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Plan A

Graduate Program | M.S. (Plan A) and Ph.D | M.S . (Plan B) | Curriculum

M.S. (Plan A) AND Ph.D. Programs

Student's Advisors and Advisory Committees
The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for Toxicology will serve as the student's advisor until a Major Professor/Research Advisor (a member of the faculty under whose direction the student will conduct research) is appointed. If by prior arrangement the student has selected a Research Advisor, the student shall notify the DGS of this decision. The professor will then be the student's primary contact in all matters pertaining to the student's graduate studies.

At some point during the student's first year of study, the student must select an Advisor. Before registering as a second-year student, the student shall have an Advisory Committee and the curriculum required for the student's degree plan shall be approved by that Committee. The student shall consult his/her Advisor relative to membership of the Advisory Committee, and shall obtain consent of those approved by the student's Advisor. The student's Advisor will then submit a letter to the DGS recommending these individuals as members of the student's Advisory Committee. The DGS, in turn, will forward the recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate School and, if approved, the Committee will be appointed by the Dean. Minutes of the Student Committee meetings must be recorded and promptly forwarded by the Major Advisor or other presiding officer to the DGS, the committee members and the student's file.

The Advisory Committee for the M.S. student must consist of a minimum of three members of the Graduate Faculty who have appointments in the GCT. Doctoral students must have a minimum of four members of the Graduate Faculty on their Advisory Committee; three must be from the Toxicology faculty and one from an outside area (the advisory committee should have a broad representation of faculty expertise).

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Curriculum and Grade Requirements
The Chairman of the student's Advisory Committee (the student's Major Professor) will call a meeting of the student's Committee to formulate a curriculum for the student's specific degree plan. A proposed curriculum, prepared by the Chairman in consultation with the student, should be submitted to the DGS at least one week prior to the date of the committee meeting; this will be forwarded to the Committee with appropriate information (transcripts, etc.) from the student's files. The Advisory Committee must verify that the proposed curriculum fully conforms with GCT curriculum requirements prior to their approval of the proposed course work. Minutes of the meeting must be promptly placed in the student's file by the major professor or the presiding officer.

After appropriate modifications and approval, the Chairman will record the student's curriculum on a form provided by the DGS, add his signature of approval, and submit the form to the DGS. A copy of the approved curriculum will be sent to the student and to each of the members of the Committee. In some instances, a student may wish to modify the approved curriculum during his/her course of study. To do this, the student must prepare a petition, stating specific changes and reasons, and submit it to each member of the committee and to the DGS for signatures of approval. If approved, the change(s) will be recorded in the student's file in the DGS's office.

A core curriculum is required of all students majoring in Toxicology. Doctoral students must take additional graduate-level courses as outline below, approved by their Advisory Committees, before their qualifying examinations. Other courses also may be required by the Committee for either M.S. or Ph.D. students. Minimum degree requirements and recommended scheduling of courses are shown in Appendices. The Advisory Committee may waive the requirement of certain core courses if the student has received prior equivalent training.

Master's applicants must register for TOX 770 (Toxicology Seminar) each fall and spring semester until all requirements for the degree have been satisfied. Applicants for the doctoral degree must register for TOX 770 each fall and spring semester until the residency requirements for the degree have been satisfied. Each first year student, and any student receiving funding from the GCT, must also enroll in the TOX 770 subsection for the Journal Club. Failure to register for the applicable sections of TOX 770, or an unexcused absence from seminars or meetings of the journal club sponsored by Toxicology Program shall result in an "Incomplete" on the student's record. One additional semester of TOX 770 beyond that normally required will be necessary to remove the incomplete.

