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PhD in Toxicology

Graduation Requirements and Process

The following are specific rules approved by the graduate faculty of the School of Pharmacy for graduate studies leading to doctor of philosophy degree in toxicology. All other requirements for these degrees will follow the guidelines of the Graduate School, which can be found in the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School Graduate Student Handbook. (A copy of this handbook is included in the Toxicology Graduate Student Handbook.) The student carries the major responsibility of meeting the rules of the School of Pharmacy and the Graduate School. Failure to meet the following rules and guidelines may result in delay of graduation. ​​

For questions regarding graduate school programs contact:

Jackie Milowski - 303-724-7263,​​​

 Student Progress Reviews

All students should meet frequently with their advisory committees and keep the chair of their temporary/permanent advisory committee apprised of all aspects of their progress. A form, provided by the director of the toxicology graduate program which summarizes student progress and future objectives, will be completed by the chair of the advisory committee. This completed form, once approved by the committee, should be submitted to the director of the toxicology graduate program following each advisory committee meeting.​​


 Student Committees

Temporary Advisory Committees

Members of the temporary advisory committee for new students will serve for one year. Each committee will consist of at least two full-time faculty of the toxicology graduate program; the faculty member offering the student's first research rotation and the director of the toxicology graduate program.

Permanent Advisory Committees

Students will choose the chair of their permanent advisory committee, subsequent to the successful completion of the preliminary examination. The student, together with the advisor, will choose other members from the faculty of the school and one from outside the school.

Permanent advisory committees must consist of five faculty members. The chairman of this committee cannot be the student's advisor. The permanent advisory committee will fill vacancies as they arise or make replacements when necessary, with consideration given to student/advisor recommendations.

Thesis committees shall evaluate the student’s progress to ensure that s/he has made satisfactory progress since the previous meeting. Upon calling the meeting to order, the Committee Chair will ask the student to leave the room to obtain feedback from the advisor regarding student progress. Upon completion, the student will be asked to return to the room and the thesis advisor will leave the room to obtain private feedback from the student regarding issues that might exist in terms of interactions with the advisor. It is also the responsibility of the committee chair to complete an on-line evaluation form summarizing the student’s progress. In case of a non-satisfactory performance, steps required to rectify the situation should be suggested in the report.​​


 Doctor of Philosophy

In order to graduate, a student must satisfactorily complete the requirements described in A through H below, as well as adhere to all requirements of the UCD Graduate School as defined in the Graduate Student Handbook.

A. Coursework and General Requirements

A program of study with required core courses will be designed by the chair of the temporary/permanent advisory committee to accommodate the student's long-range goals, possible undergraduate deficiencies, immediate research interests and the requirements of the Graduate School. A minimum of 30 semester (45 quarter) hours of courses numbered 5000 or above is required for the degree.

B. Research Rotations

Each student will be required to have two research rotations during the first academic year in toxicology laboratories able to accommodate students. For academic year 2005-06, the first will be from September 12 to December 31 and the second from January 17 to May 19. A third rotation will be possible, if necessary during the summer of the first year. The student will meet with the toxicology graduate faculty member at the beginning of the rotation for an explanation of the goals and expectations of a student in the laboratory. The student will become familiar with the research models, approaches, and methods utilized in the lab through interactions with other laboratory personnel and from laboratory manuscripts. The student is expected to spend at least 15 hours per week in the laboratory.

C. Seminars

All students enrolled in the program must satisfactorily complete at least one research seminar per year. This will be either on the research day of the toxicology program (every December), during the annual departmental retreat (every June), during the Mountain West SOT regional meeting (every fall), or during a national scientific meeting. Satisfactory seminar performance will be evaluated by the faculty in attendance. First year students will be required to present a 30 minute seminar for each completed research rotation. These seminars will be scheduled no later than 45 days following the completion of the rotation, by the director of the toxicology graduate program. In addition to the research seminar, students are required to complete a seminar on the toxicology journal club, which is part of the TXCL 7325 "Current Topics in Toxicology Research." The student and course coordinator will choose the subject of this seminar. The presentation should review a topic likely to be of interest to the faculty and students in the toxicology program. Students are required to attend all seminars scheduled by the Toxicology Program and participate in the journal club "Topics in Toxicology." Failure to participate in seminars can be grounds for disciplinary action, such as a letter of reprimand or loss of stipend.

D. Preliminary Examination

Each student will be required to undergo a preliminary examination during the summer of his or her first year in the program. The preliminary examinations will consist of a two-day written examination composed of six questions representing three general areas of toxicology and will be used as a primary indicator of the student's ability to complete a PhD level course of study. The questions will be structured to assess the student's general and integrated knowledge in basic toxicology.

