Pharmaceutics Comprehensive Exam

Revised 6/15/2010

The Pharmaceutics Comprehensive Examination has two parts.  A research proposal will be written and defended orally to the research advisory committee and the program faculty.

  1. Research Proposal
    The research proposal may or may not be the dissertation research of the student.  The student must have approval of their advisor and the program director to begin writing the proposal.  The student will independently write the research proposal without help from others (except as noted below), but prior discussions with their advisor and advisory committee are expected.  The research proposal must be reviewed and approved by the advisor.  The research proposal is submitted and defended within six months of completing the last required course.    The proposal must be submitted to the respective faculty at least 14 days in advance of the oral presentation.  The research proposal is to have an NIH format of no more than 10 pages (not including references).
  2. Presentation and Oral Examination
    The student will make a 20 – 30 minute oral presentation of the proposal, defend the proposal, and answer questions that arise which may or may not be directly related to the proposal.  There must be at least four voting program faculty (including those on the advisory committee) and a majority of the advisory committee present at the oral exam.  Program faculty not on the advisory committee must have the PhD degree to vote.  All members of the advisory committee are eligible to vote.


The evaluation at the end of the oral exam will cover all components, i.e., the written proposal, oral defense, answers to questions, etc.  The evaluation will be based on (1) originality, (2) knowledge and understanding of underlying theoretical considerations, (3) extent and understanding of the literature review, (4) clarity of expression and organization, (5) logic and feasibility of the proposed experimental approach and (6) competency in expressing and defending ideas and answering questions during the oral presentation.  A 2/3 affirmative vote of those present is required for the student to pass the comprehensive exam.


The outcomes and resulting actions are the following.

  • Pass
  • Not pass with remedial work required and subsequent retake

The research advisor will explain any needed remedial work to the student which may include rewriting portions, or all, of the research proposal, as well as reviewing or learning certain concepts.  The revised proposal (if needed) and the retake oral presentation and exam must be completed within one year of the original exam.  There will be only one retake exam.  If the retake is not passed the student will be dropped from the PhD degree track but have the opportunity to complete a terminal MS degree.

These revisions take place immediately and apply to any exams or retakes after this date.