Thomas Jefferson UniversityJefferson Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

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Thesis Information

Thesis Proposal
A student is expected to submit his/her Thesis Proposal to his/her Thesis Committee following successful completion of the comprehensive examination (typically within 3 months). The thesis proposal should be prepared as a pre-doctoral research grant application (NIH, F31 application). If the student is unable to meet this time-line, a petition for an extension must be submitted in writing to the Program’s Executive Committee.

The Thesis Advisor should help the student with the development of the Thesis Proposal, selection of the Thesis Committee, and planning a timetable for the completion of the project. The Thesis Advisor and Thesis Committee should ensure that the research is in full compliance with ethical guidelines.

Thesis Committee
Members of the student's Thesis Committee must include the thesis advisor, two faculty members of the neuroscience graduate program, and one external to the program. A student is encouraged to identify an individual outside of Jefferson as the external examiner.

Prior to (or at the beginning of) the first Thesis Committee meeting (which serves as the meeting to approve the Thesis Proposal document), a chair should be identified. This individual should not be the Thesis Advisor. The Thesis Committee Chair (along with the student) is responsible for ensuring regular Thesis Committee meetings to check on the project and the student's progress. The Thesis Committee Chair is responsible for providing the required Chair’s Summary Form and Individual Faculty Evaluation Forms for each of the committee meetings to the Program Director.

With respect to the conduct of Thesis Committee meetings, the student will bring the required forms to the committee meetings. The Thesis Committee will then ask the student to exit the room so that the faculty may review the student’s academic and research progress. Upon returning to the room, the Thesis Advisor exits the room so that the student has the opportunity to communicate with the committee without the advisor present. The full Thesis Committee will then review the student’s progress as a group.

When the Thesis Proposal has been satisfactorily completed and approved by the Thesis Committee, the Thesis Committee Chair should indicate so on the appropriate Chair Summary Form and a copy of the forms should be provided to the Program Director.

Defense of Thesis

No less than three weeks in advance of the Defense-of-Thesis, the student submits one unbound draft of a Thesis Committee-approved dissertation to the office of the Dean of the GSBS and to each member of the Thesis Committee. The format of the dissertation must conform to the guidelines established by the GSBS.

The final examination consists of a public defense of thesis at which time the candidate gives a formal presentation of the thesis. An announcement must be made public no less than one week before the scheduled date of defense. The doctoral dissertation defense tests the candidate's ability to communicate the specific research project and its implications to a broad scholarly audience.

Following the public presentation and an open question and answer period, the Final Defense of Thesis Committee convenes with the candidate to ask additional questions and/or vote on the acceptance of the candidate's dissertation. Upon successful defense of the dissertation, the original bound dissertation, an additional bound copy, and one unbound copy are submitted to the office of the Dean of the GSBS. In accordance with the policy of the GSBS, in order for a student to graduate at June commencement exercises during any particular academic year, all requirements must be successfully completed by the deadline set by the GSBS.