Graduation Requirements


Original Research Project: All PhD candidates must perform original research in the laboratory of their mentor(s).

Peer-reviewed 1st-author Research Paper:1  A minimum of one 1st-author original research paper that is accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal is required for graduation. While this 1st-author paper is required, however, it is not sufficient for the Microbiology PhD degree. Students are expected to demonstrate problem-solving and practical skills commensurate with functioning as an independent researcher as judged by their thesis advisory committee, and generate a body of work that contributes new knowledge to the field.

Permission to Schedule a Defense: Permission to schedule the defense will be granted by the thesis advisory committee once the committee agrees that the student has acquired the necessary skills and produced a body of work accepted for publication as a first-author paper.

Thesis:  The thesis must be carefully reviewed and approved by the mentor and then the first-reader prior to distribution to the full thesis advisory committee.  The student should meet with the mentor and first-reader to develop a timeline that enables them to have ample time to review the thesis (see “Steps to Graduation”).

Defense: The complete thesis must be distributed to the thesis advisory committee at least 1 week ahead of the defense. The defenses should be completed sequentially over the course of a single day with the public defense preceding the private defense.

Final Submission of Thesis: All corrections requested by the thesis advisory committee must be made and approved as directed by the committee prior to final submission of graduation paperwork and thesis deposition in LIBRA.

1NOTE: Under exceptional circumstances, requests for a waiver of the 1st-author paper requirement will be considered by the MIC Academic Advisory Committee. Waiver requests must be submitted to the MIC Director of Graduate Studies prior to the defense date being set. The letter should be supported by the thesis advisory committee and signed by (1) the chair of the thesis advisory committee, (2) the mentor, and (3) the student. Waiver requests will be considered if the following conditions have been met:

  • A 1st-author original research paper must have been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal and received a favorable review.
  • The authors must present their timely plan for resubmission of the paper. This should include steps that will be taken to ensure that the paper is ultimately accepted for publication.
  • Any hardship(s) on the part of the student and/or mentor that are driving the request for a waiver should be described.