Doctor of Philosophy Degree - Examinations
Advisors & Committees
Students are required to complete a minimum of two (2) laboratory rotations (Genet 253) beginning the second semester of their first year with the option of performing a subsequent third rotation. The laboratory rotation familiarizes the student with faculty research and aids the student in the selection of an Advisor.
The student may elect to perform a rotation in any lab in the Department of Genetics or in the lab of a conjoint faculty member. Conjoint faculty have a primary appointment in a different department but actively contribute to programs within the Department of Genetics. (A complete list of conjoint faculty can be found on the Department of Genetics web page at http://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/genetics.)
Before or during the last semester of course work the student chooses an Advisor. The Advisor may be any faculty member in the Department who is willing to direct the student's Doctoral Dissertation work. The Advisor helps the student select additional members for his or her examining Committee. Committees for Ph.D. candidates consist of five (5) persons. The Chairman of this Committee, normally the Dissertation Advisor, must have a primary or conjoint appointment in the Department of Genetics, and must be a member of the Graduate School Faculty. Every Committee must have at least one (1) person from another department. The membership of all Committees must be approved by the Head of the Department and by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
The student is responsible for filing all forms required by the Department and the Graduate School at the proper time. Students will meet with their committee on a regular basis (usually every six months) to monitor the progress of the dissertation work.
Written Qualifying Examination
Genetics students must take the Doctoral Degree Qualifying Examination, which requires writing and revising a grant proposal following the NIH format. This Exam is offered annually, usually in May. In certain circumstances, a student who does not meet the criteria for qualification in the PhD program will be allowed to remain in the Master's program.
Within six months of satisfactory completion of the qualifying exam, the student's committee must be selected and approved by the Department Head. The first meeting with the Committee must be no later than six months after the Committee is approved. The student is then required to meet with the Committee every six months to present progress with dissertation work. The advisor will send a short report to the Department Head after each committee meeting.
Within two years of satisfactory completion of required course work and the qualifying exam, and at least two (2) weeks prior to the Examination date, the Request for Preliminary Examination must be submitted to the Graduate School office. This document formally names the student's Committee and sets the date of the Preliminary Examination (Prospectus Defense). The Prospectus should have the following sections (12 point font and double-spaced):
- Specific Aims (What do you intend to do?) 1-2 pages
- Background and Significance (Why the work is important, including a comprehensive literature review of the research topic.) 20-25 pages
- Preliminary Studies (What has been done to date?) 3-4 pages
- Research Design and Methods (How are you going to do the work?) 3-4 pages
At least one week before the Preliminary Examination, the student presents a finalized Dissertation Prospectus to the members of the Dissertation Committee. The Committee then examines the student orally on both the content of the Prospectus and the content of the core courses. The Committee decides whether the student should proceed with the Dissertation research and communicates its decision to the student, the Department Head, and the School of Graduate Studies. The Report on the Preliminary Examination must be signed by all Committee members and sent to the Graduate School.
After the student has completed the Dissertation project, dissertation committee members should be contacted about scheduling a defense date. All committee members must be notified about the defense date at least one calendar month (30 days) prior to the final examination date. With permission and consent of committee members at least two (2) calendar weeks prior to the Final Examination date, the student must provide all members of the Committee with a finalized version of their Dissertation. In addition, at least two (2) calendar weeks before the Examination, a Request for Dissertation/Thesis Defense must be sent to the Graduate School to set the date for the Final Examination.
Each student presents the Dissertation project to the Department at a regularly scheduled Seminar. Following the public presentation, the Dissertation Committee examines the student orally on the scope and content of the Dissertation work. The Committee determines whether the student passed the Final Examination and communicates its decision to the student, the Department Head, and the School of Graduate Studies.
The Final Examination Report must be signed by all Committee members and then submitted with the Dissertation to the Graduate School. A bound copy of the final Dissertation should be provided to the Department and to each Committee member. There must be at least three (3) semesters between the Preliminary Exam and the Final Exam.
Master of Science Degree - Examinations
After the student and Advisor have determined the Thesis topic and all members of the proposed Thesis Committee have agreed to serve, a form indicating the Thesis topic and members of the student's Committee must be submitted to the Department Head for approval.
Following the completion of required course work, each student presents a written Prospectus to the Thesis Committee and defends it orally. The Committee decides whether the student should proceed with the thesis research and communicates its decision to the student and the Department Head.
At least two (2) weeks prior to the Examination date, the student must submit a Request for Dissertation/Thesis Defense to the Graduate School, and provide the Committee with a draft of the Thesis. The student presents the project to the Department at a regularly scheduled Seminar.
Following the public presentation, the student is examined orally by the Thesis Committee on the scope and content of the Thesis work. The Committee determines whether the student has passed the Final Examination and communicates its decision to the student, the Department Head, and the School of Graduate Studies. The Final Examination Report must be signed by all Committee members and submitted with the student's Thesis to the Graduate School.