QB Program

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.

The graduate program leading to a Ph.D. in Quantitative Biomedicine (with an option to earn an M.S. and/or M.Phil. degree en route to the Ph.D.) includes:

  1. Courses that address such areas as mathematical and computational techniques in biology, structural biology, bioinformatics, statistics, quantitative modeling in biology, data mining and pattern recognition, biophysics, and physical biochemistry
  2. Transition courses that will provide a valuable educational introduction for students from: A number of interdisciplinary seminar series, workshops, and visitor programs focused on current developments at the frontiers of biomedical research
    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. Annual Winter and Summer Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology Boot Camps designed to augment the education for students coming from all areas of science. The boot camps are immersive one- or two-week programs offered between semesters that provide 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 topics of the boot camps vary to address diverse current areas of inquiry, consisting of 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, daily career training sessions, fun activities for relaxing at multiple points each day, and a culminating symposium or presentation organized and provided by the students.

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. Students may also take courses via the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium.

The course requirements are as follows (detailed further in the QB Handbook):

Year 1

Semester 1: 1 course from each Track (A, B, C) and the Seminar in QuantitativeBiomedicine 
 
TRACK A: Physics and Chemistry of Living Matter       
Biophysical Chemistry I  16:160:537  (3 cr)  Put all credit info in parentheses; same with in Handbook
Computational Chemistry 16:160:579:04  (3 cr)  
 
TRACK B: Data, Computation, and Statistics
1. A Computer Science Master’s level course or the equivalent (by arrangement with the Graduate Program Director or Associate Director in QB)
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence  16:198:520  (3 cr)
Python Methodologies  16:137:552  (3 cr) 
2. A Statistics course:
A course in Statistics, by arrangement with the Graduate Program Director in Statistics and Biostatistics
Or
Bayesian Analysis  16:215:571  (3 cr)
3. A Bioinformatics course: 
UNDERGRADUATE:
Evolutionary Genetics 01:447:486  (3 cr if do extra project)   
GRADUATE:
Introduction to Biological Databases and Data Archiving 16:848:509  (3 cr)
Clinical Research Informatics  16:137:580  3 cr
Bioinformatics: Tools for Genomic Analysis/Tools for Bioinf. Analysis 16:137:617  (3 cr)
Fundamentals of Analytics and Discovery Informatics  16:137:550  (3 cr)
Bioinformatics 16:765:585:01  (3 cr)
 
TRACK C: Quantitative Modeling in Biology      
Dynamical Models in Biology  16:848:504  (3 cr)
Conversational Mathematical Modeling  11:216:458  (3 cr)       
Mathematical Modeling for Biomedical Engineering  16:125:501  (3 cr)        
An applied math modeling course (by arrangement with the Graduate Program Director or Associate Director in QB)
 
Seminar in Quantitative Biology: 16:848:616:01  (1 cr) . Required a total of 6 times during graduate school.
 
Semester 2: 2 courses from Track A or B or C and 1 course from a different Trackand the Seminar in QB
 
TRACK A: Physics and Chemistry of Living Matter                   
        Physics of Living Matter  16:1848:617:01  (3 cr)
        Biophysical Chemistry II  16:160:538   (3 cr)
 
TRACK B: Data, Computation, and Statistics
1. A Computer Science Master’s level course or the equivalent (by arrangement with the Graduate Program Director or Associate Director in QB)
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence  16:198:520  (3 cr)
Python for Data Science  16:137:603  (3 cr)
2. A Statistics course:
A course in Statistics, by arrangement with the Graduate Program Director in Statistics and Biostatistics
3. A Bioinformatics course: 
UNDERGRADUATE:
Quantitative Biology & Bioinformatics  01:447:302  (3 cr if do extra project)
Genome Evolution  01:447:352  (3 cr if do extra project)  
Conversational Mathematical Modeling 11:216:458  (3 cr if do extra project)      
Fundamentals of Genomics  11:216:465  (3 crif do extra project)
GRADUATE:
Microbiology and Human Health - being developed - (3 cr)
Computer Integrated Interventions in Medicine 16:125:623 (3 cr)
Bioinformatics: Tools for Genomic Analysis  16:137:617  (3 cr)  
Fundamentals of Analytics and Discovery Informatics  16:137:550  (3 cr)  
Introduction to Cloud and Big Data Systems  16:137:602  (3 cr)
Tools for Bioinformatic Analysis  16:137:617  (3 cr)
 
