School of Medicine
- M.D., Doctor of Medicine
- M.D. /Ph.D., Joint Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy
- Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Ph.D. in Cancer Cell Biology
- Ph.D. in Cellular and Integrative Physiology
- M.S. in Clinical and Translational Science
- Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis
- B.S. in Immunology and Medical Microbiology
- Ph.D. in Neuroscience
- M.H.S. in Pathologists’ Assistant
- B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Exercise Physiology
- B.S. in Medical Laboratory Science
- M.O.T., Master of Occupational Therapy
- D.P.T., Doctor of Physical Therapy
- Ph.D., Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences
- M.D. /M.P.H., Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health
- M.S., Biomedical Sciences
The West Virginia University School of Medicine is a part of the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, a comprehensive academic health system with three campuses in the state, a network of affiliated hospitals and practice plans, and a mission of education, research, clinical care, and service to the state. On the main Morgantown campus, students have access to a full range of research and clinical facilities, including a new laboratory building and a wide range of advanced research centers. West Virginia University Hospitals includes sophisticated medical technology, including magnetic resonance imagery, lithotripsy, and laser surgery; the campus includes a large and busy tertiary hospital, a trauma center, children’s hospital, cancer center, a psychiatric hospital, primary care and specialty clinics, a rehabilitation hospital and many other patient care facilities.
Students in the M.D. program complete two years of their professional education on the Morgantown campus. In the third and fourth year of their medical education, they may complete clinical clerkships on the Morgantown, Charleston or WVU-East (Martinsburg) campuses.
The Department of Human Performance and Applied Exercise Sciences incorporates exercise physiology, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. These programs offer graduate degrees at the master's and doctoral (M.S., PhD) level as well as professional degrees (MOT, DPT).
Biomedical sciences graduate programs (in collaboration with School of Pharmacy) offer training in seven areas: biochemistry and molecular biology; cancer cell biology; cellular and integrative physiology; exercise physiology; immunology and microbial pathogenesis; neuroscience; and pharmaceutical and pharmacological sciences. Biomedical sciences graduate students take a common core curriculum the first year and match with a faculty mentor and self-select into their specialty areas in year two.
These School of Medicine graduate and professional programs complement programs in the other health professions schools (dentistry, nursing, public health, and pharmacy).
All doctoral students will be required to present a minimum of six one-hour graduate seminars to faculty and students before graduating. Doctoral students who desire to obtain additional teaching will be able to obtain this as part of their training. Students are expected to present their research data at national meetings and publish their data in appropriate peer-reviewed journals prior to graduation. However, the student’s faculty advisor must give approval before any research or scholarly material is submitted for presentation or publication, and the material must recognize all appropriate co-authors and grant sources.
Required Research Participation
Because the doctorate is a research degree, students will be expected to be involved in research from the beginning of their programs. Doctoral students will participate in three research rotations with faculty in exercise physiology during the first two semesters of enrollment. Students are expected to choose a dissertation chair and a dissertation committee by the end of the first year of enrollment. Students should work with their dissertation advisor to design appropriate pilot studies and with that data identify a dissertation project and appropriate research questions/hypothesis to be tested by the proposed research. All approved research projects must be hypothesis-based, and whenever possible, the research questions should address mechanistic questions that explain biological phenomenon relevant to exercise physiology.
Research is conducted throughout the doctoral program with a goal of having at least three manuscripts published or submitted to a journal for peer review before graduation. Students should strive to present their research findings at a minimum of one national/international meeting annually beginning no later than the second year of enrollment in the doctoral program. A minimum of one peer-reviewed manuscript that is derived from the student’s dissertation research must be published before graduation.
