PhD Learning Goals - MMG

Graduate Program in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Ph.D. Degree Learning Goals and Assessment

Adopted January 2008

The doctoral program in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics trains students at the highest level to assume research and leadership roles in the biological sciences.

Learning Goal 1 for Students: Attain marked ability, scholarship, research and leadership skills in the biological sciences.

Assessment of student achievement of Goal 1:

  • Grades in graduate courses
  • Qualifying examinations (Preliminary Exams I (written) and II (oral) assessing depth and breadth of knowledge
  • Review by faculty of student progress with close advising and mentoring
  • Placement in positions and careers that require research ability and scholarship.

Role of the program in helping students to achieve Goal 1:

  • Close advising to assure that students are being prepared in a coherent and academically rigorous fashion
  • Effective monitoring of student progress
  • Includes annual reports on research progress from both the student and the student’s committee chair
  • Evaluations of teaching effectiveness of instructors in graduate courses
  • If effectiveness is below expectations, work with instructors to improve effectiveness
  • Periodic review of curricular offerings, degree requirements and assessment tools by program faculty
  • In consultation with the office of the dean of the graduate school and/or the unit dean

 Learning Goal 2 for Students: Engage in and conduct original research in the biological sciences.

Assessment of student achievement of Goal 2:

  • Preparation of and defense of Ph.D. dissertation research proposal (Preliminary Exam Part II)
  • Assessment of quality of Ph.D. dissertation:
  • Public defense of dissertation
  • Critical reading of dissertation by committee of graduate faculty members and a committee member from outside of the Microbiology & Molecular Genetics graduate program.
  • Submission and acceptance of peer-reviewed articles and conference papers based on the dissertation
  • Achievement of students as evidenced by professional placements, selection for conference presentations, peer-reviewed publications and individual grant attainment

Role of the graduate program in helping students achieve Goal 2:

  • Provide early introduction to research methods and opportunities for research
  • Provide opportunities to present research and receive feedback
  • Provide comprehensive advising and assist in the identification of mentors

Learning Goal 3 for Students: Prepare to be professionals in careers that require training at the highest levels in the biological sciences

Assessment of graduate student achievement of Goal 3:

  • Review evidence of papers presented, publications and professional networking
  • Evaluations of teaching effectiveness of graduate student instructors
  • Collection of placement data
  • Review by external advisory committees, both inside of and external to the academy.
  • Survey alumni/ae

Role of the program in helping students achieve Goal 3:

  • Develop discipline-specific programs in concert with the Teaching Assistant Project and/or Carnegie Academy for Scholarship on Teaching and Learning programs
  • Encourage participation in professional development programs in such areas as human subjects research, library use, course management software, interview skills, presentation skills, development of CVs, use of research tools, training in the responsible conduct of research, and proposal writing
  • Host discipline-specific training when appropriate
  • Provide flexible options for students with interdisciplinary interests
  • Develop or enhance programs related to job and networking skills, including activity in professional societies and preparation for necessary certifications
  • Acquaint students with non-academic career opportunities
  • The leadership of the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics graduate program will regularly review the structure and content of the program and the feedback received from assessments and surveys. These reviews will be used to provide the best possible education to students in order to meet the needs for highly trained individuals in the biological sciences.