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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 8000. Rotations – Three 6-week rotations. Students can request a rotation with ANY of our 200+ ILS-affiliated faculty members that are drawn from 14 departments / institutes. Students can expect to have 30+ hours of time per week for research-related activities.
  • GRSC 8010. Professional Development for ILS Students– This 7-week discussion-based class provides guidance on all the activities needed to become a successful professional scientist. Taught in the 1st half of Fall semester.
  • GRSC 8550. Responsible Conduct of Research – This 7-week discussion-based class delves into the impact of science on society, the importance of ethics in science, proper data management, and the value of proper mentoring, among other topics. Taught in the 2nd half of Fall semester.
  • GRSC 8020. Critical Reading of the Primary Scientific Literature – This semester-long class teaches you how to deconstruct and understand primary literature at a level needed for becoming a successful graduate student. Topics emphasize both foundation and emerging topics.
  • LLED 7768 / LLED 7769. These conditionally required language development seminars are designed to improve the language skills of an international student that might seek future stipend support through a Teaching assistantship. Performance on the IELTS or Speak test section of the TOEFL is used to gauge whether any of these courses are required (see here).

Elective Courses (choose one)

Students are encouraged to consider taking ONE additional elective course of their choosing. All allowed electives are in the general area of professional development, and are generally 1 to 2 credit hour courses. No more than one elective will be allowed. Students wishing to take an elective must consult with the ILS graduate coordinator before enrolling in any elective course. Examples of elective courses are listed below. NOTE: students required to take LLED coursework will not be allowed to take an elective.

  • GRSC 8200. Communicating Science and Scholarship – This semester-long class is designed to help students from all disciplines communicate their research and scholarship to non-specialized audiences. Students will develop a set of skills focused on: communicating across disciplines; using social media; working with journalists; and linking scholarship and policy.
  • GRSC 8220. Giving Effective Scientific Presentations  – This semester-long class teaches you how to design and deliver effective scientific presentations. Four overarching perspectives of presentations will be covered: structure, visual aids, speech, and delivery. Although the course focuses on using slide sets to present scientific research, the concepts covered can also be applied to posters, chalk talks, speeches, and other modes of communication.
  • Grant Writing (various course numbers) – These semester-long classes teach grant-writing skills with the goal of preparing a fellowship or other grant proposal for submission to an external agency as part of the class.


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.