #1 Ends
August 28 Logical & Critical Analysis Course Ends
September 3  Laboratory Rotation #1 Symposium
September 7 Labor Day Holiday
September 8 First Day of Classes
October 12 Columbus Day Holiday
November 25–November 27 Thanksgiving Holiday
December 17 Last Day of Classes
December 18 Winter Break Begins
January 4 Laboratory Rotation #2 Begins
January 18

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday 

February 5 Laboratory Rotation #2 Ends
February 8 First Day of Classes
February 12 Laboratory Rotation #2 Symposium
February 15 Presidents’ Day Holiday
April 11-15 Spring Break
May 27 Last Day of Classes
May 30 Memorial Day Holiday
May 30 Laboratory Rotation #3 Begins
TBD Rotation 3 Symposium
July 4

Independence Day Holiday

July 1 Laboratory Rotation #3 Ends
July 5 Begin Full-Time Thesis Work

The Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences reserves the right to change this schedule. All students and faculty will be notified of such changes prior to their effective dates.