Formal coursework is taken during the first two years. To ensure that all CMB students have a consistent and broad foundation in key subject areas, students in CMB take coursework in Research Ethics, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, and Genetics. To complete the remaining 6 credit requirements, CMB students choose elective courses according to their own interests and capabilities. During the second year and beyond, CMB students also attend CMB Student Seminars and CMB Short Courses.

For MSTP fellows, CMB recognizes the contribution of some medical school coursework to their graduate education and individualizes their curricula accordingly.