Comparative Pathobiology Graduate Manual

Policies, procedures, regulations, and other helpful information can be found at the URLs listed here. The Comparative Pathobiology Graduate Manual will provide additional information specific to our Department’s graduate programs.

Combined Degree Program

If a student has entered into a combined degree program with CPB, s/he should initiate the electronic plan of study (EPOS) and plan of research (POR) by the end of the first year in the program. Otherwise, s/he will follow the same guidelines other CPB graduate students follow.

English Proficiency

Development of English proficiency and scientific writing skills is a critical part of a student’s graduate program. Aiding the student in the development of satisfactory scientific writing skills is the responsibility of the major professor.

Any international student registered as a teaching assistant must be certified by the Oral English Proficiency Program (OEPP) in order to serve as a teaching assistant in the classroom. The CPB Graduate Program Coordinator registers students upon request for the Oral English Proficiency Test (OEPT). If a student is not certified by the OEPT, s/he must register for and successfully complete ENGL 62000 to serve as a T.A. in the department.


Students register for classes each semester. Draft Form 23's are sent to the students via email by the CPB Graduate Program Coordinator. Course selection is done by the student in consultation with the major professor. The completed draft form 23 should be approved by the student, then the major professor, who should return the approved form to the CPB Graduate Program Coordinator via email.

Drop or Add a Course

After registration for any semester is completed, there may be reasons to drop or add courses. Student should ask the CPB Graduate Program Coordinator to assist them in this process. The Schedule Revision Dates Calendar can be found on the Registrar’s website.

Course Information

Course offerings by semester are available in the Search the Schedule of Classes at

All courses are listed in the Search the Course Catalog found at

Required courses for all CPB students include:
  1. CPB 69700 Research Seminar
  2. Ethics Course- GRAD 61200  (example)
  3. Graduate Level Statistics Course- STAT 50300  (example)
These courses ensure a comprehensive foundation in research methodologies, ethical standards, and statistical analysis essential for success in the CPB program.


CPB 69700, the CPB research seminar, has 4 objectives:

  1. To provide a forum for presentation and discussion of current CPB research projects.
  2. To develop oral presentation skills of CPB graduate students.
  3. To present current topics in the area of Pathobiology.
  4. To present topics of special interest concerning research techniques and methodologies.

Students present a 30-minute seminar once per year after their first year in a CPB graduate program is completed. The seminar speaker is encouraged to consider the varied backgrounds and experiences of the audience. Presentations should include a 5-minute general overview of the area, 15-20 minutes for the presentation, and 5-10 minutes at the end for questions and discussion.  A seminar title and abstract are due to the Department Head’s Secretary for typing and distribution at least 10 days before the seminar presentation date. Half of the graduate students are expected to present each semester. Students may switch scheduled dates among themselves, but all changes must be approved by the course organizer. An oral summary of the student’s research for the MS and PhD degrees is to be presented as a special seminar in conjunction with the final thesis defense. Written evaluations are completed by attendees after the seminar. All students are expected to give proper credit for the use of others’ ideas, data, figures, etc. Any breach of this standard will result in an unsatisfactory grade for the semester. 

All CPB students are expected to take an ethics course during their graduate program. GRAD 61200, a one-credit 8-week course, is offered each fall and spring semester. Additional courses should be cleared through the CPB Graduate Program Coordinator.

Incomplete Grades

A grade of incomplete is a record of work that was interrupted by unavoidable absence or other causes beyond a student’s control, which work was passing at the time it was interrupted and the completion of which does not require the student to repeat the course in order to obtain credit. The incomplete grade is not to be used as a substitute for a failing grade. The incomplete may also be used to delay the awarding of a grade in courses (e.g., self-paced courses, mastery courses, and practicums), the completion of which normally requires one semester but the structure of which allows specified additional time. An instructor may consult with the dean of students to determine whether the circumstances may warrant a grade of incomplete. When an instructor reports a grade incomplete, they shall file in the departmental office registrar’s form 60 stating the reasons for the grade and what is required of the student to achieve a permanent grade. The instructor shall also indicate the grade the student has earned on the work completed and the weight to be given to the remainder of the work in computing a final, permanent grade. The student must achieve a permanent grade in the course no later than one year after the incomplete is given, or the incomplete grade will revert to a failing grade. 

