All students who pass their preliminary examinations will set up a dissertation committee within six months of choosing a thesis advisor and co-advisor. Students will pursue original research (CABI 40100: Research in Cancer Biology) in the laboratory of their advisor.
The Thesis Proposal (Qualifying Exam) will be taken preferably in the Spring Quarter of the student's second year and no later than in the Autumn Quarter of the student's third year. The Thesis Proposal will consist of an oral defense of the student's written research proposal before the student's dissertation committee. The purpose of the Thesis Proposal is twofold, to evaluate the project and the student's understanding of it, and to evaluate the student's bench skills as exemplified in research rotations and pursuit of the research project. Following satisfactory performance in the thesis proposal, the student will be formally admitted to Ph.D. candidacy. After approval of the Thesis Proposal, students are required to meet with their thesis committee at least once a year. Meetings are meant to facilitate and monitor progress in the project and thus can be scheduled more frequently, if faculty input is sought on particular problems or choices in research direction.
The Ph.D. will be awarded when the student, working in concert with his or her doctoral committee, has prepared a dissertation based upon original research which has been presented in a public seminar and defended successfully before the doctoral committee.