Examinations

Qualifying Exam

All M.S. and Ph.D. students must pass a Qualifying Examination after completing all required first-year courses. The theoretical component (Part A) of the examination is an in-class, closed-book test that covers material from the “theoretical” first year courses (BIOS 513, 514 and 546). The applied component of the examination (Part B) is a take-home, open-book test that covers material from the “applied” first year courses (BIOS 553, 554, 571 and 572). Each part of the exam is graded as pass/fail. A student who fails Part A or Part B of the exam can petition the Examination Committee to retake that part of the Qualifying Exam. Students may only retake the Qualifying Exam one time.

Dissertation Proposal Defense

Students pursuing the Ph.D. degree who have passed the Qualifying Exam must pass a Dissertation Proposal Defense to enter Ph.D. candidacy. This will include a written summary of the student’s proposed research that will constitute their doctoral dissertation. This document will consist of a literature review, a summary of preliminary research, goals and hypotheses, proposed methods and contingencies, a research timeline, and a manuscript and presentation dissemination plan. The student will orally present and defend the proposed research program to a dissertation committee. The Proposal Defense is graded as pass/fail by the student’s dissertation committee.

Thesis/Dissertation Defense

All Ph.D. students must create a written dissertation consisting of original research that the student will defend at a final oral examination. A public presentation will precede a Dissertation Defense closed to all but the student’s dissertation committee. The Dissertation Defense will be graded as pass/fail by the student’s dissertation committee.

All M.S. students must defend their theses at a final oral examination. An original research topic is not required. The Thesis Defense will be graded as pass/fail by the student’s thesis committee.