Doctoral Board Oral (DBO) Exam


Once students have completed a substantial amount of coursework, they will need to schedule a doctoral board oral examination to receive PhD candidacy by the end of their second year.

DBO checklist:

  1. Organize the committee
    • 5 faculty total, including your PI
    • Committee should balance mathematical sciences with biological sciences in terms of faculty
    • Minimum of 2 faculty inside the dept, and 2 faculty outside the dept
    • 2 alternate faculty must be selected, one each from inside/outside the dept
    • Tip: conduct a doodle poll to find the optimal time that all faculty can meet.
    • For specifics, please consult the official student guidelines.
  2. Contact the department
    • Once the DBO committee is finalized and examination time is scheduled, contact our department administrator Hong to fill out the examination request form. The Associate Dean/Registrar will approve the committee and select the committee chair.
    • Tip: book a room for the examination as soon as your committee paperwork is submitted, and alert your committee members.
  3. Before the exam
    • Give yourself sufficient time to study.
    • Ask for advice from other students who have taken the exam, especially those who shared the same committee members.
    • Book a mock DBO to assess your knowledge and get used to the examination format.
    • Contact faculty for advice about their expectations.