The student, in consultation with the chosen mentor pair, will write a short proposal to outline a suitable project. An advisory committee, which will be appointed at the time students choose their mentor pair, will approve the project.
The qualifying exam occurs in the second year and is conducted orally by a standing committee. The exam tests the student's knowledge of translational biology and is designed to assess creative and rational thought and the ability to solve research problems scientifically.
Upon satisfactory completion of the qualifying examination and course requirements, the student is formally recommended to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.