Anatomy and Cell Biology

  • Comprehensive Exam 

    General Information

    • The Cell and Developmental Biology program has an “on-topic” comprehensive exam, consisting of two parts:
      Written research proposal in area of predicted future thesis work (12 double-spaced pages, in the format of an NIH predoctoral fellowship (F31) application.)
      Oral defense of proposal (~2-3 hours)


    • Student must be in good academic standing (minimum GPA = 3.0)
    • Student must have completed first and second year courses before taking exam


    • Form a thesis/exam committee—early spring semester of second year
    • Submit formal Abstract and Specific Aims for proposed work and Request for Comprehensive Examination Form—end of spring semester of second year
    • Submit written research proposal and assurance form—summer following second year
    • Take oral examination of research proposal—summer following second year
    • Satisfactory completion of comprehensive exam—not later than end of fall semester of third year

    Exam committee

    • No fewer than five (5) members of the Graduate Faculty
    • At least four (4) graduate faculty must be members of the University of Iowa tenure-track faculty and
    • At least two (2) of the faculty members must hold any appointment in ACB and are members of the University of Iowa tenure-track faculty
    • Note: This committee will become the student’s thesis committee, following replacement of the exam committee chairperson with the thesis advisor.