PhD Program

Two people in labThe formal requirements for a doctoral degree in the Tumor Biology Program are completion of 33 credit hours, with at least a B average (including the designated core courses), three (3) different laboratory rotations, satisfactory completion of a comprehensive examination, a thesis proposal, a written dissertation, and a final oral defense. It is anticipated that following completion of the first two years of formal course work (or one year for MD/PhD students with approximately 30 hours of credit from the medical school) that completion of the final phases of the PhD will require approximately three additional years.

Comprehensive Examination: All students will follow a uniform format for this examination, which typically comes after 3 to 4 semesters of class work (2 semesters for MD/PhD students). Students will choose a major topic and two minor topics (which may focus on research methodology). Major and minor paper topics must be approved by the Tumor Biology Oversight Committee. For the major topic, a critically written paper on an area of cancer research will be prepared. Examination of major and minor topics will be by a committee of four (4) faculty members, plus the chosen dissertation advisor. The examination will contain an oral component consisting of a presentation and a defense of the papers.

Thesis Proposal: All students in their third year (second year for MD/PhD students) will write and defend a thesis proposal before a committee consisting of their dissertation mentor, three (3) program faculty members, and an outside reader. The Tumor Biology Oversight Committee must approve the Thesis Committee.

Written Dissertation: Upon completion of a thesis project, a written dissertation must be approved by the student's Thesis Committee.

Final Oral Defense: The final stage of graduate training involves an oral presentation of the thesis. In attendance will be the Thesis Committee, program members, and interested Medical Center personnel.