General Requirements for Postdoctoral and Graduate Students

School of Dental Medicine Policy

The department chair, with the concurrence of the Advanced Education Committee, may alter a candidate’s program by the addition of courses as may be warranted. For complete details on academic policies and procedures for a specific academic program, refer to that department’s postdoctoral program manual. This manual is distributed at the beginning of a student’s course of study and is available thereafter from the postdoctoral or graduate department.

Outline of Study

An outline of the research project, approved and signed by the major advisor, shall be submitted for the approval of the student’s department or division no later than four weeks after initial registration.

General Requirements for the MS & MSD

Course Requirements

Candidates for the MS and MSD degree are required to complete a minimum of 32 credits or the equivalent at the graduate level, of which at least 16 credits must be in formal coursework. At least 16 credits must be in the major field. Normally, no more than 16 credits may be taken concurrently. Each student must register for at least 4 credits each semester until completion of all degree course requirements unless the student obtains an authorized leave of absence. The number of courses that may be transferred to an MS or MSD program is explained in more detail in the Transfer of Credit section of this bulletin. Candidates plan their courses in consultation with the major advisor and in accordance with the requirements of their major field. Coursework may be in formal courses, seminars, and research in proportion to the particular needs and backgrounds of the candidates as worked out in consultation with the major advisor.

Thesis or Comprehensive Examination

A research thesis or comprehensive examination is required. The choice of this requirement rests with the major department or program. Guidelines for thesis preparation will be provided to candidates by their specific departments. The thesis is to be based on a research project carried out by the candidate. A laboratory thesis is recommended and is required by certain departments. Certain programs accept a field project or library thesis.

Time Limit

The program shall be completed within three years after the first registration for study leading to the MS and MSD degree.

MSD/CAGS Program

The goal of the combined MSD/CAGS program is to prepare graduates for productive careers in both basic research and clinical dentistry. Consequently, the program requires a laboratory research thesis or field project. The degree/certificate program requires a minimum of three years of study and leads to both the CAGS in the dental specialty and the Master of Science in Dentistry degrees. The program may be longer than three years depending on specific department requirements. The MSD/CAGS program in Dental Public Health requires a minimum of two years.

In the MSD/CAGS program, the specific course requirements of the Master of Science in Dentistry can be satisfied by the regular CAGS curriculum. The remainder of the 32 credits required for the MSD degree can, therefore, be fulfilled through directed study and research credits.

General Requirements for the DSc & DScD

Candidates for the DSc (Doctor of Science) or DScD (Doctor of Science in Dentistry) are required to complete a minimum of 64 credits or the equivalent at the graduate level. At least 32 credits must be in the major field. Normally, no more than 16 credits may be taken concurrently. Each student must register for at least 4 credits each semester until completion of all degree course requirements unless the student obtains an authorized leave of absence. Specific requirements relative to the selection of courses, seminars, and research or directed study will be determined for each student by the department or division in the field of concentration.

The number of courses that may be transferred to a postbachelor’s program is explained in more detail in the Transfer of Credit section of this bulletin.

Qualifying Examination

All students shall demonstrate mastery of their major fields in special examinations set by the major department. All parts of the qualifying examination must be passed before the dissertation prospectus or outline will be accepted by the sponsoring department of the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.

Time Limit

The DSc and DScD program must be completed within five years after the first registration for doctoral study.

DScD/CAGS Program

The goal of the combined DScD/CAGS program is to prepare its graduates for productive careers in both basic research and clinical dentistry. Consequently, the program requires a laboratory research thesis or field project. The degree/certificate program requires a minimum four years of study and leads to both the CAGS in the dental specialty and the Doctor of Science in Dentistry degrees. The program may be longer than four years depending on specific department requirements.

In the DScD/CAGS program, the specific course requirements of the Doctor of Science in Dentistry can be satisfied by the regular CAGS curriculum. The remainder of the 64 credits required for the DScD degree can, therefore, be fulfilled through directed study and research credits.

