Graduate Program in Quantitative Biomedicine

Why Quantitative Medicine?

Graduate Program Statement

Graduate study in Quantitative Biomedicine embraces the value of obtaining an interdisciplinary education and engaging in cooperative research involving participants with diverse areas of knowledge and paradigms of thinking. The program is designed for graduate students who wish to take advantage of quantitative tools of biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, materials science, mathematics, physics, and statistics to tackle complex, unsolved biological problems. Quantitative Biomedicine (QB) students will become aware of broad areas of knowledge and available tools and will develop an ability to speak and strategize with other members of multi-disciplinary working groups.

This education can be pursued by any of three routes:

  1. Students may apply to the graduate program in Quantitative Biomedicine leading to a Ph.D. in QB; there is no option to apply to the graduate program in Quantitative Biomedicine leading to a Master’s degree in QB (although students may elect to earn an M.S. or M.Phil. on route to their Ph.D.)
  2. Students may apply to a more traditional program and then apply to be a Joint Ph.D. student in the traditional program and in QB, leading to the acquisition of a joint Ph.D.
  3. Students may apply to the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School M.D./Ph.D. program, with an option to apply to the graduate program leading to a Ph.D. in QB or a joint Ph.D. along with the M.D.


The information provided regarding the Quantitative Biomedicine graduate program is subject to change.

Stephen K. Burley, M.D., D.Phil.
Founding Director, Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine at Rutgers (IQB@R)
Director, Center for Integrative Proteomics Research
Director, RCSB-Protein Data Bank
Distinguished Professor, Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Member, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
848-445-5144
sburley@iqb.rutgers.edu

Eduardo Sontag, Ph.D.
Graduate Program Director, Quantitative Biomedicine
Distinguished Professor, Mathematics
848-445-4552
grad_dir@iqb.rutgers.edu

Gail Ferstandig Arnold, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine at Rutgers (IQB@R)
Associate Director of Graduate Studies, Quantitative Biomedicine
848-445-8377
gfarnold@iqb.rutgers.edu

Michelle Sanghera
Administrative Coordinator, Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine at Rutgers (IQB@R)
848-445-8102
msanghera@iqb.rutgers.edu


QB Program

Graduate program leading to a Ph.D. in Quantitative Biomedicine (With an option for an M.S. and/or M.Phil. degree en route to the Ph.D.)
The Quantitative Biomedicine Graduate Program, aimed students interested in interdisciplinary research, includes:

  1. Courses that address such areas as mathematical and computational techniques in biology, structural biology, bioinformatics, statistics, data mining and pattern recognition, biophysics, and physical biochemistry
  2. Transition courses that will provide a valuable educational introduction for students from:
    1. the quantitative sciences, with little or no previous background in the biological sciences, to relevant areas of chemistry, biochemistry, and biology
    2. the biological sciences, with little or no previous background in the more quantitative sciences, to relevant areas of mathematics, statistics, physics, and computer science
  3. A number of interdisciplinary seminar series, workshops, and visitor programs focused on current developments at the frontiers of biomedical research
  4. An Annual Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology Boot Camp designed to augment the education for students coming from all areas of science. The boot camp is an immersive two-week program offered during Winter Session that provides broad introductory exposure to the language and the experimental/theoretical underpinnings of molecular biology, macromolecular biochemistry/biophysics, structural biology, computational biology, systems biology, and bioinformatics. The boot camp program varies from year, but will consistently offer lectures on fundamental aspects of biology, a broad range of collaborative hands-on practical exercises, tours of some of Rutgers' (and, in some cases, outside) state-of-the-art facilities for interrogating biological phenomena, fun activities for relaxing at multiple points each day, and a culminating symposium or presentation organized and provided by the students.

The requirements and policies of the Quantitative Biomedicine (QB) graduate program are outlined below and will be detailed soon in the Quantitative Biomedicine Handbook.

I. Ph.D. Degree in Quantitative Biomedicine (QB)

Curriculum:

The Quantitative Biomedicine curriculum is intended to provide the foundation upon which to build a personalized education and research path in any of the myriad of areas in Quantitative Biomedicine. The interdisciplinary curriculum is custom-designed to provide a knowledge base that will promote the student's scientific and research goals, with the intent of enabling the student to work on some projects collaboratively with scientists of different backgrounds.
The courses offered will be described in the near future, after further development has taken place.

