Information For Current Students

BMS Seminar

Students will be expected to actively participate in the BMS seminar course every semester, except the semesters of their Preliminary Exam and their Dissertation Defense. Those semesters the students will receive credit for BMS5100 upon successful completion of the oral exam/defense.

Research Committee

The research committee is composed of at least four members of the Baylor University graduate faculty. The student's mentor will serve as chair and will assist the student in forming the committee. The committee must include at least one member from the home campus (Waco).

Preliminary Exam To be completed before Spring Break of a student's second full year

By the Spring semester of a student's second year it is expected that they will be conversant in their field and will have a clear concept of the research project that they have initiated. At least two weeks prior to their scheduled exam each student will submit to their research committee a research proposal describing their intended research project. The proposal, in NIH R21 format (or another proposal format as selected in consultation with the Advisor), will be comprised of 4 parts; Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Preliminary Studies, and Research Design and Methods. The proposal may not exceed a total of 15 pages (including references). No preliminary data is required, but may be included if it is available. The student will give a public 30 minute presentation of the proposal followed by questions from the public. A closed oral examination by the student's research committee and any other interested faculty will complete the preliminary exam. While the oral exam will focus on the student's research project, it will also be open to questions of a more general nature concerning advanced topics in the research field. The result of the exam (pass/fail) will be determined by the committee. Students who do not pass the exam will be placed on probationary status and allowed to retake the examination during the following Fall semester. A second failure will result in the transfer of the student from the PhD program to a terminal MS program.


From the Graduate catalog:

Candidates for the Doctor of Philosophy degree must present an acceptable dissertation on a problem in the field of their major subject. The dissertation must give evidence that the candidate has pursued a program of research, the results of which reveal scholarly competence and a significant contribution to knowledge. Candidates should acquire the Guidelines for Preparing the Dissertation and Thesis and other necessary materials at the beginning of the semester in which graduation is expected. The most recent edition of Guidelines is available on the Baylor homepage If the student is unable to download the Guidelines, a copy can be obtained from the Graduate School. Additional degree completion instructions are provided to students when they file for graduation. The Guidelines contain the directions for the procedure to complete the dissertation, an explanation of forms necessary, the semester calendar, and an explanation of fees associated with the process.

Dissertation Committee

The dissertation committee will be made up from the student's research committee (above), with the addition of an 'outside member' not affiliated with the BMS program.

From the Graduate catalog:

The dissertation examining committee is composed of no fewer than three readers and a minimum of five examiners, all who are Baylor Graduate Faculty members. The student's mentor is the chairperson of the committee.

Though the membership of dissertation and final examination committees varies by degree and across programs, a required common component of these committees is the official "outside member." This individual must be a member of the Baylor Graduate Faculty and must not be affiliated with the program in which the graduate student is studying. This member helps to ensure a consistent level of quality, rigor, and fairness across all graduate programs at Baylor University and may or may not be actively involved in the dissertation. The committee may include additional members (who are not necessarily members of the Graduate Faculty) beyond the minimum required number. If desired by the program, these non-graduate faculty may be allowed the privilege of signing the dissertation.

Dissertation Defense

From the Graduate catalog:

This oral examination is conducted by an examining body appointed by the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the graduate program director only after all courses, research, and dissertation requirements have been fulfilled. The dissertation research committee is an integral part of the examining committee. The examining body will consist of at least four members of the departmental faculty and one member of the Baylor Graduate Faculty not affiliated with the program in which the student is studying. The chairperson of the dissertation research committee also chairs the examining body and ensures that the examination is formally announced, fairly conducted, and open to the faculty. Candidates who fail this examination may take a second one only upon the recommendation of the graduate program director and the approval of the Graduate School. In no case will this examination be given until an interval of at least four months has elapsed. After two failures, no further examination is permitted.

No longer than ten days after the oral examination, but no later than the "last day"deadline posted in the Graduate School Academic Calendar for the semester of graduation, an electronic pdf copy of the dissertation in its final departmentally approved form should be submitted to the Graduate School. With the dissertation copy, the student should also submit the appropriate forms required, as stated in the Guidelines. A student is certified for graduation once the pdf copy of the dissertation is submitted electronically and approved, and all remaining steps, as stated in the Guidelines, have been completed.