Candidacy Information

Admission to Candidacy

One of the most important stages of your development as a graduate student and investigator is admission to candidacy.  Students will be allowed to register for PHT0 6097 Research for a maximum of three terms once they pass the both portions of the qualifying exam. Within that, timeframe students will apply for admission to candidacy.  This event implies several things.  First, that students have completed all required didactic courses, that they have satisfied any academic deficiencies, and they have passed the written qualifying examination, all of which indicate that they have mastered the fundamental knowledge of the field of pharmacology and toxicology. If a student has not been admitted to candidacy by the end of the third term it is grounds for dismissal.  

To apply for candidacy students will create a Supervisory Committee who will oversee their dissertation work. For regular (non-MD-PhD) students, the Supervisory Committee consists of five members: Three faculty members from PHTO graduate program, one from different area of research (Could be from any other department or program) and one from another institution.  The three pharmacology and toxicology faculty and the member from off campus are generally supposed to be individuals who are familiar with your field and who can make useful contributions to your success, either by verbal input and/or by assisting with special techniques or approaches. The on-campus faculty member from outside Pharmacology & Toxicology may also be familiar with your field of work, but this is not necessary.  This person also serves for general advice and to represent the graduate school to be sure that the entire process is conducted well.  

The Supervisory Committee for MD-PhD students is the same as that for regular students, except that one additional requirement exists: this committee must include an MD-degreed faculty member with a primary appointment in a clinical department.  This member may be one of the five individuals required by the Graduate School or may be a sixth member -- if a sixth member, he/she does not have to be a member of the Graduate Faculty. The membership of this committee should be determined well before the actual proposal is developed because each of the members should be able to offer constructive advice and each must approve the proposal before it is turned in. 

An Application for Candidacy packet will need to be filled out and turned into the Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences by the indicated deadline for each term (please refer to the appropriate academic calendar). Part of the application includes a research proposal. Information on the format can be found on the Information About Candidacy page on the GSBS site under IX. Instruction Sheet for Preparation of Thesis/Dissertation Research Proposal. 
Admission to candidacy actually occurs at the beginning of the term that starts after all the approvals are made. Following admission to candidacy, the student is expected to spend full-time doing research in the mentor’s laboratory (registering for Dissertation, PHTO 6099 each term).  At the end of each term the student is required to prepare a one-page summary of that term’s work, and the mentor is to provide a brief written evaluation of the students accomplishments and indicate if there are problems as well as provide a grade of Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory (REDCap Survey). Each term except for the last term students are also required to register PHTO 6190 Student Journal Club and for PHTO 6195 Seminar and to attend faculty and student seminars each term.  Students are strongly encouraged to write papers as they progress through their respective projects.  

After the student is admitted to candidacy, the Supervisory Committee (at least all on-campus members) must meet with the student at least once per academic year for students through fourth year and at least twice an academic year for students year five and above, until the dissertation is completed. The Supervisory Professor must fill out the Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Program Supervisory Committee Report following these meetings. Forms are to be sent to the Program Coordinator for tracking student progress. Even though the off-campus member is not usually present at these meetings, his/her input should be obtained at the time of these meetings and taken into account.  These committee meetings are very important in that they assure timely progress reports and opportunities for constructive criticism of the on-going work.  

When the mentor and supervisory Committee are satisfied that the student has done adequate work, the student writes the doctoral dissertation (drafts of which are reviewed by the mentor and Committee) and defends the penultimate draft via a final seminar to the program and the Supervisory Committee, which then has a final private session with the student to assess the student’s work and make any final recommendations for completing the written dissertation.  Approval of the dissertation by the Committee and deans, in addition to, the completion of the graduation packet completes the degree requirements.


You may also wish to refer to section 4.61 (Doctoral Degree) of the Academic Policies of the GSBS, available online.