A student receiving an incomplete grade should immediately contact their instructor and make arrangements to complete the course. The student is responsible for initiating the process to change the grade. The CPB Graduate Program Coordinator assists in this process by having the instructor complete a Registrar’s Form 350. A failing grade affects your cumulative GPA.

Final Exams and Dead Week

Exams and quizzes are not to be given during the last week of classes known as dead week. Students who have more than two finals in one day are entitled to reschedule any examination in excess of two. Students faced with a direct exam conflict are entitled to reschedule either examination.  Further information can be found at

Maintenance of Academic Eligibility

Each student is expected to maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA. For courses taken for S or P grades, only those grades are acceptable. Students may be required to repeat a course in which an unsatisfactory grade is earned. S is the only acceptable grade for CPB 69800 or CPB 69900. Grades of I and U will be reviewed by the Graduate Studies Committee. If a second grade of U occurs (either consecutive or non-consecutive) in one of these courses the Graduate Studies Committee’s recommendation will be that the graduate program be terminated.

Graduate Advisory Committee

The graduate advisory committee assists the student through his/her graduate program. The committee consists of the student’s major professor (chair), as well as a minimum of two other members for an MS committee and a minimum of three other members for a PhD committee. 51% of committee members must have regular graduate faculty appointments. These committee members do not necessarily have to be from CPB. The committee should be established by the end of the second semester for MS students and the third semester for PhD students. The Department Head may approve the committee membership or suggest alternate or additional members. Meetings of the committee are encouraged prior to the time that the electronic plan of study is submitted for approval. One meeting is required annually and must be reported on CPB GSC Form 6.

A special graduate faculty appointment is required for a committee member who does not have a regular graduate faculty appointment.  The student should provide the member’s CV, so the CPB Graduate Program Coordinator can submit a request for a special graduate faculty appointment to the Graduate School.

Electronic Plan of Study

At its first meeting, the advisory committee assists the student in the formulation of the electronic plan of study (EPOS). The student follows directions in the How to Use the Plan of Study System to create the EPOS in myPurdue. When creating the EPOS, the student needs to remember that S and P-graded courses cannot be listed on the EPOS. Even though thesis research courses are S-graded and cannot be listed, the number of credits counts toward the 30 MS or 90 PhD registration credits. No more than six credits of 30000 or 40000 level courses may be listed on the EPOS. Once the EPOS is created, it is saved in DRAFT form. The student has the advisory committee sign the Plan of Research and Plan of Study Approval Form to approve the EPOS draft. Once completed, the student brings the draft EPOS and approval form to the CPB Graduate Program Coordinator for CPB Graduate Studies Committee approval. After this, the CPB Graduate Program Coordinator contacts the student to submit the EPOS in final form for electronic approval.


Qualifying Examination

A qualifying examination may be required after the beginning of the graduate program. The purpose of the qualifying examination is to determine student placement, ability to write effectively, and ability to continue in the graduate program. Most sections do not use the qualifying examination.

Thesis Preparation

The cost of thesis preparation is the responsibility of the student. Before starting to write the thesis, the student must consult the Graduate School Thesis/Dissertation Information Page. All the information needed to write, defend, and submit the thesis is located on this web page. All MS thesis and PhD students are required to submit the thesis electronically.

In addition to the thesis, at least one manuscript is required for both the MS thesis and PhD degrees. Ordinarily, the manuscript(s) will be concerned with a portion of the student’s thesis research. The manuscript must be certified by the major professor to be in a form suitable for publication. The certified manuscript should be submitted to the CPB Department Head no later than the time that the report of the final examination is submitted for his/her signature.

Before the thesis is submitted electronically to the Graduate School, preferably before the thesis defense, the major professor should use Ithenticate to ensure that the thesis is all original material and in no way plagiarized.

Graduate Student Progress Review

The Graduate Studies Committee annually reviews the progress of each graduate student in the spring semester. The CPB GSC Form 1 is to be completed by the student’s major professor and submitted to the CPB Graduate Program Coordinator, and then discussed with the CPB Graduate Studies Committee at the annual review. The committee’s recommendation(s) will be submitted on the CPB GSC Form 2  to the Department Head for his/her approval. It is then sent to the major professor to discuss with the student. Both are to sign the form and return it to the CPB Graduate Program Coordinator. The report is maintained in the student’s file. 

