Guidelines for Research Proposal and Oral Exam

Affiliating with the Department of Cell Biology

  • Between yrs 1 & 2, help your DGSAs out by submitting forms by 7/31!

Following a student's third rotation in lab, they select a laboratory for thesis work and begin a research program there. The choice of thesis laboratory must be approved by the thesis advisor (who must have the funding, lab space, & resources to support the research) and the Director of Graduate Studies and signed off on by the Chair. Forms needed to affiliate with your new laboratory can be obtained from your admitting program DGSA the summer between your first and second year.

Preliminary Oral Examination

  • Year 2, Spring Semester.

  • Practice groups start in January.

  • Must be completed by end of March.

Thesis Committee Approval

! Deadline: End of March

! Ten Days Before: Email your research proposal as a PDF document to your committee members and the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Michel Bagnat.

Preliminary Exam Evaluation Form

The Cell Biology preliminary exam is comprised of a Research Proposal and an Oral Examination administered by your thesis committee. The exam committee is identical to your thesis committee. The mentor, though present at the exam, does not participate unless invited to do so by the Chair of your committee. The mentor can provide valuable feedback to the student regarding their exam performance afterwards.

Guidelines for your Research Proposal & Oral Exam can be found here.

Annual Thesis Committee Meeting

  • Should be as close to one year from your prelim exam/previous meeting as possible.

Committee Change/Approval Form

! One week prior - send a 1 to 2 page summary of the aims of your project & a progress report to the members of your committee.

You must bring two forms with you to this meeting:
1. Annual Thesis Committee Chair's Report;
2. Annual Thesis Meeting Committee Review Form.

Students are required to meet with their committee each year to review progress towards their degree.  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 to be filed in your records. This meeting should take place by the end of April and recur each spring until graduation.

! 2 weeks prior - give your thesis to the members of your defense committee.

Departmental Defense Announcement

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 DGSA will make and distribute fliers to be distributed to the department to invite them to your dissertation. Good luck!

Thesis Dissertation Defense

! IMPORTANT: All Ph.D. Candidates writing a thesis must have their advisor write a letter stating that they have read your dissertation and that it is complete and ready for defense. This must be received by the Graduate School before they can release your examination certificate.

Step 1 - Apply for graduation (log into your DukeHub, go to the "Forms & Requests" tab and click the "Apply to Graduation" button).

Step 2 - Submit your electronic dissteration by 5 PM on day of deadline (this means the document is complete - must be done minimum 14 days before defense).

Step 2a - If there are any formatting issues, you will be notified within 2 days via email. You'll then have to schedule a time to meet with the reviewer who contacted you regarding the issues.

Step 3 - Once the Graduate School have received the letter and your departmental defense announcement, they will release your examination certificate to you. You must go to the Graduate School at 2127 Campus Drive to pick it up.

Step 4 - After your defense, you must submit your final electronic version of your dissertation to the graduate school by 5 PM on day of deadline (see hyperlink below).

Graduate School's Guidelines on Preparing for Graduation

Graduation Deadlines - VIP!