Graduate Group in Endocrinology University of California, Berkeley Graduate Division
University of California, Berkeley
Program Description Ph.D. and M.A. Requirements
Admissions Faculty

Requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Endocrinology

Students who plan to work for higher degrees in Endocrinology will be guided by the Graduate Advisor and the professor who directs their research (mentor). The Graduate Advisor and the mentor will ascertain whether the minimum requirements as listed below have been met. They will recommend to the prospective candidate what additional courses to take, and will decide with the student the fields to be covered in the qualifying examinations.

The candidate is expected to have completed either an undergraduate major in some area of biology (leading to the B.A. or B.S.),

Master's Degree In addition to the general requirements set forth in the Announcement of the Graduate Division for the Master's degree under Plan 1, the following minimum requirements should be met before the student begins the masters program in Endocrinology:

  • Chemistry, to include introductory inorganic, quantitative analysis, introductory organic, and introductory biochemistry.
  • General physics and math through calculus.
  • General biology.
  • A survey course in organismal physiology.
  • A survey course in cellular and molecular biology.

Students who are deficient in any of these courses will be required to take them before completion of the M.A. program.

The following courses are required of all M.A. Candidates:

  • Courses in molecular and organismal endocrinology (MCB135A and IB137).
  • Enroll and present research seminars in IB 248 (Comparative Physiology/Endocrinology seminar) each Spring semester.

A course in statistics is recommended.

Ph.D. Degree The following minimum requirements give the background prerequisite to candidates for the Ph.D. degree in the field of Endocrinology.

  • Completion of the requirements listed above for the M.A. candidates.
  • Further course work selected in consultation with the major professor and graduate advisor to allow emphasis in the area(s) of the student's research interest, such as biochemistry, cell biology, immunology, molecular biology, morphology, physiology, psychobiology, tumor biology, etc.
  • All students formally present their research progress each year in the Spring semester graduate seminar series (IB248) during their tenure in the Endocrinology Graduate Group Berkeley.
  • It is recommended that students enroll in a teaching colloquium such as IB303.
  • Serve as a graduate student instructor in one or more appropriate courses. Enforcement of this requirement will depend on the availability of funding.
  • Dissertation.

In addition, the student must pass an oral qualifying examination for Ph.D. degree candidacy. This exam should be taken by the end of the fourth semester in residence. For the exam, students will be held responsible for subjects the graduate advisor and mentor designate from the list of approved topics.

The purpose of the oral exam is to test the student's understanding of general principles in broad areas, rather than detailed knowledge of narrow fields. However, the examining committee may choose to evaluate the student's abilities to understand and solve problems or questions related to their chosen area of research. This decision will depend to some degree on the student's training and experience. When the oral exam does cover a research topic, not more than 45 minutes of the three-hour exam period should be devoted to that area.

All students are required to defend the following two areas on the oral exam:

  • Organismal endocrinology (either mammalian or comparative)
  • Molecular and cellular endocrinology.

Two of the following list of 12 subject areas of plant and or animal biology must also be defended:

1. Anatomy
2. Biochemistry
3. Cell Biology
4. Developmental Biology
5. Ethology
6. Evolutionary Biology
7. Genetics
8. Immunology
9. Molecular Biology
10. Neurobiology
11. Physiology
12. Tumor Biology

Some other topics may also be acceptable, but approval by a majority of the guidance committee is required in such cases.

Narrow fields, such as pituitary anatomy and physiology, osmoregulation, membrane biology or regulation of gene expression are not acceptable.

Although there is no specific foreign language required of candidates, students are encouraged to be familiar and conversant with the foreign language literature in the field or fields relevant to their research interest. The mentor may require the student to take an appropriate reading examination in the foreign literature, or to examine the student in this literature as part of the Ph.D. oral examination.


Annual Review (Pre-Advanced to Candidacy Students)

  • Complete and submit this report by December 14 to the Graduate Affairs Office (LSA 299)
  • Complete your portion of the form and get your Mentor's comments
  • Arrange a meeting with your Supervisory Committee to discuss your plans and progress
  • The Graduate Advisor (Gary Firestone) must review and sign the form 

Annual Review (Advanced to Candidacy Students)

  • Complete and submit this report by December 14 to the Graduate Affairs Office (LSA 299)
  • Complete your portion of the form and get your Mentor's comments
  • Arrange a meeting with your Dissertation Committee to discuss your progress and their recommendations
  • The Graduate Advisor (Gary Firestone) must review and sign the form