Biomedical engineering is an emerging and rapidly expanding field where engineering and biological disciplines converge. To keep up to date with the wide variety of research encompassed by this field, students are required to take 3 semesters of the seminar series BMEG 890.
Teaching Aid Requirement
The ability to communicate ideas, concepts, and factual information is an essential skill for all PhD graduates, even those who have no interest in an academic position. In recognition of this, all PhD students are required to fulfill a Teaching Aid Requirement for 1 semester that consists of serving as a Teaching Aid. Note that this is different from the Teaching Assistantships offered as financial aid. While fulfilling this Teaching Aid Requirement, students are expected to continue being actively involved in their research.
The responsibilities of the Teaching Aid Requirement will be defined by the course instructor and should not exceed approximately 10 hours per week. In general, the PhD student should not merely be assigned grading responsibilities. He/she should have an opportunity to plan and deliver lectures, lead discussion sections and lead laboratory exercises. Direct interaction with course students is highly encouraged.
The University requires that all first time Teaching Aids take a 2-day TA teaching conference offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning. International students must also enroll in the winter session of the ELIITA (English Language Institute International Teaching Assistant) program before performing their teaching requirement.
Although the exact timing of these appointments is flexible, it is highly desirable to complete all teaching responsibilities during the 2nd year, although they can be extended to the 3rd year. The BME Graduate Committee assigns these positions in November (for the upcoming spring semester) and in May (for the following fall). Students are encouraged to submit their preferences for specific positions early to facilitate the process. Although every effort will be made to satisfy these requests, students should recognize that this is not always possible.
The Qualifying Exam must be taken in the summer after the first year (and after completion of at least 5 approved courses with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better). For students with non-fall matriculation or part-time study, the timing of this exam will be set based on course completion and approval by the Graduate Director.
This exam includes a written proposal and an oral presentation of the proposal. The student will have 2 weeks to prepare a 6-page maximum research proposal (on a topic suggested by the advisor) that 1) identifies a research question, 2) formulates testable hypotheses and aims, and 3) describes a study design that addresses these aims. **Note: This proposal is NOT the student’s thesis proposal, although the advisor can select an area within the likely general topic of the eventual thesis. The student will give a 15 min oral presentation to and will be questioned by a small committee of 3 BME faculty members chosen by the BME Graduate Committee. The student will be evaluated on his/her bioscience knowledge, engineering knowledge, written proposal, presentation, and quality of the Q&A. The outcome will be Pass, Conditional Pass, or Fail. With a Conditional Pass, the student must address the specific concerns within a period designated by the committee that cannot be more than 1 year (e.g., take certain courses, revise the proposal in a specific manner). If the Conditional Pass terms are not met or if the student Fails, he/she will be dis-enrolled from the PhD program.
Within 2 years of the Qualifying Exam, the student must establish a Dissertation Committee. The Dissertation Committee is selected by the Faculty Advisor and the student, and must have a minimum of 4 members that include the advisor and at least 3 additional faculty. Of these 3 additional faculty, 2 must be BME-affiliated faculty and 1 must be from outside the BME-affiliated faculty and may be from outside the University of Delaware. One must also be from outside the primary research area of the thesis topic. The Graduate Director must approve the committee and chair, and any subsequent changes in committee members.
The Candidacy Defense requires a written proposal outlining the plan of research for the PhD and an oral presentation and defense of this proposal to the Dissertation Committee. The written proposal will follow a NIH R01 format, with a page limit of 15 pages. A curriculum vita, Progress Report Form and a graduate-level transcript should also be included. All materials should be distributed to the Dissertation Committee at least 2 weeks before the oral defense. The defense will include a 30 min presentation by the student, followed by a 60 min Q&A discussion. The student must complete the Candidacy Defense within 2 years of the Qualifying Exam or must petition the Graduate Director for an extension.
The Dissertation Exam involves approval of the written dissertation and an oral defense of the dissertation. The written dissertation must be submitted to his/her Dissertation Committee at least 2 weeks before the defense. The oral presentation will be open to the public and will last about an hour. After questions from the public, a closed Q&A session will follow. The student will be responsible for making corrections to the dissertation document and for meeting all Graduate School deadlines for submission. Student must complete the Dissertation Exam within 5 years of the Qualifying Exam (6 years after matriculation) or must petition the Graduate Director for an extension.