Cell Biology Thesis Committee and Required Forms

Thesis Committee (Please scroll to the bottom of this page for a list of useful forms & documents.)

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.

Graduate Student Forms

These are forms required for graduate education at Duke in the Department of Cell Biology:

Forming or changing your Thesis Committee:  

Use the fillable pdf Thesis committee form and send the completed form to the DGSA (Jodi Belanger).  The form will then be forwarded to the DGS for signatures (please do not obtain the DGS signature yourself).

Preliminary Exam Form : 

Please use the fillable pdf form and bring to your exam.  Once your exam if finished, be sure to have the DGS sign the form.  Bring the completed form to the DGSA to be submitted to the Graduate School.

Annual Thesis Committee Chair's Report:  

Following your committee meeting please bring the completed form with signatures to the DGSA.

Annual Thesis Meeting Committee Review Form: 

This form is for your information only and does not need to be turned in to the DGSA.

Departmental Defense Announcement Form: 

Please use the fillable pdf form and have the DGS sign the form prior to turning in to the DGSA.

Travel Award Application Form:  If applying for a travel award from the Graduate School, please read the instructions on the application carefully for information regarding allowable expenses on the award.  Please also visit the Duke Financial Services page for information regarding unallowable expenses for all travel.

Independent Development Plan (IDP): 

During the summer of your 3rd year of graduate school you will be required to take a 1 day refresher RCC refresher course (the Graduate School will send you information regarding the date and time of this training). Prior to this course you will need to fill out an IDP and go over it with your mentor.