The Graduate Center for Toxicology maintains rigorous academic standards for students in its Ph.D. and Master's programs. An overall B average must be maintained while in the Toxicology Program, exclusive of the grades received for research. Students are expected to make a grade of B or better in each of the core curriculum courses, although one C will be permitted without jeopardizing the student's continuation in the program. A failing grade (E) in any core course or more than one C in core courses is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. When students have completed 12 or more semester hours of graduate course work with an average of less than 3.0, they will be placed on scholastic probation and are subject to dismissal. Students will have one full-time semester or the equivalent (9 hours) to remove the scholastic probation by attaining a 3.0 average. If probation is not removed, students will be dismissed from the Graduate School. Students who have been dismissed from the Graduate School for these reasons may reapply for re-admission to the Graduate School after two semesters or one semester and the eight-week Summer term. Exceptions to this policy can be made only by the Dean of the Graduate School.

The Dean of the Graduate School may terminate enrollment for the following reasons:

  1. Academic probation for three enrolled semesters.
  2. Having failed twice the final examination for the master's degree or the qualifying examination.
  3. In cases where the student's Advisory Committee recommends termination after the qualifying examination has been passed, the Graduate Faculty will meet to vote on the recommendation. When the Graduate Faculty concurs and the student dissents, the student will have an opportunity to meet with the Graduate Faculty of the Program, after which a second vote will be taken and a final recommendation will be made to the Dean of the Graduate School.

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Research Requirements
All entering students, who are supported financially by the Graduate Center for Toxicology, are required to do rotations in three laboratories before choosing a major advisor, as outlined in the GCT's Rules of Procedure.

After the student has selected a Research Advisor and has an Advisory Committee, a thesis/dissertation proposal should be prepared. The proposal should be prepared with assistance of the student's major professor and the proposal (with signature of approval of the student's Advisor) submitted to the Student's Advisory Committee at least one week before a meeting of the student's committee. At the meeting the student will present the student's proposal and defend its suitability for the research requirements for the degree towards which the student is working. When approved by the Committee, the Chairman will add his or her signature of approval and submit the proposal to the DGS.

The student's Advisory Committee is to review the student's progress at least twice a year. It is the student's responsibility to notify the student's Research Advisor that the time for such a review is imminent; he/she will arrange for the meeting and is responsible for ensuring that a copy of the minutes is forwarded to the DGS to be made a part of the student's GCT records.

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Language Requirement
No foreign language is required. Foreign students whose native language is not English are encouraged to register in the University or privately for improving their skill of communication in English.

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Admission to Candidacy
The Graduate School requires that all students expecting to earn graduate degrees at the University must be admitted to candidacy for the degree. The following procedure is used to process applications for Admission to Candidacy.

Master's Degree: The application for Admission to Candidacy must be filed with the Graduate School at the end of the first semester (full-time) of graduate study or when the student has completed 12 hours of graduate work.

Applications are available in the Graduate School Office. To qualify for Admission to Candidacy, the student must complete at least nine hours of graduate work with a minimum 3.0 grade point average, submit GRE scores, be recommended by the Director of Graduate Studies in the program, have no incomplete grades on their records and have the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School. Failure to meet the conditions outlined above will result in Admission to Candidacy being deferred until completion of 18 hours with a minimum 3.0 grade point average.

Doctoral Degrees: Students are admitted to Candidacy after they have successfully completed the Qualifying Examinations.

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Residence Requirements
All students must earn at least two consecutive semesters (Fall, Spring) of full-time (9+ credits/semester) or three consecutive semesters of 6 credits/semester residence at the University.

Residency requirements for the doctorate may be completed in three years of full-time graduate work. On the recommendation of the Director of Graduate Studies and with the concurrence of the Graduate Dean, successful completion of a master's degree may be considered the equivalent of the first of the three years.

Each student pursuing the doctorate must spend at least two consecutive semesters enrolled in a degree program on campus in intensive study. Such enrollment must occur prior to passing the Qualifying Examination. During these two semesters the student must be enrolled as a full-time student, carrying nine or more hours.

