Standards for Maintaining Satisfactory Progress

It is crucial that students, Advisory Committees, and/or Program Directors monitor the students’ progress throughout the duration of their academic training. Continued financial support is contingent upon maintaining satisfactory progress at all times. Additionally, failure to achieve and maintain satisfactory progress, after counseling is sought from the Program, Advisory Committee and/or Dean of the Graduate School, can result in academic probation and ultimately, dismissal from the Program. Students who do not complete their degree within the maximum duration allowed will be dismissed from the program.

Under exceptional circumstances, the dissertation advisor, with the support of the student’s Advisory Committee, may petition the Dean of the Graduate School in writing to let a student continue his/her/their studies beyond the 7-year time limit for PhD students or 6 years in the PhD phase for MD/PhD students in Biomedical Sciences or Neuroscience and 5 years for students in the PhD in Clinical Research program. For those receiving a stipend, there is no guarantee that full stipend support will continue under these circumstances and each case will be reviewed and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Satisfactory progress is maintained in the following ways for PhD students by:

  • Matriculating on a full-time basis

  • Demonstrating the potential for research and timely progress toward the choice of dissertation advisor and training area through their rotation activities in the first year

  • Submitting a completed Laboratory Rotation Agreement Form and a completed Laboratory Rotation Evaluation Form for each rotation (see section on Laboratory Rotation) on time

  • Maintaining of a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA and achieving of a cumulative 3.0 GPA for all of the Core Curricula (see details under General Program Requirements). For this program, the Core Curriculum consists of a year-long core course (BMS, Neuro, or Systems) AND an approved biostatistics course.

  • Completing at least 14 letter-graded credits of coursework

  • Completing the Thesis Proposal Exam by the end of the 4th semester in the program

  • Reaching and passing each of the Program Milestones by the required deadlines (see details in section on Program Milestones), and submitting of registration and documentation memos on time

  • Meeting with the full Advisory Committee at least once per semester and submitting an Advisory Committee Meeting Form following each meeting

  • Enrolling in journal clubs, works-in-progress, and seminars as required by the student’s MTA

  • Demonstrating the ability to grow in research skills and moving towards project goals following the selection of a dissertation advisor

  • Developing a research project, under the supervision of one or more faculty members, which results in a thesis that reports new findings, and is presented, defended and deposited by student

  • Producing data equivalent to that needed for a first author publication in a high-quality, peer-reviewed journal. A manuscript need not be submitted or accepted.

  • Defending and depositing of the Dissertation, within the time limits of the Program, i.e., (defend and deposit by June 30 of the seventh year in the Program)

  • Successfully reaching and passing each of the Program Milestones by the required deadlines and timely submission of registration and documentation memos

If the dissertation advisor is dissatisfied with the academic progress of a student and is considering removing the student from the laboratory the following steps must be taken:

  1. The advisor will document sources of dissatisfaction.

  2. The advisor will have direct discussions with the student to clarify the issues and to set a plan to correct the problems. A summary of the discussions should be documented by the advisor.

  3. If dissatisfaction continues, mediation between the student and advisor should be sought by meeting with the MTA Director and the student’s Advisory Committee.

  4. If required, a discussion between the student, the advisor, and the Dean or Senior Associate Dean should be also sought to determine whether the issues are potentially irrevocable.

  5. The Dean may place the student on probation for a period not exceeding a semester.

If the student is placed on probation and fails to achieve sufficient academic progress during the following semester, the Committee for Academic Review will review the student’s status and may recommend dismissal from the PhD program.

The maximum registered time by which a PhD student must complete all doctoral requirements is 7 years. By the end of the 6th year in the PhD program, students must have successfully held an advisory committee meeting at which the committee has signed the Progress Form indicating that the student is planning to defend his/her/their dissertation in the next 3-6 months. If this step does not occur by the end of the 6th year, the student’s dissertation mentor must petition the Dean in writing for permission to extend the student’s status. The petition must include a written certification of progress from the student’s advisory committee that must be signed by the student. The petition must include a timetable for completing the dissertation and must also be signed by the student.

Upon entry into the 6th year of a PhD program, a student can no longer switch labs. If, at end of the 6th year, the PI, advisory committee, and CAR do not think sufficient progress has been achieved and the PI will not continue to support the student, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Last updated