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Requirements to Complete Ph.D. Program

Student in lab
  • Advanced coursework
  • Preliminary exam
  • Seminar presentations
  • Two teaching assistantship experiences
  • Annual committee meetings
  • Original research proposal
  • Dissertation

Training involves a combination of advanced course work, teaching assistantships (minimum one semester required), participation in journal clubs and seminars by nationally and internationally renowned scientists, and laboratory research, with research as the primary focus of the program.

Advanced coursework on proteins, genes, and molecular and cellular mechanisms is tailored to meet students' needs and research interests and is typically completed in the first two years of studies.

Students entering the department complete research rotations with three different faculty members prior to joining a laboratory at the end of the first year. All students must pass a qualifying examination (by the end of year 1), oral preliminary examinations and successful defense of an original research proposal (by end of year 2) to continue in the doctoral program. Students that do not successfully pass the preliminary examination and research proposal requirements for the Ph.D. degree may be eligible for a Master's degree (thesis required).

All graduate students are required to hold annual meetings with their dissertation committee to discuss research progress (via written report and oral presentation) and enhance their technical writing and public speaking skills. Successful defense of dissertation is required for completion of the Ph.D. degree.