Basic Courses and Grading Policy

First-Year Courses for Graduate Programs in Biomedical Sciences
First Semester Credit hours Course
BBS-501 5 hours Basic Biomedical Sciences I
BBS-502 4 hours Special Topics in Basic Biomedical Sciences I
BBS-597 2 hours Introduction to Basic Biomedical Research
BBS-592 1 hr Basic Biomedical Science Colloquium
Second Semester Credit hours Course
BBS-503 5 hours Basic Biomedical Sciences II
BBS-504 4 hours Special Topics in Basic Biomedical Sciences II
BBS-597 2 hours Introduction to Basic Biomedical Research
BBS-592 1 hr Basic Biomedical Science Colloquium
Summer Semester Credit hours Course
BBS-510 0 hours Ethics for Research Scientists
BCHM-628 2 hours Intro to Genomics and Bioinformatics
ORES-520 3 hours Intro to Statistics in Biomedical Sciences

Selection of a mentor and research project entry into one of the five individual graduate biomedical science programs.

Course Descriptions

BBS 501: Basic Biomedical Sciences I

Offered annually in the fall term, this intensive, multi-disciplinary lecture course is taught by faculty from all four biomedical research programs of the medical school. Lecture topics include macromolecular structure, shape and information; DNA, RNA and protein synthesis; genetics and control of gene expression; membranes and intracellular organelles; and pathways and control of carbohydrate metabolism. BBS 502 is co-requisite.

Prerequisites: Admission into the common first-year biomedical sciences graduate program or permission of the course director.

BBS 502: Special Topics in Basic Biomedical Sciences  

Offered annually in the fall term, this course involves participation in small group exercises involving problem-solving and critical analysis of the current scientific literature. The special topics are selected to coordinate with the lecture topics in the co-requisite course BBS 501.

BBS 503: Basic Biomedical Sciences II

 This course is offered annually in the spring term as a continuation of BBS 501. Topics include membranes, cell signaling, cancer, neuroscience and integrated biology and virology. BBS 504 is co-requisite.

BBS 504: Special Topics in Basic Biomedical Sciences II
Offered annually in the spring term, the course involves participation in small group exercises involving problem-solving and critical analysis of current scientific literature in selected special topics, as related to the lecture topics in the co-requisite course BBS 503.
BBS 592: Basic Biomedical Science Colloquium
 Students are introduced to the techniques of critical data analysis and formal scientific presentation through weekly colloquia. Faculty from the various biomedical science departments present in the fall semester and students present in the spring semester. Emphasis is placed on styles of presentation and techniques for effective communication. In the fall semester, a written report on one of the scientific topics is required of each student. In the spring semester, each student critically reviews and presents a topic from the current scientific literature at one of the weekly colloquia. All students are required to attend both the scientific presentation and a 10 to 15 minute discussion session that follows.
BBS 597: Introduction to Basic Biomedical Research

Each semester is divided into four-six week rotations in different research laboratories. Students are introduced to research problems currently under investigation and to advanced techniques employed in those studies. In the fall semester, the first rotation involves introductory activities distributed among the four graduate biomedical science programs of the medical school. 

BBS 510: Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR)

Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR) is self-paced and web-based. The course is a requirement for all pre- and post-doctoral fellows. To take part, visit

Click on the blue box labeled "RCR Course” at the top center of the homepage. You will be directed to a registration page along with several different versions of the course depending on the discipline. Select "Biomedical."

The course materials include an introduction to each topic, basic foundation text, case studies and quiz questions.  

Fifteen course modules cover the following content areas:

  • Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Research Misconduct
  • Data Acquisition and Management
  • Responsible Authorship
  • Peer Review
  • Mentoring
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Collaborative Research

Each module has a multiple-choice quiz associated with it. Students must pass each module's quiz before they can move on to another module. Students can take modules at their own pace. It is possible to exit the system and go back later to take and complete other modules; it does not need to be done in one sitting. (In fact, it is highly recommended that students not attempt to do this.) The system tracks completion of each module and the entire course. It also provides a printed certificate of completion.

Students must print out the certificate of completion and give a copy to Lindsay Oliver or Willis K. Samson, Ph.D. 

Grading Policy

Policy for Grading: BBS 501 and 503

Each section director (501 and 503) will report to the curriculum committee the letter grade assigned to each student for that section. This will be determined by the consensus of all faculty who taught in that section. The graduate school descriptors on page 34 of the graduate catalog will be used to assign letter grades. Those descriptors are as follows:

  • A/4.0: High intellectual initiative and achievement
  • B+/3.5: Above average, approaching high achievement
  • B/3.0: Clearly acceptable performance
  • B-/2.5: Acceptable, but somewhat below average
  • C/2.0: Minimum passing grade; achievement of questionable acceptability
  • F/0.0: Failure

The curriculum committee will discuss the assigned grades with the section director, request clarification if deemed appropriate, and will be responsible for translating the grades for each section of the course into the final letter grade, based on a weighted averaging of the letter grades for each section.

Grades for each section, once approved by the curriculum committee, will be distributed to each student individually.

Right of Appeal

If a student wishes to contest the assignment of a grade for any section, he or she must do so in writing to the section director within 48 hours of the time the grades were distributed.

The section director may consult with individual faculty before reaching a decision. That decision should be transmitted in writing both to the student appealing a grade and the curriculum committee. If the student is unsatisfied with the reasons for the assignment of the grade following the appeal, he or she may ask to meet with the curriculum committee and the section director to ask for a final reconsideration of the assigned grade. In that case, the decision of the curriculum committee in consultation with the section director will be considered final.

The appeal of a final grade will be accepted only if a clerical error is made in the determination of the weighted averages derived from each section. That appeal must be advanced to the core director within 48 hours of the distribution of the final grades.