In addition to meeting the general requirements for the PhD degree, as described in the bulletin of the Laney Graduate School, students in the NHS Program have specific course requirements and participate in research seminars and in laboratory training rotations with selected faculty members. A typical student would spend 1-2 years before commencing full-time research activity with a thesis advisor.
There are two types of research seminars: those presented by outstanding scientists, from inside and outside the university, which serve to acquaint the student with current research problems; and those where the student participates as a speaker and discussant, a format which helps develop the student's organizational and communication skills.
Through the TATTO program and additional opportunities, students participate in the planning and presentation of graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses in the biological sciences and in public health.
There are three formal examinations. (1) A Master's equivalency examination is taken after the first year. This is a written examination covering the knowledge base required of a graduate student in nutrition. (2) The NHS program requires the student to prepare a an original research proposal in the form of a National Institutes of Health or National Science Foundation research grant application, which is then critiqued by the student's thesis committee. Successful defense of the proposal is the criterion for advancement to candidacy, the final step before a student can be examined for the PhD degree. (3) The doctoral dissertation is presented in a public seminar and the student is examined by the committee.