A student must obtain at least an average grade of "B" in the Foundations of Biomedical Sciences courses to qualify for the Ph.D. degree. In addition, the student must demonstrate that he/she is competent in a broad segment of Physiology. Although a student may be working in one area of Physiology such as Cell, Cardiovascular or Renal Physiology, he/she is expected to have an understanding of the concepts, experimental approaches, and major developments in the major field of physiology covered in the core curriculum of the Ph.D. program.To demonstrate this competence, the student must pass the Preliminary (or Qualifying) Examination that is composed of two (2) parts: a) Written, and b) Oral. This Preliminary Examination will usually be administered sometime during the summer months prior to the start of the second academic year.
1. Written Examination
The Written Examination is divided into six (6) equal sections:
1. Cell Physiology
2. Cardiovascular Physiology
3. Renal Physiology
4. Respiratory Physiology
5. Gastrointestinal Physiology
6. Endocrine Physiology
A student who receives a grade of "A" or "B' in all six sections is considered to have passed the written section of the Preliminary Examination. In addition, a student may receive a grade lower than "B" in one of the six sections and still pass the written portion of the Preliminary Examination. A student who receives a grade below "B" in only two sections is considered to have failed the Written Examination and will not be allowed to take the Oral Examination at this stage. A remedial examination covering these two sections will be scheduled within 2 weeks after the first Written Examination. A student must receive a passing grade (ie 80% or better) on both sections to pass the remedial exam. If the student passes the remedial examination, he/she will then be allowed to take the Oral Examination. If the student fails the remedial exam, he/she is subject to dismissal from the Ph.D. Program. If a student fails three of the six sections on the written portion of the first Preliminary Examination, he/she will be dismissed from the Ph.D. Program.
2. Oral Examination
Once a student has successfully completed the Written Examination he/she becomes eligible to take the Oral Examination. The Oral Examination will cover all of the six (6) sections of Physiology listed above. In the case of a student who fails one or two sections of the Written Examination, the student will be examined in depth on the deficient core areas during the Oral Examination. Students who have remediated the written portion of the Preliminary Examination will only be allowed one Oral Examination. If the student fails the Oral portion of the Preliminary Examination, he/she will be dismissed. Students who pass the Written Examination but fail the Oral Examination will be re-examined only by Oral Examination. This second examination must be administered within one (1) week of the original Oral Examination. Failure to pass this remedial exam will result in dismissal of the student from the program.
Students who pass both the Written and Oral sections of the Preliminary Examination are nominated to become a "Doctoral Candidate".
3. Preparation for the Preliminary Examination
Preparation for the Preliminary Examination is a constant, ongoing process in which the student uses free time during the first year to read, study and review information from courses and the literature. Students are expected to maintain their coursework and lab rotations while preparing for the Preliminary Examination. The student is expected to consult with each faculty member regarding resource material to be utilized in preparation.