Each candidate for the doctorate must complete two semesters of full-time dissertation study immediately following the Qualifying Examination. Normally this is accomplished by registering for nine hours of TOX 767 (2 credit hours) (which is called Residence Credit) each semester and completed with a grade of S. With the written recommendation of the candidate's Advisory Committee and with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Dean, specified graduate course work may be taken in lieu of all or part of this residence credit (TOX 767 (2 credit hours)) requirement. The Dean of the Graduate School has approved our request that the Toxicology student be allowed to register for as few as six hours of TOX 767 (2 credit hours) each semester if additional course work is taken to assure that full-time status is maintained.

The semester during which the student takes the Qualifying Examination may be counted for credit for dissertation study only if the date of successful passage is within six weeks (three weeks for the eight-week summer session) of the first day of classes. Students who have fulfilled these requirements, but who have not defended the dissertation, are required to enroll for TOX 767 (2 credit hours) or TOX 767 (2 credit hours) each semester until the dissertation is completed and defended. This does not require payment of fees.

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Qualifying Examinations
A Qualifying Examination is required of all doctoral students to verify that students have sufficient understanding of and competence in their fields to become candidates for the degree. The examination must be scheduled through the Director of Graduate Studies and approved two weeks in advance by the Graduate School. Failure to meet this scheduling requirement may result in a student's not having proper University status and can cause omissions in records, loss of credits, or delay of graduation. The results of the examination must be reported by the Director of Graduate Studies to The Graduate School within 10 days of its conclusion. If the result is failure, the Committee determines the conditions to be met before another examination may be given. The minimum time between examinations is four months. A second examination must be taken within one year after taking the first examination. A third examination is not permitted.

The examinations are administered by a special committee appointed by the Director of the GCT and the Advisory Committee. The DGS will schedule these examinations at the request of the student’s Advisor after the student has completed all course work with a 3.0 GPA or better, and has satisfied the residency requirements. The examinations consist of:

  1. Closed Book Examination- Questions selected by a special committee appointed by the Director of the GCT. The committee selects a set of questions that cover all aspects of toxicology utilizing content in all required courses and will deliver the exams once a year (usually in June). The six major topics include: Carcinogenesis, Metabolism, Statistics, Environmental Toxicology, Immunotoxicology and Neurotoxicology. After finishing Part A of the written examination, the students then proceed to Part B of the written examination.
  2. Open Book Examination- A three-year NIH grant proposal with a 15 single space page limit. The student submits three topics that may be related but not identical to his/her thesis to the advisory committee at least one week before beginning of the Open Book examination. The student's advisory committee will select one topic submitted by the student with or without modification. The student will have four weeks to complete the proposal and submit it to the advisory committee. The students are not allowed to consult his/her major professor or members of the advisory committee for the content of the grant proposal. The open book and closed book examinations must be reviewed by the Committee before the oral portion of the Qualifying Examination is administered. Should either be unsatisfactory, the oral will not be given. The Qualifying Examinations will then be re-scheduled in accordance with the rules of The Graduate School.
  3. Oral Examination constitutes part C of the qualifying examination. One week after submission of the proposal (Part B), the advisory committee will meet to evaluate the student for his/her knowledge in the proposal and/or any other scientific issues that they deem important.

Assessment of the candidate's research is not part of the Qualifying Examination.

If the candidate does not pass the Qualifying Examination, the Committee should recommend methods by which the candidate may strengthen his/her weaknesses and prepare for the examination within the time frame stipulated by The Graduate School.

All students must obtain approval from the student's Advisory Committee and DGS to schedule the qualifying examination. This request must be accompanied by a progress report of the student's dissertation research prepared in thesis style. If satisfactory progress is evident, the student's request will be granted and the examination administered as described above. Should the quality of the progress report suggest a lack of potential for conducting independent research and presenting the findings in a scientific manner, the student may be advised to direct their efforts towards the Master degree only.The Committee will then assess the student's work in terms of its suitability for the Master's degree and, if found acceptable, will administer the final examination for the Master's degree as described below.

