Students will take at least 18 credit hours of course work in the life sciences. Courses in molecular, cellular and systems biology are required. The requirement may be met by taking Molecules and Cells, Immunology, Neuroscience and Physiology of the year 1 Medical School basic sciences curriculum. It may also be met by taking the alternative life sciences curricula described below for each research area. Courses in Quantitative Biology (listed below) may be used to meet this requirement. Students will also take a minimum of 18 credit hours of mathematics/applied mathematics and engineering. Requirements and electives are given below for each research area. A minimum of 6 courses at the 400 level or above is required. At least 2 of these courses must be at the 600/700 level. Course selection is developed in consultation with the thesis mentor, Advisory Committee and/or Thesis Committee.
An Advisory Committee of three faculty members will be chosen by each student. The student should meet with the Advisory Committee members each semester until the Graduate Board Oral (GBO) examination is passed. These meetings will serve two purposes. First, they will permit students to seek advice on courses and potential research topics. Second, they will permit advisors to assess students' progress in the program. The mode of assessment will be left to individual advisors. Near the end of the first year, each student will present a paper to his/her Advisory Committee in a formal meeting. Students' progress will be evaluated at least once per year by the Junior Progress Committee appointed by the BME Committee. Satisfactory performance will be required both in course work and in advisory meetings.
Upon completion of a majority of student's course work, he/she must pass a GBO examination. The committee shall include both members of the BME Department or BME Committee and outside faculty; currently no more than two members of the examining committee can be from the BME Department and Committee, but this rule may be changed. Students may discuss the composition of their examination committees with their advisory committees, but examination committees will be selected by the BME Committee to evaluate all levels of course work taken by each student. The Graduate Board requires two weeks notification before scheduling any GBO examination, and special permission is required for examination scheduled outside of the normal fall, winter, and spring examination periods. The GBO examination must be completed within 6 months of the end of classes for the Spring semester of the second year (for PhD candidates) or third year (for MD-PhD candidates).
Each student will assist in teaching two semesters of approved undergraduate courses organized by the BME Department. The TA Committee coordinates assigning students to teaching assignments and must approve all assignments.
Students are required to conduct research rotations in one to three laboratories. The purpose of these rotations is to gain experience with a range of research opportunities and to assist in settling on a thesis project. Before conducting a rotation with faculty outside the BME Department, students must obtain approval from the BME Committee. During portions of the first year when courses are not in session, students must participate in a research rotation. Students must select a thesis research mentor by the end of program year 2.
Within 12 months after passing the GBO examination, each student must submit a written proposal for dissertation research and present it orally to the BME Committee. The written proposal should follow the format of an NIH grant proposal. Particular attention should be paid to a clear exposition of the hypotheses to be tested, the methods to be used and their feasibility, and the interpretation of expected results. The BME Committee must ensure that the proposed project has both the financial and academic support of a suitable preceptor from a Ph.D. degree-granting program. Following presentation of the thesis proposal, the student's Advisory Committee will be disbanded, and a Thesis Advisory Committee will be named. This committee shall consist of the student's PhD thesis mentor and at least 2 additional faculty. At least one faculty member must be a member of the BME committee.
Upon approval of the BME Committee, research may be conducted in any graduate degree-granting program in the University. When research is conducted under a preceptor who does not have close ties to the BME Program, the student will select and the BME Committee must approve a co-advisor who is a BME Committee member. The progress of all students conducting research will be reviewed by the Senior Progress Committee at least once each year. Students are required to meet at least once per year with their full thesis committee.
The completed dissertation must be read and approved by two faculty readers acceptable to the BME Committee. Ordinarily, one of the readers will be the thesis preceptor. Upon approval of the dissertation, the readers will submit a letter to the Graduate Board stating that they have read and approved the thesis and that it represents original work worthy of publication.
A final draft of the dissertation must be defended before a committee which will consist of the two principal readers and at least three additional faculty members. At least one defense committee member must be from outside both the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Committee and at least one must be a member of the Department. The defense committee will be chaired by an individual other than the the candidate's primary thesis advisor.