Main Menu

Thesis/Dissertation Overview

Please review the MS/PhD Population Health Academic Guide or MS/PhD Epidemiology Academic Guide for complete details on the requirements and structure of thesis/dissertation committees and the thesis/dissertation itself. The information listed here simply provides an overview. The MS/PhD Academic Guide also provides detailed information about graduation requirements and warrants, but an overview is also provided online in the Graduation section.

All PhD students must pass the written qualifying exam, oral preliminary exam, and final dissertation defense. All PhD students must complete a PhD minor (link) as well. PhD students must request or submit paperwork for all these stages; please see the MS/PhD Academic Guide for details. The qualifying exam is taken the summer after your first year of required coursework. After you pass the preliminary exam you are officially considered a “PhD candidate” or “Dissertator.” As a dissertator, you no longer can register for any additional academic courses. Thus, you should be sure to plan ahead in taking all the elective courses you need or want (for the purposes of your PhD minor or for your dissertation) prior to taking your preliminary exam and submitting your PhD Minor Agreement Form. Once a dissertator, you register for exactly three credits of PHS 990 research credits each term and are eligible for a reduced tuition fee. 

All MS students must pass their final thesis defense. Before proceeding with the work of your thesis, all MS students must submit a Master's Thesis Approval Form.  After choosing a thesis topic, MS students are expected to submit a 5-8 page thesis proposal to their thesis advisor and committee members. Once all thesis committee members approve the proposal, the Master’s Thesis Proposal form should be submitted to the MS/PhD Graduate Program Office.