In addition to meeting the general requirements for the PhD degree, as described by the Laney Graduate School, students in the NHS Program have specific course requirements and participate in research seminars and reserach rotations with selected faculty members. A typical student would spend 1-2 years before commencing full-time research activity with a thesis advisor.
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 comprehensive examination covering the knowledge base required of a graduate student in nutrition. (2) The NHS program requires the student to prepare 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 student's PhD research will cullminate in a doctoral dissertation, typically following the three-manuscript format. The doctoral dissertation is presented in a public seminar, and the student is examined by the committee.