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Academics:

PhD Degree Requirements

Students that pursue the PhD degree at GSBS are expected to complete their dissertation research while completing coursework relevant to their scientific interests. Students must reach a number of academic milestones in order to earn their degree. Adhering to the schedule of these milestones ensures a timely progress to completing the program.

Students that are admitted into the Medical Physics PhD Program must achieve the same milestones, but their expected time of achievement may differ. The module below details the milestones required for the PhD degree. Please click on each milestone to expand for more details.

First Year Milestones

Pre-Candidacy Milestones

  • Hold first advisory committee meeting (End of fall term of 2nd year)

    Once your committee is approved, you are expected to hold your first meeting soon after.

    • At least 4 members must be present at the meeting or attend via video/call-in. Students must meet individually with any members that are not present at the meeting.
    • You must provide your committee with a pre-meeting progress update at least 5 days before the meeting
    • During the meeting, the committee will complete part of the committee meeting report and each member will sign, whether they are present or not for the meeting.
    • After the meeting, you will complete the student response to the committee’s recommendations section of the committee meeting report.
    • The committee meeting report, which includes the student's progress update and the student's response to the committee's recommendations, should be submitted to the student, all members of the Advisory Committee and to gsbs.reports@uth.tmc.edu within 10 business days from the date of the meeting. The meeting will be recorded only if a report is received.

    Goals of your first Advisory Committee Meeting – The primary goal of your first meeting is to introduce yourself and describe your plan (rationale, significance, hypothesis, and aims) for your project so that the committee members can actively give you input. If you have preliminary data, it should be presented but should not be the primary focus of the meeting. You are looking for high-level advice from your committee on the planning of the project.

    DO be sure to explain all aspects of your project and ask the committee for their advice on it.

    DON’T start off the meeting by presenting data without first providing a sound rationale for the project and experiments.

  • Hold subsequent advisory committee meetings (Every six months)

    Students are expected to hold an advisory committee meeting every 6 months, and MS students must hold a minimum of 2 meetings to be eligible to defend their thesis.

    • At least 4 members must be present at the meeting or attend via video/call-in. Students must meet individually with any members that are not present at the meeting.
    • You must provide your committee with a pre-meeting progress update at least 5 days before the meeting
    • During the meeting, the committee will complete part of the committee meeting report and each member will sign, whether they are present or not for the meeting.
    • After the meeting you will complete the student response to the committee’s recommendations section of the committee meeting report.
    • The committee meeting report, which includes the student's progress update and the student's response to the committee's recommendations, should be submitted to the student, all members of the Advisory Committee and to gsbs.reports@uth.tmc.edu within 10 business days from the date of the meeting. The meeting will be recorded only if a report is received.
  • Complete all pre-candidacy course requirements (End of summer term of 2nd year)

    All GSBS PhD students must petition for Ph.D. candidacy by the end of their 2nd year of enrollment. Before submitting the petition, the student must be in good academic standing and have completed the following requirements:

        • Three tutorials

        • Core Course or Program-specific Area Courses

        • Ethical Dimensions of the Biomedical Sciences

        • Two online ethics modules, namely 1) Responsible Authorship and Publication and 2) Data Acquisition and Management (instructions for completing the modules will be emailed during the spring semester to all students who completed the Ethics course from the previous fall term)

        • A course that satisfies the GSBS scientific writing requirement

        • Program-specific pre-candidacy course requirements

    The purpose of the candidacy examination is to test the student's breadth and depth of knowledge in the biomedical sciences

    The examination is meant to be an evaluation of the student’s ability to construct an hypothesis, to design the means by which to test it, and to critically analyze obtained results

  • Complete online ethics modules (End of summer term of 2nd year)

    Because students complete The Ethical Dimensions of the Biomedical Sciences at the start of their graduate training, students are also required to complete two on-line modules – Data Acquisition and Management and Responsible Authorship and Publication – prior to submitting their petition for candidacy, as a “just-in-time” supplemental review of key ethical issues.

    Instructions for completing these modules are sent to students via email after completion of the ethics course. Once complete, please email the two completion reports showing the final score you made for each module to Bunny Perez in the GSBS Office of Academic Affairs.

     

  • Complete a scientific writing course (End of summer term of 2nd year)

    Students may take either Scientific Writing or any Program-specific scientific writing course.

    Currently, the Program-specific courses approved to meet the requirement are:

    • GS03 1111 Scientific Writing for Grant Proposals
    • GS04 1811 G&E Scientific Writing
    • GS07 1092 Topics in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

    Students must satisfy this requirement prior to petitioning for PhD candidacy.

     

  • Petition for PhD Candidacy (End of summer term of 2nd year)

    Please visit our Candidacy Exam page for information on the timing and requirements to petition for candidacy.

  • Take candidacy exam (End of fall term of 3rd year)

    Please visit our Candidacy Exam page for information on the following topics

    • On-Topic Exam and Proposal Guidelines
    • Examining Committee
    • Exam Results/MS Bypass
    • Helpful Information
    • Guidelines for Faculty Service on Exam Committees

Post-Candidacy Milestones

  • Complete all Program-specific requirements

    Expected time of achievement: Before defense

  • Submit at least one first author scientific paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal

    Expected time of achievement: Before defense

  • Submit a signed petition to defend dissertation

    Expected time of achievement: Two weeks before defense

  • Defend dissertation

    Expected time of achievement: Before graduation

  • Publish at least one first author scientific paper in a peer-reviewed journal

    First-author Publication GSBS Minimum Standard for PhD students

    A requirement of the PhD degree is for the student to demonstrate the development of an original and significant body of dissertation research.  The quality, scope and depth of the research necessary to complete a PhD dissertation is determined primarily by the student's Advisory Committee which must approve the dissertation prior to graduation.  As a minimum standard, the GSBS requires all PhD students to produce at least one first-author peer-reviewed research publication based on their dissertation work.  As this is intended only as a minimum standard, the Advisory Committee may require a student to complete more research, including additional first-author publications, as part of the body of work necessary to complete the PhD degree.  

    Please note that the specifics of the GSBS minimum standard differ depending on the year that the student first entered the GSBS:

    • PhD students who entered GSBS prior to the Fall Semester of 2014:

    Must submit one first-author research paper for peer-review and publication prior to defending their dissertation. 

    • PhD students who entered GSBS in the Fall semester of 2014 or after:

    Must submit one first-author research paper for peer-review prior to defending their dissertation and the paper must be accepted for publication before graduation.

    Papers with multiple "first authors" 

    A student who is designated as a co-first-author on a submitted or published paper is considered as the first author for the purposes of meeting the above minimum standards.

    Review articles

    Articles that review the scientific literature, conferences, or the recent findings of others, but do not include original presentations of research carried out by the student, do not meet the above minimum standard even if the article is peer reviewed. 

    Exceptions to the GSBS Minimum Standard Publication Requirement

    In cases where a student has clearly completed an original and significant body of research but unusual delays in the peer review process, or other causes, have prevented the publication of a first-author paper, the student may petition to the Advisory Committee for an exception to the minimum standard.  If the student's Advisory Committee agrees that an exception is warranted, it may recommend this to the GSBS Academic Standards Committee (ASC) for approval.  The Advisory Committee Chair should submit the recommendation in writing  to the GSBS with a rationale for why an exception should be made.  Considerations in making such exceptions will include unusual delays in peer-review, co-authored publications, the originality/quality of the unpublished work, and the best interests of the student.

  • Submit final signed dissertation & complete all exit paperwork

    Expected time of achievement: Before graduation

  • Complete all degree requirements

    Expected time of achievement:Within 7 years of admission