The central mission of graduate school is to obtain a degree in the philosophy of science.  To achieve this goal, CMP requires specific courses that will expose students to basic pathology, cell biology, and disease pathogenesis.  With these courses, we hope students will gain some perspective on the broad nature of translational research.  We also think that these courses will bring critical information to CMP students that they can apply to their individual labs.  We still recognize that courses are only a component of graduate school, and so we keep these to a minimum.

The CMP Steering Committee has designed a set of guidelines to aid the students and their advisory committees in the task of constructing an appropriate series of formal course requirements.

How to register: Go to the Student Center on your MyUW page or see pg. 4 for a step-by-step guide to registering.

Again, during your rotations, you will be registered under the Chair of the CMP, Dr. Zsuzsanna Fabry.  Once you have decided on a lab and major professor, your registration number will change to that professor’s research course number.  

Required Courses
To obtain a PhD in the CMP program, students must complete the following:

  • There is a minimum of 16 coursework credits required for the CMP major
  • Each semester, a CMP student must be enrolled full time.
    • Non-dissertator:  8-15 credits for fall and spring semesters; 2 credits for the summer semester
    • Dissertator:  3 credits every semester (fall, spring, and summer)
  • CMP students are expected to maintain a B average or better in their coursework

The 16 credits of coursework for the major must include the following:

  • Pathology 802, Histology/Pathology of different diseases, 3 credits (1st semester, Fall)
  • Pathology 750, Cellular & Molecular Biology/Pathology, 3 credits (2nd semester, Spring)
  • Pathology 803, Pathogenesis of Major Human Disease, 3 credits (3rd semester, Fall)
  • Pathology 809, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, 2 credits (4th semester, Spring)
  • Statistics course, 2-4 credits
  • Ethics course, 1-2 credits
  • 1 elective, 2-3 credits (Pathology 807, Pathology 751, or equivalent course approved by student’s mentoring committee)

The actual series of elected courses taken by each student is decided in consultation with an advisory committee consisting of the student, major professor, and four other faculty, two of whom must be trainers in the Pathology Graduate Program. The courses taken to satisfy the PhD requirement in the Cellular and Molecular Pathology track are selected by the student and his/her major professor. All courses must contribute to an organized program of study and research. A Pathology Certification Form should be filed with the Graduate Program Office to be used as a guide in constructing an appropriate series of formal course requirements for the individual student. These courses are then submitted to the student’s advisory committee for approval.

PhD Interdisciplinary or Minor Requirements
The objective of training in CMP is to create a stimulating and robust intellectual interdisciplinary environment for predoctoral training embedded in an exciting and challenging basic and clinical translational research. Our curriculum provides interdisciplinary and integrated training in fundamental concepts in modern pathobiology with an emphasis on biochemical, cellular and molecular approaches and rigorous in-depth research training in understanding of the fundamental bases of diseases. Students must fulfill interdisciplinary training requirement by completing either Option A (Minor) or Option B (Interdisciplinary Training Option). Read more at PhD Interdisciplinary or Minor Requirements

Seminars and Seminar Courses
Each semester, CMP students are required to sign up for research credit and two seminars listed below.  These do NOT count towards the 16 credits required for the major.  In addition to the Preliminary exam B and the PhD thesis defense, students are required to give at least 3 seminars during the course of their graduate school career.  These are typically given in Pathology 901. Seminars can also be given as part of the Pathology Seminar Series (Pathology 900), a course or a regional, national, or international meeting. Additionally, dissertators are required to give a thesis-based seminar prior to their thesis defense as part of the Pathology Seminar Series, Pathology 900.

  • Pathology 901, Student Seminar Series, 1 credits
  • Pathology 900 Seminar Series, 0 credits
  • Pathology 990 Research, 1-7 credits

Elective Courses
Within the 16 required credits, students will take one elective course.  This course is chosen by the student and the PhD thesis committee.   The goal of the elective course is for students to acquire additional broad knowledge in either pathology or their major area of research.  For the elective course, students may take one of the following:

  • Pathology 751, Cellular and Molecular Biology of Aging, 3 credits (Fall semester), Cellular and molecular pathophysiology of human disease typically afflicting the aged, such as Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, Type II diabetes and arthritis, experimental systems to study aging
  • Pathology 807, Immunopathology: The Immune System in Health and Disease, 2 credits (Spring semester), Gain fundamental knowledge of immunopathology and molecular immunology medicine, and have an in-depth research experience that combines pathobiological and translational immunology research.
  • Equivalent course approved by the PhD thesis committee

Professional Development Courses
Life Sci Comm 560, Scientific Writing, 3 cr.
Neuroscience 700, Professional Development for Biomedical Graduate Students, 1 cr.
Grantmanship professional development is part of the Path 809 (Prelim A) course.

UW-Madison offers a wealth of resources intended to enrich graduate studies and enhance professional skills. The Program encourages students to take advantage of the resources that best fit their needs and support your career goals. During Pathology 809, we discuss professional development information, including those listed in the “Professional Resources” section on page 18.

CMP Required Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research
Conscious awareness of responsible conduct of research is a feature that permeates the work of CMP trainees and trainers as well as all graduate students and faculty at UW. In fact, the annual appointment/reappointment letter for research assistants includes the following text specifically related to this topic: “Professor xx will be your mentor in this effort and you will join her/his research group as a colleague. The University requires this to be a student/teacher relationship and you will be expected to honor xx's scholarly traditions and procedures while conducting your research.” Our plans for formal and informal instruction in the responsible conduct of research for trainees are listed below.

The NIH requires that all undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral fellows receiving support through any NIH training, career development award, research education grant, or dissertation research grant must receive instruction in RCR. At least eight hours of face-to-face instruction is required; online education alone is insufficient. Instruction must be undertaken at least once during each career stage, and no less than once every four years.

