Checkpoint 2

Dissertation Evaluation

  1. Students will schedule the Dissertation Evaluation in Year 2 (usually May to June)
  2. Students will prepare for this evaluation throughout the Years 1 and 2 by reading key literature, discussion with mentors/colleagues and by performing relevant laboratory research; students are discouraged from significant absence (>1 week) from the laboratory before the exam for last minute preparations.
  3. A detailed evaluation from the mentor and a self-evaluation from the student will be provided to the GSC at least one month prior to the dissertation exam for evaluation and deposited in the student's file. Students are expected to demonstrate progress and independent motivation for laboratory research in order to be considered ready for the dissertation proposal evaluation.
  4. For the Dissertation Evaluation, students will submit a dissertation proposal (NIH R21 format) and are expected to exhibit deep knowledge of their dissertation topic and associated methodology. Faculty will rigorously test relevant knowledge and ability of the student to defend the central hypothesis and aims of the proposal as the basis for approval. The mentor will be present during the evaluation, but may not contribute to the discussion.
  5. Students will be allowed 5 slides to introduce their dissertation topic and are expected to show preliminary data from their own work in support of their proposal.
  6. Each dissertation committee member will provide a 1 page evaluation post-exam of the student's readiness to proceed with the dissertation plan, and will also provide scientific feedback for the benefit of the student and mentor (using the downloadable form below). These evaluations will be given to the student and mentor and archived in the student's file.
  7. Students who receive approval from their dissertation committee will continue with their dissertation research, meeting with their committee at least annually.
  8. Students who do not receive approval will be placed on academic probation and required to have an additional Dissertation Evaluation within 3-6 months.
  9. Any student whose Dissertation Evaluation is not approved by the dissertation committee in the second meeting will likely not be allowed to proceed further in the program, barring extenuating circumstances.