Thesis Requirements

The thesis is the most important document that you will prepare during your time in the master's degree program. It represents your approach to an original research question and serves as an archival record of the scientific accomplishments that justify the awarding of your degree. Ideally, the thesis could be used as a springboard to a subsequent grant application.

The thesis contains complete documentation of your approach to the research question, including:

  • A comprehensive review of the literature related to your thesis topic
  • A discussion of the significance and potential impact of your research question
  • Methods and measures used to address that question
  • Results
  • A discussion of your results, taking into account their strengths and limitations, how they fit with and extend existing knowledge, and implications for future practice
  • Next steps to be taken as a result of your research

When including published papers or manuscripts in your thesis, the status of the paper can be any of the following:

  • Already published
  • Submitted and accepted
  • Submitted and in review
  • Not yet submitted

Include an introductory page prior to each manuscript that provides:

  • Title
  • Authors
  • Current publication status
  • Copyright information (if applicable)
  • A statement outlining the specific contributions of each author

Because you used CCaTS resources and services, including CTSC courses, the National Institutes of Health requires you to cite the CTSA grant.

Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (MCGSBS) has more information about thesis content and format. Review the MCGSBS Thesis Guidelines document located on the school's Master's Forms intranet page (must be logged in to the Mayo Clinic network).

Final thesis review process

  • Mentor review. You must submit a final draft of your thesis to all your Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) members for review at least eight weeks prior to submitting it to the CCaTS Postdoctoral Programs Committee.
  • CCaTS Postdoctoral Programs Committee review. Once your mentor approves your thesis, submit the items below to the CCaTS education specialist at least four weeks before your final oral defense is scheduled:

    • A summary statement from your mentor that includes:
      • An explanation of your role in design, conduct, analysis and reporting of your research
      • Verification that the research is scientifically sound, accurate and clearly written, was conducted by you, and you are the primary author of the thesis
      • A list of manuscripts or published articles included in the thesis
    • A signed summary letter from you that outlines any papers, presentations and grant applications that are planned, pending or have been submitted as a result of your thesis research.
      • Complete the Verification Thesis is Ready to Defend form. After completion, this e-form will automatically be sent to your mentor and CCaTS. In order to obtain approval to proceed with your final thesis defense, you must submit the final draft of your thesis to your CCaTS education specialist and the bulleted items above at least three weeks prior to your anticipated defense date or your defense may need to be rescheduled.

    The CCaTS Postdoctoral Programs Committee reserves the right to not accept a thesis if it does not meet program or Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences standards and may request revisions or additions to the thesis. The committee must approve the thesis before the scholar proceeds to defend the thesis.

  • Distribution to your Thesis Advisory Committee. After you receive approval from CCaTS, distribute your final thesis draft to all members of your TAC at least three weeks before your defense.

Final Oral Examination (thesis defense)

You are expected to pass your Final Oral Examination — a public forum in which you present your research and then take questions from the audience — before the completion of your degree program.

The Final Oral Examination cannot be completed until the following criteria have been met:

  • The Written Comprehensive Examination has been passed
  • All courses on your degree program form have been completed with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • All program milestones have been met and required workshops have been attended
  • CCaTS has reviewed and approved your thesis

You are responsible for identifying a date, time and location for your Final Oral Examination. You will need to schedule the room and attendees for a minimum of two hours. All of your TAC members must attend either in person or be connected in real time via video or teleconference.

Due to the potential difficulty of scheduling your committee members, you are encouraged to schedule your date, time and location at least three to six months in advance. Please note: Each absent member counts as one "fail" vote. To pass, you must have three passing votes.

After the public forum portion of your Final Oral Examination, your TAC will meet with you in a closed session for additional questions. You are then dismissed, and your TAC grades your examination.

If you fail the Final Oral Examination, your TAC will recommend a course of remedial studies to be completed prior to retaking the exam. The Final Oral Examination may be taken no more than twice and must be retaken within six months. Failing the exam twice will result in dismissal from the Postdoctoral Master's Degree Program.

Final thesis corrections

After you pass the Final Oral Examination, you and your mentor must sign the Thesis/Dissertation Publication Form, indicating that any recommended corrections to your thesis have been made.

Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (MCGSBS) will not certify completion of your degree requirements until your final thesis has been uploaded to the ProQuest website. Additional information is found on page 19 of the MCGSBS Thesis Guidelines document, located on the school's Master's Forms intranet page (must be logged in to the Mayo Clinic network).