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Final Examinations
Master's Degree - The DGS will arrange the final at the student's request after the student has satisfactorily completed all required course work, has met the residency requirements, and has submitted a draft of his/her thesis acceptable to each member of the Advisory Committee. The examination is scheduled by the Graduate Dean upon recommendation of the DGS and the results returned to the Dean no later than two weeks after the start of the examination. The examination includes a defense of the student's thesis (copies of which must be given to each member of the student's Advisory Committee at least two weeks before the exam) and a comprehensive examination on Toxicology by the Committee. If a candidate fails, a second examination may be recommended by the Committee. A third examination is not permitted.

After the final examination has been passed and the thesis corrected as directed by the Committee, the student will prepare a final version of his/her thesis according to the rules of the Graduate School. The approval page must be signed by each member of the student's Advisory Committee and by the DGS. The thesis shall be submitted to the Graduate School within 60 days of passing the examination for final approval. If the student plans on continuing graduate studies in Toxicology at the University after receiving the Master's degree, the student must be recommended for entrance in to the doctoral program by the student's Advisory Committee and DGS. The student's doctoral Advisory Committee will require that the student's dissertation research be clearly distinctive from that of the student's Master's thesis, although the latter may be used as the basis of the student's dissertation research. The Advisory Committee will designate the courses (a minimum of 3) which the student must take prior to the student's Qualifying Examination. These courses will be selected to broaden the student's base of knowledge and/or to strengthen any areas of weakness evidenced during the final examination for the Master's degree.

Doctoral Degree - The Final Examination includes a defense of the dissertation and may be as comprehensive in the major and minor areas as the Advisory Committee chooses to make it. It is conducted by an expanded Advisory Committee including someone designated by the Dean of the Graduate School. The Graduate Dean and President of the University are ex officio members of all final examination committees. The examination is a public event and its scheduling is published and announced beforehand. Any member of the University community may attend.

At least four weeks prior to the Final Examination, following notification that the dissertation has been distributed to members of the Advisory Committee, the Director of Graduate Studies will advise The Graduate School of the intent to schedule a Final Examination. At this time, the Graduate Dean appoints an Outside Examiner as a core member of the Advisory Committee.

The specific time and date of the examination must be designated by The Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the actual examination. The Dissertation Approval Form, along with a typewritten copy of the dissertation must be presented to The Graduate School at the time the Final Examination is scheduled. The draft of the dissertation submitted must be complete in content, including all footnotes, tables, figures, and appendices. A full bibliography or set of references must be included as must a title page and abstract. All members of the Committee except the Outside Examiner should have had an opportunity to suggest revisions prior to signing the Dissertation Approval Form. Thus, most revisions should have been completed at an earlier time. The Final Examination must take place no later than eight days prior to the last day of class of the semester in which the student expects to graduate.

After the Final Examination is passed, the final copy of the dissertation is prepared. Final copies are then submitted to The Graduate School along with the signatures of the Major Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies. The dissertation in its final form must be received in The Graduate School Office within 60 days of the Final Examination. If this deadline is not met, the candidate must undergo a second examination. One final copy of the dissertation shall be provided by the student for the Toxicology Library.

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Thesis and dissertations must be prepared in conformity with the instructions prepared by The Graduate School and presented in the leaflet "Instructions for the Preparation of Thesis and Dissertation" available in The Graduate School Office. Two copies of each thesis or dissertation are required by The Graduate School and one copy each by the Research Advisor and Director of Graduate Studies.

Preparation of thesis/dissertation is to be in accordance with the requirements of The Graduate School. Tables, figures, references, footnotes, abbreviation, etc. must be in the form acceptable for publication in that journal. Students should refer to the "Information for Authors" published in each issue of TAP, and peruse several recent papers therein to assure that the style of the thesis/dissertation is in keeping with the requirements of the journal.

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