METX Ph.D. Program Requirements

Carolina Reyes was awarded her Ph.D. in 2011—and a Fulbright Fellowship for her postdoctoral position in Germany.

The requirements for the METX Ph.D. degree are described below. (updated October 2014)
Coursework

Required core courses (2):

  • METX 200, Interdisciplinary Approaches to Environmental Toxicology
  • METX 205, Scientific Skills, Ethics, and Writing

Two courses from the following:

  • METX 201, Sources and Fates of Pollutants
  • METX 202, Cell and Molecular Toxicology
  • METX 206A, Advanced Microbiology
  • METX 210, Molecular and Cellular Basis of Bacterial Pathogenesis
  • METX 250, Environmental Microbiology
  • METX 270, Drug Action and Development

At least one additional approved graduate-level METX course or from another department.

Any additional courses as recommended by your first year Advising Committee.

Each quarter, students must enroll in at least the following: Introductory Graduate Seminar (METX 292), Independent Study (METX 297), and a topical seminar (METX 281).

Literature Review

Students write a literature review of the current state of the field of the proposed dissertation research, under direction of the student’s advisor. This written review will be submitted to the student’s advisor no later than the first day of fall quarter of the students second year.

Departmental Seminars

Students present a 20 minute departmental seminar each academic year, except during their third year when they present a 50 minute seminar.

Teaching Requirements

Doctoral students are required to work as teaching assistants for at least one quarter. Priority for TA positions is given to first year doctoral students, then to current doctoral students who have not yet worked as a teaching assistant.

Qualifying Examinations

QE I: Part I of the Qualifying Examination (QE I) consists of an oral defense of an original experimental research proposal, as well as demonstration of knowledge pertinent to the proposal and material presented in the core courses taken by the student.

  • Current students, please see the Faculty Graduate Representative for a detailed description of the proposal and timing of submission.
  • This exam is taken no later than Spring quarter in the second year (dates set by department).
  • For the QEI, the student writes and defends a research proposal on a topic different from his/her dissertation research.
  • The topic is chosen in consultation with the student’s QEI Committee (composition described below); for this effort, the student provides a short, one paragraph summary of the proposed outside topic and submits it to the committee chair for final approval two months before the planned exam date.
  • After approval by the committee, the student writes a 3 page (single-spaced) proposal. The final proposal should be submitted to the QEI committee at least 2 weeks before an oral defense of the proposal. Current students, please see the Faculty Graduate Representative for a detailed description of the proposal and timing of submission.
  • After submitting your written proposals, you will be orally examined by the examination committee (see below). The oral exam will be no more than three hours.
  • There is a standard Rubric used for evaluating the student's performance. It includes expectations based on departmental Program Learning Outcomes as well as an opportunity for the committee to comment on the student's performance and give recommendations. This evaluation becomes part of the student's file. Rubrics can be found at the end of the handbook and in the METX Google Drive.

The QEI Committee consists of three members that will be chosen by the faculty. At least two must be METX faculty and the third can come from any department (including METX). The student’s supervisor does not serve on this committee or assist the student with this exam, but s/he can be consulted regarding the composition of the committee. Students may petition for a change of committee members, but the final decision will rest with the faculty.

QEII: Part II of the Qualifying Examination (QE II) includes presentation and defense of the student's dissertation research proposal.

  • Current students, please see the Faculty Graduate Representative for a detailed description of the proposal and timing of submission.
  • This exam should be taken during Fall quarter of the third year.
  • The student submits a dissertation research proposal to his/her QE II Committee (see below) at least 2 weeks before an oral defense of the proposal. This proposal should be no more than 3 pages long plus one page of figures/tables.
  • After submitting your written proposals, you will be orally examined by the examination committee (see below). The format is a chalk talk, but you may refer to the figures in your written proposal. The oral exam will be no more than three hours.
  • As with the QE I, there is a standard Rubric used for evaluation the student's performance. It includes expectations based on departmental Program Learning Outcomes as well as an opportunity for the committee to comment on the student's performance and give recommendations. This evaulation becomes part of the student's file. Rubrics can be found at the end of the handbook and in the METX Google Drive.

