Ph.D. General Requirements

Required of all students:

Other Courses:  Determined by requirements of chosen minor, research committee and/or advisory committee.

12 credit hours in any one of the advanced basic science courses (anatomy, biochemistry, biomedical engineering, chemistry, materials science engineering, mechanical engineering, microbiology and immunology, pathology, pharmacology, physics, physiology, life science) or their equivalents, as approved by the student's advisory committee and the chair of the minor department. Credit hours for the required courses may not count towards the minor courses.

Teaching Experience:
All students will participate in the undergraduate Dental curriculum by tutoring in a problem-based learning (PBL) small group for a total of 2 PBL blocks after successful completion of the IUSD tutor training program. Students who are non-native speakers of English are to demonstrate oral English competency (determined by the IUPUI English as a Second Language [ESL] Program) before they can participate in the PBL sessions.

Other Programs:  Completion of the PFF program and required participation in the Student Research Presentation Program (SRPP) every other week for one hour.

Research Credits: 46 minimum (Oral Biology), 38 minimum (Preventive Dentistry), 39 minimum (Dental Materials)

Research in Oral Biology:
Laboratory Rotations - DENT-R 957 Introduction to Research in Oral Biology course; at least three separate rotations (2-4 months each) conducting a small project in the laboratories of members of the Indiana University graduate faculty, which will be graded. Students in all tracks will enroll in this course. It is expected that the student will choose a dissertation advisor (mentor) from among these members of the faculty (3 cr.)

Laboratory Research - DENT-R 958 Research: Oral Biology (1-12 cr. hrs/semester); DENT-G 930 Research: Preventive Dentistry (1-12 cr. hrs/semester); or DENT-G 921 Research: Dental Materials (1-12 cr. hrs/semester) - credit for research directly related to the writing and defense of a Ph.D. dissertation

DENT-G 901 Dissertation Research - (once 90 total credits have been accumulated in the appropriate areas, students may enroll in this course for a maximum of 6 semesters until the dissertation is complete). Students must be enrolled for at least one credit hour each semester.

Student Advisory Committee:

The student chooses the advisory committee, usually by the end of the first Spring semester following enrollment into the program. The initial committee shall be composed of three members of the Dental School faculty, two of whom must be members of the IU Graduate School Faculty with endorsement to directly doctoral dissertations (faculty with endorsement are indicated by an asterisk in column H). Generally, one member is also the student's intended dissertation mentor.  This committee shall be responsible for monitoring the student's progress, and for advising the student with regard to all matters associated with the graduate program.

Prior to the student's qualifying exam (generally by the second summer following enrollment) two additional advisory committee members will be added, either from the student's minor field, and/or from the general area in which the student has decided to conduct his/her dissertation research.  This committee of five will serve as the qualifying exam committee, with a member other than the dissertation mentor as chair.

Qualifying Exam (for admission to candidacy):

The qualifying exam will consist of two parts: 1) writing a research proposal and orally defending it; and 2) a written exam.

Research Proposal:
The student chooses, usually by the end of the second Spring semester following enrollment, with the help from and approval of the Advisory Committee Chair, a topic for a grant proposal to be written and defended as part of the qualifying exam. The topic may be in the area of the student's intended dissertation research, but cannot be written by anyone other than the student or prepared as a requirement of another course.

Student should begin with an outline for a proposal that is approved by the Committee Chair. After approval, the student writes a proposal in the style of an NIH R01 grant proposal including the following sections: Summary, Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Research Design and Methods, Literature Cited and Budget, but with the length reduced to a maximum of 15 single-spaced, 12-point font pages for the following sections: Summary, Specific Aims, Background and Significance, and Experimental Design. There are no page limits for the Literature Cited and Budget sections. The proposal, once written to the satisfaction of the student, is submitted to the Committee Chair, who distributes copies to the rest of the Committee. The Committee may decide that the proposal is defensible, or it may require revisions prior to a defense. Upon final approval, a time is set for defense of the proposal by the student in the presence of the Committee.

