The doctoral degree is granted in recognition of (1) scholarly proficiency and (2) distinctive achievement in a specific field of an academic discipline. The first component is demonstrated by successful completion of basic and advanced coursework (of both a didactic and an unstructured nature) and by adequate performance on the comprehensive examination. Traditionally, the student demonstrates the 2nd component by independently performing original research. In certain doctoral programs, a major project undertaking may be acceptable even though it may not be of a traditional research nature. However, in all programs, a dissertation is required, presenting the results of the student's independent study.
GBS students must agree to complete a minimum of 2 8-10 week research rotations with faculty members before joining a thesis lab. Some students may require performing a 3rd and/or 4th rotation before identifying a permanent mentor.