Requirements for a PhD

Graduate School Requirements

The Duke Graduate School Website is a good source of information for requirements, formation of committees, thesis preparation and responsible conduct of research training (required). From their home site, you can navigate to information for current students and then to academic regulations to find the requirements for a Ph.D.

Departmental Requirements

Course Work

** For a full list of departmental courses, please refer to the University Bulletin: http://registrar.duke.edu/university-bulletins

As the hands-on approach to research is emphasized, coursework is kept to a minimum.
The following courses are required:

PHARM Course Requirements

PHARM 780 – Seminar – 4 Semesters
PHARM 533 – Essentials of Pharmacology/Toxicology
PHARM 534 – Interdisciplinary Approach to Pharm
PHARM/MOLCAN 733 - Experimental Design and Biostatistics for Basic Biomedical Scientists (**This is a required course but does not have to be taken before the preliminary exam).
PHARM 835 – Innovations- Drug Development
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ELECTIVE: MOLCAN 760 – Cellular Signaling
  

MSTP/Pharm Course Requirements

PHARM 780 – Seminar – 2 Semesters
PHARM/MOLCAN 733 - Experimental Design and Biostatistics for Basic Biomedical Scientists (**This is a required course for all graduate students but does not have to be taken before the preliminary exam).
PHARM 835 – Innovations- Drug Development

SELECT AT LEAST ONE OF THE FOLLOWING COURSES:
PHARM 533 – Essentials of Pharmacology/Toxicology
PHARM 534 – Interdisciplinary Approach to Pharm I 

RECOMMENDED ELECTIVE: MOLCAN 760 – Cellular Signaling 

CMB/Pharm Course Requirements

PHARM 780 – Seminar – 2 Semesters
PHARM 533 – Essentials of Pharmacology/Toxicology
PHARM/MOLCAN 733 - Experimental Design and Biostatistics for Basic Biomedical Scientists (** This is a required course but does not have to be taken before the preliminary exam).

SELECT AT LEAST ONE OF THE FOLLOWING COURSES:
PHARM 534 – Interdisciplinary Approach to Pharm I 
PHARM 835 – Innovations- Drug Development

RECOMMENDED ELECTIVE: MOLCAN 760 – Cellular Signaling

RCR Training Requirement (18 hours total)

*Beginning SUMMER 2014, there is a new 4 hour course requirement after year three. Additional details can be found here: (https://gradschool.duke.edu/academics/degree_reqs/rcr/requirements.php)

Basic Medical Science Track

  18 hours total

RCR Orientation - Beaufort Retreat

  12 hours

Graduate School or Dept. RCR Forums
School of Medicine, 4-hour course, Year 3-4

  2hours
4 hours

 

Laboratory Research

Students complete 3 rotations with different faculty members to select an advisor. These rotations serve to:

  1. identify potential mentors
  2. offer exposure to research experience outside the student's intended area of study
  3. provide initial faculty evaluation of students' research competence

Once the rotations are completed, students select an advisor with whom they will work on a thesis project. Thesis research is guided by the advisor and Thesis Committee. 

Preliminary Exam

The preliminary exam is usually taken in the months of May and June of the second year, but must be successfully completed by the end of the third year. Successful completion of this exam is required to formally accept a student as a candidate for a Ph.D. degree. This exam is presided over by a committee comprised of two members from the standing Oral Prelim Exam Committee and two faculty members who will follow the student through their work and preside on their thesis exam committee (see Formation of the Thesis Committee below).

For information on the preliminary exam format and timetable, please review the “Preliminary Examination Guidelines” found under the  Graduate Programs Forms link.

Formation of the Thesis Committee

Within six (6) months of completing the prelim exam, students must form their Thesis Committee.

Thesis Committee Chair: The chair of the thesis committee must be a primary faculty member in PCB and may not be the student’s thesis advisor.
Thesis Committee Composition: You should have at least four (five preferred) graduate faculty members on your thesis committee. At least three committee members must have a primary or secondary appointment in PCB. You can search the Duke Graduate Faculty list here: https://gradschool.duke.edu/academics/graduate-faculty.

Thesis Requirements

The Advisor in conjunction with the Thesis Committee will determine when the student is ready to write their thesis dissertation. The declaration of intention presents the title of the thesis or specifies alternative academic exercises on which the degree candidate will be examined. The declaration must have the approval of both the Director of Graduate Studies in the major department and the chair of the student's advisory committee. More information on dissertation submission requirements and deadlines can be found on the Duke University Graduate School website: http://gradschool.duke.edu/academics/theses/index.php.

Terminal Masters Degree

For information on Terminal Master’s Degrees, please review the “Requirements for a Terminal Master’s in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology” document found under the Graduate Programs Forms link.