TRACK C: Quantitative Modeling in Biology       
Dynamical Models in Biology  16:848:504  (3 cr)  (Note: offered occasionally)
Mathematics of Cancer  01:640:459  (3 cr)  (Note: not always offered; extra work required for graduate credit)
Discreet and Probabilistic Models in Biology  01:640:338  (3 cr) (Note: extra work required for graduate credit)
Mathematical Modeling for Biomedical Engineering  16:125:501  (3 cr)
An applied math modeling course (by arrangement with the Graduate Program Director or Associate Director in QB)
 
Seminar in Quantitative Biology: 16:848:616:01  (1 cr)  
 
   Winter Session of any Year(s) in Graduate School:
Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology Boot Camp  16:848:615  (2 cr)
 
   Summer Session of any Year(s) in Graduate School:
        Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology Boot Camp  16:848:615  (2 X 1 cr)
 

 

Year 2

Seminar in Quantitative Biomedicine (2 X 1 cr): 16:848:616:01, Fall and Spring
Topics in Quantitative Biomedicine (2 X 1 cr): being developed, Fall and Spring
Molecular Medicine  16:848:XXX: being developed
Ethical Conduct in Scientific Research: available in most science- or engineering-oriented graduate programs.
Responsible and Ethical Research I: 16:486:501 (0 cr)
Introduction to Research: 16:160:603  (1 cr)
Ethical Scientific Conduct: 16:115:556  (1 cr)   
Specialized electives course(s) (≥1 credit in a relevant area of study):  This may consist of regular courses, mini-courses, or other approved entities.
 
A. Examples of mini-courses in Molecular Biosciences (16:695:622-635):
The Cilium, Organelle of the 21st Century
Cancer and Clinical Oncology
Cancer Genes and Cells
Evolution of Emerging Viruses
Noncoding Regulatory RNA
Toll-Like Receptors in Health and Disease
Molecular Biology of Cancer
P53
Understanding of the Ubiquitin/Proteasome System and its Involvement in Disease
Neural Circuit Microscopy
Pluripotent and Somatic Stem Cells
Regenerative Medicine - Stem Cell Therapy
Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Genetic Systems and Structures
Genetics and Cell Biology of Fertilization
 
B. Examples of regular courses of possible interest:
Fundamentals of Molecular Biosciences  16:695:538  (6 cr)
Experimental Methods in Molecular Biosciences  16:695:539  (2 cr)
Molecular Biology of Cells  16:148:514  (3 cr)
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry  16:115:511/512 and 16:694:407/408  (3 cr)
Biochemistry  16:115: 503 or 504  (4 cr)
Molecular Basis of Physiology  16:761:580  (3 cr)
Genetic Systems and Structures 16:848:617:02  (3 cr)
Human Genetics 16:681:535  (3 cr)
Cancer  01:447:495  (3 cr)
Cell & Molecular Pharmacology: Principles of Drug Action and Targeting  16:718:680  (3 cr)
Drug Delivery: Fundamentals and Applications  16:125:590  (3 cr)
Introduction to Applied Mathematics  01:640:321  (3 cr)
Biocontrol, Modeling and Computation  16:125:572  (3 cr)
Thermal Physics  01:750:351  (3 cr)
Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Physics 01:750:361  (3 cr)
Advanced Topics in Statistical Mechanics and Biological Physics  16:750:677  (3 cr)
Physical Chemistry: Biochemical Systems  01:160:341 or 342  (3 cr)
Concepts in Nanochemistry  16:160:579:01  (3 cr)
Computational Chemistry  16:160:579:04  (3 cr)
Chemical Thermodynamics  16:160:525  (3 cr)
Thermodynamics and Kinetics  16:160:541:01  (3 cr)
Structural Biology, Structural Biophysics and Chemical Biology of Transcription/Structural
Biology/Biophysics  16:160:580  (3 cr)         
Communicating Science  16:718:560  (0 cr)
Graduate Writing  16:355:502 (0 cr)

Year 3

Semester 1 :
Seminar in Quantitative Biology: 16:848:616:01  (1 cr)
Semester 2:
Seminar in Quantitative Biology: 16:848:616:01  (1 cr)
 

Seminar requirement:

QB students are required to attend or stream at least 80% of the IQB & CABM seminar series every semester while in graduate school (and are encouraged to attend any other seminars relevant to their education and research throughout their graduate careers)Students are also required to attend the corresponding post-seminar lunches that are hosted in IQB. It is the student’s responsibility to sign the Google sign-in form that s/he will be sent by email EVERY week to indicate her/his presence.

