A temporary advisor for each incoming student will be selected. The advisor will meet with the student whenever necessary to advice on course selection, advanced standing and selection of dissertation advisors. Recommendations concerning advanced standing will be submitted to Committee for Management and Programming of the Network. Students must meet with the research groups involved in the project before selecting a dissertation principal advisor.
At the end of the first semester selecting a dissertation principal advisor, the student together with the principal advisor will select PhD Advisory Board, which is composed of at least three other members from the participant institutions and one member from a western institution. The scientists will be chosen based on the dissertation topic as well as the eligibility criteria elaborated by the Education Group. The composition of the PhD Advisory Board will be reviewed and approved by the Committee for Management and Programming.

Preliminary Examination: Before the end of the second semester of study an oral examination will be conducted and graded by the PhD Advisory Board. The examination will be administered by four members of PhD Advisory Board and will encompass broad general questions in relevant areas of the selected division. On the basis of the student’s performance in the preliminary examinations and grades in courses, the PhD Advisory Board will recommend that:
* The student continues the PhD program,
* The student retakes the examination once, at a time specified by the examination committee,
* The student quits his study in the framework of the Network.

Qualifying Examination (Part 1): At the end of the third semester, each student who has passed the preliminary examination will be examined by the student’s Advisory Board after all course requirements are completed. This will be an oral examination and will be in the major area of the anticipated research specialization. The Advisory Board will assign a pass/fail to the student. A student who fails may be reexamined within one year within the scope of the examination being determined by the Board. The student who fails to pass on the second try will quit the study.

Qualifying Examination (Part 2): This examination consists of an oral defense of a written research proposal prepared by the student. The proposal and the oral defense will be evaluated by PhD Advisory Board (Pass/Fail). The exam will treat the student’s depth of knowledge in his/her chosen area of specialization as well as his/her ability to write and defend a research proposal. This examination is to be on a topic intended to serve as a basis for the student’s PhD dissertation research. The following examination will be at the end of the 4th semester.
The research proposal should be a detailed document outlining the background and conduct of the proposed dissertation research and should be designed to answer a significant question in the field of one’s study. The student may consult someone in the course of preparing the proposal, but the written document must represent the student’s own work. The principal advisor may aid in the development of specific aims and construction of a topical outline for the dissertation proposal. The advisor also may direct the student to relevant literature and may edit an initial draft. However, the advisor should not act as a co-author. The research proposal will be judged on standard criteria, including, but limited to, the student’s grasp of the field, significance of the proposed work, originality and depth of thoughts and feasibility of the experimental approach. The proposal will be submitted to the PhD Advisory Board at least one month prior to an oral presentation of the proposal. At the oral defense, the student will answer questions on related topics; the questions focus on (but are not restricted to) the student’s program area. The PhD Advisory Board, chaired by the dissertation advisor, will administer the exam. The student must pass the exam by the majority of votes of the Board. The PhD Advisory Board will communicate the data and results of the exam. If the student does not satisfactorily complete this part of the exam, the PhD Advisory Board will make appropriate recommendations, which may include modifying the proposal and re-taking the exam, completing remedial course work, or dismissal from the program.

Admission to candidacy: A student is admitted to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy upon meeting the following standards:
* A minimum of a B average evaluation record*.
* Completion of course requirements.
* Satisfactory completion of both Parts of the Qualifying Exam.
* Completion of any additional requirements specified in the Network’s Educational Bulletin.
*If a student gets lower than B record in a required course, he/she must retake the course.
Dissertation research, role of the PhD Advisory Board: The student’s Advisory Board will meet regularly with the student throughout the course of dissertation research to evaluate progress and advice. The Advisory Board is also responsible for evaluating and accepting the final written dissertation and conducting the student’s oral dissertation defense. Acceptance of the dissertation will be by majority of votes of the Advisory Board and is subject to the approval of Committee for Management and Programming.

Laboratory rotations: The laboratory where the student is intended to pass the rotation will be selected by the student’s Advisory Board. The aims of the laboratory rotations are:
• To allow the student to interact with scientists of varied disciplines
• To introduce the student to laboratory principles and techniques
• To give both the students and the Department an opportunity to interact intellectually
• To aid the student in selecting a mentor for graduate research.

It is advisable that all students regardless of their previous laboratory experience participate in the lab rotations and should not repeat a rotation in with the same mentor. The student is expected to put at least 12 hours per week during each rotation.
The rotation schedule will be designed to obtain the maximum lab (clinical) experience within the framework of courses and additional graduate responsibilities. There will be a Summer Rotation for students who enter the program early or those who enter in January and wish to satisfy their rotation requirement before the fall semester. Data for these alternate rotation schedules may be obtained from the PhD Advisory Board. At the end of each rotation the students will be required to write a brief report (3-5 pages) describing their project. This report should be given to the research advisor and, after the final draft, must be submitted to the PhD Advisory Board one week after the end of the rotation. The student will be responsible for submitting this report and the failure to do so will result in an incomplete grade. At the end of the core courses, i.e. after receiving 17 credits, the final examination will be organized. Starting from the 4th semester the students will continue their study in the supporting courses according to their chosen directions (tracks). The main tracks of the program will be discussed and finalized during the first meeting of the consortium. By the end of the 4th semester the dissertation subject and the members of the Advisory Board of each student will be finalized and approved by the Committee for Management and Programming.
Supporting courses will also have practical and theoretical parts. The laboratory rotations will be organized in specialized laboratories of participant institutions and the theoretical part will be taught by the invited lecturers of both participant institutions and leading western universities through DES.
By the end of the 5th semester the examinations and seminars on the subjects of the dissertation works will be organized for each student and only after receiving the approval from the Committee for Management and Programming, they finalize their dissertation thesis under the leadership of members of the PhD Advisory Board.