General Requirements for the PhD

Course requirements for postbachelor’s and post-master’s degree programs are as follows:

Postbachelor’s candidates without a master’s degree or its equivalent are required to complete a minimum of 64 credits or the equivalent. Specific requirements relative to the selection of courses, seminars, and research or directed study will be determined for each student by department or division in the field of concentration.

Normally, no more than 16 credits may be taken concurrently. Each student must register for at least 4 credits each semester until completion of all departmental course requirements unless granted an authorized leave of absence. The number of courses that may be transferred to a postbachelor’s program is explained in more detail in the Transfer of Credit section of this bulletin.

Candidates with a master’s degree are required to complete a minimum of 32 credits, subject to specific approval by the Division of Oral Biology. If the candidate’s master’s degree is deemed not to overlap sufficiently with the discipline of oral biology, the candidate will be enrolled in the postbachelor’s PhD program. Specific requirements relative to the selection of courses, seminars, and research or directed study will be determined for each student by the department or division in the student’s field of concentration. Normally, no more than 16 credits may be taken concurrently and each student must register for at least 4 credits each semester until completion of all departmental course requirements unless granted an authorized leave of absence. Regulations regarding transfer of credit to a post-master’s program are explained in more detail in the Transfer of Credit section of this bulletin.

Qualifying Examination

All students shall demonstrate mastery of their major fields in special examinations set by the major department. All parts of the qualifying examination must be passed before the dissertation prospectus or outline will be accepted by the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.

PhD Candidacy

A student in Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine’s PhD program will be accepted to PhD candidacy upon successful completion of such qualifying examinations as are designated by the department. At that time, the department will notify Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine and the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences of the School of Medicine, which will formally accept the student to PhD candidacy. The maximum period allowable between matriculation and acceptance to PhD candidacy is established by the individual department. Once entered, a PhD candidacy will expire on its fifth anniversary and after such time will be renewed only if the student requalifies for candidacy as determined by the department and Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. In no instance will a student who is not a PhD candidate be allowed to defend a completed PhD dissertation.

Dissertation

Candidates shall demonstrate their abilities for independent study in dissertations representing original research or creative scholarship.

Dissertation Prospectus

After completing coursework and the qualifying examinations, a student proposes a dissertation topic and asks the department to identify first and second (and in some departments third) readers for the dissertation. The first reader will be a member of the student’s department, except by special arrangement with Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. The dissertation prospectus should be completed before the more extensive phase of dissertation research is undertaken. The department is responsible for reviewing and evaluating a draft prospectus. The review is followed by revision and the production of a final draft, which must be approved by the readers and the department chair. The approved prospectus is submitted to Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine on or before the date specified in the BUSDM graduation calendar. Although the length of the prospectus will vary from discipline to discipline, it cannot exceed 20 double-spaced (or 10 single-spaced) pages, not including bibliography. Specific procedures for meeting the general guidelines described here vary from department to department.

Abstract and Final Oral Examination

Students undergo final oral examinations in which they defend their dissertation as a valuable contribution to knowledge in their field and demonstrate a mastery of their field of specialization in relation to their dissertation. The examining committee is composed of five or more Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine faculty, at least two of whom are from the student’s department. By special appointment, approved by the dean of Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, examiners may be from outside the institution. The membership of the committee must be approved by the chair or the director of graduate studies. Before the final oral examination can be scheduled, the candidate must obtain initial approval of a dissertation abstract from the readers, the director of graduate studies, and the chair. The abstract, which cannot exceed 350 words in length, describes the thesis, methods, and general content of the dissertation. The abstract must be submitted to Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine at least three weeks before the examination. Two weeks before the examination, the schedule of the examination is due in Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, together with 14 copies of the approved abstract. Students are responsible for arranging an examination date with the department and for requesting that Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine schedule the examination. Students should consult their departments and the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine graduation calendar about specific procedures and dates pertaining to abstracts and examinations. General instructions concerning the scheduling of examinations and the submission of abstracts are available from Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.

Time Limit

The postbachelor’s program must be completed within seven years after the first registration for doctoral study. The post-master’s program must be completed within five years after the first registration for the doctoral program.