The examination is divided into two parts:
1. Part I of the examination will usually be
scheduled during early Term II (Spring term) of the student's second
year. Students with advanced placement or direct admission into the
Program may schedule their examination earlier, with approval from the
Evaluation Committee. Students will submit to the Examination Committee a
written research proposal in the format of an abbreviated NIH R01 grant
proposal (15 pages in length, not including references). Students will
submit this proposal before January 22nd of the year of their qualifying
examination. Within 30 days following submission, the Examination
Committee will evaluate the proposal and meet with each examinee
individually to critique the quality of his/her writing. The Examination
Committee is charged to maintain a consistent standard in evaluating
the quality of writing in all of the proposals. The committee should
address questions such as:
- Is the research hypothesis-driven?
- Is there an identified significance/relevance to human health?
- Is the literature review current?
- Is the background germane to the experimental design & methods?
- Has the student anticipated problematic areas and proposed alternative methods and approaches?
The Examination Committee will communicate the results of the
examination to the Evaluation Committee in writing. If weaknesses are
detected, the Examination Committee may recommend corrective measures to
the Evaluation Committee. Upon successful completion of Part I,
students are allowed 30 days to revise their written proposal before
submitting it to the Oral Examination Committee for Part II of the
2. Part II of the qualifying examination will be
scheduled to take place within one month after the submission of the
revised written proposal to the Oral Examination Committee. This
Committee will be formed by the student with the help of the proposed
dissertation supervisor, and approved by the Program Director. This
committee should be composed of four members of the MBET Graduate Track
including the proposed Supervising Professor, who may not serve as the
Chairman of this committee, and a faculty member who is not a member of
the MBET or BMB Graduate Program. To provide continuity between Parts I
and II of the examination, one of the members of the Oral Examination
Committee should be the primary reviewer of the student's proposal from
Part I of the Qualifying Examination.
The student and the committee members will determine the date of the
oral examination. The written proposal must be submitted to each
committee member, and to any MBET faculty member who requests it, at
least two weeks before the examination. At the oral examination, the
student will give a formal presentation of the proposal and then will
accept questions on any topic related centrally or peripherally to the
proposal. The Oral Examination Committee will conduct a rigorous and
in-depth examination of the scientific merits of the proposal, the
student's scientific knowledge, and his/her ability to integrate
scientific information. The Oral Examination Committee will communicate
the results of the examination to the Evaluation Committee in writing.
The Evaluation Committee will evaluate the student's complete
academic performance and will present its recommendation to the full
Faculty regarding the student's advancement to Candidacy. The full
Faculty will vote on the recommendation. The Program Director will
inform the BMB Graduate Program Director, who will in turn inform the
Dean of the Graduate School in writing once the student has performed
satisfactorily and, therefore, is eligible for advancement to Candidacy
for the PhD degree.