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Qualifying examination

To be eligible to take the qualifying examination, students must pass all of their core curriculum with a grade of B or higher. Students must take their examination by the end of their second year.

Students prepare a dissertation proposal, which is presented at an oral examination. The purpose is to determine whether the candidate is properly prepared to conduct independent research leading to the completion of a doctoral dissertation. It is not to be regarded as a test of the student’s knowledge of a particular field of interest, though such knowledge must be demonstrated. The student must also demonstrate that he or she:

  1. Understands how to pose a scientific question.
  2. Is able to develop a systematic approach to its solution.
  3. Can interpret the results of that approach concisely and rigorously.
  4. Is able to frame that interpretation both within the context of the system in question and of other related biological systems.

Passing the examination leads to the advancement to candidacy and thesis progression for the PhD.

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