During the third year and after successful completion of the candidacy examination, students work primarily on their research projects, except for the time to attend area-of-research emphasis courses, research seminars, research in progress seminars, and laboratory meetings. The only curriculum requirements that remain are the 10 credit hours of electives (may be in Area of Research Emphasis) and the Senior Student Seminar (BSGP 7972).
Summer is spent working on their dissertation research project. Students are required to meet with their advisory committee on a regular basis (at least twice per year) since this committee is critical to the progress of the PhD student throughout their tenure in the program. Not only will this committee serve to keep the student focused, but this committee will also recommend additional class work, if necessary, to supplement training in the candidate’s area-of-research emphasis.
In addition to this, students are required to have at least one first-author original research publication in a peer-reviewed journal that is either published or in press at the time of the defense in order to be awarded the PhD.
Time to Graduation and Funding for Students
We anticipate that the time from matriculation to graduation should not exceed four-five years for most students. After the first year of funding provided by the College of Medicine, the student’s stipend will be the responsibility of the dissertation advisor, who signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the student and his/her department chair. Should the advisor’s support terminate for unforeseen reasons, the program will work with the student, advisor, and his/her department chair to maintain funding through to graduation. Under unusual circumstances this could require reassigning the student to another advisor. No trainee has ever left the program due to lack of stipend or tuition support.