Qualifying Examination / Advancement to Candidacy

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D. Scott Merrell, Ph.D.
Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
Program Director, Emerging Infectious Diseases Graduate Program

Patricia A. Grant
Program Administrative Specialist
Emerging Infectious Diseases Graduate Program

Uniformed Services University

Qualifying Examination

Upon satisfactory completion of the formal, required course work, and no later than the end of the second year of graduate study, a Qualifying Examination shall be taken by the student. The purpose of the exam is to evaluate and determine whether the student is capable of carrying out independent laboratory research at the Ph.D. level. The student must pass this examination for advancement to candidacy and dissertation status for the Ph.D. degree.

An Examining Committee will administer the Qualifying Examination and it will consist of two components or phases: written and oral. For the written component, the student will propose and write a research plan (the Proposal) for his/her thesis project; or any project or research problem related to the work being conducted in their thesis advisor's laboratory may be selected. The oral component of the exam will consist of both a presentation and a defense of the written Proposal by the student. The Examining Committee will pose questions during the oral phase of the examination. The first round of questions will focus on the subject matter of the written Proposal and the second round will be geared to assess the student's general knowledge of microbiology, immunology and emerging infectious diseases, as it may relate to his/her Proposal.

Advancement to Candidacy

Civilian candidates for the Ph.D. degree in EID must complete all requirements for advancement to candidacy no later than two years after initiation of his/her program of study. Requirements for advancement to candidacy include completion of 48 quarter credit hours of formal course work, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, completion of laboratory rotations, and successful completion of the Qualifying Examination.