Apr 21, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Sciences, Ph.D.

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Degree Requirements

Because of the breadth of the program and the diversity of student backgrounds and interests, the program is individualized for each student through consultation with his or her advisory committee. Although no specific courses are required for the Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, students will take graduate courses totaling at least 18 credits, of which one must be a three-credit seminar course. They also will participate in a research seminar (journal club) each semester after their first year, serve as a teaching assistant for two semesters and complete 18 credits of dissertation research. In addition, doctoral students will participate in at least three research rotations during their first year. For these rotations, faculty will design short projects for the students to provide an introduction to experimental research, as well as an opportunity to learn more about specific areas of research in the biological sciences before choosing a dissertation project. An average grade of B must be maintained in all nonresearch course work.

Upon completion of the first year of study, Ph.D. students should choose a dissertation advisor from the departmental faculty and begin their dissertation research. In the fall of the second year, students must form and meet with their permanent advisory committee. This committee will be composed of the dissertation advisor, three other members of the departmental faculty and an additional scientist from outside the department. Before the end of their fifth semester in residence, students must prepare and submit to their advisory committee a research proposal written in the format of an NSF or NIH grant. Defense of this proposal, along with a test of general knowledge in the candidate’s chosen field, constitutes the preliminary examination. Students must meet annually with their advisory committee to report on their progress toward completion of their dissertation research.

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