Combined DVM/PhD Degree Program

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Components of the Curriculum

The vision of the Combined Degree DVM/PhD Program is to have a cohesive integration of research and veterinary medicine.  In order to achieve this, it is imperative that Combined Degree students have a balanced passion and capacity for both. Our academic objective is bold: we seek to integrate the most rigorous basic scientific and clinical training so that our graduates will be at the forefront of biomedical science and the veterinary profession.

Students will enroll initially in the DVM curriculum and will complete at least 1.5 years of courses in that curriculum. Students are expected to pursue research laboratory rotations during the summer prior to entering the program and during the summer following the first year of the DVM curriculum. After completing three laboratory rotations, students will be able to select a research mentor and laboratory shortly after entering the PhD portion of the program. Once enrolled as a graduate student, the student will take their PhD qualifying exam (A-exam) and complete the PhD degree (B-exam) before returning to the final two years of the DVM curriculum. The curriculum is structured as a 1.5+3+2.5 year program, but because a PhD degree is results-based, rather than time-based, the period of time to its completion may vary.

The foundation of the Combined DVM/PhD Degree Program lies in the strength and scope of the educational opportunities it provides. There are five components of the curriculum:

1. Laboratory Rotations
Trainees are required to rotate through at least three research laboratories. The purpose of the rotations is to enable each student to assess a variety of training opportunities before he or she designates a Special Committee Chair. The Chair may be a faculty member either of the College of Veterinary Medicine or another college, but must be a member of the Cornell Graduate School faculty. Although the time spent in each laboratory may vary, it is expected that each rotation will be a meaningful experience. When selecting rotation laboratories, students are strongly encouraged to review faculty web sites, read publications result from the faculty member's research, meet with current graduate students in the laboratory and find out about the resources available to conduct research within the laboratory and the department of record. Each student and faculty mentor is required to complete an evaluation form at the end of each rotation. Completed forms should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Education. You may find the form here - Rotation Evaluation Form

2. Graduate Courses
All first year graduate students take BioAP6100 -By Experimental Design; survival skills for graduate students, and an ethics course. Additional graduate courses will be taken before the A-exam. These courses will be selected to meet the requirements from the graduate field and from the student graduate committee. Information about courses can be found in the Courses of Study catalog.

3. DVM Program degree requirements

4. Clinical Rotations & Pathways

5. PhD Degree Requirements and Dissertation

Registration Units - One registration unit (RU) corresponds to the satisfactory completion of one academic semester of full-time study and research. Six registration units are the minimum requirement for the PhD degree; two of these must be earned after the A-exam.

Examinations
Examination for Admission to PhD Candidacy ("A-Exam") - A student is admitted to doctoral candidacy after passing a comprehensive examination administered by his or her special committee. This examination is either oral or written and oral, as determined by the special committee. The passing of this examination certifies that the student is eligible to present a dissertation to the graduate faculty. The A Exam may be taken after two registration units have been accumulated in a PhD degree program.

Final Examination for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree ("B-Exam") - A doctoral candidate takes the final examination upon completion of all requirements for the degree but no earlier than one month before completion of the minimum registration unit requirement. A minimum of two registration units must be earned between passing the A-exam and scheduling the B-exam. This oral exam covers the general subject of the dissertation.

Dissertation - PhD degree students must present a dissertation - including an abstract not to exceed 350 words, signed by the special committee chair, acceptable in scholarship and literary quality. Acceptance of the thesis or dissertation requires the approval of all the special committee members. Ordinarily, the thesis or dissertation is written in the student's major subject of study and under the direction of the chair of the special committee. With the approval of the committee, a student may elect to write the thesis or dissertation under the direction of the representative of a minor subject.