Thesis Committee

Prior to the preliminary exam, the student must assemble a thesis committee. The committee must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School prior to the committee's first meeting. The committee approval form must be submitted via the DGS/DGSA to the Graduate School. 

The thesis committee must consist of at least four faculty, including a minimum of three from the Department of Cell Biology (the chair of your committee must be a primary in Cell Biology). Faculty with a secondary appointment in Cell Biology can be counted towards this requirement. The thesis advisor is a member of the thesis committee, but may not be the chair. All thesis committee members MUST be members of the Duke Graduate Faculty.  One member of your committee must be designated as a Minor Area Representative (MAR).  This member generally does not work in the same field but will bring insight and guidance to your research.  The MAR may not be the Chair of your committee. Most commonly all members of the thesis committee are faculty at Duke University, however, the goal is to assemble a highly informed and appropriate thesis committee for each student. Therefore, faculty at other institutions can be made ad hoc members of the Graduate Faculty for the purpose of serving on a PhD thesis committee. Any exceptions to the rules regarding thesis committee composition must be approved by the DGS and the Graduate School. Students are strongly encouraged to review these requirements, which are detailed on the Graduate School web site.
Sometimes changes in the thesis committee are necessary during the progress of work and before the final exam (thesis defense). These changes must be submitted via the DGS/DGSA to the graduate school for approval at least 30 days before the exam.

Annual Thesis Committee Meeting

Students are required to meet with his/her committee each year to review progress towards the Ph.D.  Two report forms should be brought to the committee meeting:  the Annual Thesis Committee Chair's Report and the Annual Thesis Meeting Committee Review Form.  The summary form must be signed by the DGS following your meeting and turned in to the DGSA along with a copy of your review forms. In addition to the two forms, you will also need to send a brief 1 – 2 page summary of the aims of your project and a progress report to the members of your committee at least one week prior to your meeting. This meeting should take place by the end of April."

The Thesis Exam

The Department of Cell Biology requires a written thesis and a minimum of one accepted first author peer-reviewed publication describing original research relevant to the thesis.  The written thesis must be given to the thesis committee at least two weeks prior to the examination.   For more information on graduation deadlines and how to apply please visit the Graduate School Website.