PhD in Biological Engineering

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GENERAL INFORMATION

Admission to the PhD Program in Biological Engineering will be made based on a recommendation by the graduate admission committee. The plan of study for each student will be developed in consultation with and approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee. The committee will include the student’s major advisor and at least two additional members of the graduate faculty such that the LSU Graduate School’s requirements for graduate committees are satisfied. Forty-two credit hours of non-research course work beyond the BS, with the following provisions:

  • At least half credit hours at 7000 level or above
  • At least half credit hours in the College of Engineering
  • At least one (3 credit hours) advanced math or statistics course at 4000 or 7000 level
  • At least 12 credit hours in Biological Engineering
  • No more than six credits of BE7909
  • One credit hour of BE7500

Students with a MS degree in Biological Engineering or a related field can transfer up to 21 credit hours of non-research coursework with approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

PhD students from other departments who choose BAE as a minor should be expected to take at least 12 hours of BE graduate credits to satisfy their requirements for a minor. The specific courses, which can include independent study, will be determined by the student's minor professor.

Each PhD student complete a milestone examination within 12 months of admission to the BE PhD program. This examination serves as the student’s qualifying exam for continuing in the PhD program. The exam consists of two parts: A report summarizing the student’s research proposal to be submitted to the committee two weeks prior to the exam date and a presentation of the research proposal to the advisory committee.

At or near the end of the completion of a PhD student’s required course work, the student should schedule the general examination. The general examination consists of two parts: one written, the other oral. The written portion is at the discretion of the committee. The oral portion will include an update on the research progress, although the oral examination need not be limited to topics related to the student’s PhD research. Upon successful completion of the general examination, the PhD candidate moves forward with the dissertation to demonstrate the ability to design and conduct independent and original research. The final examination will be an oral examination primarily concerned with the dissertation, although the committee may opt to extend the questions to the general subject matter.

PH.D. PROGRAM OF STUDY

According to the graduate school, a student is eligible to work toward a doctoral degree beginning with the semester in which they are formally admitted into a doctoral program. During the first 6-months of enrollment, a PhD student should meet with their major professor and determine a future program of study for completing the PhD. The importance of this activity establishes a guide for students to follow for completing work needed to obtain the PhD. The student should first prepare a working draft of the program of study. As a courtesy to the student’s committee members, course titles and numbers should be listed. Then, the student, together with their major professor, should select the committee members who will review the proposed program of study. The student should provide copies of the draft program of study to the committee members. The committee may approve, amend, or not approve the program of studies. If the proposed program is not approved, the major professor will assume responsibility for ensuring that the revised version is distributed among committee members for their approval. A copy of the approved program of study will be filed in the in the student’s folder in the BAE academic secretary’s office. The student’s departmental-level academic course plan is subject to graduate school policy and departmental requirements.

QUALIFYING EXAMINATION

All PhD students must complete a milestone examination within 12 months of admission to the BE PhD program. This examination serves as the student’s qualifying exam for continuing in the PhD program. The exam consists of two parts: A report summarizing the student’s research proposal to be submitted to the committee two weeks prior to the exam date and a presentation of the research proposal to the advisory committee. The student’s advisory committee will evaluate the written research proposal and the presentation and recommend that the student continue in the PhD program or be transferred to a MS BAE program. Committee members must sign the qualifying examination report form when they agree that the student has satisfactorily completed the requirements for the exam. The signed form should be kept in the student’s file folder in the BAE academic secretary’s office. The major professor and student should also keep a copy of the signed form.

GENERAL EXAMINATION

At or near the end of the completion of a PhD student's required coursework, the student should schedule the general examination. In the BAE Department, this exam is conducted by the student’s advisory committee, which is selected at the time of applying to the graduate school to take the general examination. In addition to the student’s advisory committee, a representative of the graduate school dean will be appointed to serve as a committee member for the general examination. This representative will continue to serve on the student’s committee through the final examination. A request for the general examination must be submitted to the graduate school by the student’s department chair at least three weeks prior to the proposed examination date. Any changes to the committee must be approved in advance by the dean of the graduate school.

The general examination consists of two parts: one written, the other oral. The written portion will be administered in a form decided on by the advisory committee. The oral portion includes an overview of the written exam as well as an update on research progress to date.

The oral examination will involve the advisory committee plus the dean's representative, who will have a vote. There is no prescribed format or length of time required for this examination. The student presents the outcomes of the written general examination, and presents an up-to-date report on research progress. To pass the general examination, the student must receive no more than one dissenting vote from the examination committee. All votes of the examining committee must be recorded and signed on the examination report cards provided by the graduate school. These cards should be given to the BAE academic secretary who will forward them to the Graduate School. If the student fails the general examination, the advisory committee will attach a memorandum to the report card specifying if the student will be allowed to retake the exam and any time constraints. Further, the advisory committee will determine the appropriate steps to be followed by the student with regard to continuing in the PhD program. A written report of these steps should be completed with copies given to the committee members, the student, and filed in the student’s folder in the BAE Department.

THE FINAL EXAMINATION

The final examination can be scheduled no earlier than one academic year after the student passes the general examination. One academic year in this case, according to the Graduate Bulletin, is the interval between a general examination held early in one term and a final examination held toward the close of the following term. The final examination may not be scheduled between semesters or when the university is not officially open for business. A request for the final examination must be submitted to the Graduate School on the appropriate Graduate School form at least three weeks prior to the proposed examination date, which must be on or before the published deadline for the current semester deadline (see Academic Calendar for each individual semester deadline). In no case should this request be submitted less than five weeks prior to the final date for submitting approved dissertations and final examination reports to the Graduate School. The examination committee, including the Dean's Representative, must have copies of the dissertation at least two weeks prior to the date of the final examination. The examination committee will determine whether the student should provide paper or electronic copies of the dissertation prior to the dissertation defense.

The final examination will be an oral examination primarily concerned with the dissertation, although the committee may opt to extend the subject matter. There is no prescribed format or length of time required for this examination. The major professor and committee members will be responsible for establishing the format and content of this examination. Dissertation defenses are open meetings for all members of the BAE Department and all faculty members and fellow students are strongly encouraged to attend.

To pass the final examination, the student must receive no more than one dissenting vote from the examining committee. All votes must be recorded on the examination report cards provided by the graduate school. Committee members who approve the dissertation should also sign the dissertation approval page. The signed examination report cards and dissertation title pages should be completed and presented to the BAE Department academic secretary, who will forward them to the graduate school. Students are not permitted to handle the report cards; that is the responsibility of the student’s chair. However, it is the student’s responsibility to handle the approval pages. If the student fails the final examination, the advisory committee will attach a memorandum describing the report card, specifying if the student will be allowed to retake the exam and any time constraints. Further, the advisory committee will determine the appropriate steps to be followed by the student with regard to continuing in the PhD program. A written report of these steps should be completed with copies given to the committee members, the student, and filed in the student’s folder in the BAE Department academic secretary’s office.

 

Cristina M. Sabliov, Ph.D., P.E., Graduate Coordinator

Richard R. & Betty S. Fenton Alumni Professor

CSabliov@agcenter.lsu.edu

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