Seminar in Quantitative Biomedicine (6 x 1 cr) 16:848:616:01:

This course consists of attending 10 seminars of the student's choice (at least 7 of which are interdisciplinary or of a cross-disciplinary nature).   This course is required a total of 6 times during graduate school (normally in the first 6 semesters). The student will provide a record of the seminars attended as well as a four-sentence description for eight of the seminars. For the other two interdisciplinary seminars , the student will write a 350-500 word abstract of the seminar. The IQB & CABM 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 (3 X 1 cr) 16:848:621 & 622:

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 Examinations:

  1. Written Qualifying Exam (At the end of Year 1):
    Students will have a written (or combination written/oral) qualifying exam at the end of their first year of graduate school during which they will demonstrate their working knowledge of the course material learned in three of the first year’s courses (selected by the Graduate Program Director and Associate Director).  This exam will consist of questions/answers and discussions pertaining to a broad range of topics addressed in the core courses and will be required of all Quantitative Biomedicine students.

    Students will either pass the exam, be given a chance to retake the exam (or course) and retested, or will be terminated from the program, depending on their performance.

  2. Admission to Candidacy Exam (By the end of Year 2):
    Students will have a written and oral admission-of-candidacy exam with the Admission to Candidacy Exam committee, focused on the student’s proposed thesis research.   

    1. Written component: Students prepare a written proposal for their thesis research that must not exceed 20 pages single-spaced (not including references). The preparation of the proposal is intended to educate the student (about the work that has been done in the field to date and the techniques that will be useful for the work, the “how to” and the principles) and to promote creative thinking about the outstanding problems in the field and ways to solve these problems. The written proposal must be given to the student’s committee members at least two weeks in advance of the oral exam. The student should obtain the Application for PhD Candidacy and provide it to the chairperson of the committee at the time of the examination (for signatures at the end of the exam, to be returned to the Graduate School by the student)

    2. Oral component:Students will defend the proposal and show relevant knowledge in an oral presentation of approximately 45-60 minutes in duration. The presentation may be open to the public if the student and committee agree. The date for this component of the qualifying exam shall be set up with the committee members at least one month in advance. The proposal shall be distributed at least two weeks before the scheduled date of the exam. The Exam Committee will meet after the presentation 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. The student should obtain the Application for PhD Candidacy and provide it to the chairperson of the committee at the time of the examination (for signatures at the end of the exam).  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 QB Master's Program section for details.) 

Important Notes About Publishing:

Students (and their advisors) need to realize the two important things about publishing:

1. Since published journal articles may be used as chapters in one's thesis (when accompanied by a brief description of how the work fits into the thesis and describes the contributions of each author), it is important to have permission from the publisher to include the articles in this way. The primary contributor must ensure that the publishing contract has verbiage allowing the student to include the article in her/his thesis.

2. Since one's thesis gets deposited into ProQuest, it becomes a publication. Journals will only approve the publication of your work if it is published for the first time. Therefore, if you have any publications to submit after your theses defense (i.e., that are described in your thesis), you must embargo the publication of your thesis (for up to two years) until the journal articles are accepted for publication.

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 (M.Phil.) 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.

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

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 AssistantshipsThe 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 can 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.


Student Timeline

>

Year 1
  • Orientation
    • Attend QB Orientation Session
    • Meet with Orientation Committee
    • Enroll in Fall semester courses
    • Talk with faculty whose research is of interest
  • Fall
    • Take 3 3-credit courses plus 1-credit seminar course (10 course credits)
    • Meet with potential faculty advisors and do 1-2 rotations; it is recommended to arrange 3 rotations for the year at the beginning of the first year; submit QB Lab Rotation form at completion of each rotation
    • Possibly serve as a TA
    • Toward the end of the semester, meet with Associate Director to review Fall semester, consider Boot Camp for the Winter Session, and discuss courses and rotation(s) to take in the Spring semeste
  • Between semesters
    • Enroll in Spring semester courses
    • Possibly participate in Boot Camp
    • Arrange last rotation(s) if not yet arranged
  • Spring
    • Take 3 3-credit courses plus 1-credit seminar course (10 course credits). Do 1-2 rotations
    • Possibly serve as a TA
  • End of semester
    • Join a research group, with the PI agreeing to assume responsibility to supervise research and be responsible for financial support [through external grants, contracts, or University sources of support (e.g., TAs)].  Provide Graduate Program Director or Associate Director with a signed Admission to a Research Group form
    • Take written Qualifying Exam Part I demonstrating knowledge and understanding of material covered in 3 first year courses (to be selected by Graduate Program Director and Associate Director).
    • Meet with Director and/or Associate Director (evaluation of 1st year).  Must maintain a GPA of ≥3.0.
    • Enroll in Fall semester courses
  • Summer
    • Start research Work with faculty advisor to consider directions for thesis research and proposal

