1st Year Students

Course Requirements. First semester courses will be chosen at the New Student Orientation. For the second semester, students will work with the Head Graduate Advisor to select courses. Please refer to the Molecular Toxicology Handbook for the recommended curriculum.

Students, in consultation with the Head Graduate Advisor, choose their rotations depending on availability of faculty research space and resources. Following each rotation, students submit a written report and make a short oral presentation in NST 211.

Teaching Requirement. At least one semester of teaching experience is required of each student at the NST department. Typically, such requirement is fulfilled during the 3d semester in the program. To prepare students for their teaching requirement, all new students take NST 301 course in the Fall of their 1st year. The course’s main theme is pedagogy and its title is “Professional Preparation: Teaching in Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology.”

Wednesday Seminar Series. All students, both new and continuing, are required to attend the Nutritional Sciences & Toxicology Wednesday Seminar Series. All students will be informed via email of the seminars schedule in the beginning of each semester.


2nd Year Students

Course Requirements. Because students are working toward taking their Oral Qualifying Examination sometime in the Spring of their second year, students need to ensure that all the required coursework is completed by the end of the Fall semester of their second year.

Guidance Committees. Once the student has identified and been accepted to a particular lab, the time comes for forming the Guidance Committee, which monitors student’s research progress and makes recommendations for elective courses, experimental design of the research project, and the Oral Qualifying Examination (OQE). In consultation with the Guidance Committee, the student should identify the areas for the OQE early in the program, since selection of courses and seminars will be directed towards acquiring competency in these areas.

Oral Qualifying Exams (OQE). Students are expected to take their OQE during the Spring of their second year. When getting together the OQE committee, the student should discuss and consult with the P.I. and the Head Graduate Advisor about formation of the exam committee, preparation for the exam, and the selection of subject topics.

Advancement to Candidacy. Once having passed the OQE, the student must submit an Application for Candidacy to the Graduate Assistant, who will forward the form to the Graduate Division.

Teaching Appointments. Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) is an academic title equivalent to the one of a teaching assistant. Generally, first time GSIs are placed in NST 10, but sometimes it is possible to teach in another NST course. The Graduate Student Affairs Office will contact students during their first year in order to coordinate their GSI appointment for the second year.

Teaching Requirements. Beside the NST 301 course taken during the first year, all first-time GSIs take their Online Ethics Course and attend the New GSI Orientation session(s). At the end of the semester, the department conducts evaluations of GSIs performances using written ratings and comments from the class and the instructors. These evaluations are used in the nominations of Outstanding Graduate Student Instructors each Spring. Course credit is given for being a GSI via NST 302. For more information please read the Graduate Council Policy for GSIs and Instructors.


3rd Through 5th Year Students

Presenting in Graduate Research Colloquium (NST 292). Although some students may present during their second year, students are expecting to present at least once a year in NST 292 once they have advanced to Ph.D. candidacy.

Dissertation Committee Meetings. Having advanced to Ph.D. candidacy, the student assembles a committee whose task will be to provide intellectual as well as technical assistance throughout the student’s course of research. The committee should meet within three months of the student’s advancement to Ph.D. candidacy and is required by Graduate Division to meet at least once a year. NST requires that a dissertation committee meeting takes place within two days of the student’s NST 292 presentation (although every effort should be make to meet the same day as the NST 292 presentation).

Career and Job Information. Cal has excellent career counseling for those who are beginning to think about what they will be doing once the Ph.D. is earned. While academic postdoctoral might be in some students’ future, there are other opportunities you may not have thought about. NST encourages its students to think about career options and to check out the Career Center’s Graduate Student & Ph.D. services as part of their graduate studies experience and preparation for post-graduate life.

Filing the Ph.D. Dissertation. Following The Guidelines for Submitting a Doctoral or a Master’s Thesis is essential for successful completion of a Ph.D. degree. Additional information can be found on the Graduate Division website.