Program Timeline

Normal progress toward the degree means that each student is expected to move through a series of milestones necessary to obtain the PhD at a reasonable pace and at the proper level of performance.

Under normal circumstances, students in the Biological Sciences should be able to earn the PhD in less than 6 years.

The program strives to provide sufficient guidance and intellectual support so each student can advance to candidacy and complete a high quality dissertation within this time.

Year 1

  • Participate in Boot Camp
  • Participate in the Orientation Seminar Graduate School Fundamentals
  • Complete Formal Coursework: Core Sequence (3 courses); elective courses (2); Conduct 4 Laboratory Rotations
  • Select Thesis Advisor and begin Thesis Research
  • Take Comprehensive Exam by June 30 of Year 1

Year 2

  • Select Thesis Advisor and begin Thesis Research
  • Participate in the Graduate Student Seminar group, BGSE 205
  • Participate in Bioethics Course
  • Fulfill first of three Instructional Apprentice Experiences (BGGN 500) (Laboratory course)
  • Select Core Thesis Committee
  • Schedule Thesis Proposition Examination by June 30 of Year 2

Year 3

  • Continue Thesis Research
  • Participate in the Graduate Student Seminar group, BGSE 205
  • Fulfill second 1-quarter Instructional Apprentice Experiences (BGGN 500) (Lecture course)
  • Conduct annual Evaluation Meeting with Core Thesis Committee, or in some cases, Advance to Candidacy

Year 4

  • Continue Thesis Research
  • Participate in the Graduate Student Seminar group, BGSE 205
  • Fulfill last of three 1-quarter Instructional Apprentice Experiences (BGGN 500) (Lecture course)
  • Select remaining members of Thesis Committee
  • Advance to Candidacy meeting at Annual Meeting with Thesis Committee

Year 5

  • Complete Thesis Research
  • Participate in the Graduate Student Seminar group, BGSE 205
  • Conduct Pre-Defense Thesis Evaluation Meeting at annual meeting with Thesis Committee
  • Prepare Thesis
  • Defend Thesis
Please refer to the Academic Degree Requirements section described in the Policies section of the handbook for more details.