Year 2

  • Fall
    • Take Seminar in Quantitative Biomedicine, Ethical Conduct in Scientific Research, and most likely a specialized course.
    • The student and his/her advisor agree on the four faculty members who will comprise the Admission to Candidacy exam committee.  The chair of the qualifying exam committee is not the student’s research advisor for the Admission to Candidacy exam; however, the student’s research advisor will be the chair for subsequent meetings (detailed further in the Faculty Committees section).
    • The student submits the QB Qualifying Committee Selection Form to the Associate Director of Graduate Studies.
  • End of semester
    • Meet with Graduate Program Director and/or Associate Director
    • Enroll in Spring semester courses and/or research
  • Spring
    • Take Seminar in Quantitative Biomedicine and possibly a specialized course
    • The student begins or continues with the production of her/his research proposal for the Admission to Candidacy exam.
    • In conjunction with the research advisor, the student suggests to her/his committee possible dates for the oral part of the Admission to Candidacy exam (Qualifying Exam, Part II).
    • At least 2 weeks in advance of the selected exam date, the student submits electronic copies of the research proposal to the committee members.   
    • The student takes the oral component of Admission to Candidacy exam (bringing with her/him the Ph.D. Candidacy form).  The members of the exam committee evaluate the exam with a grade of Pass, Fail, or Revise.  The Chair informs the candidate about the overall evaluation of the proposal and defense in the presence of the committee.  If the student passes, s/he will go on to perform his/her thesis research.  
    • The student provides a copy of the signed Ph.D. Candidacy form to the QB Graduate Program Director or Associate Director and brings the original copy to the Graduate School.  The student discusses her/his status with the Graduate Program Director or Associate Director at that time.
    • If the student fails the exam, s/he will have the option to earn a Master’s degree.
Year 3
  • Spring
    • Take Seminar in Quantitative Biomedicine (now and/or Fall and/or later, for a total of 6 enrollments).
    • Meet with Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) and report progress with written and oral presentations.  The TAC is likely to be the same as the preliminary exam committee unless the student discusses making a change with his/her advisor(s) and the Graduate Program Director or Associate Director.
    • Meet with Director and Associate Director (evaluation of 3rd year).
Year 4
  • Spring
    • Take Seminar in Quantitative Biomedicine (now and/or Fall and/or later, for a total of 6 enrollments).
    • Meet with TAC and report progress with written and oral presentations.
    • Meet with Director and Associate Director (evaluation of 4th year).
    • Seek mentorship in professional/career preparation; communicate with potential future advisors/bosses
Year 5
  • Seek mentorship in professional/career preparation; communicate with potential future advisors/bosses
  • Prior to final defense, pick up Ph.D. Candidacy form from the Graduate School.  Committee members will sign this at the conclusion of the defense.
  • Have final defense: a public presentation followed by a meeting with the TAC
  • Graduate Program Director or Associate Director signs form and student brings it to the Graduate School.
  • Graduate!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the timeline for completing the program?  
Students are mentored and ushered to graduate within 5 years.

How does it compare with other graduate programs in terms of cost and value?  
All incoming QB Ph.D. students are provided with financial support in their first year, including a competitive stipend, tuition remission, and health benefits. This support may come in the form of a teaching assistantship, a graduate (research) assistantship, or a graduate fellowship. Students who progress productively toward their degree can anticipate full funding (i.e., from their advisor or outside sources of funding) until the Ph.D. is awarded.

What careers does it prepare you for?  
QB students pursue a wide array of positions, from academic positions to diverse positions in industry.  Many go on to work in pharmaceutical companies (in many roles), biotech companies, and even tech companies such as Google.  Others set up their own businesses. There are numerous resources here for learning about career options and how to find jobs.



Contact Us

Please send all questions and comments to:

Sagar Khare, Ph.D.  
Graduate Program Director, Quantitative Biomedicine  
Associate Professor, Chemistry & Chemical Biology, School of Arts & Sciences 
Resident Member, Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine  
graduate-director@iqb.rutgers.edu