Policies and Guidelines

As you progress in your degree you will complete many milestones along the way that will require preparation, filing of documents with the Office of Graduate Studies, and checking in with both your mentor/PI and your GGIP academic advisor.

Below you will find some of those milestones outlined and the corresponding documents needed.

Mentoring and Professional Development

Each student is assigned a GGIP Graduate Advisor to help select rotation labs (if applicable), find elective courses, track academic progress, and provide general advice about surviving and thriving in graduate school. Your Graduate Advisor will sign your QE and Candidacy paperwork.

Your mentor, also referred to as your PI and your Major Professor, will guide you throughout the curriculum and into your research project and be your primary faculty resource. They will act as the chair of your dissertation project and committee. 

GGIP follows the mentoring guidelines established by Graduate Council and the Graduate Student Association. There are many mentoring resources for faculty and students available on the Graduate Studies website. 

We strongly encourage you to take advantage of the professional development resources offered by Graduate Studies and the Internship and Career Center. Talk with your mentor about an Individual Development Plan, networking, the importance of publishing, and conferences. Investigate the FUTURE program - career exploration for biomedical scientists. It's never too early to plan for life after graduate school!

Qualifying Exam

Most students take their qualifying exam (QE) spring quarter of their second year. Students must complete all core requirements to be eligible to take the qualifying exam. Once you have met the qualifications to take the exam you will need to form your committee. QE guidelines can be found here.

The QE committee is comprised of a minimum of four faculty members, though a fifth member can be included if deemed necessary. Committee composition must be in accordance with Graduate Council policies and GGIP degree requirements. The majority of members shall be GGIP faculty. (You should plan on meeting and talking with each member of your committee several times prior to the actual QE.

Once you have selected a committee and find a date that works for all members, you will need to file the Qualifying Examination Application with Graduate Studies.  When the form has been approved you and your committee chair will be notified by Graduate Studies.

Be sure to book a room for the exam. For rooms on the UC Davis campus,  Erin Kent can help book the room. For rooms at the UC Davis Med Center, you will need to work with your mentor's department to find a room.

In the weeks preceding your exam we suggest practicing with your classmates, laboratory members and mentor. Erin Kent can reserve you a conference room and help you notify the students.

The Student Executive Committee hosts a QE seminar in the Spring each year where they discuss committee selection, how to fill out the forms, and give exam strategies and tips.

Advancing to Candidacy

Ph.D. – Once you have successfully passed your QE you are ready to advance to candidacy. Integrative Pathobiology is a Ph.D. Plan B – you can find the form on Graduate Studies website under forms. Take the completed form to the Cashiers office and pay the Candidacy Fee; they will stamp the form as paid. Take the stamped form to Graduate Studies for processing.

MS – Once you have completed all required course work you are ready to advance to candidacy. Integrative Pathobiology is a Thesis Plan I – you can find the form on Graduate Studies website under forms. Take the completed form to the Cashiers office and pay the Candidacy Fee; they will stamp the form as paid. Take the stamped form to Graduate Studies for processing.

Exit Seminar

It is a requirement of the Graduate Group in Integrative Pathobiology that all students hold an exit seminar before their thesis or dissertation is signed off on by their committee. The exit seminar is a formal public presentation of your research before the GGIP faculty and students.

The exit seminar must be held on either the Davis or Sacramento campus and all committee members, as well as the Group faculty and students, must be invited. Once you have set a date and time, provide an announcement flier to Erin Kent who will send it out. Erin can assist with room reservations for the Davis campus.

Submitting your Thesis or Dissertation

When you are ready to submit your final thesis and/or dissertation you will do so through Graduate Studies.

You will find very helpful check lists, formatting guides, and how to prepare for your final meeting in Graduate Studies for both the Masters and Ph.D. on the Graduate Studies website.

Changing Degree Objectives: M.S. to Ph.D

To maintain the high standards set by our Ph.D. program, we developed the internal policy (2020) below to allow us to review requests fairly and equitably. Requests will only be considered under special circumstances. It is not a general GGIP practice to allow students to switch between the M.S. and Ph.D. programs, as both the student and faculty commit at the time of M.S. admission.

Students wishing to switch degree objectives (M.S. to Ph.D.) must submit the below-outlined application materials to Diana Bond by January 15th every year,  so that they may be considered alongside the prospective applicant pool. A final decision regarding first-year M.S. students will not be made until the end of the Spring quarter of year one when most of the core coursework has been completed. Students can apply for a change of degree objectives (M.S. to Ph.D.) in years 1 – 3. The committee will only review one petition for change of degree objectives, so we encourage you to apply when you have the strongest application. That said, you may petition a final time once you have a draft of your MS thesis.  

The admissions committee reviews applications holistically, meaning that they take into consideration the following factors:

  • Academic Preparation 
    GPA: Undergraduate and Graduate 
  • Major Professor Letter 
    This should explicitly state a commitment to mentoring the student and to providing financial support for the student’s stipend, fees and research project costs for the duration of the student’s PhD.
  • Research Experience
    Can articulate previous/current research experiences
  • Contributions to Diversity and/or Society
  • Non-Cognitive Attributes
    Positive self-concepts, professional maturity, preference for long range goals, understands what earning a Ph.D. entails, and the types of careers Ph.D. degree holders can pursue.

The committee would also like to know: What will you achieve with a Ph.D. that you could not achieve with a M.S.? What is your motivation for moving from a M.S. degree to a Ph.D. degree?

If approved, a successful transfer from M.S. to Ph.D. would occur in the summer,  as long as the student's spring quarter grades are satisfactory (3.0 GPA).

Application materials:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Personal History and Diversity Statement
  • Major Professor Letter
  • Publications and AWARDS
  • CV
  • 3 LORs (new or from MS Application)
  • Transcripts – UG and current UCD Grad

Submit application materials to Box here