COURSEWORK - Graded coursework continues during the second year, as needed to fulfill requirements. Second year students continue to participate in "Communicating Developmental Biology Concepts", presenting a paper in the DRSB data club during fall or spring quarter. Second year students also take a writing workshop during spring quarter. Advanced coursework can be taken in later years, as needed, to support the thesis project.
QUALIFYING EXAM - During fall quarter of the second year, the student and their advisor work together to assemble a thesis committee, which is composed of the advisor and three other faculty members. The student then prepares a written proposal for thesis research and defends this proposal before the committee by the end of January. Passing the qualifying exam permits the student to enter into candidacy for the Ph.D
THESIS RESEARCH - After passing the qualifying exam, the student devotes the majority of their time to research. They continue to build ties with the wider developmental biology community through continued participation in the DRSB data club and seminar series, and through attendance at national conferences. Each student meets with their thesis committee at least once per year to receive advice on their project and ensure a reasonable time to completion. Students are expected to make an original contribution to the scholarship of their chosen field by publishing at least one first author, peer-reviewed paper. Equal co-first aurhorships can also meet this requirement. The student then completes the requirements for the Ph.D. by writing a dissertation describing their research, presenting the work in a public seminar, and defending it in front of a faculty examination committee.
TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIPS - All graduate students in the BSD are required to teach for two quarters. Some students with no prior teaching experience choose to take a “TA course”, which explores teaching approaches and curriculum design, in lieu of the first TAship. Many students TA one undergraduate class and one graduate class, to gain broad exposure to teaching at different levels. Students are encouraged to complete their TA requirements in years 3 and 4.