Program of Study

Coursework specific to the TPMB program consists of:

  • A comprehensive, three-quarter course sequence (4 units per quarter) for second year students, Perspectives in Marine Biotechnology;
  • A required course on Scientific Ethics;
  • Various courses designed by for each student's specific needs.

Core Course

Perspectives in Marine Biotechnology is team-taught by program faculty from different disciplines, and it is designed to introduce all students to uniform subject material. This core course integrates disciplines and educates students in the core areas of marine biotechnology.

The first quarter is an overview of marine biotechnology.

The second quarter, Tools of Biotechnology, ensures that all students are familiar with the state-of-the-art technologies and approaches available to biotechnologists.

The third quarter introduces the focus areas of the training faculty and concludes with an examination of practical issues.

Most faculty participate in the third quarter, fostering links among the subject areas and introducing students to research opportunities. For the first two quarters, students are evaluated by a midterm and final examination. For the third quarter, students are evaluated by an oral presentation accompanied by a white paper.

Students choose a topic within one of the six subject areas and analyze and present the technological opportunities, current research, and possible obstacles to success.

The content of this core course is reviewed annually, both internally and by our External Advisory Committee, and modified as biotechnology science evolves.

Other Instruction

The first year is generally devoted to courses required by the student's home department, TPMB research rotations, and selection of a thesis advisor. Generally, TPMB students enter the Training Program by competitive application in their second year of PhD studies.

During the second year, students in the program complete the core year-long TPMB course Perspectives in Marine Biotechnology (12 total units), as described above. The second year is also the optimum time for the industrial internship, using during the Summer period.

By the third year, a thesis project is well under way, and a doctoral committee has been formed and approved by the UCSD Office of Graduate Studies and Research.

Students next advance to candidacy by passing the qualifying examination. Ordinarily, at least three of the five committee members will be participants in the TPMB, representing a minimum of two subject areas. Thesis research is completed and presented in a dissertation, prepared and defended in the fifth or sixth year.