Graduation Requirements

All PhD programs have common requirements for graduation and earning your degree. For BSTP students, once you select an advisor, you become a member of a PhD Program and fulfill all the specific requirements of that program.

Common Requirements

  • An original thesis: Your research discoveries, as well as a scholarly overview of the field and the intellectual synthesis of your contributions, will be presented in your doctoral dissertation.
  • Coursework: Each program will recommend required, as well as elective courses, to provide you with a strong background and current knowledge in your chosen discipline.
  • Examinations: Every Ph.D. program has a qualifying examination whose passage is essential for you to become a PhD candidate. Most programs ask that you prepare a research proposal in the format of a grant application and defend the proposal to a faculty committee. Some programs also require a written comprehensive exam after the first year.
  • Publications in scientific journals as first author: CWRU biomedical PhD programs require you to publish scientific articles as first author as part of your graduate work so that you learn to describe and communicate your research discoveries to others.
  • Seminars and journal clubs: Every PhD program requires that students attend seminars with visiting experts in that discipline, as well as journal clubs in which current advances are discussed. Most programs ask that students make at least one journal club-type presentation each year to develop analytic and speaking skills.
  • Retreats and other program activities: Most programs have specialized retreats, workshops, student-invited speakers, holiday parties, etc. that complete your education in a particular field.