Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Program Plan

During the first year of study students develop a formal study plan to be approved by their faculty advisor and the department graduate advisor. In this plan, students select their major area of study from among the 3 focus areas in the Program.


Ph.D. students must complete a minimum of 36 quarter units of coursework: 12 units in Core courses plus 3 units of lab rotations; 12 units in Focus area courses or 9 units in Focus area courses plus an approved 3 unit elective; 3 units in approved industry/pharma/device classes or an internship. Additionally, students must take 6 units of (Professional Seminar Series). The department requires that students maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.25.

Advancing to Candidacy

The PhD candidacy qualifying process includes preparing and presenting a Dissertation Proposal during an Oral Candidacy Qualifying Examination by the pre-candidacy committee formed in consultation with the PhD advisor and department graduate advisor. Before the Ph.D. qualifying examination, each student must submit a Dissertation Proposal to the pre-candidacy committee for approval. In the Oral Candidacy Qualifying Examination, students will be questioned about their proposal, their major focus area, and fundamentals of Biological Engineering. Upon successful completion of this examination, students advance to candidacy and select a Ph.D. dissertation committee in consultation with their PhD dissertation advisor.

Dissertation and Defense

To earn the Ph.D. degree, candidates must submit a dissertation and defend this thesis in an oral examination by their dissertation committee. This thesis defense consists of presenting a ~45' seminar on the dissertation and answering questions posed by the dissertation committee.

 Graduate Advisor