Qualifying Exams

For all students

  • The written exam is a proposal based on the student’s potential thesis research, although it can be on a non-thesis topic.
  • The format is a 1-page Specific Aims/6-page research design proposal similar to an NIH fellowship proposal.
  • The proposal is developed in the Grant Writing course (PHCO 732), and a pre-proposal must be approved before writing the full document.
  • The student has 6 weeks to write the full proposal, which is evaluated by a committee of four faculty members
  • The oral exam is a 2-hour oral defense of the written proposal administered by the same faculty from the written exam.
  • Upon successful completion of both the written and oral exams, the student spends full time in the laboratory on their thesis project.