Preliminary Exams and Advancement to Candidacy

Students must complete a minimum of 18 credit hours to earn their degree.  The University of Michigan Immunology Graduate Program has recently voted to change the style of the preliminary exams.  Students will be tested in their second year of graduate school.  By December of year 2 for PhD students or the first PhD year for MSTP students, the program will assign two recent Immunology articles for the students to read and understand.  Each student will be expected to fully understand the background for the paper and the rationale for the experimental design.  Students should be able to assess the results and interpret the findings.  Students will be expected to write a one-page specific aims page describing two aims that would be logical next steps for one of the two papers. 

Students will answer questions about the papers as well as general questions related to Immunology and previous coursework in front of a preliminary examination committee composed of 3-4 faculty members. Students will also detail their specific aims, provide rationale and detail anticipated results and alternative strategies.  The preliminary exams should be completed by March and the oral examination portion is expected to last 2 hours.

Remediation is possible if necessary.

Once students successfully complete the preliminary exam, they are advanced to candidacy.  At this time they select a dissertation committee, outline a dissertation proposal and schedule their first dissertation committee meeting.

Students must meet with their dissertation committee at least once per year.