MS Bypass

A student initially enrolled in the MS program wanting to work toward the Ph.D. degree instead may submit an MS bypass request to the CPB Graduate Studies Committee. The following criteria are used by the Committee to consider such a request:

  1. Academic Performance in the current program. The student is expected to have completed at least 10 credit hours of formal coursework in courses that require examinations and in which letter grades are awarded. It is expected that the student will have a cumulative GPA of 3.25, exclusive of seminar and special problem courses. At least two courses must have been taken outside the PVM.
  2. Performance in Independent Research. The student is expected to provide proof of their written communication skills. Scientific publications, research progress reports, or research grant applications can be used for this purpose. Oral communication skills will be based on the student’s performance in formal and informal seminars and in regional or national scientific meetings. These items should be listed with approximate dates, places, and titles.
  3. Performance in Teaching or Other Service Responsibilities. Both the quality and quantity of performance in teaching or other service areas will be reviewed. Consideration will be based on a written assessment to be provided by each supervisor. These activities can include such things as lectures presented, teaching laboratories prepared, participation in teaching, and necropsies of biopsies completed. etc.

The major professor should submit on behalf of the student the following to the CPB Graduate Program Coordinator to initiate the MS bypass:  a request for bypass memo addressing the criteria listed above as well as funding source; an up-to-date transcript from Purdue for the student; his/her plan of research; and copies of his/her transcripts from previous universities attended.

The CPB Graduate Program Coordinator will attach all materials to a transmittal sheet and distribute them to the CPB Graduate Studies Committee for their consideration. Once the MS bypass is approved by the Committee and the Department Head, an email is sent by the CPB Graduate Program Coordinator to the Graduate School records contact to verify the change in degree program. 

PhD Preliminary Examination

Once a student’s electronic plan of study is approved by the Graduate School and the student has satisfactorily completed most of their formal course work, they are eligible to take the preliminary examination. The examination must be taken two full semesters before graduation. For example, if a student takes prelims in the last half of the spring semester and registers for the summer session, they may defend their thesis in the last half of the next spring semester.

According to the Graduate School Policies and Procedures Manual, the preliminary examining committee must consist of a minimum of three members of the graduate faculty who need not be faculty members with whom the student has taken coursework. All members of the examining committee are to be notified of the scheduled examination. Other faculty members may be asked to participate by an examining committee member, without a vote, in the examination, and any interested faculty member may be present again without a vote. Although only three committee members are required, if the committee has four or more members, a single member may withhold his/her signature of approval.

A preliminary examination passed by a student whose graduate study and /or professional activity has been inactive for five years or more is invalid.

Preliminary Examination Procedures for Ph.D. Students

There are two options for administering the preliminary examination to CPB PhD students. The student’s advisory committee will decide which exam format is appropriate for the student.

Option #1 – Written and Oral Examinations

  • Written Examination
    • The exam may be open or closed book as decided by the student’s advisory committee.
    • Each committee member will give questions on relevant topics as agreed among the committee members. The closed book exam of each committee member should be of a maximum of 3 hours in duration. The student may take one committee member’s exam per day. The time limit for the open-book exams can be determined by the examining committee member.
    • Each committee member will submit the questions for the written exam to the major professor who will administer the written exam.
    • The student will submit the answers to the major professor. The exam sections will be evaluated by the respective committee members. The major professor will consult with the committee members about the student’s performance in the written exam. The oral exam will be scheduled once the majority of the committee members have agreed that the written exam was satisfactory.
  • Oral Examination
    • Each committee member will be given time to question the student on the topics in the written examination. The student will pass the oral exam with a majority vote of the committee.
    • If the student fails the oral exam with a majority vote, he/she may be allowed to reschedule the written and/or oral examination in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. Alternatively, the committee may recommend for dismissal from the Ph.D. program or to change his/her program to a thesis MS.
    • If the student fails the examination on the second attempt, the student may be recommended for dismissal from the Ph.D. program or to change his/her program to a thesis MS.

