Students prepareĀ for qualifying examinations and dissertation research by judicious selection of required and elective coursework at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and in other divisions of the University. Course selection for individual students is at the discretion of the Training Committee and the Dissertation Research Advisory Committee (DRAC).

Pathway to the PhD

Year 1

  • Complete coursework as determined by the NMB-TC
  • Become familiar with training faculty’s research
  • Participate in three laboratory rotations
  • Select thesis mentor

Year 2

  • Select the Qualifying Examination Committee (by mid-spring of the second year at the latest)
  • Complete the Qualifying Examination (by June 30 of the second year)
  • Receipt of the MA degree
  • Conduct dissertation research

Years 3+

  • Select the Dissertation Research Advisory Committee (DRAC), often but not necessarily the same as the Qualifying Committee
  • Receipt of the MPhil degree
  • Participate in required academic activities, such as the Student Seminar series
  • Conduct dissertation research
  • Regular--minimum every 6-9 months and preferably twice yearly—meetings with the student’s DRAC
  • Schedule and meet with DRAC about three to six months before the projected defense date
  • Select Dissertation Defense Committee (usually includes some members of the DRAC)
  • Prepare a draft of the thesis and obtain feedback from the mentor and a designated reader
  • Set defense date
  • Submit thesis to the Defense Committee four weeks in advance of defense date
  • Defend thesis
  • Revise thesis, if needed
  • Submit final thesis to the Dissertation Office