The Computational Bioscience Program of the University of Colorado School of Medicine
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Advising

General academic advising is done by the Program Administrator. Be sure to meet with her prior to registration and before completion of program milestones (prelims, comps, etc.) to ensure you are adhering to the graduate school rules. Once students have passed their comprehensive exam, they are admitted to candidacy for their Ph.D. At this point, they are advised by the Graduate Studies Advisor, Dr. Pollock on how to create their own curriculum vitae, which they are now responsible for maintaining. Once they have been admitted to candidacy, students only have to meet with Dr. Pollock twice a year (at the beginning of each semester) and demonstrate, using an updated C.V., that they are making adequate progress.

Required Courses
The Ph.D. program has a number of required courses. Students must complete a minimum of 30 semester credit hours of course work (including academic credits transferred from other programs) and a minimum of 30 semester credit hours of doctoral dissertation research. Students may transfer up to 30 semester hours from prior work (see Transferring Credits). See the student handbook for further explanation.

Preliminary Examination

The preliminary examination is given at the end of the first year, is the departmentally administered preliminary examination. The preliminary examination is a broad-based written examination covering the didactic material presented during the CPBS 7711 and CPBS 7712, and the exam incorporates a week-long programming problem. The exact format of the examination, time and number of questions, may change on an annual basis. A passing grade is required for continuation in the program. In the case of a failing grade, it is entirely at the discretion of the preliminary exam committee whether to permit re-examination on all or part of the requirement, or to terminate the student’s matriculation. Assuming successful completion of the preliminary examination requirement, a student may immediately begin work in a dissertation laboratory and become eligible to take the University comprehensive examination.

Dissertation Proposal

A dissertation (written presentation of novel research) is based on original investigations and showing innovation in computational bioscience methodology.  The dissertation proposal should be in a format comparable to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) R03 grant submission.

Dissertation Committee
A dissertation committee, having at least 5 members, is chosen by the student, with the approval of the Director of the Computational Bioscience Program and in accordance with Graduate School rules. The purpose of this committee is to guide the student's work and to judge the oral Comprehensive Examination, the presentation of the dissertation proposal, and final Defense of Dissertation. Students are encouraged to form a dissertation committee early in the second year. The dissertation committee and the comprehensive examination committee often include the same membership; however, this is not a requirement.

Comprehensive Examination

The University-based Comprehensive Examination is an orally defended dissertation proposal taken at or near the end of the second year.  It is based on the student's dissertation proposal, but can include other areas of study as well. This exam typically takes the format of presenting the problem, defending its innovation and demonstrating a workable knowledge of the field of study to assure that independent work is eminent. The student's dissertation committee judges the quality of the examination and makes recommendations for further academic advancement.

It is necessary that students complete all course work or at least be finishing all course work in the same semester as the exam, pass their preliminary examination and have a dissertation topic before scheduling their oral Comprehensive Examination. After successfully completing this examination and meeting all other Graduate School requirements, students are recognized as formal Ph.D. candidates who can proceed with the independent research work that usually culminates in their Ph.D. dissertation.

Application for Admission to Candidacy
Students must submit an application for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree to the Graduate School at least two weeks before scheduling the oral Comprehensive Examination. To be admitted for candidacy, students must have:
• completed all course work,
• passed their Preliminary Examination, and
• met the Graduate School requirements for residency.

Continuous Registration Requirement
Following successful completion of the Graduate School oral comprehensive exam, students must register for at least 5 credits of dissertation each semester (excluding the Summer semester). If the dissertation defense occurs during a Summer semester, the student must register for 3 dissertation credits for that Summer semester. Students may take up to 10 dissertation credits prior to or during the semester in which they take the Comprehensive Examination. Please refer to the Graduate School Rules for further information.


Defense of Dissertation
The student's dissertation committee conducts the Defense of Dissertation after completion of the independent research. Arrangements for the final examination must be made through the Graduate School at least two weeks in advance. The dissertation document must be written, approved by an examining committee authorized by the program, and in a final format approved by the Graduate School. A near final draft of the work is submitted to the examination committee at least two weeks prior to the final oral examination (Defense of Dissertation). The examination committee must formally approve the dissertation before the candidate submits a final and appropriately formatted version of the dissertation to the Graduate School. All Graduate School guidelines and specifications must be followed. Students must register for and complete 30 semester hours of doctoral dissertation credit (CPBS 8990) to be eligible for the Ph.D. degree.

Upon successfully defending the innovation of the problem and student's independent research efforts, the Ph.D. candidate must complete all the contingencies and formal recommendations of the dissertation committee and the program director. A final grade for the 30 semester hours of dissertation research will be assigned only after the student submits the final, approved manuscript, documenting the completed, innovative and independent research work, to the Dean of the Graduate School. If approved by the Graduate School, the Dean of the Graduate School makes a recommendation to the Chancellor, on behalf of the entire graduate school faculty, who then awards the Ph.D. degree to the candidate.
 
Completion of the Program
Successful completion of course work is verified based on the total number of credit hours and grades appearing on the official UC Denver Transcript. Successfully defending a dissertation at the Dissertation Examination provides the required evidence of independent and innovative Ph.D. level research by the student and marks successful completion of all the academic requirements for the Ph.D. degree.

 

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