Option #2 – Written Research Proposal and Oral Examination

  • Grant Proposal
    • The topic of the research proposal should preferably be significantly different than the student’s thesis research. The supervisor or the committee members should not provide any help in concept development, writing or editing of the proposal.
    • The student will first submit a 1-page pre-proposal to the advisory committee for the committee members’ approval of the topic.
    • The full proposal should be 10 pages in length. The proposal should reflect the student’s understanding of the topic and her/his own scientific creativity.
    • Font: Use an Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype, or Georgia typeface, a black font color, and a font size of 11 points or larger with a single space between sentences. (A Symbol font may be used to insert Greek letters or special characters; the font size requirement still applies.)
    • Paper Size and Page Margins: Use standard paper size (8 ½" x 11). Use at least one-half-inch margins (top, bottom, left, and right) for all pages.
    • Figures, Graphs, Diagrams, Charts, Tables, Figure Legends, and Footnotes: You may use a smaller type size, but it must be in black font color, readily legible, and follow the font typeface requirement. Color can be used in figures; however, all text must be in a black font color, clear and legible.
    • Header and Footer:
      • Header: On the right side – Student’s Full Name (First, Last) and Major Professor (First & Middle Initials, Last Name) in parentheses. E.g. Mary Lamb (HK Grimson)
        • Footer: Page numbers inserted on the bottom right.
  • Sections and page limit:
    • Title and Abstract - 1 page
    • RESEARCH PLAN – 9 pages
      • NO PRELIMINARY RESULTS should be in the PLAN
      • SPECIFIC AIMS: Page Limit – 1 page
      • RESEARCH STRATEGY: Page Limit – 6 pages. Figures and tables may be included
        • SIGNIFICANCE - Explain the importance of the problem or critical barrier to progress in the field that the proposed project addresses. Explain how the proposed project will improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice in one or more broad fields. Describe how the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field will be changed if the proposed aims are achieved.
        • INNOVATION - Explain how the application challenges and seeks to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms. Describe any novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions to be developed or used, and any advantage over existing methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions. Explain any refinements, improvements, or new applications of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions.
        • APPROACH - Describe the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Discuss potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success anticipated to achieve the aims.
      • REFERENCES CITED: Page Limit – 2 pages.
  • Submission to Committee Members
    • The entire proposal as a single PDF file will be submitted to the Committee members for review.
    • The major professor will consult with the committee members about the submitted proposal.
    • The oral exam will be scheduled once the majority of the committee members have agreed that the proposal was satisfactory.
  • Oral Examination
    • The student will give a 25-45-minute presentation on the grant proposal.
    • Each committee member will be given time to question the student on the proposal. The student will pass the oral exam with a majority vote of the committee.
    • If the student fails the oral exam with a majority vote, he/she may be allowed to reschedule the written and/or oral examination in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. Alternatively, the committee may recommend for dismissal from the Ph.D. program or to change his/her program to thesis MS.
    • If the student fails in the examination on the second attempt, the student may be recommended for dismissal from the Ph.D. program or to change his/her program to thesis MS.
Continuation in the PhD Graduate Program Following the MS Degree

If a CPB student wants to continue in the PhD graduate program after receiving the MS degree, s/he must submit to the CPB Graduate Studies Committee the following:

      1. CPB GSC Form 5, the Application for Study Toward the PhD Degree in CPB After Receipt of the MS Degree
      2. Copy of the completed GS Form 7, Report of Masters Examining Committee
      3. Current Purdue transcript
      4. CPB GSC Form 3, Certification of Graduate Student Financial Support from the proposed major professor indicating his/her acceptance of the student into his/her research program and source of funding

The CPB Graduate Studies Committee will make a recommendation to the CPB Department Head who will decide whether or not the student may continue.  Once approved, an email should be sent by the CPB Graduate Program Coordinator to the Graduate School confirming that the student is continuing his/her studies for a PhD degree.

Research in Absentia and Absence from Campus Duty

Policies pertaining to research in absentia and absence from campus duty are included in the Graduate School’s Policies and Procedures Manual. The CPB Business Office and the CPB Graduate Program Coordinator will cooperate to ensure the student follows procedures and registers appropriately for research in absentia or absence from campus duty.

Satisfaction of Requirements for Advanced Degree

The Graduate School requires that each student being awarded an advanced degree has satisfied the following requirements:

      1. All courses listed on the approved plan of study must be completed satisfactorily (grade of “C” or higher.
      2. A minimum of 30 registration credits for the MS degree and 90 registration credits for the PhD degree are required. 
Time Limits for Completion of MS and PhD Degree Programs

A student is ordinarily expected to complete all requirements for the thesis MS degree within a period of three years.  At the end of two years, the student’s progress will be reviewed by the CPB Graduate Studies Committee during the annual review process. Recommendations will be made to the CPB Department Head and to the student’s major professor and advisory committee to correct any problems.