Seminar requirement:

QB students are expected to attend the Proteomics/IQB@R seminar series IQB@R every semester while in graduate school as well as any other seminars relevant to their education and research throughout their graduate careers. The purpose of the seminars is to learn about special topics of interest and to develop the ability to communicate the learning. For this requirement, students can register for any interdisciplinary seminar course being offered (including the Proteomics/IQB@R seminar course, 16:118:617 Seminar in Quantitative Biomedicine).

Seminar in Quantitative Biomedicine (16:118:616:01):

This course consists of attending 10 seminars of the student's choice (at least five of which are interdisciplinary or of a cross-disciplinary nature). The student will provide a record of the seminars attended as well as a four-sentence description of each seminar. For two interdisciplinary seminars, the student will write a 350-500 word abstract of the seminar. The Proteomics/IQB@R seminars (of which there are typically 10 per semester) all qualify as interdisciplinary seminars. Lunch with the speaker after the seminars is part of the education and enjoyment of all QB students.

Research Rotations:

In the first year, students engage in 3 rotations (16:118:621 & 622; 1 credit each semester or Winter session). Rotations provide the opportunity to explore research (for two months per rotation) in the quest of finding a group in which they would like to do their dissertation research. The format for lab rotations will vary depending upon the research group. Students may be given an independent laboratory research project and/or may assist other members of the lab in data acquisition and analysis. During this time, the student attends and participates in laboratory group meetings and related events. Students are responsible for arranging their own laboratory rotations by contacting faculty with whom they are interested in having rotations. Students should talk with faculty about their interest at the beginning of the first year (or, better yet, before arriving), as labs fill up quickly. The QB Lab Rotation form must be signed by the advisor at the end of each rotation and returned to the office of the Associate Director of Graduate Studies.

Qualifying Examination:

The format of the qualifying examination(s) will be decided between the student and his/her advisor. The choices are: (1) the student will follow the guidelines of his/her advisor's home department, and (2) the student will follow the guidelines of the QB program (described below).

  1. Written component of QB qualifying exam (3rd semester):
    Students prepare a written proposal for their thesis research that must be not exceed 20 pages single-spaced (not including references). The preparation of the proposal is intended to educate the student [i.e., about the work that has been done in the field to date and the techniques that will be useful for the work (e.g., the "how to" and the principles)] and to promote creative thinking about the outstanding problems in the field and ways to solve these problems.

  2. Oral component of QB qualifying exam (4th semester):
    The student will defend the proposal and show relevant knowledge in an oral presentation of approximately 30 minutes in duration. The date for this component of the qualifying exam should be set up with the committee members at least two weeks before the scheduled date of the exam. The Exam Committee will meet after the exam and decide among the following three options: (1) Pass; (2) Fail; (3) Fail with an opportunity to repeat the exam. In the case of option #3, the student must repeat the exam within 3 months after the first exam. Repeat exams will be graded as Pass or Fail only. If the student passes Exam B, the members of the candidate's committee and the graduate director will sign the Ph.D. Candidacy form. A copy of this form must be provided to the office of the Associate Director of Graduate Studies and the original signed copy must be brought to the Graduate School. If the student does not pass the qualifying exam, s/he may be eligible to earn a Master's degree at this stage. (See section in QB Master's Program.)

Financial Support:

All incoming QB Ph.D. students are provided with financial support in their first year, including a competitive stipend and tuition remission. This support may come in the form of a teaching assistantship (TA), a graduate (research) assistantship (GA), or a graduate fellowship (GF). Students who progress productively toward their degree can anticipate full funding until the Ph.D. is awarded.

Teaching Assistantships: All QB students are required to be a Teaching assistant (TA: typically 6 credits/semester) for at least one semester as a graduate student. A possible alternative to doing a traditional TA could be assisting with several aspects of teaching for a course (by arrangement with the professor). This might consist of such activities as preparing and performing demonstrations, preparing and grading quizzes, and/or preparing and providing a lecture. This kind of alternative teaching can be arranged upon agreement with the graduate program director and the professor teaching the course (and can be indicated on the student transcript as 'Teaching Apprenticeship').

Graduate Assistantships: Graduate assistantships (GAs: 6 credits/semester) are not formally required, but serve as a common form of support after the student's first year. GAs are funded by grants, typically earned by the student's research advisor.

