General Timetable

Year 1 -- BME Core Courses

The main goal for the first year is to work with your mentor (advisor) to identify those courses of most relevance to your area of research, and to take as many core courses and electives as practical during the first 9 months in preparation for your proposal development and oral exam. Some electives are offered once every two years and it may be desirable to take some electives during the first year in order to prepare for the qualifying exam at the end of the second year. Students should also participate in a journal club and/or work with their mentor to critically review the scientific literature in their area.

Year 2 -- Complete BME course requirements and prepare for qualifying exam

Students should enroll in any remaining required and/or elective courses and BME seminars to fulfill requirements for taking the qualifying exam. The majority of the student’s time and effort should be in research. A major goal for the second year is to begin to acquire the laboratory skills and conceptual framework necessary for thesis work. The student should also be spending free moments reading the scientific literature. BME students are required to take the qualifying exam during the summer of their second year. Immediately following passing the qualifying exam, students in consultation with their mentor should nominate a thesis/dissertation Advisory Committee which must be approved by the BME Graduate Program Committee. Students must meet with their thesis/dissertation Advisory Committee within 6 months of passing the Qualifying Examination.

Year 3 until graduation

The student must meet with their thesis/dissertation Advisory Committee at least once a year to bring them up to date on research progress and to discuss future directions. The student must present a departmental research seminar during the third year. About 6 months prior to anticipated dissertation defense, it is useful to meet with the thesis/dissertation Advisory Committee to establish a consensus on items that need to be completed. It is expected that most Ph.D. graduate students will defend their dissertation sometime in their fifth calendar year. It is a School of Medicine requirement that the student be continuously enrolled until the thesis is bound. Students may not use a leave of absence to make corrections to the thesis.

Leave of Absence

Students are generally expected to register during every term until degree requirements are completed.  However, individual circumstances may sometimes require an interruption of the student's program. In such cases, students must submit a written request to the Graduate Program Director for a leave of absence. Requests will be considered by the department graduate faculty and a recommendation to accept or deny the request will be sent by the Department Chair to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. Final approval is given by the Dean of the School of Medicine upon recommendation by the Graduate Council.   

A student on leave of absence for 12 months or less may be reinstated in the graduate program by registering for an appropriate course load. However, readmission after a leave of absence in excess of one-year's duration will require reexamination of the student's credentials and formal approval by the department and Graduate Council.

Student Vacation and Sick Leave Policy  from SoM Graduate Studies Forms & Policies

Time Constraints

Students are expected to complete various program requirements according to the general timetable. Furthermore, the Graduate Council By-Laws limit the time period from matriculation to granting the Ph.D. degree to 7 calendar years.

Students may be dismissed from the graduate studies program for failure to complete a departmental requirement within the specified time period or for failing to complete all Ph.D. requirements in 7 calendar years.

In special circumstances in which strong justification exists, the department may grant an extension. In such cases, the extension must be approved by the faculty, Graduate Program Director, and Department Chair. In the case of time limits specified in the Graduate Council By-Laws, it will also be necessary to obtain approval from the Graduate Council and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.

Read about Policies regarding Course Load, Graduate Policy/Standards, Transfer Credits/Waivers, Dismissal, and Exceptions.