Policy on Dissertation Research in the MD/PhD and PhD Programs

Students must choose a lab within six months of beginning the PhD program (or beginning Phase 2: Laboratory Research of the MD/PhD program) and must receive a passing grade on a qualifying examination within the first year of the program. A qualifying examination includes a five-page dissertation proposal and an oral defense of the proposal.

Students may petition the MD/PhD and PhD Program Director (“Program Director”) for an extension of time for choosing a lab and/or completing the qualifying exam.

Assessment of the qualifying examination will be conducted by an ad hoc committee made up of three faculty members chosen by the Program Director. The student’s mentor may not be part of the ad hoc committee. The student will be assessed based on the quality of the written dissertation proposal and the student’s ability to answer questions related to the proposal during the oral presentation. Following the qualifying exam, an assessment report will be sent to the mentor, the student, and the Zucker School of Medicine and the Program Director outlining any required or recommended revisions to the dissertation proposal, as well as the student’s grade on the qualifying examination. The final grade on the qualifying examination will be Pass or Fail.

For specifics on the qualifying examination, please refer to: https://medicine.hofstra.edu/education/phd/phd-courses.html

Each student pursuing a PhD must work with his or her mentor to identify an advisory committee to guide the student on his or her dissertation research. The advisory committee will meet with the student at least twice per year to provide scientific guidance and track the student’s dissertation progress. The advisory committee must include the student’s mentor and three additional faculty members chosen by the student and mentor and approved by the Program Director. If a faculty member on the advisory committee leaves the institution, he/she will be replaced by a faculty member recommended by the student and mentor and approved by the program director.

The dissertation committee includes the members of the advisory committee, as well as one additional member who has not been involved with the research project prior.

The dissertation includes a written document and an accompanying oral defense. For specifics of dissertation content and formatting please refer to: https://medicine.hofstra.edu/pdf/education/phd/phd-dissertation-format-bdr.pdf

The written document will be reviewed by the dissertation committee no later than two weeks prior to the oral defense to ensure that the student is adequately prepared for the public seminar and oral defense. If the dissertation committee feels that the student is not prepared, the oral defense will be postponed and the student will be provided feedback on areas in need of improvement.

Following the defense, an assessment report will be sent to the mentor, the student, and the Zucker School of Medicine documenting a final grade of Pass or Fail.

References to Regulations and/or Related Policies:
Policy on Academic Advancement and Graduation