Timetable and Forms

General Timetable

Year 1 -- BME Core Courses

The main goal for the first year is to work with your mentor (advisor) to identify those courses of most relevance to your area of research, and to take as many core and additional courses as practical during the first 9 months in preparation for your proposal development and oral exam. Some additional courses are offered once every two years and it may be desirable to take some courses during the first year in order to prepare for the qualifying exam at the end of the second year. Students should also participate in a journal club and/or work with their mentor to critically review the scientific literature in their area.

Year 2 -- Complete BME course requirements and prepare for qualifying exam

Students should enroll in any remaining required and/or elective courses and BME seminars to fulfill requirements for taking the qualifying exam. The majority of the student’s time and effort should be in research. A major goal for the second year is to begin to acquire the laboratory skills and conceptual framework necessary for thesis work. The student should also be spending free moments reading the scientific literature. BME students are required to take the qualifying exam during the summer of their second year. Upon successful completion of the qualifying exam, students will become eligible for recommendation for advancement to candidacy. The BME Graduate Program Director will sign the Qualifying Examination form indicating successful completion of all BME requirements for advancement to Ph.D. candidacy. After passing the qualifying exam, the student and advisor should prepare the mentor assignment form.

Details of the Qualifying Exam
FORM: Advancement to PhD Candidacy (completed by the BME Program)
FORM: Mentor Assignment - PhD Programs (completed by student and mentor then submit to the BME program coordinator)

Year 3 until graduation

Immediately following passing the qualifying exam, students in consultation with their mentor should nominate a Dissertation Advisory Committee (DAC) which must be approved by the BME Graduate Program Director.

  • The committee should be appointed within one term after advancement to PhD candidacy.
  • Students must meet with their Dissertation Advisory Committee within 6 months of passing the qualifying examination.
  • The advisory committee shall meet at least twice annually to evaluate progress toward completion of the dissertation. 
  • About 6 months prior to anticipated dissertation defense, it is useful to meet with the thesis/dissertation Advisory Committee to establish a consensus on items that need to be completed.
  • A dissertation advisory committee meeting summary form should be completed at each meeting and submitted to the BME Program Director and Program Coordinator.

The student must present a departmental research seminar during the third year. It is expected that most Ph.D. graduate students will defend their dissertation sometime in their fifth calendar year. It is a School of Medicine requirement that the student be continuously enrolled until the thesis is bound. Students may not use a leave of absence to make corrections to the thesis.

Dissertation Advisory Committee (DAC) Guidelines
FORM: Request for Dissertation Advisory Committee (DAC) (Completed by the student and mentor then submit to the BME program coordinator)
FORM: Dissertation Advisory Committee Meeting Summary (Completed by committee and submit to the BME program director and program coordinator)

How to Graduate

One term prior to completing your degree requirements, you should begin to plan for graduation. Start by contacting your Graduate Coordinator to indicate you intend to complete you degree that quarter. By the end of your graduation term, please return your ID card, keys, equipment, lab materials and library books and make sure that payment of tuition and fees is current. OHSU transcripts and diplomas are withheld if these obligations are not met. Below are the steps necessary to apply for your degree.

1. Application for Degree form
One term prior to completing degree requirements please submit the Application for Degree Form (found at the Registrar's website under General Registrar Forms) to the Registrar's office at the location listed at the top of the form. You may fax the form. It is your responsibility to ensure this form has been submitted.

2. Request for Oral Examination form
The Request for Oral Examination Form needs to be completed, signed by the BME Program Director and submitted to the SoM Graduate Studies office at least four weeks prior to the exam date. Students should complete the form and either obtain all of the committee member signatures or acknowledgement by email and submit the form to BME's Graduate Coordinator for processing.

3. Oral Examination
Candidates for the Ph.D. degree must present a written description of the research carried out during their course of study in the form of a dissertation. Students must present a public seminar describing the Ph.D. research project, pass the oral examination, edit the dissertation document to the satisfaction of the Examination Committee, and meet all other degree requirements specified by the Graduate Council By-Laws.

Ph.D. Dissertation and Oral Examination

4. Submit dissertation to the Library
If you are completing a PhD dissertation degree go to the OHSU library thesis/dissertation web page and follow the guidelines found in the Preparation/Guidelines for the School of Medicine.

  • Within 6 months of successfully defending your thesis/dissertation, you must finish all corrections to your written dissertation and receive final approval from your committee. Following your committee's approval, your dissertation must be submitted to the OHSU Library. A minimum of one hard copy and one electronic PDF copy must be submitted.
  • The original Binding Receipt Form, with library signature, must be submitted to the School of Medicine Graduate Studies Office:
    School of Medicine Graduate Studies Office
    Mackenzie Hall, 4th floor, Dean's Office
    or mail to:
    School of Medicine Graduate Studies Office
    Oregon Health & Science University
    Mail code L102GS
    3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road
    Portland, OR 97239-3098

5. Exit Contact Information form for School of Medicine
Please complete the Exit Contact Information Form and fax the form to the School of Medicine Graduate Studies office at 503 494-3400 or email a scanned copy to somgrad@ohsu.edu.

6. Survey of Earned Doctorates — Ph.D. students only
Please complete the online Survey of Earned Doctorates. Print a copy of the 'completion of survey' page and fax the form to the School of Medicine Graduate Studies office at 503 494-3400 or email a scanned copy to somgrad@ohsu.edu.