Graduate Fellowships: Graduate fellowships (GFs: 6 credits/semester) are not formally required, but generally consist of a prestigious, merit-based form of support. GFs can be provided by the graduate program (e.g., from training grants) or by outside sources (e.g., from student-written proposals).

Applying to the QB Graduate Program:

Follow the instructions provided on the Graduate Admissions website and choose the Quantitative Biomedicine program.

The Graduate School, New Brunswick:
GSNB: http://gsnb.rutgers.edu/
Applying For Admission to Graduate Study at Rutgers; Graduate Admissions: http://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/


II. Master of Science (M.S.) and/or Master of Philosophy Degree in QB (only available en route to Ph.D.)

The Master of Science and/or Master of Philosophy in Quantitative Biomedicine will be available only to students enrolled in the existing Ph.D. in Quantitative Biomedicine program; students will not be admitted to it as a Master's program.
The 30-credit M.S. in Quantitative Biomedicine is available to students enrolled in the doctoral program who demonstrate a Master's level of achievement whether or not they are moving forward to Ph.D. candidacy. This degree allows students to either be recognized for their interdisciplinary training at this stage or exit the doctoral program with a credential recognizing the knowledge and skills gained during their graduate study.

The Master of Philosophy in Quantitative Biomedicine, in addition to requiring the features associated with the Master of Science, requires that the student has passed their Qualifying Exam and has at least an A- average.

QB Documents

Rutgers Documents

Reduced credit course load form
RT100 form (tuition remission form) 
Checklist Master's with thesis
Checklist Master's without thesis
Master's candidacy form
Checklist for Ph.D
Style Guide for Thesis
Ph.D. candidacy form (for qualifying exam and Ph.D. defense)
Thesis payment form
GSNB Handbook
Request for Health Insurance form

Coursework:

The course requirements are identical for both the M.S. and Ph.D. programs.

Financial support:

Teaching assistantships: The TA situation is identical for both M.S. and Ph.D. programs.
Graduate assistantships: The GA situation is identical for both M.S. and Ph.D. programs.
Graduate fellowships: The GF situation is identical for both M.S. and Ph.D. programs.

Research rotations:

The research rotation requirements are identical for both M.S. and Ph.D. programs.

Qualifying exam:

The qualifying exam will double as the Master of Science examination and the Ph.D. qualifying exam. The requirements are the same for both programs.

Thesis and non-thesis options:

Thesis and non-thesis options are identical for those established by Rutgers University.

Final exam or paper or project:

The final exam, paper, or project will follow the requirements established by Rutgers University.

There is no application process for a QB Master's program.

The Master's degree is only conferred within the context of the Ph.D. or Joint Ph.D. program.


Joint Ph.D. Program

The joint Ph.D. program is designed to provide depth of study in a traditional discipline as well as interdisciplinary breadth of study in a quantitative area of the life sciences. Education of joint Ph.D. students involves meeting the requirements of the primary (traditional) graduate program and supplementing that training with a small number of interdisciplinary courses (to be arranged by the graduate program directors of the traditional program and of QB as well as the thesis advisor, to best align and streamline the coursework requirements). Being in the Joint Ph.D. program also entails undertaking research of an interdisciplinary nature at the interface of the quantitative and life sciences. Applications for the joint degree are made through the standard application channels of the traditional program, with a specific indication of interest in the joint Ph.D. program with QB (in the essay/personal statement). Students who earn a joint Ph.D. degree will possess the full credentials of the core discipline Ph.D. as well as broad interdisciplinary training, enabling them to direct research at the interface of the quantitative and life sciences.


How the QB joint degree program works:

