Molecular and
Cellular Physiology

Ph.D. Completion Requirements in MCP

1. Course Requirements:

2. Lab Rotations

Students complete at least two and no more than four laboratory rotations of one quarter duration each.   The first rotation is in a laboratory within the Department, while subsequent rotations may be in any laboratory in the allied bioscience programs.  Following the completion of the rotations students join the laboratory where they will conduct their dissertation research.

3. Qualifying Examination:

Students must take and pass a Qualifying Examination early in the second year of study to advance to candidacy for the Ph.D.  Following the successful completion of the qualifying examination, students generally submit their written proposal to the NIH NRSA program, beginning the process of learning how to write grants, an essential skill for all scientists.

More information on the Qualifying Examination process is in the Student Handbook. (link)

4. Dissertation Research

Dissertation research generally starts during the student's second year.  Students may do their dissertation research in any department within the allied Biosciences while still receiving the MCP degree.  Projects are selected by the student with consultation by their faculty supervisor.

5.  Dissertation Thesis

The final requirements of the program include presentation of a PhD dissertation as the result of independent investigation and constituting a contribution to knowledge in the area of molecular and cellular physiology. The student must pass the University oral examination, taken only after the student has substantially completed research. The examination is preceded by a public seminar in which the research is presented by the candidate. The oral examination is conducted by a dissertation reading committee.

Other Information

There is no formal teaching requirement that needs to be completed to earn the Ph.D. degree.  However, opportunities exist for students to gain teaching experience as teaching assistants (TA) in various courses.

There is no language requirement for earning the Ph.D. degree. However, students will be expected to be familiar with the relevant literature in their chosen field, regardless of the language of publication.


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