The most important mission of the MB&B graduate program is to help students conduct an independent research project, leading to a doctoral dissertation and a Ph.D. degree. Thesis research begins at the end of the first year. The project is chosen by the student in collaboration with the thesis adviser. Students are free to work with any faculty in the biological sciences or the Department of Chemistry.
Research for the Ph.D. degree usually requires four years of intensive and focused research, leading to a total commitment of about five to six years. During this time, the student’s research is guided not only by the thesis adviser but also by a Research Committee, which includes two other faculty members chosen jointly by the student and the adviser. The student meets regularly with the Research Committee to obtain direction and support. The final dissertation research must include at least one published first-author, original research paper. Dissertations leading to three or more publications are not uncommon. As a last step in the graduate program, the student gives a seminar to which all faculty and students at Yale are invited.