A minimum total of 60 units is required, consisting of formal courses, seminars and research credit. At least 24 of the minimum 60 total units required are to be formal graduate course work (lecture and seminar courses).
Candidates must also pass a screening examination to determine competence and point out deficiencies, fulfill a research tool requirement (computer skills, biostatistics, quantitative chemistry), and meet the residency and other requirements of the Graduate School. This exam is completed before completion of 24 units in the program.
Since most graduates in biological sciences will spend some part of their careers in academic work, teaching experience is considered an important part of graduate training. Each graduate student in the program is therefore required to serve at least two semesters as a teaching assistant in the Department of Biological Sciences.
Before the end of the fifth semester, each student must pass a written and oral qualifying examination given by the student's qualifying exam committee. The written part involves answering a number of questions at length. The oral part is in the area of the student's intended research, based on a project selected and developed by the student into a written proposition. After passing the qualifying examination, the student completes the research investigation and any other requirements under the guidance of the research adviser who also chairs the dissertation committee.
The dissertation is based on original, publishable and significant research conducted independently by the student under the guidance of the dissertation committee.
Defense of the Dissertation
The defense of the dissertation is either a defense oral or a final oral. In most cases, a defense oral will suffice if approved by the dissertation committee.