Studies for the Ph.D. degree generally include one year of core courses leading to the completion of a Departmental Ph.D. Qualifying Examination. Elective courses are selected in the second year to compliment research interests. The candidate then identifies a topic for original dissertation research, completes a Senate Qualification Examination, and carries out this work under the direction of a dissertation advisor, culminating in a Dissertation Defense Examination. There is also a requirement for four quarters (at 25% time or the equivalent) of teaching experience as a graduate student instructor. The average time for completion of a Ph.D. has been 5 years. Graduates typically pursue careers in research and/or teaching in academia or research institutions, or careers in the medical device or other bioengineering-related industry.
Each student will be assigned an initial faculty advisor at the time of admission to develop an appropriate plan of study. Later, as the student becomes more familiar with the faculty members and their research activities, he/she may transfer to another advisor with more compatible research interests. All students, in consultation with their advisors, develop course programs that will prepare them for the Departmental Qualifying Examination and for their dissertation research. The student is encouraged to engage in research early and no later than at the end of the first academic year. These programs of study and research should be planned to meet certain time limits: Qualifying Exam at the end of the first year and Senate (University Qualifying) Exam by the end of the third year. The Final Defense is typically done between four to six years.