Basic Science Graduate Program Overview

Pathology Basic Science program

Pathology PhD Candidate Hannan Elsarraj (right) presenting her research at IGPBS Interaction, September 2015

The Graduate Training Program in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine participates in the degree granting curriculum of the University of Kansas Medical Center in concert with the IGPBS.  Our program provides comprehensive training in understanding the molecular basis of disease and the fundamental mechanisms of cell growth and differentiation.

As part of the basic science program at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, the bulk of the PhD training consists of experimental laboratory investigation.  Our department's research interests are diverse, with a focus on the following research areas:

  1. Cancer Biology
  2. Developmental Biology and Cell Differentiation
  3. Stem Cell Biology
  4. Microbial and Viral Pathogenesis

The Pathology Graduate Training Program is designed to provide in-depth training of the molecular basis of disease.  Several points are emphasized in the Pathology Graduate Training Program at KUMC:

  1. Specialized thesis research in understanding the basic mechanisms of disease and cell differentiation
  2. Familiarization with the current scientific literature
  3. Critical analysis of scientific work
  4. Contributing to the  body of scientific knowledge by publishing research works
  5. Oral presentation and scientific writing skills

Apply for the Graduate Training Program directly through the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.


All PhD students in the basic sciences at the KU School of Medicine are admitted into the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in the Biomedical Sciences (IGPBS).  Program details and applications may be made online at: Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences (IGPBS). The coursework of the IGPBS provides a broad base of training in modern biomedical science research.  After the initial year of course work, students that choose a research mentor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine then join the Pathology Department Graduate Program.

Advanced Coursework

The course requirements of the Pathology Department Graduate Program are designed to provide the maximum flexibility for the student's specialized needs. Students in the Pathology Department Graduate Program are required to take a minimum of 6 credit hours of graduate coursework in fields related to molecular and experimental pathology.  The graduate course catalog can be found here.  

Program Course Requirements
PATH 804 - Cell Signaling (Fall semester Journal Club Course). Required every fall after completion of GSMC/IGPBS coursework up to last semester enrolled in program.
PATH 805 - Seminar in Pathology (Spring semester "research in progress" presentation; presentation skills; written proposal for comprehensive exam). Required every spring after completion of GSMC/IGPBS coursework up to last semester enrolled in program.
Electives - 4 hours of courses relating to major thesis work.

Possible Elective Courses
PATH 803 - Stem Cell Biology
PATH 806 - Epigenetics (spring only)
PATH 913 - Introduction to Grant Writing (spring only)
CBIO 900 - Cancer Biology (spring only; was 'PATH 939')
ANAT 868 - Advanced Developmental Biology
PHSL 834 - Reproductive Physiology
BHCM 922 - Advanced Molecular Genetics

During the third year of enrollment in the PhD program, the Comprehensive examination is taken.  This examination, consisting of a written and an oral component, is designed to test the student's ability to develop and defend an original research proposal. The student will also be asked to explain and answer questions in the general areas of molecular and experimental pathology.  Upon passing this examination, the student advances to doctoral candidate status.

After passing the Comprehensive Examination, students will devote most of their time to laboratory experimentation and developing a research project. The research portion of the Graduate Training Program should take approximately take two to three years beyond the student's advancement to doctoral candidacy. Substantial portions of the research efforts should result in published works in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

For further information on the Pathology Graduate Training Program at the University of Kansas, contact:

Soumen Paul, PhD
Associate Professor
Director, Pathology Graduate Studies Program
Division of Cancer and Developmental Biology
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
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Last modified: Oct 04, 2016