Ethics Formal instruction
The CMP is dedicated to the training of ethics. There are 4approved courses accepted by CMP on Responsible Conduct of Research. Each trainee must take 1 of several ethic courses that meet for 1 hr each week during the semester. Below is a listing of ethic courses that cover components of Responsible Conduct of Research accepted by the Office of Research Integrity of the University of Wisconsin and by the NIH. RCR topics as described by the Office of Research Integrity of the University of Wisconsin and by the NIH: 1. Animal welfare; 2. Collaborative science; 3. Conflict of interest and commitment; 4. Data acquisition, management, sharing and ownership; 5. Protection of Human subjects; 6. Mentor/trainee responsibilities; 7. Publication practices, responsible authorship; 8. Peer review; 9. Research misconduct

Ethics Courses
The following list of courses fulfills this requirement:

  • Oncology 675, Appropriate Conduct of Science; 1 credit (Spring semester)
  •  Surgical Science 812, Research Ethics and Career Development; 2 credits (Fall semester)
  • Chemistry 901, Advanced Seminar: Responsible Conduct of Research. 1 credit.
  • Medical History & Bioethics: Research Ethics. 1 credit (Spring semester)

Approved Ethics Courses (Appendix):
Oncology 675: Appropriate Conduct of Science; Instructor: Janet Mertz and Gary Roberts; Credits: 1 credit (Spring); Description: A review and discussion of ethical issues in science.

Surgical Science 812: Research Ethics and Career Development; Instructor: Dale Bjorling; Credits: 2 credits (Fall) Description: The purpose of this seminar series is to provide trainees with information that will be useful in their development as scientists and will provide a frame of reference as they struggle with issues of authorship, plagiarism, scientific misconduct or fraud, mentoring, starting their career, developing a research program, and writing.

Chemistry 901: Advanced Seminar: Responsible Conduct of Research. Instructor: Tim Donohue; Credits: 1 credit; Description: This is a discussion-based course that will discuss issues for which there will often be quite legitimate, but different, perspectives. Topics will be introduced in this course largely through the use of case studies that focus on one or more ethical issues.

Medical History & Bioethics: Research Ethics. Instructors: Rob Streiffer, Jim Coors, Sara Patteron. Credits: 1; The course objective is to enable students to understand the policies regulating research at land grant universities and the moral principles on which these policies are based. After completing the course, students should have the ability to explain (1) the research mission of land grant universities, (2) the ethical principles supporting research policies, (3) the policies that regulate research on such issues as mentoring and under-represented minorities and women in research, research misconduct, authorship and peer review, intellectual property, conflicts of interest and commitment, proper experimental design, data collection, and statistical interpretation, (4) discipline-specific issues chosen on the basis of current enrollment, and (5) the importance of life-long learning in research ethics and how to find updated information.



Additional Annual ethics/professional development training
Please go to the OHR Responsible Conduct of Research website and review the additional ethics/profession development training seminar (
.  You are required to attend a minimum of two of these seminars every academic year. After attending please send Joanne an email at with the date & title of the seminar you attended.


Statistics Courses
Students in the CMP program are required to take a statistics course.  This will help expose students to the key concepts needed to understand how to statistically analyze experimental data and how to design experiments with appropriate power. The following list of courses fulfills this requirement:

  • Biostatistics 541, Intro to Biostatistics, 3 cred­its. This course provides a breadth in biostatistical methods for public health practitioners.
  • Biostatistics 571, Statistical Methods for Bioscience
  • Biostatistics 572, Statistical Methods for Bioscience II, 4 credits 

PhD students must maintain a B average or better in all graduate courses. Grades of BC or lower suggest an inadequate comprehension of course material. The Graduate School requires that a student maintain a minimum graduate GPA of 3.0 in all graduate-level work.

The student’s progress is monitored by having them complete and hand in the various forms indicated in the timeline above. Failure to hand in the various forms on time results in a warning from the CMP office; followed by a hold being placed on their registration until the student complies. Student’s progress is noted on front of the forms as satisfactory, some concerns or unsatisfactory. If CMP office sees that some concerns or unsatisfactory progress is noted, the CMP Steering Committee is notified and the student’s progress discussed.

Journal Clubs
Several weekly journal clubs in special topics exist. Generally one paper is presented each week. Some are offered as formal courses; others meet informally. Below is a list of some of the journal clubs that CMP trainers currently participate in:

  • Biotechnology Training Program Student Seminar Series
  • Cancer Biology Literature Group (every other week)
  • Cardiovascular Research Center Journal Club (Thursdays once a month)
  • Developmental Biology Journal Club (Wednesdays at 12:00pm)
  • Geriatrics Journal Club (Tuesdays at 7:30pm)
  • Glaucoma Research Group
  • Neuroimmunology Journal Club (Fridays at 11:00pm)
  • Immunology Research Group (Thursdays at 12:00pm)
  • MSTP Student Journal Club
  • Neurological Surgery Journal Club (bi-weekly)
  • Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Research Colloquium (Fridays at 12:00pm)
  • Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Grand Rounds (Fridays at 7:30pm)
  • Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Retina Group (Tuesdays at 7:00pm)
  • Seminar in Cellular Biology and Cytoskeletal Dynamics
  • Stem Cell Biology Journal Club (Fridays at 12:00pm,)
  • Transcriptional Mechanisms Research Group (monthly)
  • UWCCC Tumor Immunology Journal Club (Tuesdays at 9:00am)
  • Vascular Biology Research Colloquium (monthly)
  • Zebrafish Research Group (last Tuesday of month)