One major goal of the IGP is to provide a flexible graduate curriculum that allows students the opportunity to become fully engaged with their thesis research as early as the end of their first year. In order to ensure that IGP students are exposed to a variety of experimental approaches and laboratory environments, students are encouraged to perform two laboratory rotations per semester. Optimally, rotations will be completed and a thesis laboratory selected by the summer of a student's first year. Advanced coursework, journal clubs and other enrichment activities beyond the graduate core course are tailored to the requirements of an individual student and are determined after discussion between the faculty advisor and student. In general, a minimum of two Advanced Topics courses is required.
For the Qualifying Exam, the student in consultation with his Advisor and the Graduate Director selects a Qualifying Committee. Prior to qualifying, the student has to complete the Core Course. The student prepares an abstract and then a proposal based either on the proposed thesis topic or on an independent subject. After qualifying, the student selects a Research Advisory Committee, which can be the same as the Qualifying Committee. The student is expected to meet with the Research Advisory Committee at least once a year.
As part of the students' training, they are required to present their research data once a year in a seminar series designed to give students an opportunity to learn scientific information and presentation skills. The goal is for the students to understand the important elements such as style, interaction, and organization that constitute a successful presentation.