Biomedical Science Ph.D. Program: Milestones Made Easy

The following provides a brief synopsis of some of the milestones and requirements of Ph.D. students in Biomedical Science. All forms referred to in this document are available as PDF files on the The Graduate School website. However, all official paperwork should be filed through the Ms. Swapna Das or Ms. Alison Valone-Suhocki in the Registrar’s Office on the UConn Health campus, Room AM039, MC1827, regardless of the address on the forms.

Degree Standards

Where can I find the degree standards and policies that pertain to my graduate education?

Credits and Registration

How many total credits are required for the University of Connecticut Ph.D. degree?

  • At least 45 credits

How many credits of content coursework are required?

  • Content coursework is defined as any credits that do not have the GRAD designation.
  • At least 30 credits of content coursework are required for the degree, or at least 15 credits if you have a Masters degree in the same or a closely related field (your advisory committee will make this determination)

How many credits of Doctoral Dissertation Research (GRAD 6950) are required?

  • At least 15 credits

What is considered full time enrollment if I am a Graduate Assistant?

  • At least 6 credits per semester

What is considered full time enrollment if I am a Graduate Fellow (i.e., supported by an institutional or individual federal training grant)?

  • At least 9 credits per semester

How many credits of coursework should I take in the first year of the Biomedical Science Ph.D. program?

  • The program guideline is 8-10 credits per semester, with at least 6 credits per semester of content coursework other than lab rotations, independent study and graduate seminar.

How many credits of coursework should I take in the second year of the Biomedical Science Ph.D. program?

  • The program guideline is 6 credits of content coursework for the year other than lab rotations, independent study and graduate seminar (this does not pertain to students with a Masters degree in the same or a closely related field).

How do I register for courses?

  • Through the Student Administration System (PeopleSoft), except for laboratory rotations and independent study. For these, complete the required forms and submit them to the UConn Health Registrar’s office, AM039
  • You will need your NetID and password to register om PeopleSoft

Laboratory Rotations

How many laboratory rotations (MEDS 6496) are required?

  • Three.

Can I opt out of the third laboratory rotation?

  • Under certain circumstances, the third laboratory rotation may be waived.
  • You will need to summit a waiver form to the Chair of the Graduate Programs Committee.
  • However, even if the third rotation is waived, three rotation talks are required.

Who will sign my laboratory rotation forms in the first year?

  • A member of your first year advisory committee.

Advising and Mentoring

What are the different types of advisory committees I will have during my program?

  • A first year advisory committee consisting of two faculty members.
  • A thesis advisory committee consisting of the thesis advisor and at least 2 other faculty.
  • A General Examination Committee consisting of at least five faculty including all members of the thesis advisory committee.

How is my academic performance evaluated in the first year of the program?

  • The Academic Review Committee, consisting of all first year advisors, will review the performance of first year students in coursework and lab rotations at the end of each semester.

When should I select a thesis advisor and area of concentration of Biomedical Science?

How often should I meet with my thesis advisory committee?

  • At least once per year, and ideally once per semester. It is to your advantage to meet with your advisory committee frequently to discuss your progress and set goals.

Plan of Study

What is the Plan of Study?

  • A listing of the credits you will complete in the degree program

When should I submit the Plan of Study?

  • No later than after you have taken 18 credits in the program.
  • The Plan of Study must be approved prior to taking the General Examination.

Is there a “language or related area” requirement for the Biomedical Science Ph.D.?

  • No

General Examination

When should I take the General Examination (also called the qualifying or prelim exam)?

  • After completing 75% of the credits in your program; usually this is no later than the end of the second year of study
  • Consult your area of concentration for its specific guidelines and format requirements

What is the composition of the General Examination Committee?

  • Five faculty members including all members of the advisory committee

When should the results of the General Examination be submitted?

  • The Report on the General Examination form should be submitted immediately following completion of the examination.
  • The Report must be submitted by a faculty member (not the student).

Dissertation Proposal

What is the Doctoral Dissertation Proposal?

  • A brief description of the dissertation work, including the location of where the work is being done and approvals for human subject or animal research (if applicable)

When should I submit the Dissertation Proposal?

  • Ideally, soon after completing the General Examination. However, the Dissertation Proposal should be approved by the end of the third year and no later than six months prior to completion.

How do I submit the Dissertation Proposal?

  • Have it approved and signed by your thesis committee
  • Send it to the Chair of the Graduate Programs Committee for approval, who will forward it to The Graduate School at Storrs for final approval.

PhD Candidacy

When am I a candidate for the PhD degree?

  • You become a candidate for the PhD degree after 1) passing the General Examination, 2) completing all coursework on the Plan of Study and 3) having the Doctoral Dissertation Proposal approved by the Graduate School at Storrs. A letter of candidacy is sent from the Graduate Records Office at Storrs to all students successfully completing all requirements for the degree except the dissertation and the public defense.

The Final Steps

What is the process for completing my degree?

Once I pass the oral/public defense, can I make changes to my written dissertation?

  • Yes. Individuals on a visa must submit their final dissertations within 3 weeks following successful completion of the Final Examination
  • Domestic students do not have a time limit, but should submit their final dissertations in a timely manner.

After I complete the Final Examination, what are the next steps?

  • Submit the final paperwork to the UConn Health Registrar’s office, AM039 and upload the dissertation into Digital Commons, the University repository for scholarly work. Degree conferral dates are in May, August or December

When is the ending date of my Graduate Assistantship?

  • The end of your assistantship will be when you submit the Dissertation Checklist and required paperwork to The Graduate School.

Helpful Hints

  • Make copies of all required paperwork and store them in a safe place.
  • Submit all paperwork to the UConn Health Registrar’s Office, AM039. Do not submit any paperwork directly to The Graduate School at Storrs, except for the Tentative Approval page.
  • Paperwork that contains any type of grade (for independent study, lab rotation, General Examination report, Final Examination report) must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by a faculty member.
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