May 21, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Craniofacial Biology (PhD)

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The Doctor of Philosophy degree in craniofacial biology is awarded under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Students should also refer to the Requirements for Graduation  section and the Graduate School section  of this catalogue for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degree must be courses accepted by the Graduate School. This program is designed to provide health science-oriented training for the professional with interests in academic, as well as clinical, aspects of craniofacial biology. Appointment to the PhD program are designated each year for all semester admission.

New Student Orientation Committee

All new students seeking Master of Science and/or Doctor of Philosophy degree objectives will be assigned to an orientation committee. This committee will function to advise and guide new students through their first semester. Thereafter, each student will identify a mentor and assemble a qualifying exam committee.

Qualifying Exam Committee

During the second semester of study each graduate student should select a qualifying exam committee. The qualifying exam committee must include five faculty members who will be of assistance in the student’s education. The student’s mentor will serve as chair of the qualifying exam committee. One committee member must be a USC faculty member from outside the program. The graduate program director will be an ex officio member of all qualifying exam committees. The qualifying exam committee will monitor the student’s progress, recommend readings or additional training, and determine when the student is ready for the qualifying examination. It is the student’s responsibility to meet with the qualifying exam committee at least once during every semester of each academic year. The results of these formal meetings should be summarized by the student in a written statement and submitted to the program director each semester.

Screening Procedure

As soon as the student has satisfactorily completed the core courses and selected the committee, a screening meeting with the qualifying exam committee should be called. The screening procedure may consist of an oral examination; the student will outline his research progress and be examined on academic development. The committee may recommend that the student take specific additional course work and that readings in certain areas be initiated to remedy deficiencies. A brief report will be given to the student and included in his or her file. The student will meet with the committee each semester; they shall agree when the student is prepared to take the qualifying examination in the next semester or if the student should resign or be dropped from the program.

Course Requirements

A total of 60 units are required for the PhD Eight didactic courses at the graduate level are required. The core required CBY courses are PM 510L CBY 585,  INTD 531  and INTD 561 . The remaining graduate-level courses may be selected from courses offered by any department, following consultation with the graduate mentor and graduate program director. It is highly recommended that PhD students take the PIBBS core curriculum on the Health Sciences Campus. Students must achieve a 3.0 GPA or better in their course work. Students with a Doctor of Dental Surgery or other professional degree may be granted waivers for having completed equivalent course work. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain from the Graduate School the Request for Permission to take the PhD Qualifying Examination form which must be signed by all committee members. This form must be completed 60 days before the qualifying examination.

Qualifying Examination

The PhD qualifying examination is offered during the fall or spring semesters. A written examination will cover specific subject areas of the core curriculum, as well as topics selected by the qualifying exam committee. After successfully completing all parts of the written examination, the student will prepare and submit an original research proposal to the qualifying exam committee which presents, in National Institutes of Health (NIH) format, the student’s proposed dissertation research. If the submitted proposal is acceptable, an oral examination will be conducted. This examination will include a defense of the proposal and could also include material from the written examination and related topics. A student failing any part of the examination may be allowed one additional opportunity to pass that portion, at the discretion of the qualifying exam committee, within the regulations of the Graduate School governing the repetition of qualifying examinations.


The doctoral dissertation is to focus upon an original research problem which reflects the creative scholarly abilities of the candidate and contributes to the general advancement of biological understanding, as well as to an understanding of the theoretical basis of disease and its treatment.

Defense of the Dissertation

An oral examination on a rough or final copy of the dissertation is conducted within one month following submission of the manuscript to the committee.

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