Fourth Year

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October (Start of year four)

  • When your co-mentors and graduate committee concur that you are ready to graduate, you will begin to prepare your written thesis. 
  • You must orally defend your thesis (the Viva) in the U.K. before two external and internal examiners, who are both experts in your field of scientific inquiry.
  • A copy of the thesis is submitted to the University, NIH, and University Program Directors.  Although time to complete the thesis varies, it is expected that you will complete your degree within four years.
  • Approximately one year before you expect to complete your doctorate, you should begin planning and applying for postdoctoral positions. 
  • You may also need to apply for postdoctoral fellowship support, which is best done well in advance.  Having publications, especially those on which you are the first author, enhances your chance of securing the postdoctoral opportunities of greatest interest to you.
  • Approximately one year ahead of time, medical students should plan their transition back to medical school.


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