In addition to the written proposal and oral defense, the student must give a 50 minute seminar to the department during the Fall quarter of their third year on his/her thesis topic.

The QE II Committee is selected by the student in consultation with his/her research advisor before Fall quarter of the third year. The QE II Committee is made up of four members, of which at least two members must be from the METX faculty and one member must be from outside of the department. The chair of the QE II committee must be a tenured faculty member. The outside member should be a tenured faculty member from a different department at UCSC, another UC campus, or another institution (either University, State or Federal Agency). The student's advisor is on this committee.  This committee must be approved by Graduate Division by completion of this form. Be sure to submit this form to the Graduate Division staff at least one month before your anticipated exam date.

The Oral Defenses for QEI and QEII

After submitting your written proposals, you will be orally examined by the examination committee. These exams are given as chalk talks, PowerPoint is not allowed. You should plan how you will lay out your experiments on the board, to give an organized presentation. Be prepared to present your proposed studies; discuss the rationale behind your experimental choices; discuss possible data outcomes, interpretations and alternatives; provide follow up experiments to each outcomes; discuss the significance of your research question. 

Advancement to Candidacy

The student advances to candidacy after completing all coursework, completing the literature review, giving a Third Year Seminar, and passing the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination Parts I and II, and forming a Dissertation Reading Committee. If all these milestones have been met, the student will be officially advanced the quarter after the QE II is passed.

Dissertation Committee (Thesis Committee)

After passing the QE II, the student forms a Dissertation Reading Committee in consultation with her/his research advisor. The Dissertation Reading Committee consists of at least three members, including two METX faculty (including the student’s advisor), and at least one member from a different department at UCSC, another UC campus, or another institution. Typically this committee contains the same members as are on the QE II Committee, although only three members are required. The committee is approved by Graduate Division by completion of this form. The student is expected to meet with their Dissertation Reading Committee at least once per year to inform them of his/her progress toward their Ph.D. The Dissertation Reading Committee remains standing until the student has completed all requirements for the doctoral degree.

Dissertation Defense

The student must submit their doctoral dissertation to the Dissertation Reading Committee for tentative approval at least one month before presenting a formal, public doctoral research seminar. All of the Dissertation Reading Committee members should be in attendance at this seminar. After the seminar, the Dissertation Reading Committee, and any other faculty wishing to do so, meet with the student to discuss her/his dissertation. The candidate must defend the work to the satisfaction of the Dissertation Reading Committee at the post-seminar session. Objections raised or deficiencies noted in this session must be met and corrected to the satisfaction of those concerned before the Chair of the Committee signs the cover sheet, signifying acceptance of the dissertation.

Catalog Rights

Students matriculating in a given graduate program, including those in Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology, will select the UCSC General Catalog they will follow to meet their requirements to be either the one published the year they enter the program, or any subsequent catalog published prior to the year they are awarded the degree sought. Students who seek readmission after a break in attendance of greater than two years (six regular quarters) must adhere to the graduation requirements in effect at the time of readmission or to those subsequently established for all portions of the degree requirements not already fulfilled. The readmitting program will determine which degree requirements remain to be fulfilled, and will communicate this information in the letter offering readmission. This determination constitutes a formal requirement for readmission to the program, and the student’s acceptance of readmission implies acceptance of the program’s written stipulation of remaining degree requirements. Should any student choose to follow catalog requirements for a year in which the catalog is not printed in hard copy, the requirements will include any online catalog update for that year. A student must follow the chosen catalog in its entirety, including both the individual degree program and general university requirements. General university requirements may be found in the Graduate Student Handbook, http://graddiv.ucsc.edu/current-students/academic-regulations/graduate-student-handbook/index.html.
Ref:  http://registrar.ucsc.edu/navigator/section1/catalog-rights.html