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 listed below. However, you are encouraged to submit your proposal packet as early as possible. Review the research requirements page for details.

Application deadline Begin coursework Proposal due
March 1 July 1 Jan. 15
Sept. 1 Jan. 1 July 15

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

Milestone 2: Workshops

Scholars are required to attend the Write Winning Grant Proposals and Writing and Publishing High-Impact Research Manuscripts workshops. Both are offered once each year and included in your program fee. Scholars beginning in July 2020 will take these workshops for credit through Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Milestone 3: Progress meeting

Meet with your Master's Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) three months after the approval of your research proposal and every six months thereafter.

Within one week of your meeting, submit a TAC progress report (PDF) to the program education specialist. This detailed report includes progress made to date and outlines the projected timeline and expectations for the next meeting. Lack of submission of a progress report may result in academic probation.

Milestone 4: 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. Read more about the program's curriculum, including required and elective courses.

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. The degree planning tool is located on Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences' internal Master's Forms page (must be logged into the Mayo Clinic network)

Milestone 5: 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 6: 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:

  • Upload your final thesis to the ProQuest website. Additional information is found on the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Thesis Guidelines document located on the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Master's Forms intranet page (must be logged in to the Mayo Clinic network).
  • Submit the Thesis/Dissertation Publication Form.

Milestone 7: Graduation

Degrees are granted to Postdoctoral Master's Degree Program scholars four times each year in February, May, August and November.