Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 37

Required Courses:

All students participate in a common first-year interdisciplinary experience that includes the following core courses:
Molecules to Cells
Organ Systems: Function, Dysfunction and Therapies
Scientific Design and Biostatistics
Scientific Communications
Bioinformatics
Scientific Integrity
Scientific Grant Writing
Advanced elective courses in area of concentration/cluster
Cluster-Based Seminar/Specialized Journal Club

Additional Requirements:
Research Advisory Committee Meetings:
Students are required to meet with their Research Advisory Committee each term to evaluate their progress toward the degree.

Outside Research Proposal:
In the Spring term of the second year of study, students are required to prepare and defend an NIH-style grant proposal in their area of concentration on a topic that is distinct from the student's research. This is a requirement for elevation to candidacy. 

Culminating Events:
Dissertation Proposal:
The dissertation proposal demonstrates the student's knowledge of and ability to conduct the proposed research. The proposal should describe the context and background surrounding a particular research problem and a methodological plan for investigating the problem. The proposal is a requirement for admission to candidacy and should be submitted and approved during the Fall term of the third year in the program.

Dissertation:
The Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Sciences is a research degree. Research training begins with three research rotations in the first year of the graduate program and continues with the selection of an area of concentration and a Dissertation Research Advisor, who is a member of the Graduate Faculty from within the selected area of concentration. The areas of concentration include Cancer Biology and Genetics, Infectious Disease and Immunity, Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, Neuroscience, and Organ Systems and Translational Medicine.

Under the direction of the Dissertation Research Advisor, the student develops an original research project. Dissertation research involves meaningful, critical thinking and the execution of ideas in the laboratory through the use of the scientific method. Dissertation research conducted by the student should be an original contribution to scientific knowledge. The quality of the student's Ph.D. dissertation research should be equivalent to that found in reputable biomedical sciences journals.

Upon selection of an area of concentration and a Dissertation Research Advisor, a Research Advisory Committee is formed for each student. This Committee is responsible for the review of the student's research and academic progress twice yearly. It determines whether the content of the student's research is sufficient for the Ph.D. dissertation.

The student submits the dissertation in complete form not less than 14 days prior to the date of the final examination. The dissertation must have been read and approved by the Dissertation Research Advisor prior to distribution. After the student has arranged the time, date, and room for the dissertation defense, the "Announcement of Dissertation Defense" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms,” is completed and forwarded to the Graduate School on Main Campus and to the Office of Graduate Studies on the Health Sciences Campus at least 10 working days before the defense. Announcements of the defense are posted and emailed to all members of the cluster/area of concentration.

The Final Examination Committee evaluates the student's dissertation and demonstration of competence within the field of the dissertation and related areas. This Committee consists of five faculty members, including the Dissertation Research Advisor, Research Advisory Committee, and one additional faculty member from another cluster. The Committee evaluates the quality of the dissertation research and the student's ability to express, both in writing and orally, her/his research question, methodological approach, primary findings, and implications. The Committee votes to pass or fail the dissertation and the defense at the conclusion of the public presentation and private question/answer period.