PhD Degree Requirements

The following is an outline of steps towards completing a PhD. Students are encouraged to discuss progress with their faculty advisor, advisory committee, Program Coordinator or Program Director.

Advisory and Certification Committee

Your advisory and certification committee will consist of the following 4 tenure or tenure-track faculty members from UW-Madison, and 1 additional member who may be either tenure track or Academic Staff. The Advisory Committee Form should contain all committee members and returned to the ERP Program Coordinator.

A. Major professor
B. Two UW-Madison faculty named by student and major professor
C. Two UW-Madison faculty approved by Program Director
D. Additional members (optional)

Degree Certification

The appointment of Advisory and Certification Committees should occur within the first year following admission, consisting of the adviser, two faculty selected in consultation with the adviser, and two faculty approved by the Program Director. Candidates will be expected to have knowledge of Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology. Additional consideration during the certification meeting should be given to cover those aspects of the peripheral fields of genetics, experimental design, statistics, developmental anatomy, histology and cytology that are important for:

1. understanding physiological mechanisms
2. developing hypotheses and experimental designs
3. analysis and interpretation of research data in the fields of endocrinology and reproductive physiology

Course Requirements

A doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison requires at least 51 graduate level credits (300 level or above) taken as a graduate student. Pass/ fail courses do not count toward the degree.

The ERP Program offers a tremendous amount of flexibility to design a curriculum that meets the needs of individual students. All Ph.D. students must fulfill the requirements in sections A-I. Courses in sections F- I are selected in consultation with your major professor and certification committee.

Core Courses

A. 3-4 credits of Statistics
Statistics 571 (4 cr.) or Statistics 541 (3 cr.)
B. 3 credits of Endocrinology
Endocrine Physiology, Animal Sciences 875 (3 cr.)
C. 9 credits in Biochemistry
Biochemistry 507 & 508 (6 cr.), and Biochemistry 630 (3 cr.) or Neuroscience 610 (3 cr.)
D. Professional Development
Obstetrics and Gynecology 955 (2 cr.) – taken in the first year
Obstetrics and Gynecology 956 (1 cr.) – taken as a dissertator
E. ERP Program Seminar
Animal Sciences 954 / OBGYN 954 / or Zoology 954) semester (fall and spring)

Additional Course Requirements

F. Advanced Biochemistry or Cell Biology (Complete at least one course)
G. Advanced Endocrinology or Advanced Reproduction (Complete at least one course)
— Reproductive Patterns
— Pregnancy, Parturition, and Lactation
— Selected Topics in Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology
H. Advanced Statistics
I. Other – per Certification Committee

The student’s advisor and thesis/advisory committee are responsible for determining what courses will fulfill the advanced course requirements in sections F through I. Consult the Graduate School Catalog and Timetable for course descriptions and availability.

Requesting the Preliminary Exam Warrant

Contact the Program Coordinator at room 1022 McArdle Cancer Research Building to request a preliminary warrant.  Be prepared to provide the date of the exam and to verify the members on your committee. Allow at least three weeks for the Graduate School to process this request.

The Preliminary Exam Process

Preliminary examinations are conducted after course work is complete. The examination evaluates the student’s general knowledge, understanding of Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology, and understanding of his/her research topic as well as the feasibility of the experimental design for the student to achieve degree completion in a reasonable amount of time.

Preliminary Exam Guidelines

Original Research and Thesis Preparation

The Graduate School will provide you with information on preparing your dissertation. This is the culmination of your research work as a Ph.D. student in the ERP Program. You are responsible for giving your thesis committee at least four full weeks to review your dissertation before the final oral exam. This document must in good final draft format and printed copies (black and white double sided copies are acceptable) must be given to each committee member.

See also: UW-Madison Guide To Preparing Your Doctoral Dissertation

Final Seminar

Presentation of original research at Animal Science/Zoology Seminar 954.  This is usually done during the final semester of enrollment. Note that the final graded seminar and the defense seminar do not need to be the same event.

Final Oral Examination Warrant

As soon as you have a complete draft of your thesis, you will need to get your advisor’s approval on the Defense Warrant Request Form and provide the ERP Office with both the signed form and a PDF copy of your document for our file. Completion of this step will tell us that you and your advisor believe your defense is ready to take place after the four week period of time for your committee members to review your thesis and your final oral exam warrant will be requested from the Graduate School.

See also Thesis Defense in Program Documents.

Thesis Defense and Oral Examination
(You are almost done!)

Final defense of the thesis is arranged by the student, major professor and committee after all degree requirements have been met (including final seminar). The student is responsible for the logistics of reserving a meeting room and equipment usage.

The thesis document must be given to the committee members at least four full weeks prior to the defense and in final submission format. Minor changes can be made during the four week period, however significant revisions will be cause to reschedule the exam.

The student will present his/her research to the panel as well as answer questions from them. Typically the exam is at least two hours in length. It is not unusual for corrections to be made to the thesis prior to submission. Each committee will be required to complete the Thesis Committee Review Form at the time of defense indicating which corrections are required and which corrections are advisory.

After passing your oral defense, determine whether you will be depositing electronically or in-person and plan accordingly.

If you are requesting certification of your degree from the Registrar’s Office, the grade(s) for the semester in which you are depositing your dissertation (and all other outstanding grades) must be reported to the Graduate School and the Registrar before or by the time of your final review. Check your grade record on MY UW to verify all grades have been reported.

The following materials must be brought with you to the final review appointment:

  • Warrant. Your committee must be identical to the one approved on the Ph.D. Final Oral Committee Approval Form.
  • Survey of Earned Doctorates.
  • Proquest Abstract Form.
  • Three (3) extra copies of the Title Page. The title on one of these three copies is to have all equations, formulae, chemical symbols, and the like translated into words (for example, instead of H2O, use water instead).
  • Committee’s Page (do not hand write this form except for signatures).
  • Complete unbound dissertation on high quality, white, 20 pound weight paper.

Graduation – Congratulations, you have made it!

Graduation ceremonies are held each December and May. If you complete your degree during the summer session, you are welcome to attend either ceremony. Detailed information about the ceremony is available from the Secretary of the Faculty. Cap and gown orders are placed through the UW Bookstore.

Diplomas are mailed to your permanent home address on file 12 weeks after the degree date. Verify and update your mailing address through MY UW. If you do not attend the ceremony you may pick up your diploma cover at 21 N. PARK ST, SUITE 7223. There is no charge for diplomas mailed in the US. Students with international addresses need to go to 21 N. PARK ST, SUITE 7223 to pay the airmail rate prior to leaving campus.