Graduate Programs

PhD Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

A general statement of qualifications for the PhD degree are listed here. Students are responsible for satisfying the curriculur, preliminary examination, qualifying examination and dissertation requirements of their particular program. These requirements are established by the individual programs in accordance with university policy.

  • Bachelors degree from an accredited undergraduate institution.
  • A minimum of three years of graduate work beyond the level of the bachelors degree. Credit for graduate work completed at other institutions may be given if recommended by the graduate program concerned and approved by the Dean for Graduate Education.
  • Completion of nine letter-graded courses at the University of Chicago, with a B average in course grades. This is a minimum; individual units may have more stringent requirements.
  • Preliminary examination testing the candidate's general knowledge of their field of study.
  • Fulfillment of the divisional teaching requirement. Before the Ph.D. can be awarded, students are required to serve as a teaching assistant twice (two quarters) for credit in preapproved positions in the biological sciences.
  • Fulfillment of the divisional ethics requirement. All students receive training in scientific integrity and the ethical conduct of research.  The first course is completed in the first year of study and the second training is taken in the fifth year, if the PhD is not yet completed.
  • Formal admission to candidacy for the degree upon recommendation of the graduate program, usually by the beginning of the third year of study.
  • Acceptance of a dissertation submitted by the student to the graduate program having jurisdiction over the student’s degree.
  • A successful final examination administered by the graduate program concerned.