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Academic Requirements - Joint DO/PhD Program


Academic Requirements:

Students in the Joint DO/PhD Program are required to comply with the rules and regulations governing academic performance, grade appeals, and student behavior as established and published by PCOM and USciences, depending on the institution at which the student is enrolled for a particular course.


Selected regulations are provided below.  However, students in the Joint DO/PhD Program and faculty are directed to the websites of PCOM and USciences’ College of Graduate Studies, respectively, for the official rules and regulations governing the DO component (PCOM) and PhD component (USciences) of the Joint DO/PhD Program.


-                      All DO/PhD students must achieve a passing grade in all medical courses in Years 1 and 2.  Students will be dismissed from the Joint DO/PhD Program with a failure in any major course.

-                      DO/PhD students must have a grade point average at or above the class mean at the end of each year of the DO curriculum (Years 1, 2, 6 and 7).  Failure to meet this requirement can result in dismissal from the Joint DO/PhD Program.

-                      All DO/PhD students must achieve a grade of “B-“or better in all coursework that will be applied towards the PhD degree.  Further, all students must maintain a USciences cumulative GPA of 3.00 while matriculated in an USciences graduate program or they will be placed on academic probation.

-                      Entry into Year 3 of the Joint DO/PhD Program requires a passing grade on COMLEX Step One.  Failure of Step One on COMLEX will result in probation in the DO program.  Failure to pass COMLEX Step One on a second attempt will result in dismissal from the Joint DO/PhD Program.


Progress toward completion of the PhD involves the following timeline:


-                      DO/PhD students must complete their lab rotations prior to the beginning of the Year 2 Summer semester.

-               DO/PhD students must declare their choice of dissertation advisor by the beginning of the summer of Year 2.  The choice of dissertation advisor is subject to the approval of the Joint Advisory Committee, as well as the USciences Program Director and the Dean of COGS.  The student’s Research Advisory Committee consists minimally of four members:  two co-chairs (one each from USciences and PCOM), one member of the faculty from PCOM, and a graduate faculty member from the Department of Biological Sciences at USciences.  The Research Advisory Committee must be appointed by the Dean of COGS by the end the fall semester of Year 3.  All PCOM faculty who participate either as research advisors and/or members of the Research Advisory Committee must have a joint graduate faculty appointment with USciences.

-               DO/PhD students must have their completed dissertation proposal approved by their Research Advisory Committee by the end of the spring semester of Year 3.


It is expected that DO/PhD students will complete their PhD studies and defend the dissertation by the end of the summer of Year 5.  However, if not completed, the student will consult with their advisors to decide if they should continue their research on a reduced time basis while resuming their medical studies, or take a leave of absence from their graduate studies while they finish their medical studie