Guidelines for PhD Degree
The requirements for the Ph.D. degree are as follows:
- Credit Requirements:
|A. Bioinformatics & Systems Biology Core||9|
|F. Doctoral Dissertation||9|
|Total Number of Required Credits||36-45|
- Successful completion of Graduate Preliminary Exam
- Research on a significant scientific problem
- Successful completion of Ph.D. Candidacy Exam
- Successful completion of Dissertation Defense
Formation of Graduate Committee
The student needs to establish a Dissertation Committee within the first year of study. The Committee shall consist of no less than four and no more than six faculty members. The primary faculty advisor will serve as the Committee Chair. The second member will serve as the Major Area Committee Member and must be in a complementary field to the primary advisor. The third member will serve as the Minor Area Committee Member and must represent the same field as the primary advisor. The final committee member will serve as the external committee member and must be outside the departments of the Committee Chair and the Major Area Committee member or be from outside the University. Students must complete the Dissertation Committee Formation form and submit to the Education and Outreach Coordinator.
Students should convene their dissertation committee at least once every six months.
The preliminary examination should be taken before the end of the fourth semester and will consist of an oral exam in subjects based on the Bioinformatics and Systems Biology core. In recognition of the importance of the core curriculum in providing a good test of the student’s knowledge, students must achieve a minimum 3.0 GPA in the core curriculum before taking the preliminary exam. The exam will be administered by the Preliminary Exam Committee, which will consist of the Program Director and one instructor from each of the three core courses. The student’s primary adviser is invited to attend but they will not be an active participant in the examination. Each member of the Committee will provide a single grade (pass, conditional pass or fail) and the final grades will be submitted via the Results of Preliminary Exam Form:
- Pass. The student may proceed to the next stage of his/her degree training.
- Conditional pass. In the event that the examination committee feels that the student did not have an adequate background or understanding in one or more specific areas, the preliminary exam committee will communicate the conditional pass to the student and must provide the student with specific requirements and guidelines for completing the conditional pass. The student must inform the preliminary exam Committee, the Graduate Program Director and Program Committee when these conditions have been completed. The preliminary exam committee will then meet with the student to ensure all recommendations have been completed and whether a re-examination is necessary. If required, the re-examination will be done using the same format and prior to the beginning of the next academic semester. If the student still does not perform satisfactorily on this re-examination, he/she will then be recommended to the Graduate affairs committee for dismissal from the graduate program.
- Failure. This outcome would indicate that examination committee considers the student incapable of completing degree training. The student’s academic progress will be reviewed by the Graduate Affairs Committee, who will make recommendations to the Program Director regarding the student’s enrollment status. The Program Director may recommend to the Office of Graduate & Professional Education that the student be dismissed from the Program immediately.
Students who need to complete prerequisite courses may request a deadline extension for the preliminary and subsequently the candidacy examination. Requests must be submitted to the Graduate Program Committee prior to the start of the third semester.
Ph.D. students must complete a qualifying examination by the end of their sixth semester of enrollment. It requires a formal, detailed proposal be submitted to the Dissertation Committee and an oral defense of the student’s proposed research project. Upon the recommendation of the Dissertation Committee, the student may be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. The stipulations for admission to doctoral candidacy are that the student has (i) completed one academic years of full-time graduate study in residence at the University of Delaware, (ii) completed all required courses with the exception of BINF865 and BINF969, (iii) passed the preliminary exams, (iv) demonstrated the ability to perform research, and (5) had a research project accepted by the Dissertation Committee. Within one week of the candidacy exam, complete and submit the Recommendation for Candidacy for Doctoral Degree form for details. A copy of the completed form should be given to the Education and Outreach Coordinator.
The dissertation examination of the Ph.D. program will involve the approval of the written dissertation and an oral defense of the candidate’s dissertation. The written dissertation will be submitted to the Dissertation Committee and the CBCB office at least three weeks in advance of the oral defense date. The oral defense date will be publicly announced at least two weeks prior to the scheduled date. The oral presentation will be open to the public and all members of the Bioinformatics and Systems Biology program. The Dissertation Committee will approve the candidate’s dissertation. Within one week of the dissertation defense, complete and submit the Certification of Doctoral Dissertation Defense Form. A copy of the completed form should be given to the Education and Outreach Coordinator.