Program Milestones

While recognizing that each master's degree scholar has his or her own individualized program and timeline, the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCaTS) Postdoctoral Programs Committee tracks your progress toward successfully completing the Postdoctoral Master's Degree Program.

Please submit all required items electronically, in one email, to the CCaTS Education Programs inbox at before the deadlines listed below.

Milestone 1: Research proposal packet

The submission deadline for your research proposal packet is based on your academic cycle and when you complete CTSC 5010. Review the research requirements page for details.

CTSC 5010 is offered in the spring and fall quarters and does have prerequisites. If you complete CTSC 5010 in the spring quarter, your research proposal will be due by the following August 1. If you complete CTSC 5010 in the fall quarter, your research proposal will be due by the following February 1.

Lack of adherence to deadlines may result in academic probation and dismissal from the program.

Milestone 2: Progress meetings

Meet with your Master's Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) three months after the approval of your research proposal and every six months thereafter or as directed by the CCaTS Postdoctoral Executive Committee.

Within one week of your meeting, submit a TAC progress report (PDF) to the program education coordinator. This detailed report includes progress made to date and outlines the projected timeline and expectations for the next meeting. Throughout the form, in every section, report your progress by aim. For example, in the Data Collection Status section, report your subjects/charts proposed and studied to date by aim. Even if you have not made any progress to date with one or more of the aims, you still must report on the current status of each aim. Provide as much details as possible in each section. Incomplete forms may be returned for resubmission. Lack of submission of a progress report may result in academic probation.

Milestone 3: Completion of didactic coursework

The Postdoctoral Master's Degree Program requires the completion of 45 credits with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and includes required and elective courses. Read more about curriculum.

You are encouraged to meet with the program education coordinator early to discuss your plan of study and complete your CTSC degree planning tool to ensure your coursework is completed within your schedule.

Milestone 4: Written Qualifying Examination

Passing the Written Qualifying Examination demonstrates your ability to integrate and synthesize the core competencies of the Postdoctoral Master's Degree Program.

Eligibility to sit for the Written Qualifying Exam includes:

  • Submission of the research proposal packet and approval by the CCaTS Postdoctoral Programs Executive Committee
  • Successful completion of the required courses with a minimum 3.0 GPA

Note: To defend your thesis, there is a waiting period of approximately eight weeks after taking the Written Qualifying Exam.

Milestone 5: Submission and defense of thesis (Final Oral Examination)

Scheduling your thesis defense date may take three to six months to accommodate the schedules of your TAC members. Please plan accordingly. Review the Final Oral Examination section of the thesis requirements page for a timeline to schedule your defense. The thesis defense is a public forum in which you present your research and take questions from the audience. Therefore, you identify a forum to present to your peers and faculty.

After successfully defending your thesis, your TAC may request revisions to your thesis. Once your TAC approves thesis revisions, complete the following items to be cleared for graduation:

Milestone 6: Graduation

Degrees are granted to Postdoctoral Master's Degree Program scholars four times each year in February, May, August and November. See the Graduation page for more information.