Thesis Requirements

Research Proposal

Starting in the Summer/Autumn after the second year, a student should begin in earnest, research work towards their thesis project.  By Autumn of the third year, the student should form their thesis committee and submit their thesis proposal.

The thesis committee will comprise of four members: the student’s advisor, a committee chair (not to be the advisor) and two other members of the Metabolism Committee. The thesis proposal should consist of a detailed background of the research area to be studied, preliminary data demonstrating the feasibility of the proposed experiments, 2-3 specific aims and a supporting experimental plan to address the research area.  Total length should be approximately 20 pages.

The proposal should be given to committee members at least two weeks before the oral defense of the thesis proposal. The student will make a public presentation to students and faculty of CMMN, and then meet with their committee in private to answer questions and discuss the proposed experiments in detail.  Once accepted by the committee, the student will then formally enter the Ph.D. program.


Each student will be required to complete a dissertation documenting original research within 6 years of the thesis proposal defense.  However, it is expected that students will complete their thesis during their fifth year in the program.  

The thesis should consist of 2-3 chapters, and it is expected that at least two of these chapters will result in first author publications in prominent journals.  Students failing to meet these time limits must apply for readmission to the Ph.D. program.