Integrative Life Science Doctoral Program (ILS) provides a structured PhD program, including up-to-date courses in a wide range of subjects related to the research fields represented by the program and its PI’s. The graduate program is intended for four years of theoretical and practical studies culminating in academic dissertation. The student's progress in his/her research project is closely monitored by a thesis committee. Additionally, students give presentations of their progress in Science Fairs and other events of the graduate program. The lectures and practical training courses aim at providing most up-to-date knowledge in life sciences and transferrable skills. All teaching in these courses is in English. The ILS curriculum provides skills and competence for life sciences careers in academia and in the biotech sector.

The Structured PhD-training in ILS comprises of three layers of activity:

1. Thesis work: Each graduate student is expected to work full time for their PhD-thesis in the laboratory of the Supervisor. The thesis work is supported and monitored by a three-member thesis committee reporting annually to the doctoral program. The guidelines for laboratory safety and good practices are adapted through the home institution/department of the research group. Formal requirements for the thesis are set up by the Faculties of the University of Helsinki.

2. Subject-related course work: The requirements for doctoral degree in UH include 40 or 60 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) formal studies depending on previous degree and the faculty. Depending on the topic of the thesis work the students can choose relevant courses and seminar series for the subject related studies. In addition each ILS student is expected to acquire a strong basic knowledge in a wide range of research topics represented by the ILS PI’s. These include Genetics and Genomics; Cell and Molecular Biology; Developmental Biology and Physiology; Bioinformatics and Systems Biology; Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology; and Proteomics and Metabolomics. A good knowledge of research integrity issues as well as logical reasoning in life science research form the basis of the curriculum.

3. Transferable skills: In addition to subject-related course work the program provides training in transferable skills. These include courses that are necessary to carry out experimental work in academic research as well as in industry such as basics on animal experimentation and proteomics. Courses in e.g. scientific writing and presentation skills, ethics, business and entrepreneurship are organized as a collaborative approach together with the neighbouring doctoral programs in the University of Helsinki. The wide provision of transferable skills training enables the graduates from ILS to undertake demanding expert duties in many professions in academia, industry, commerce and policy making.

ILS is a merger of four successful longstanding doctoral programs: GPBM, VGSB, ISB (on it's UH parts) and the COBIMED initiative combining UH parts of ComBi and FICS.