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Education / Molgen Grad / Coursework / Dissertation Work

Dissertation Studies

Graduate Student Research Rotations

In preparation for selecting a laboratory for their dissertation work, first- year students are also expected to do a minimum of two research rotations. In these rotations (typically lasting eight to twelve weeks), students begin to learn both the technical and the critical analytical aspects of performing research at the bench. Drs. Miller and Kovall will serve as advisors for each new student to guide him/her through the first year until a dissertation advisor is chosen.

Candidacy Exam

Once a student chooses a permanent research advisor, dissertation research toward the PhD can begin in earnest, under the guidance of both the advisor and a dissertation committee. The candidacy (or qualifying) examination is taken during the second year and is comprised of two parts. The first part called the "PreQual" is a written proposal on a topic unrelated to the students dissertation project and is written as part of the Grant Writing/Professional Development Class in the Fall of Year 2. The second part called the "Qual" is a written research proposal based on the students dissertation project, followed by an oral defense of the proposal before a candidacy examination committee. The candidacy examination committee is typically made up of the faculty that will serve on the students committee and is chosen by the student in consultation with his/her dissertation advisor.

Dissertation Work

In years 3 and beyond, students meet at least yearly (often more frequently) with their dissertation committee to assess progress in research and maturation as a scientist. Graduation occurs after the student's dissertation is written, approved and defended at an open seminar. During their research years, students will be expected to present research findings at seminars, poster forums and national and international meetings and to publish their data in peer-reviewed journals.

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