Admission to the accelerated Ph.D. program requires an M.D. degree
from an accredited medical school. Selection for admission is based on
prior academic record, potential for independent research, and three
letters of recommendation. Application forms for the program may be
obtained from the address below. Competitive candidates will be asked
to visit the department for an interview. Admission to the accelerated
Ph.D. program may be coordinated with residency or fellowship programs
in the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia, and applicants
should indicate the department desired. Applications to residency and
fellowship programs are independent, and are the responsibility of the
applicant. Support is commensurate with residency and fellowship
programs. For information, please write us at email@example.com
Program of Study
The accelerated Ph.D. program for M.D.s requires two years' residence
in the program, 30 credit hours composed of graduate-level courses,
seminars and laboratory rotations, and 18 credit hours of thesis work
based on original research. The duration of the program is flexible and
is designed to be completed in three years. The major emphasis of the
program will be on intensive (hands-on) laboratory research.
Graduate-level course selection will be tailored to each individual's
background and needs by the Graduate Advisory Committee. Research
training is broadened through laboratory rotations, departmental
seminars and participation in journal clubs, the writing of an
NIH-style grant proposal as part of the qualifying examination, and
thesis research. Registration for courses is flexible, laboratory
rotations may begin at any time, and coursework can be pursued during
either the Fall or Spring semesters. All students enrolled in the
program must fulfill the general academic regulations for doctoral
degrees, as set forth by the School of Graduate Arts and Sciences.
Laboratory Rotations. Laboratory rotations provide the
opportunity to learn selected bench skills from pipetting and
chromatography to total internal reflectance fluorescence microscopy,
and to help the student choose a laboratory in which to carry out
his/her dissertation work. Rotations also serve to develop the
student's cognitive and problem-solving skills, such as the formulation
and testing of hypotheses and the design of experiments.
Seminars. Weekly departmental seminars are presented by
national and international experts in a wide variety of areas
encompassing departmental research interests. All graduate students
also participate in a student-speaker lunch discussion group. In
addition to weekly seminars in other basic sciences departments and
centers, a joint distinguished lecture series sponsors a monthly
seminar by an internationally recognized expert.
Qualifying Examination. An important component of research is
to learn how to define a significant problem, formulate a hypothesis
and design appropriate and imaginative experiments to assess the
feasibility and the possible outcomes, and test the hypothesis. These
skills are developed in the form of preparation of an NIH-style grant.
The NIH-style grant should be on the dissertation topic, and this
should be completed by the end of the first year. An oral presentation
will be made to the Graduate Committee, which will review the grant
using the NIH study-section format. Satisfactory completion of this
proposal will be linked to advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D.
Thesis Requirements. The thesis consists of original research
that meets the standards of high-quality, peer-reviewed journals. A
dissertation topic should be selected by the end of the first year. A
dissertation committee of four or five professors, including the thesis
adviser, will advise and counsel the student. Upon completion of the
research project, the results must be published or accepted for
publication in a minimum of two peer-reviewed, leading journals in the
respective field. The dissertation should be prepared according to the
rules and deadlines of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Finally, the doctoral candidate is required to pass an oral examination
in defense of the dissertation.
Requirements for the Ph.D. in Molecular Physiology and Biological