What distinguishes CMB from other PIBS programs?

CMB trains students to maintain a broad perspective in their biomedical research. In this regard, CMB is the only Ph.D.-granting graduate program at Michigan that fosters a broad approach in biomedical sciences. The breadth in training derives from several features of the program, including:

  • Coursework: Each student's coursework is individualized according to his/her research interests. In contrast, most other discipline-based Ph.D. programs train students according to a specific discipline and often require specific department-based coursework.
  • Student seminars: Each week CMB students and faculty gather for a seminar presented by a current CMB student. Beginning students present current literature and more advanced students present their own research. Since CMB faculty labs represent 23 different departments at the University, seminars are on the wide range of topics and techniques.
  • Program events: We have yearly poster sessions and platform presentations representing the broad array of research interests in the Program, often leading to new collaborations among CMB students and faculty.


What is PIBS?

PIBS is an interdisciplinary gateway program to 14 different graduate programs (including CMB) in the biomedical sciences at the University of Michigan. First year students are PIBS students and do not commit to a specific graduate program until the end of the first year. During this first year, students explore at least two labs where the research interests them (research rotations). The curriculum is designed to be flexible so that students can enter their program of choice.

Can I apply directly to CMB?

No. Students applying for the first year of graduate study apply to PIBS rather than directly to CMB. Applications are reviewed by an admissions committee composed of faculty and students from all thirteen programs. When applicants are invited to visit PIBS, they are hosted by the graduate program which they indicate is their primary interest.

A student interested specifically in CMB is welcome to be involved in CMB Program activities during the first year, and can officially join CMB at the end of the first year. In exceptional cases, students beyond the first year can apply as transfer students directly to CMB.

Will I receive financial support during graduate school?

Yes. Students in good standing receive financial support throughout their graduate studies including a competitive stipend for living expenses. Support also includes tuition, health insurance and fees.

Financial support is provided by PIBS for the first year. Second year CMB students are generally supported by the CMB Program through an NIH Training Grant and contributions from the Rackham Graduate School and the Medical School. Financial support in the third year and beyond is provided by the mentor until the student completes the Ph.D. During these years, the mentor may encourage a student to apply for appropriate specialized training support from to replace the mentor's contribution.

How will I find rotation labs?

  1. Research possible mentors on the internet: Try PIBS, CMB, and individual faculty pages.Remember, you can rotate in any department!
  2. Get advising from the PIBS director, who identifies areas of interest and directs student to appropriate program advisers.
  3. Program adviser discusses student's interests and directs them to individual faculty.
  4. Student contacts faculty member and meets individually to discuss possible rotation projects and analyze the lab environment.

FAQ List by Topic (organized by our SACNAS students!)