The culmination of the research training experience is the writing and defense of a thesis. This occurs when the student, mentor, and thesis committee are in agreement that the student has produced a significant contribution to their research field and has matured into an independent scientific investigator. The student should notify the graduate student coordinator when they are within 6 months of thesis completion and obtain information for the defense under “Getting Ready to Graduate” on the DBBS website. The student will find specific instructions for completion procedures. Successful completion of the thesis involves passing an oral examination administered by the thesis committee and electronic submission of an approved written thesis. Following the defense of the thesis, all students should meet with their student coordinator for an exit interview. MSTP students will resume studies toward the M.D. degree upon completion of Ph.D. work. Since the M.D./Ph.D. is a combined degree, the degrees will be awarded concurrently, at the end of clinical training. Health coverage will continue for MSTP students until they complete their M.D. years. After a Ph.D. student delivers the required forms to the Graduate School, s/he will have health care coverage through the end of that month. At that time, thirty days of emergency only health care coverage begins; arrangements for continuing medical coverage should be made prior to the thesis defense.
There is no specific requirement for publication to receive the Ph.D. However, high quality, peer-reviewed publications are an important determinant for a student’s career. Similarly, the process of writing and submitting a manuscript and responding to reviewer critiques is an essential part of a student’s training. Therefore, the publication record is one of several important and appropriate measures to be used by a thesis committee in evaluating a Ph.D. candidate. It is generally expected that students will have submitted and/or published one or more first author manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals at the time of the defense.