Comparative and Experimental Medicine, an intercollegiate program, serves to prepare students for teaching and/or research careers in the health sciences. This program emphasizes the comparative approach to the study of biomedical science. The PhD program is open to approved graduate students seeking training in this area and is especially useful for individuals with professional medical degrees. For the student with an undergraduate biological science background, the Comparative and Experimental Medicine program provides an unusual opportunity to study disease processes common in humans and animals from a multidisciplinary perspective. The scope of this intercollegiate program, which pools faculty resources from both veterinary and human medicine, is broadened by faculty members representing public health and numerous areas of the life sciences. The interdisciplinary training environment includes such diverse support as facilities and personnel at the Veterinary Medical Center, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center at Knoxville, life sciences departments, Herbert College of Agriculture, Tickle College of Engineering, and the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. Participating departments from the Graduate School of Medicine include Anesthesia, Dentistry, Medicine, Medical Genetics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pathology, Radiology, and Surgery. Participating departments from the College of Veterinary Medicine include Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences, Large Animal Clinical Sciences, and Small Animal Clinical Sciences.
- All applicants must furnish three letters of recommendation from individuals who are familiar with their scholastic or professional records.
- Applicants generally will be expected to have a professional degree in one of the medical sciences (e.g., MD, DDS, DVM or equivalent) from an accredited institution or a master’s degree in one of the biomedical sciences and a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of at least 300 for the quantitative and verbal sections.
- An individual having only a baccalaureate degree but with a strong background in the physical and biological sciences may be admitted upon presenting evidence of exemplary performance on the GRE.
- Exceptional veterinary students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, may be admitted to the accelerated dual DVM-PhD program or may continue to be enrolled officially as veterinary students only and register for CEM courses. For the latter, such students may take advantage of registering for graduate courses to be counted as elective courses in the veterinary program.
Credit Hours Required
A minimum of 72 graduate credit hours is required beyond the bachelor’s (those without a master’s or professional degree such as MD, DDS, DVM), or 48 graduate credit hours are required beyond the master’s or professional degree such as MD, DDS or DVM.
- CEM 600 (24 credit hours)
- CEM 504 (3 credit hours), CEM 541 (3 credit hours), and CEM 616 (1 credit hour)
- 6 credit hours of 500- or 600-level journal clubs. Students should select appropriate journal clubs in consultation with their major professor.
- 3 credit hours of 500- or 600-level statistics. Students should select appropriate statistics classes in consultation with their major professor.
- A minimum of 8 credit hours of graduate coursework in the student’s area of research emphasis. Areas of research emphasis may include hematology, oncology, pathology, pharmacology, toxicology, immunology, genetics, infectious disease, epidemiology, metabolism, public health, or other areas of medicine. Exceptions to accommodate students with specific research interests outside of the areas listed must be approved by the CEM program director.
Additional Course Requirements
- PhD with Concurrent MS Degree
- The Comparative and Experimental Medicine program offers the PhD with a concurrent MS degree option for doctoral students who plan to complete the master’s degree while maintaining enrollment in the doctoral program. The decision to pursue the concurrent MS/PhD degree must be made at least 2 weeks prior to the last day of classes of the semester previous to the one in which the degree would be conferred. Preferably, the student will decide the path (see below) upon entrance into the PhD program.
- Students who have already completed a master’s degree in a similar program elsewhere will continue to be admitted directly into the PhD-only program.
- Path 1: MS with Thesis; PhD with Dissertation
- Students will progress through the MS program and complete a thesis and oral defense before attempting the PhD comprehensive examination and completing the dissertation (and oral defense). Six credit hours of CEM 500 and 24 credit hours of CEM 600 are required.
- Path 2: MS with Project Option; PhD with Dissertation
- Students will progress through the MS program with 6 credit hours in CEM 501 , CEM 510 , or CEM 515 completed under the supervision of the student’s major professor and committee. The individual project will involve a literature survey, development of a pre-doctoral fellowship grant targeted toward a specific funding agency, or other comparable project deemed acceptable by the student’s committee. The student will undergo an oral defense of the project before attempting the PhD comprehensive examination and completing the dissertation (and oral defense).
- The PhD committee is chosen during the first year. At least one member must be from the College of Veterinary Medicine and at least one member must be from an academic unit outside of the department.
- A comprehensive examination must be passed before the end of the third year of the program.
- Students must prepare and defend a prospectus outlining their proposed research projects before the end of their third year in the program.
- Exceptions to the comprehensive exam and prospectus requirements are provided for medical residents pursuing doctoral degrees who must successfully complete the comprehensive examination and research prospectus before the end of their fourth year in the program.
- Presentation at least twice in the annual UTCVM Research Day event.
- Completion of an approved responsible conduct of research training program within their first two years of study.
- Students who have been in the CEM program for at least two semesters must complete an annual progress report.
- Students must satisfy the PhD residence requirement. This requirement is met by enrolling in two consecutive semesters of at least 9 credit hours or by enrolling in three consecutive semesters of at least 6 credit hours.