3.11 Dissertation

Students complete a dissertation based on original laboratory research.

In order to initiate this process, students must satisfy the following requirements:
1.    Advancement to candidacy
2.    Selection of a Dissertation Committee
3.    Preparation of a dissertation proposal

Selecting the Dissertation Committee

The Group requires that the Dissertation Committee consist of three to five faculty members representing both campuses. The Graduate Divisions of both UCSF and Berkeley require that the Chair and two other members of the Dissertation Committee, designated as readers, are members of the Academic Senate at UCSF or Berkeley. The fourth and fifth members of the Dissertation Committee are intended to give breadth of input to the dissertation but do not sign off on the dissertation. These non-signing members should be listed on the internal Group form, but not on the form submitted to the Graduate Divisions.

Composition of the Dissertation Committee is subject to the approval of the Home Campus Graduate Dean and is governed by these Graduate Division rules:
1.    The Dissertation Chair may be any core member of the Bioengineering Graduate Group faculty who is also a member of the Academic Senate on either campus. (In most cases, the Research Mentor becomes the Dissertation Chair.)

2.    Faculty members within the Group who are not Academic Senate members (such as Adjunct or Clinical faculty) may not serve as the Chair of the Dissertation Committee or be designated as a reader, but may serve on the Committee as a co-adviser if recommended by the Bioengineering Executive Committee and approved by the Dean of the Graduate Division on their Home Campus.

At UCSF the Graduate Dean must be petitioned using a General Petition Form (all degrees):
General Petition Form

For UC Berkeley, the petition procedure is explained at:

3.    If a student wishes to work with a member of the faculty at UCSF or Berkeley who is not a member of the Bioengineering Graduate Group, he/she must obtain approval of the Executive Committee.

4.    One of the readers on the Dissertation Committee must be a member of the academic senate from the student’s Home Campus who is not a member of the Graduate Group (this person is referred to as ‘the outside member’).

Preparing the Dissertation Proposal

In consultation with their Research Mentor / Dissertation Chair, students submit a research proposal to the Dissertation Committee for approval prior to formally commencing the research. This is a document that outlines what will be accomplished in the dissertation project and should be filed within six months of passing the Qualifying Examination. It must be signed by all five members of the Dissertation Committee and should be updated as necessary.

Students are required to meet annually with their Dissertation Committees to discuss their research project, review results, and chart directions for completing their dissertation.

Filing the Dissertation

Details for preparing the dissertation are available from the Graduate Divisions, and are on the graduate division’s websites. When requesting a title page at the respective Graduate Division, it is necessary to identify oneself as being part of the intercampus group in order to have both campuses listed on the title page and diploma. A copy of the dissertation must be turned into the Group office at the student’s Home Campus upon completion. Prior to graduation, each student is required to present an exit seminar on the research results. This exit seminar is open to all Group faculty members and students as well as any other members of the University community.