  1. Students enroll in one of the partnering graduate programs (PGP). Currently, these programs include:
  2. Students enroll in the joint Ph.D. program with QB, either concurrently or at the end of first academic year. Students follow the requirements of the PGP (e.g., the requirements for coursework, qualifying examinations, teaching, etc.)
  3. Once accepted into the joint degree program, a QB joint degree track is selected to coincide with that of the PGP conferring the disciplinary degree. (This track follows the degree requirements for the PGP and sets the format for the qualifying examinations and the final thesis defense.) A customized curriculum is designed to include a limited number of interdisciplinary graduate courses (designed to pose minimal added burden on the student and likely to fulfill course requirements of the primary graduate program in many cases)
  4. While all diplomas for graduate degrees from Rutgers are designated as "Doctor of Philosophy" without further specification of the discipline, the formal degree that is awarded is the joint degree, designated as "Ph.D. in <PGP> and Quantitative Biomedicine."  The student transcript will show affiliation with both graduate programs
  5. Students enrolled in the joint Ph.D. program with QB have the option to earn a Master of Science and/or a Master of Philosophy degree in QB
  6. Students pursue at least some fraction of pre-doctoral research focused on an interdisciplinary topic in quantitative biology
  7. Students participate in the Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology Boot Camp. The annual boot camp is designed to augment the education for students coming from all areas of science. The boot camp is an immersive two-week program offered during Winter Session that provides broad introductory exposure to the language and the experimental/theoretical underpinnings of molecular biology, macromolecular biochemistry/biophysics, structural biology, computational biology, systems biology, and bioinformatics. The boot camp program varies from year, but will consistently offer lectures on fundamental aspects of biology, a broad range of collaborative hands-on practical exercises, tours of some of Rutgers' (and, in some cases, outside) state-of-the-art facilities for interrogating biological phenomena, fun activities for relaxing at multiple points each day, and a culminating symposium or presentation organized and provided by the students


Research Advising:

A student receiving a joint Ph.D. degree with QB and a PGP has either:

  1. (1) one advisor who is a member of both the QB graduate faculty (i.e., a member of either the Institute or Associate Graduate Faculty and also the PGP graduate program faculty or
  2. (2) a primary advisor who is a member of the PGP graduate faculty and a co-advisor who is on the QB graduate faculty. If the student opts out of working with a QB-associated graduate faculty member during his/her first academic year, s/he will become solely a PGP student (and will not be eligible for a joint PH.D. or any joint Ph.D. awards).


Course Requirements:

  • Students must satisfy ALL of the course requirements for the PGP degree.
  • Students must satisfy the QB degree course requirements (with considerable overlap likely) to ensure that joint Ph.D. students get a broad, interdisciplinary education with minimal added course load burden.
  • The Graduate Program Directors involved will meet early in students' graduate programs to determine the course needs for joint Ph.D. students.

Format for Qualifying Examinations:

  • The format for the qualifying examinations in the joint Ph.D. degree is defined by the PGP.
  • At least two QB faculty members that are not a primary or co-advisor are part of the student's committee. (If the QB faculty are PGP faculty as well, there is no change to PGP faculty requirements. If this is not the case, graduate program directors determine the best make-up of faculty members for these committees.)
  • The PGP and QB faculty independently assess student performance. Possible outcomes are that the student can earn: 1) a joint degree in the PGP and QB, 2) a degree in PGP only, 3) a degree in QB only, or 4) neither.

Admissions:

  • Students apply to enter the joint degree program via the PGP (with application descriptions and instructions provided on both the PGP and QB websites).

Direct entry method:

  • Students direct their graduate applications to the QB admissions committee for evaluation, requesting consideration for a joint degree.
  • The PGP and QB admissions committees individually render their acceptance decisions.
  • Acceptance by both programs results in admittance to the joint degree program.
  • Acceptance by only one program results in a traditional one-discipline education.


Delayed entry method:

  1. Students apply to the joint program at the end of their first year of graduate school, providing a 1-page personal statement, a recommendation letter(s) from the student's primary advisor and QB co-advisor (if the primary advisor is not a QB faculty member), the student's original graduate school application material, and a summary of the student's courses and grades for the first year of graduate study in the PGP.
  2. The QB admission committee evaluates the application and communicates a decision before the first summer session begins.

Applying to the Joint Ph.D. Graduate Program:

Follow the instructions provided on the Graduate Admissions website and apply to the traditional program, which will be your primary program in conjunction with the Quantitative Biomedicine program. The program requirements will correspond to those of the primary program, with the added requirements of including some interdisciplinary coursework (which will often meet the requirements of the primary program) and an interdisciplinary component to the thesis research undertaken.

The Graduate School, New Brunswick GSNB: http://gsnb.rutgers.edu
Applying For Admission to Graduate School at Rutgers: http://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/

Joint Student Documents:

QB Joint degree


M.D./Ph.D. or M.D./Joint Ph.D. Program

The M.D./Ph.D. program and the means for joining the M.D./Joint program will be described in the near future. 

Contact Us

Please send all questions and comments to:

Gail Ferstandig Arnold, Ph.D. 
 Associate Director, Graduate Program in Quantitative Biomedicine 
gfarnold@iqb.rutgers.edu

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