The defense of the proposal consists of a 10 to 15 minute presentation of the proposed work by the student, followed by a 1-3 hour oral examination consisting of questions arising from the proposal, the student's presentation or answers to initial questions. Satisfactory defense of the proposal will be followed, at a date and time (within 60 days after the proposal defense) convenient to the members of the committee and student, by a written exam. Students who do not satisfactorily complete the defense of the proposal may be allowed to retake the proposal defense with the permission of the advisory committee.

Written Exam:
Each member of the Advisory Committee will submit a comprehensive question or a series of questions in his/her area(s) of expertise to the Chair of the Committee. The Chair will then collate the questions from all five committee members, and the exam package will be handed to the student on the morning of the exam. The student will be provided a room in which to complete the examination (without notes or any other study aids). It is expected that the exam will be completed within 8 hours. The entire exam is returned to the Chair, who distributes the answers to individual committee members for correction within a week. Students who do not satisfactorily complete the written exam may be allowed to retake the exam once with the permission of the advisory committee. In addition, students who fail both components of the qualifying exam are normally allowed to retake the exam once. The qualifying exam must be completed at least eight months before the degree is awarded.

Admission to Candidacy:

The Student Advisory Committee submits a Nomination to Candidacy form to the Graduate School after the student has completed all required didactic courses and passed the qualifying exam.

Research Committee:

Members of the Advisory Committee may continue to serve as members of his/her Research Committee. However, the latter committee is chaired by the student's research advisor, who must be a full member of the IU Graduate School Faculty with endorsement to direct doctoral dissertations (faculty with endorsement are indicated by an asterisk in column H), and will consist of two other members of the IU Graduate School faculty in the School of Dentistry, a member of the IU Graduate School faculty outside of the School of Dentistry (generally a member of the minor department), and an expert in the student's field of research outside of Indiana University. This outside member will be a member of the IU Graduate School faculty or must meet the requirements of membership. At least half of the members of the research committee must be members of the IU Graduate School faculty with endorsement; others must be members.

The research committee is responsible for supervision of the student's research, reading and providing scientific and editorial comments on the dissertation, and conducting the final examination (defense of dissertation). The research committee, except for the outside member, shall meet formally with the student at least twice annually, to assess progress and make appropriate suggestions. During one of these assessments, most likely during the 3rd or 4th year, the student will present an open school-wide 45-50 minute presentation at least 6 months prior to finishing the dissertation. The defense of the dissertation will consist of an open University-wide 45-50 minute presentation followed by a 1-3 hour oral examination by only the research committee consisting of questions from the dissertation.

Enrollment and Financial Support:
Enrollment will be limited in regard to the number of appropriate faculty available to serve as research mentors. In general, an average of 1 student/IU Graduate faculty member is the maximum.  Currently, we have 14 Ph.D. students enrolled in the Ph.D. in Dental Science Program and 19 IU Graduate faculty with full member status in IUSD. Acceptance criteria will be as above and applicants will be ranked using GPA, GRE scores, previous research experience and possibly interviews when the applicant number exceeds that acceptable. Financial support is primarily the responsibility of the student. However, several fellowships may be available.

Composition of IUSD Graduate Faculty:

  1. Current IU Graduate Faculty members with research programs suitable for Dissertation research:
    Joseph Bidwell, Jie Chen, Dominique Galli, Rachelle Galvin, Lawrence Garetto, Richard Gregory, Thomas Katona, Michael Kowolik, Angeles Martinez-Mier, Gerardo Maupome, Jeffrey Platt, Mythily Srinivasan, George Stookey, Lech Switalski,  Jack Windsor, Andrea Zandona, Dominick Zero
  2. Potential IU Graduate Faculty members, with research programs currently suitable for Dissertation research:
    Masatoshi Ando, Gabriel Chu, Richard Jackson, Fengyu Song, Dong Xie
  3. Future cross-appointees from Anatomy, Biochemistry, Engineering, Medical and Molecular Genetics, Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Physiology and other basic science departments.