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Doctoral Program Requirements

University Requirements

phd_requirementsThe degree of Doctor of Philosophy is awarded to students based on an accumulation of course credits and on superior accomplishments in a field of cell biology, molecular biology, developmental biology and/or neurobiology. A minimum of one year of full-time study in residence at Tulane University is required. The Ph.D. degree must be completed within 7 years from the date of matriculation in the graduate school. Graduate students beyond their 5th year are no longer eligible to receive teaching assistant stipends. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be maintained. If a student receives 2 grades of B- or a single grade below a B-, then he/she is placed on probation and considered for dismissal by the Graduate Dean in consultation with the Department.

To be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D., a student must have completed course requirements and passed a qualifying examination. The qualifying exam, which is taken prior to the end of the 5th semester, consists of a written research proposal in the form of an NIH or NSF grant proposal (agreed upon by the dissertation committee), followed by an oral defense of the proposal. The qualifying exam may be postponed to the end of the 5th semester under certain circumstances with the approval of the student’s advisor and thesis committee. By the end of the third year, each student must submit to the graduate school a written research prospectus, which has been presented to and approved by the student's dissertation committee. The recommendation for admission to candidacy is made by the department and must bear the signatures of the department chair and the chair of the dissertation committee. For students expecting to receive a degree in December, recommendation for the admission to candidacy must be submitted by September 15. For students expecting to receive a degree in May the deadline is December 15.

CMB Course Requirements

1. Remedial Courses Prior to the beginning of the fall semester every incoming graduate student will meet with the graduate director to discuss the appropriate course work for the first year. Students are expected to have strong backgrounds in the basic sciences (physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics) as well as in genetics, cell biology and molecular biology. The Committee will determine if any weak areas exist and may require the student to take additional undergraduate courses to rectify any deficiencies. Such course credits will not count towards a higher degree. In addition, individual faculty advisors or the graduate director may recommend that students take other course work. For foreign students, this may include an English language course.

2. Graduate Core The graduate core is a group of 3 to 4 courses required of all graduate students. The aim is to provide a basic core of knowledge in the general areas of cell and molecular biology.

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