PhD students continuing after the MS degree typically take an additional three years to complete the PhDPhD students who are permitted to bypass the MS also typically require less time.  At the end of six years, the CPB Graduate Studies Committee will routinely recommend to the CPB Department Head that any uncompleted Ph.D. program be terminated by the end of that academic session unless mitigating circumstances are apparent. The student may petition the Committee for a waiver of this rule.  The Committee will give its recommendation to the CPB Department Head for action. In no instance, however, may the time required for completion of the PhD program exceed eight years.

Graduate Student Representative Positions

The CPB Department has two graduate student representative positions. One is a representative who attends the CPB faculty meetings as well as the Purdue Graduate Student Government meetings. The other is a representative of the CPB Graduate Studies Committee. Each representative generally serves a two-year term and may be reappointed for an additional term.

Laboratory Safety

Rigorous University regulations govern laboratory safety and practice. Many of these are administered by the Radiological and Environmental Management (REM) unit. Regulations affect the acquisition, use, storage, and disposal of hazardous chemicals and their containers, as well as radioisotopes. Biohazardous materials are also regulated by REM. Each new graduate student is required to read the REM Chemical Hygiene Plan and Hazardous Materials Safety Manual online at After reading the manual, the student will complete the Purdue Chemical Hygiene Plan Awareness Certification form provided online following REM's instructions. A copy should also be sent to the CPB main office, where it will be kept on file. Everyone working in the department is required to complete this same agreement certifying his/her knowledge of and compliance with existing standards. OSHA rulings require that annual retraining of existing employees and training of all new employees must be a part of the compliance program. Updated notifications are maintained in the CPB main office as a part of the REM safety manual file. Updated acknowledgment of compliance to modified requirements may be required periodically.

Each student's research advisor will recommend appropriate procedures to be followed in their area as well as necessary reference readings in good laboratory safety and practice. Broken glass, needles, scalpel blades, and other "sharps" are to be sealed in a marked box for disposal by the custodial staff. They are never to be thrown into the routine trash. Laboratory gloves made of nitrile, latex, or similar materials are considered medical waste and must be disposed of as biomedical waste (e.g. biohazard bag); gloves are never to be thrown in the routine trash.

Use of Human Research Subjects or Experimental Animals and Facilities

To obtain information regarding human research subjects or experimental animals and facilities, please follow these instructions:

Go to

Click on Research Policies.

Click on whatever section from which you need information

Purdue Animal Care and Use Committee (PACUC)


Animal Use Qualifications - To be approved to work with vertebrate animals at Purdue University, you must have an Animal Use Qualification Form on file with the Purdue Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). This is the first step that must be taken to use vertebrate animals at Purdue.

To complete the Animal Use Qualification Form, please refer to the links below:

Animal Use Qualification Documentation - Purdue Employees with Career Accounts

CITI Training Information – After you have completed the Animal Use Qualification Form, you will be asked by the IACUC office to complete step 2, which involves completing relevant Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online modules. Information on how to complete these online modules will be sent to you via email once the IACUC office has received your Animal Use Qualification Form.

If you prefer to begin completing the CITI modules prior to the IACUC office contacting you, you may do so by following the instructions at the link below.

CITI Instructions

Vertebrate Animal Protocol Application – The third step that must be completed to use animals at Purdue University is to make sure that you are listed on an approved protocol application. Protocol applications / Amendments to Protocol Applications may only be submitted by faculty or senior research scientists/associates (commonly called Principal Investigators – PIs). PIs must list all personnel on the protocol application who will be working with vertebrate animals as part of their research, teaching, or testing activities. If a PI needs to add personnel after a protocol application has been approved by IACUC, they may do so by submitting an Amendment to the approved protocol. No one should be listed on or added to a protocol application unless he/she has completed Steps 1 and 2 above.

For further assistance with this process, please contact the IACUC office at or (765) 494-9163.


Business and Procedure Matters

Questions regarding attendance, vacation and terminal leave, payroll, medical insurance and paid parental leave policy, social security and income taxes, and purchasing should be directed to the appropriate section of the Business Office.

Human Resources, LYNN 1229
Procurement and Purchasing, LYNN 1230
Accounting, LYNN 1204
Business Manager, LYNN 1202

CPB Degree Procedure Summaries
Graduate School Forms

Graduate School forms are now submitted through myPurdue.

Please take a moment to check out the graduate school's online resource fair which consists of services available to you.

This document was updated on April 1, 2024.

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