To be eligible to take the qualifying examination, students must pass all of their core curriculum with a grade of B or higher. Students must take their examination by the end of their second year.
Students prepare a dissertation proposal, which is presented at an oral examination. The purpose is to determine whether the candidate is properly prepared to conduct independent research leading to the completion of a doctoral dissertation. It is not to be regarded as a test of the student’s knowledge of a particular field of interest, though such knowledge must be demonstrated. The student must also demonstrate that he or she:
- Understands how to pose a scientific question.
- Is able to develop a systematic approach to its solution.
- Can interpret the results of that approach concisely and rigorously.
- Is able to frame that interpretation both within the context of the system in question and of other related biological systems.
- All proposals must include a section on the incorporation of responsible conduct of research in your project.
Passing the examination leads to the advancement to candidacy and thesis progression for the PhD.