Please see our Graduate Student Handbook for full information on the program.

Students who plan to work for higher degrees in Endocrinology will be guided by the Endocrinology Head Graduate Advisor and the professor who directs their research (mentor). The Endocrinology Head 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 Requirements
Ph.D. Degree Requirements
Qualifying Exam Information
Annual Review Information

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 endocrinology.
  • A survey course in cellular and molecular endocrinology.

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.
  • 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 head 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.
  • If students will serve as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) on campus, they must enroll in a teaching pedagogy course such as NUSCTX 375 during or before their first semester of teaching.
  • Serve as a graduate student instructor in one or more appropriate courses. Enforcement of this requirement will depend on the availability of funding.
  • Once students advance to candidacy, they must complete a Doctoral Candidacy Review (DCR) via CalCentral each year they remain at Berkeley. It is recommended that this is done by the end of the Fall semester each year because the Graduate Division requires it for certain fellowship applications (that are due early in the Spring semester) but absolute deadline to have the review materials completed is July 1 of each year. (See below for more information.)
  • Dissertation.

Qualifying Exam
All students pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Endocrinology must pass a 2-3 hour oral qualifying exam before advancing to candidacy. This exam should be taken by the end of the fourth semester in residence. Students will be held responsible for 4 subject areas that the Endocrinology Head Graduate Advisor and their PI approve of from the below list of exam topics (organismal endocrinology and molecular & cellular endocrinology must always be included). The chair of the student's QE committee must be an Endocrinology faculty member and cannot be their PI.

Before submitting their proposed qualifying exam committee and topics into CalCentral for final approval from Grad Division, students should talk to the Endocrinology Graduate Student Services Advisor, Monica Albe, in case any special exceptions may be required for one of their committee members. Students should submit their QE topics and committee into CalCentral at least 2 months prior to their exam using the "higher degree committees form" in their CalCentral Dashboard.

As part of their preparation for the exam, students must work with their QE Chair and their PI to create a dissertation proposal (usually around 5 pages) to present to their QE committee. The student is then to share this dissertation proposal with all QE committee members at least one week before the exam takes place.

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:

  • Anatomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Ethology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neurobiology
  • Physiology
  • 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 on foreign literature or to examine the student on this literature as part of the Ph.D. oral examination.

Annual Thesis Committee Meetings (Annual Review)
Our program's policy is that all Endocrinology Graduate Students who have passed their qualifying exams need to establish a dissertation committee, advance to candidacy, and hold annual reviews (otherwise known as Doctoral Candidacy Reviews) with their dissertation committees for all years that they remain in the program. Each year, the thesis committee meeting needs to be held and all documentation for the meeting needs to be submitted (with mentor feedback) via the CalCentral DCR form for departmental review and approval by July 1.

Students must use the "Doctoral Candidacy Review" Form in CalCentral to submit their review information. Before doing that, they need to hold their thesis committee meeting (annual review), and assemble all associated meeting materials into a single PDF that can be uploaded into the system using the form. Students should, if possible, submit their forms by June 1 to allow their faculty mentors (the student's primary faculty mentor is the dissertation chair) time to review the materials in the form and add their own notes. Final submission of student and mentor comments needs to be completed by July 1 of every year.

The process is as follows

  1. Students make sure their dissertation committee is correctly noted in their CalCentral profile (with correct emails listed for each member)
  2. Students reach out to their dissertation committee members to schedule a time for the annual review meeting
  3. Students work with their dissertation chairs (faculty mentor) to gather any materials to be shared during the meeting
  4. Students hold their annual thesis committee meeting with their dissertation committee members
  5. After the meeting, students assemble all pertinent meeting materials into a single PDF
  6. Students fill out the "Doctoral Candidacy Review" Form in CalCentral
  7. Student attach the PDF to the form (the PDF would include things like dissertation proposal or chapter drafts)
  8. Student submits the form into the system (deadline, at the latest by June 1)
  9. The system then automatically emails the student's dissertation chair for review and comment
  10. The dissertation chair inputs their feedback into the form
  11. The dissertation chair submits the form (deadline July 1)
  12. The student will then automatically receive the finalized form, including the dissertation chair's feedback. 
  13. The Endocrinology Chair, HGA and GSAO will also be alerted by the system and have access to review the materials.

CalCentral eForm alerts are sent through a "" departmental email -- so students and faculty should keep an eye out for these to address the necessary tasks in a timely manner. The student must initiate the process for the emails to go out.

Students can find the Doctoral Candidacy Review Form by signing into their CalCentral Dashboard and looking under the "Student Resources" section. The Doctoral Candidacy Review will be one of the options under "Submit a Form."