Either open- or closed book questions can be set, and normally questions are at least sufficient to occupy a three-hour examination period. Faculty may give guidance to the student regarding the broad subject areas to be covered and the type of questions (open- or closed-book) to be set. Each day will be devoted to answering three questions submitted by the toxicology graduate program faculty.

Faculty members submitting questions will provide an indication of the general areas of examination associated with his or her question at least a month prior to the examination date. The program director will have primary responsibility to select the questions. At the conclusion of the examination, the faculty member composing the question will grade each question. Each question will be graded using a scale of 1 to 10 with a numerical grade of 7 or above representing an acceptable score. The possible outcomes are pass or fail.

Should a grade of failing be given, the student must retake those portions of the examination that were identified as being deficient. Students will be allowed to retake the examination only once.

E. Comprehensive Examination

A comprehensive examination, which will serve as the formal test for admission to candidacy for the PhD program, will be administered after completion of 45-quarter hours of graduate credit and within six months before the end of the second year. Accordingly, the student should complete this examination within two and one-half years after entering the program. The comprehensive examination requires assembly of the student's permanent committee.

The committee must consist of the thesis advisor and at least four additional faculty members, all of who must be members of the UCD Graduate faculty. Consistent with the rules of the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School, one of the committee members must be from outside of the degree-granting program. The examination will be based on two mini research proposals that the student will have to write and defend to the advisory committee.

One of the proposals will be on the thesis project of the student and the second on a subject unrelated to the student's project. Following completion of the written segment, the student will present and defend the thesis proposal to the advisory committee within two weeks after the completion of the written segment. The possible outcomes are pass, pass with conditions or fail. All other procedures and rules published by the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School pertaining to comprehensive examinations will apply.

F. Thesis Proposal

A thesis progress report should be submitted to the permanent committee once a year. The report should reflect the work accomplished to date and provide a reasonable indication that the thesis will be completed in the expected time frame. Once the progress report is submitted, the committee will meet with the student to discuss the status of the work and to evaluate the student's understanding of the research area. This will allow the committee to reach consensus on what experimental work will be required before writing of the dissertation can commence.

The annual advisory committee meeting must be completed by June 30 of each academic year. Students unable to meet this requirement will be unable to register and continue the program.

G. Thesis Research

All PhD candidates will be required to satisfactorily complete a research thesis. This work should be of sufficient scope and quality to result in a significant contribution to the literature. Students must successfully complete a minimum of 30 semester (45 quarter) hours of thesis. See the rules of the Graduate School describing time restrictions for submitting the finished thesis. A final copy of the thesis must be submitted to the student's permanent advisory committee at least two weeks prior to the final exam.

H. Final Examinatione

After the thesis has been accepted, the permanent advisory committee will conduct a final examination of the thesis and related topics.​​


 Stipend, Insurance, Tuition and Fees

Although a priority of the School of Pharmacy is to provide financial support to its graduate students, stipend, tuition and fees for graduate studies in the School of Pharmacy are the sole responsibility of the student. Payment of stipend, tuition and any fees by the School of Pharmacy or by grants, contracts or gifts to the School of Pharmacy Faculty is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress (as defined by the UCD Graduate School, Graduate Student Handbook) and completion of required core courses, seminars, research rotations and examinations.

The School of Pharmacy also reserves the right to review and adjust its funding policies at any time. Stipends are awarded on a 12-month basis. All students are expected to work toward program requirements for 12 months of the year.​​


 Probationary Status and Suspension

Continuation in the pharmaceutical sciences graduate program is dependent upon satisfactory academic progress as defined by:

  • Timely and satisfactory completion of pharmaceutical sciences graduate program requirements (A-H above).
  • Adherence to all policies, rules and regulation of the UCD Graduate School (see UCD Graduate School, Graduate Student Handbook).

Students who do not remain in good graduate standing (3.0 GPA or above) or maintain satisfactory academic progress are placed on academic probation. Probation and suspension policies are described in the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School Graduate Student Handbook.

Payment of stipend, tuition, insurance and fees for a student while on academic probation is at the discretion of the graduate program committee.​​​​


 Disclaimer for Student Handbook

This handbook, which includes parts of the Graduate School Rules, does not constitute a contract with the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School, either expressed or implied.

The Graduate School reserves the right at any time to change, delete, or add to any of the provisions at its sole discretion. Furthermore, the provisions of this document are designed by the Graduate School to serve as firm guidelines rather than absolute rules, and exceptions may be made on the basis of extenuating circumstances.​​


 Mentor Evaluation

Please use the Mentor Evaluation Form to assess faculty mentors.​​​