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The ILS curriculum is specifically designed to facilitate the transition to graduate research and education. The first semester is structured to engage students in meaningful research experiences and to teach good research practices through innovative curriculum. Research rotations provide an opportunity for students to explore the breadth and depth of life science research available at UGA through the ILS program before formally committing to a thesis project and advisor.


Fall Semester Coursework

Required Courses 

    • GRSC 7001 (1 hr.) GradFIRST: First-year Research and Scholarship Training Seminar
      • ILS-specific sections taught by ILS administration.
      • Provides opportunities for professional development and transdisciplinary training for first-year graduate students in areas key to academic success and encourages engagement with graduate program faculty and graduate students. Topics include the ethical conduct of research and scholarship, the development of scholarly writing and communication skills, getting the most out of graduate mentoring, and resources available to support students with grievances and other interpersonal concerns.
    • GRSC 8000 (variable credit). Research Techniques (i.e., Lab Rotations)
      • Students having prior experience with a lab (i.e., REU, UGA undergrad, Summer Bridge, volunteer) may consider these labs for a thesis lab even if the experience was not associated with the Fall rotation course.
      • Three 6-week rotations with ANY of our ILS-affiliated faculty members during the Fall term
      • 30+ hours of research per week is expected
      • Summer Bridge students have the following options for their rotation schedules:
        • 1 summer rotation followed by 2 longer than normal eight-week Fall rotations for a total of 3 rotation experiences.
        • 1 summer rotation followed by 3 standard six-week Fall rotations for a total of 4 rotation experiences. Any of the Fall rotations can be in the same lab as the summer experience (e.g., summer and 1st Fall rotation can be combined for an extra-long rotation; 3rd rotation can be in the same lab as the summer experience for an early start to thesis research).
      • In advance of each rotation, the student will provide the ILS graduate coordinator with a form signed by both the rotation advisor and the student.
      • At the conclusion of a rotation, the faculty member should provide a recommended letter grade to the ILS graduate coordinator.
      • ILS policy allows students to disengage from a rotation within the 1st week of a rotation as long as a substitute rotation experience can be initiated in a timely fashion. This action does not require approval of the initial rotation advisor but does require permission of the new rotation advisor and either the ILS Program Director or Graduate Coordinator. A new rotation form should be completed and submitted to ILS in accordance with existing policy. Questions about this policy should be directed to the ILS Program Director or Graduate Coordinator.
      • The recommended rotation periods are:
        • mid-August – late September
        • last week of September – early November
        • early November – mid December
    • GRSC 8010 (1 hr). Rigor, Reproducibility, and Transparency.
      • 7-week discussion-based class.
      • Taught in the 1st half of Fall semester.
      • Provides guidance on information and skills needed to become a successful professional scientist. The course will introduce new ILS graduate students to research opportunities, facilities, and resources at UGA; grant writing strategies and opportunities; and laboratory safety. The course includes an introduction to professional ethics and responsibilities.
    • GRSC 8020 (2 hr). Critical Reading of the Primary Scientific Literature.
      • Semester-long discussion-based class emphasizing both foundation and emerging topics.  Multiple sections.
      • Designed to teach entering graduate students how to deconstruct and understand primary scientific literature at a level of awareness needed for becoming successful graduate students and professional scientists, and in a manner that fosters critical thinking skills. Topics emphasize both foundational and emerging topics across the breadth of research in the ILS program.
    • GRSC 8550 (1 hr). Responsible Conduct of Research.
      • 7-week discussion-based class
      • Taught in the 2nd half of Fall semester.
      • Through a series of presentations and case study discussions, student will explore ethical issues in research, including codes of ethics for professional organizations, the responsible conduct of research, and the development of personal professionalism and ethics.
    • LLED 7768 (1 hr)  / LLED 7769 (1 hr). Conditionally required language development seminars.
      • For students lacking English language proficiency necessary for a TA assignment. The course(s) taken will depend on the student’s English proficiency; see here.

ILS students are often nominated for internal programs that sometimes require specialized coursework. In these instances, the specialized coursework can serve as a Fall semester elective.


Spring Semester Coursework

The second semester marks the start of thesis research. After deciding upon a thesis advisor and graduate program, ILS students matriculate into a department- or institute-based graduate program and formally become a student of the chosen program. All students must meet the degree requirements of the chosen graduate program in order to receive a graduate degree. In general, most require a defined set of coursework, successful completion of advancement to candidacy exams, and a body of work that satisfies the requirements of the degree being sought. For details on program-specific requirements, please refer to the websites of participating units.