Successful progression into candidacy for the Ph.D. demands mastery of research approaches and relevant scientific literature. To this end, graduate students in the Department of Genome Sciences are required to write up the plan of their dissertation research in a format similar to that required for federal grant proposals. This requirement is intended to encourage thoughtful design of an effective research strategy and comprehensive understanding of the relevant issues at an early stage of the overall research effort. Students may expect their mentor to provide assistance with formulating the grant proposal. The mentor will help provide "big" ideas and act as a sounding board, but not so much that the student isn’t challenged. It is thus largely left to the mentor to use his/her judgment.
Your General Exam includes written and oral components and should be scheduled for spring of your second full year in the program. MSTP students, who begin in spring quarter, should take the general exam in the same timeframe as the cohort who enter in autumn quarter of the same calendar year. That is, an MSTP student beginning the program in spring 2018 would take their general exam in spring or early summer quarter of 2020, at the same time as Ph.D. students who enter in autumn 2018. It is your responsibility to check with your committee members early enough so that your exam is not delayed (i.e., does not drag on into July or later). Your exam should be scheduled by April 1. If you cannot take the exam by the end of June, your mentor will need to approve of an extension, and you should then contact GS graduate program directors Christine Queitsch and Doug Fowler with an explanation of the need for an extension to get their approval. MSTP students who are asked to teach in year two will have an additional quarter to complete their general exam.
Students who will be taking their general by mid-December 2019 have the option of following the previous exam guidelines if they prefer.
Please also be aware that noncompliance with with departmental requirements, such as timely completion of the general exam, could result in termination of training grant support and academic probation.
UW Graduate School requirements for attempting the general exam:
- Completion of at least 18 graded credits of graduate course work (approved 400 level courses are allowed).
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
- Completion of 60 credits either before you take the oral exam or to be completed during the quarter in which you take the exam. MD / Ph.D. students please note: this 60 credit minimum does not include Med School coursework. MD / Ph.D. students should also be aware that the graduate school will ask you for a transcript, with the courses taken to be applied toward the Genome Sciences Ph.D. (i.e. all of them since you joined our program) highlighted.
Genome Sciences procedures for the general exam:
1. While not required, you are strongly encouraged to have a committee meeting prior to your general exam. A meeting prior to your exam will ensure that the composition of the committee is sound, let you get to know your examiners, and reveal potential issues that could significantly complicate the exam.
2. General exams should be scheduled for late spring quarter (May or June, no later than June 30). Check with your committee members to find a date and time that works for them. Your exam should be scheduled by April 1. At least four members of the committee (including the Chair, GSR, and one additional Graduate Faculty member) must be present at the general exam.
3. Once you have determined a two-hour time slot that works for everyone, submit this request online via the Graduate School's My Grad Program: Student View website.
4. Send Brian Giebel an email ( bgiebel [ a t ] uw.edu ) to let him know you have submitted your request, so that he may go into the online system and provide departmental approval. Brian will provide the exam warrant, which your committee members will need to sign and return after your exam. Brian will then submit the result to the UW Graduate School.
5. Students must provide the written component of their exam to their committee members a minimum of three weeks prior to the oral exam. If this deadline is not met, then committee members have the option of asking to be removed from the student’s committee or requiring that the student reschedule the exam.
Committee members may ask for revisions within 10 days of receiving the written component.