Rapidly Dividing Cells in the Early Fruit Fly Embryo (Mark Peifer Lab)
Students choose 3 areas (of 4 offered) for concentration. They are given a group of up to 10 papers for each area approximately one month before the exam (early June or July). They receive questions and answer them at 5 hrs/area over several days at the end of the month, in a written format. The exams are then graded by the Biology MCDB Written Exam Committee. Students who do not pass may be asked to retake all or part of the exam the following year. Click here for a more detailed description of the written exam process.
The feasibility exam is a comprehensive oral examination that is accompanied by a written research proposal. This examination must be held before the end of the spring semester of the third year. This translates into approximately 2 years after the written exam. For the feasibility and oral exam, students write a feasibility proposal on their thesis topic in the NIH NRSA style. The proposal should have preliminary data that has been generated; however, the report should be primarily focused on the logic and feasibility of the project. A member of the thesis committee who is not the mentor will chair this examination. All members of the student’s doctoral committee will examine the student. Grading will be pass or fail. A pass requires the approval of no less than 2/3 (in most instances 4 out of 5) of the committee. Click here for a more detailed description of the feasibility exam.
After completion of the Feasibility Exam, students continue to have yearly committee meetings. Students must schedule a pre-thesis defense meeting at least 2 months prior to their anticipated thesis defense date, and prior to setting the date. The committee must give the student permission to defend. The defense consists of a written thesis that has been read and approved by the committee, a public seminar describing the thesis work, and a private oral defense of the thesis work with the committee.