Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions FAQs

1. My advisor and I do not agree with the provisions of my Provisional Acceptance into BIOMS. Is there anything we can do?

An advisor can request that the BIOMS Executive Committee reconsider the Provisions of Acceptance of a student. The Advisor should send a letter to the Executive Committee outlining their rationale for changing the provisions of acceptance and offer an alternative if that is warranted. The Executive Committee will consider the request at the next meeting and communicate with the student and Advisor the outcome.

Plans of Study FAQs

1. What constitutes an "Outside" course?

  • Some courses may appear to have content that pertains to more than one Area of Study but most actually fit under one. For example, the BMSC667: Skeletal Muscle Seminar, taught by Dr. Binder-Macleod, includes some anatomy content but the focus of this course is muscle physiology, thus it would satisfy the requirements of an outside course for Areas of Study other than Applied Physiology.
  • HESC 686 Mathematics in Biomechanics does not satisfy the requirement for a course "outside" the principle Area of Study since it applies to all Areas of Study.

2. What happens if I need to change my Plan of Study?

  • Once approved, the Plan of Study is treated like a "contract" between the Executive Committee, the Student and his/her Advisor. All coursework must be completed before the MS Thesis Proposal or PhD Dissertation Proposal takes place.
  • It is not unusual for students to change their Plans of Study for example due to changes in course offerings.
  • Changes to the courses listed in the POS should be approved by the Executive Committee prior to the start of the semester in which the change will occur. This ensures that the course will "count" toward the total required credits in the degree program. Changes to the POS should be made using "tracked changes" or some other way that changes are CLEARLY indicated.

3. What if I changed my plan of study but forgot to have the new POS approved by the Executive Committee?

At the time of the Proposal Defense the POS will be compared to the student's transcript and If POS-changes were made that were not approved by the Executive Committee the proposal Defense will be postponed until the Executive Committee considers the change at the next scheduled meeting.

4. Is there a specific statistics course that all BIOMS students take?

No, students may choose a general graduate level statistics course that is appropriate for their Area of Study. Some statistics courses are very specific to a particular research method that may not be suitable to fulfill the spirit of this requirement. Students should seek the advice of an Executive Committee member or the Program Director if questions arise.

5. Can credits earned from courses taken at Thomas Jefferson University count toward the total number of coursework credits for my degree?

Yes, however you should submit the course description and syllabus to the Executive Committee during the POS approval process so they can determine if the course is appropriate for your BIOMS Plans of Study.

6. I have an M.S. in Statitics (B.S. in Mechanical Engineering) do I need to take Statistics (Instrumentation)?

Students may request that a course requirement be waived under appropriate circumstances by sending a letter to the Executive Committee clearly explaining their rationale for waiving the requirement. The request will be considered along with the POS. N.B. although the course requirement is waived, the number of credits required for the degree does not change.

Defenses (Proposal & Final) FAQs

1. I'm getting ready to defend my proposal. What do I need to do?

We prefer that students schedule their defenses during the BIOMS Seminar however that is not required. Notify the BIOMS Seminar coordinator so the defense date can be added to the BIOMS Seminar schedule. Defenses that occur at times other than the regularly schedule seminars will be noted as a "Special Seminar" with relevant details.

  • Give a copy of the proposal document to the following people:

Committee Members - at least 2 weeks in advance. Each site supporting BIOMS faculty at least one week in advance of the oral defense.

  • Bring a copy of the Recommendation for Doctoral Candidacy form to your defense.
  • If your committee does not ask for any modifications to your proposal document, have your committee sign Section III of the Recommendation for Doctoral Candidacy form.

Please note that BIOMS students should fill out both sections II and III. Section II pertains to passing the qualifying exam and defense. Section III is for the names of your committee member.

  • If your committee asks you to modify anything, then you need to make the changes and then get the appropriate signatures.
  • The BIOMS Director signs the form after all committee members have signed.

2. What do I do with the Recommendation for Doctoral Candidacy form?

  • Provide an electronic copy of the approved thesis proposal and a signed copy (scanned pdf file or paper copy) of the Recommendation for Doctoral Candidacy Form to the BIOMS Program Staff Assistant.
  • Take the original Recommendation for Doctoral Candidacy form to the Office of Graduate and Professional Education and your status will be changed to "PhD Candidate".

3. What is meant by a "Candidate"?

A "PhD Student" becomes a "PhD Candidate" after they successfully defend their Dissertation Proposal.

4. What is meant by "Sustaining"?

  • After a PhD Student successfully defends their proposal and enters Candidacy they take 9 credits of Disseratation. If they have taken 9 Pre-candidacy Credits before or in the semester in which they defend their proposal, then the Pre-candidacy credits can be converted to Dissertation credits by the Office of Graduate and Professional Education.. Then, the Candidate enters the "sustaining" status and pays a "sustaining fee" (that is waived if the student is funded).
  • The same is true for students earning a MS Degree except that they take 6 Thesis credits and they don't take on the title of "Candidate".
  • A "sustaining" student is considered a full time student with all of the rights and priveledges afforded to full-time students (including postponing payments of student loans due to full-time student status etc).

5. I am a PhD Candidate... now what?

  • You're on the down-hill slope!
  • As a PhD candidate you must register for 9 credits of Doctoral Dissertation (969). If you register for 9 credits of Pre-Candidacy study in one semester and you enter candidacy by the end of the drop-add period of the following semeter, the registration in Pre-Candidacy Study for the preceding semester may be changed to the course, Doctoral Dissertation (969)
  • After you earn 9 Doctoral Dissertation credits, you are required to maintain matriculation in the doctoral program by registering in Doctoral Sustaining (999) in all subsequent fall and spring semesters until the degree is awarded. **Please note** that you must be registered in the term in which your degree is officially awarded. This means that if your degree is awarded at the conclusion of summer or winter session, then you must have been registered as sustaining in that summer or winter session.