PhD in Biomedical Engineering Curriculum

PhD in Biomedical Engineering Curriculum 

iPOS (Interactive Plan of Study) & PhD Checksheets

Keep track of your coursework using these checksheets until it is the time to file your iPOS:

PhD Checksheet with previous Masters degree
PhD Checksheet without Masters degree 

Interactive Plan of Study (iPOS) is the on-line Plan of Study for graduate students. Students should file their iPOS in their first year when instructed to do so by the graduate college. Instructions for iPOS.

Clearance to register

You will receive a registration hold every semester. To have the registration hold removed the student must file the SBHSE Graduate Student Progress Committee Report completed and signed by your Faculty Advisor (if you have not formed a full committee yet or if your advisor is on sabbatical, etc.) or completed and signed by your entire committee (if your full committee is in place). The hold is placed as an opportunity for you to meet with the faculty advisor or full committee to discuss the coursework for the coming year and track the progress towards completion. The completed Graduate Student Progress Report is submitted to the SBHSE Graduate Advisor in the SBHSE Advising Office. Once the progress report is approved by the Head of the Academic Unit the registration hold will be removed.

Related resources

Faculty advisor

Your faculty advisor will work with you to select coursework for your degree and on your research. The faculty advisor is generally chair of your dissertation committee or can be co-chair if you are working closely with someone outside of the department that you may want to include as a co-chair. You can change your faculty advisor if your work or research warrants it.

Comprehensive exam committee

The comprehensive exam committee is comprised of your Dissertation Committee plus one member of the Graduate Committee.

Dissertation committee

Dissertation Committee Your dissertation committee serves as your guide for completion of your research and degree requirements. Ensure your dissertation committee is complete in order to progress through the degree requirements in a timely manner.

  1. See which Faculty are approved as part of the Graduate Faculty in Biomedical Engineering and may serve as committee members/chairs.
  2. Faculty who are not listed at the link above must be added on a case-by-case basis using the Committee Approval Form. Submit the form to your graduate advisor. The form and the individual’s CV will be submitted to Graduate College.
  3. Use the SBHSE Committee Approval to confirm your committee members. Fill out the form and bring to the Graduate Coordinator THEN, submit your committee in your iPOS to reflect the members on the SBHSE Committee Approval Form.
  4. The Graduate Coordinator will get final approval from the Graduate Committee on your selections and approve the committee in iPOS
  5. Committees are then subject to Graduate College Approval.
Comprehensive examination

Plan to take the comprehensive examination after completing your required core coursework (typically during the fourth semester) but no later than two years after entering the program.

The comprehensive examination is designed to test the your knowledge of your graduate coursework. The comprehensive exam is administered in two parts. The first part is a written exam. From one to several essay type questions will be provided to you by the Dissertation Committee. These questions will be chosen by the Committee in consultation with a representative from the Graduate Committee in order to best assess and drive your skills in their chosen area. The purpose of the Graduate Committee representative is to achieve reasonable consistent standards across all comp exam committees. The Graduate Committee representative will attend the oral examination and serve again as a way to provide consistency amongst all comp exam committees. The Graduate Committee representative will not provide questions or tasks to the student. You will be given a week to provide written answers to these questions and return them to the committee.

No less than one week, and no more than two weeks, after submission of the written exam, an oral exam will be administered by this same exam committee, using the questions and responses from the written exam as a starting point for discussion.

Comprehensive examination timeline and process
  1. Confirm your dissertation committee is up to date
  2. Email the Graduate Advisor that you would like to begin the process of scheduling the Comprehensive Exam
  3. The Comprehensive Examination Committee will be finalized and emailed to you
  4. To complete the exam do the following steps:
  • Week 1: Meet with all committee members and discuss your coursework and research areas and identify a date for the Oral Exam
    Submit this SBHSE Comp Exam Scheduling Form to begin scheduling
  • Week 2: The committee will determine questions for your completion
  • Week 3: Complete questions, with a due date for submission clearly outlined. This completes the written component of the
  • Comprehensive Exam
  • 7 to 10 days later: The Oral Exam will be scheduled
  • Complete your Oral Exam. Obtain approval signatures on attached departmental form and submit to advising office.

A rough draft of the proposition should be developed with the student’s research advisor for approval of content prior to scheduling the oral presentation.

In the oral examination, you are expected to defend your prospectus and justify that the proposed research is of the acceptable quality and magnitude consistent with quality doctoral education. The oral presentation of the dissertation prospectus is made to the student’s dissertation committee. The oral presentation is generally from 2 – 3 hours.

To schedule your prospectus, submit the SBHSE Prospectus Scheduling Form.

Master's Degree in Passing

Students are able to apply for the Master’s In Passing upon successfully completing their required core coursework, comprehensive exam, and prospectus.

  1. Complete parts I and II of the Master’s In Passing Request Form.
  2. E-mail the form to graduate advisor to forward to Graduate College
  3. Once the Master’s In Passing form has been processed (takes about 10 business days), you will receive an email from the Graduate College with instructions to complete an interactive Program of Study for the MiP degree.
  4. Once it is approved, apply for graduation via myASU. Note: you MUST be enrolled for at least one credit during the term you apply to graduate, including summer.
Admission to candidacy

PhD students achieve candidacy status in a letter from the dean of the Graduate College upon:

  1. Passing the comprehensive examination
  2. Successfully defending the dissertation prospectus
Scheduling your Defense

When you are eligible to schedule your defense, below are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Ensure your iPOS is correct, including your courses and committee.
  2. Submit the SBHSE Defense Scheduling Form. This will alert the graduate advisor that you are ready to defend and you will be notified with your room assignment. Your room assingment is needed for you to complete the next step.
  3. Request to defend from the Graduate College. This is completed via myASU and is found under the “Defense” tab. Your iPOS must be up-to-date and your committee finalized, in order to schedule the defense.
The Graduate College website has many helpful reference documents regarding formatting your dissertation and the steps towards graduation.