Doctoral Degree

General Requirements
All academic requirements of the program and of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences must be met. Students must be in good academic standing to be eligible to graduate. Continuing favorable evaluation by the academic program is required.

The PhD degree is awarded in recognition of marked ability and achievement in the field of study and never solely on the basis of course work that has been completed. The comprehensive knowledge expected of the student in his major field is such that the requirements for the degree demand not less than three years of full-time work beyond a baccalaureate degree. Most students require five years to complete a doctoral program.

Doctoral degree candidates must complete all degree requirements within seven calendar years. During this time, the student must enroll for at least two consecutive semesters of full-time study. A minimum of 60 credits of graduate work must be accumulated during the duration of the graduate program.

Advancement to Candidacy
To become a candidate for the PhD degree, the student must pass the qualifying examination administered by a faculty committee. This examination has written and oral components. If this examination is failed, only one additional attempt is offered to the potential candidate. After passing the qualifying examination, obtaining approval of a dissertation committee, an outline of the proposed dissertation research, and being recommended by the program, the student is advanced to doctoral candidacy. Note: The outline/proposal must be given to the Graduate School office for the Dean’s approval at least 18 months prior to the defense.


The doctoral candidate must submit a dissertation representing an original research contribution. It must show high attainment and clear ability to carry out independent biomedical research of publishable quality.

Final Oral Examination
The final oral examination will be administered after the student has completed all other formal requirements for the PhD degree and has submitted a completed doctoral dissertation to the Graduate School Office. The final examination will be a public defense of the dissertation. The student also will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of material relevant to the general field in which the dissertation is written.