Ph.D. Student Handbook

Ph.D. Timeline

The normal timeline for a Ph.D. student is as follows:

  • Most students join our program matched with an advisor and start doing research in their advisor’s lab in the Fall semester. However, a few students rotate during the Fall semester and ultimately choose an advisor by the Spring semester.
  • Students will complete the Qualifications Evaluation over the summer of their first year and no later than November of the fall semester of the second year.
  • Students meet with their Qualifying committee as part of their annual meeting. See Annual Dissertation Progress Report for a discussion of the format and requirement of the annual meeting.
  • Students are expected to complete the PhD Candidacy Exam, consisting of a thesis proposal during Fall semester of the 3rd year of the program. If the student and advisor needs an extension of this deadline, they must co-submit in writing an extension request to the Graduate Group Chair with a timeline for when the Candidacy exam will occur. If the Candidacy Exam is delayed, the student will continue to have yearly meetings with their mentoring committee. See Annual Ph.D. Committee Meeting Progress Report for a discussion of the format and requirement of the annual meeting. An annual Individual Development Plan is required to be completed as well.
  • Upon Advancement to Candidacy, each student has a Dissertation Committee. The committee should meet annually and the student must prepare an Annual Ph.D. Committee Meeting Progress Report to be approved by the supervisor and submitted to the Graduate Group Chair to be documented for the student’s academic record. This report should be signed by your committee and submitted at any time following your committee meeting. The final deadline for submitting the report is June 1st but the report is accepted at any time prior to the deadline.
  • Most students will complete the program in 5 or 6 years.

Plan of Study

The following table indicates a general sample plan of study. Students should discuss specific course selection with their advisor.

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Year 1 – BE 513 Cell Biology & Molecular Structure
– Math or BE Fundamentals
– 2 CUs of BE 9990
BE 6990 – Bioengineering Seminar (.5 cu)
– BE Fundamentals Course
– Biomedical Science or BE Fundamentals
– 2 CUs BE 9990
BE 6990 – Seminar (.5 cu)
Qualifications Evaluation completed during the Summer or early Fall
Year 2 – Math Elective
– BE Fundamentals or Biomedical Science Elective
– BE 9990
– BE Fundamentals
– Bioengineering Elective
– BE 9990
BE 6990 – Seminar (.5 cu)
Year 3 and beyond – BE 9990
– Selected BE Fundamentals in consultation with the research advisor
Dissertation proposal by the end of the Fall semester of the 3rd year
– Annual Progress Report due
– Dissertation Research (BE 9950)
Final Examination and Dissertation Defense