Additional Research Training Requirements

Required Seminars and Activities


Required Workshop and Seminars


BCB 593 - Workshop in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. (1 credit requirement) (Offered: Variable).  The Current topics in bioinformatics and computational biology research. Lectures by off-campus experts. Students read background literature, attend all lectures and meet with lecturers.


BCB 690 - Student Seminar. (2 credit requirement) (Offered Spring semester) Students present an account of their annual research progress to peers and to two faculty mentors who promote group discussions of experimental procedures and analysis.

BCB 691 - Faculty Research Seminar. (1 credit requirement) (Offered Fall semester) BCB faculty members present summaries of current research in their groups.

In addition, BCB students typically participate in a seminar series in their home department and make an oral presentation (either in a research seminar or journal club) at least once each year.

Student-Sponsored Seminars

BCB students are encouraged to recommend invited speakers for the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Symposium which takes place each Spring semester.   Funding is available to bring in a top-caliber visiting scientist each year as well as alumni from the BCB program to speak at the symposium. The Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Graduate Student Organization (BCBGSO) typically invites speakers and makes arrangements for hosting the speakers.

Training Requirements

Presenting at Conferences

Attendance and presentation of research results at professional meetings are an essential part of the BCB graduate training program. Students should attend at least one national or international meeting during their degree program.  See the Opportunities page for more information about funding for travel to conferences.

Scientific Ethics and Good Science and Bioethics Training

Bioethics training is a critical component of the BCB graduate program requirements. Every BCB student should carefully read Honor in Science and The Responsible Researcher: Paths and Pitfalls. More information is here.

BCB students are required to take BCB-approved bioethics courses or course modules. Students seeking M.S. degrees are required to take at least one BCB-approved bioethics course/module (0.5 credit minimum). Ph.D. students are required to take at least two bioethics modules or another BCB-approved bioethics course (1 credit minimum). When there are required sessions in general scientific ethics offered during Fall orientation (above), these do not count toward this bioethics course requirement. Students supported by special training grants may have additional bioethics training requirements.

The BCB-approved bioethics course currently is:

GRST 565. Responsible Conduct of Research in Science and Engineering. (1-0) Cr. 1. F.S. Prereq: Graduate classification. Ethical and legal issues facing researchers in the sciences and engineering.

Language Requirements

Language requirements are determined by the student's Program of Study Committee.

Graduate English Requirements

Graduate students whose native language is not English must take the English Placement Test at the beginning of their first semester of enrollment. This test is administered by the Department of English. It must be taken in addition to TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), which is required as part of the admissions process.

For more information about the test, click here. A student who does not pass this examination is assigned to one or more courses in the English 99 or 101 series. This coursework must be completed during the first year of study.

Students may be exempt from taking the test if:

1) they received a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. degree from an English-speaking university in the U.S.A., Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, or Australia;

2) they received a TOEFL score of 640 or above (paper-based TOEFL), 270 or above (computer-based TOEFL), or 105 and above (internet-based TOEFL); or

3) they received a score of 8.0 or above on the IELTS.

If you are exempt, your Graduate English Requirement exemption should automatically appear on your record...check your Graduate Student Status Screen in AccessPlus to make sure the exemption for this requirements appears on your record.

Teaching Requirements

All graduate students are encouraged to participate in teaching seminars and obtain teaching experience as part of their training.

Oral English Certification Test (OECT) for international teaching assistants (was the Speak/Teach test)
All international graduate students who are offered or considered for a teaching assistantship are required to take the Oral English Certification Test (OECT). The purpose of OECT is to determine whether ITA candidates meet the oral English language proficiency requirements and whether they need additional language training.

The OECT consists of 2 parts - the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and the TEACH. The OPI is a modified version of ACTFL OPI, which is recognized by the American Council on Education (ACE) for the awarding of college credit and is used by academic institutions worldwide. The TEACH is a short simulation in the form of a mini-lecture on a teaching topic.

Test-takers' performance is scored by 3 raters. The raters individually assign a score for the overall comprehensibility and effectiveness of each test-taker's spoken language and listening ability. Based on the scores for OPI and TEACH, the results are reported to students and departments as one of 4 possible levels of certification:

  •     Fully certified (Level 1)
  •     Conditionally certified (Level 2)
  •     Certified with restrictions (Level 3)
  •     Not certified (Level 4)

Students in these 4 categories are each appointed to different teaching duties. Potential ITAs who demonstrate sufficient English proficiency on the TOEFL IBT, IELTS, or TSE are exempt from taking one or both sections of the OECT. For detailed exemption criteria, see Who Needs to Take OECT.

Laboratory Safety Training

Lab safety courses are a requirement for all students who work in laboratories on campus. A lab safety orientation is provided by EH&S which all new students should attend.