After successful completion of the qualifying exam, the student, in collaboration with the mentor and the program directors, establishes a thesis advisory committee. This committee, which will typically meet every 6 to 12 months, plays an important role in guiding the student through their graduate career.
The thesis advisory committee typically includes 3-4 faculty members, in addition to the thesis advisor. Members are chosen to provide a range of expertise in support of the student’s project, and can vary as the project progresses.
The thesis advisory committee decides when the student is ready to submit a dissertation for consideration by the thesis defense committee. The thesis defense committee comprises the research mentor and three other examiners, one of whom one must be a member of the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, while another should be from another institution.
The student is expected to submit the written thesis a month prior to the date of the defense. The defense consists of a public presentation followed by a closed-door oral exam.
Students typically graduate within six years.