All preliminary research must be collected under the supervision and approval of the dissertation chair. The student is expected to engage in directed research under the supervision of the dissertation chair to learn techniques and collect pilot data that will be the basis of a future dissertation project. Studies to obtain pilot data should be presented to the dissertation committee to demonstrate the student’s competency in research skills, and, that his/her research ideas and hypotheses are appropriate and justified. This process facilitates progression through the program in a timely and efficient manner. Nevertheless, the dissertation committee may require the student to obtain additional pilot data or research skills prior to approving the research proposal as a dissertation topic. The student’s directed research efforts should be progressing towards approval of a dissertation topic from the members of the dissertation committee, once they have been identified (before the end of the first semester of year two). This research training will provide the student background data/information from which to base grant proposal and dissertation topic as part of the requirements for completing Part II of the Comprehensive Examination.
The comprehensive (qualifying/candidacy) examination will evaluate a student’s readiness for advancement to doctoral candidacy. This will consist of a written and an oral component to determine that the student is qualified to complete the doctoral dissertation and conduct independent research.
Requirements of the Qualifying/Candidacy Examination
Graduate students will be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy after successfully completing all coursework and passing a candidacy examination. The purpose of the candidacy examination is to evaluate a student’s readiness for advancement to doctoral candidacy. The candidacy examination will consist of writing and orally defending a dissertation proposal. Advancement to candidacy means that in the judgment of the faculty, the doctoral student has an adequate knowledge of exercise physiology, knows how to use academic resources, and has potential to do original research autonomously. In other words, the student is qualified to complete the doctoral dissertation. In addition, no student with a grade point average of less than 3.0 will be eligible to take this examination.
The qualifying examination should be taken after completion of the formal coursework as defined by the student’s dissertation committee and chair/advisor of the dissertation committee in conjunction with the Director for Graduate Studies. When a student has passed the candidacy/qualifying examination, he/she will be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D.
The following are prerequisites for advancement to the qualifying examination:
- The student must have a dissertation advisor and a dissertation committee.
- The student must have demonstrated competent research skills.
- The student must have a suitable dissertation topic that is approved by the dissertation committee.
- The student must be in good academic standing as defined in the doctoral program and have satisfactorily completed the first two years of course requirements (including those specified by the student’s advisory committee) with at least six credit hours (or equivalent) of laboratory research experience.
Appropriate (recommended) lengths for each section of the qualifying examination/research proposal (single spaced) are as follows:
- Specific aims: one page
- Background and significance: two to three pages
- Preliminary studies and pilot data: three to five pages
- Research design and methods: six to seven pages
- Budget and justification: two to four pages including justification pages
- References: three to four pages
Oral Examination of Research Proposal
Normally, the oral examination is set within two to four weeks following the acceptance of the written examination. However, the oral exam component can only be scheduled if the members of the dissertation committee judge the written submission to be acceptable (or acceptable pending minor revisions). If the written proposal is acceptable by the members of the dissertation committee, the chair of the dissertation committee will schedule the oral portion of Part II of the examination.
The following guidelines should be reviewed by the student and his/her dissertation committee before scheduling the oral examination.
In the oral examination, the student will make a professional formal presentation (using PowerPoint computer slides or similar media) that clearly identifies the research area, hypotheses, and questions that they wish to pursue as part of his/her Ph.D. dissertation and pilot data that they have obtained (about forty to forty-five minutes). The chair of the dissertation committee will also chair Part II of the examination. The chair will permit members of the audience (faculty, graduate students, etc.) to ask questions of the graduate presenter for approximately ten to fifteen minutes. Thereafter, the guests will be dismissed and the meeting will be closed except for the members of the student’s dissertation committee and other invited (i.e., non-voting) members of the graduate faculty that have been approved by the chair of the dissertation committee.
Failure to successfully complete the comprehensive examination after two attempts is grounds for dismissal. Students will be permitted due process and the division chair will convene the graduate faculty as a whole, who will consider written appeals from any student who has been dismissed by virtue of failing the qualifying/candidacy examination.
Temporary Committee Substitutions
- Membership on a doctoral dissertation committee signifies the highest level of commitment to all phases of the student’s doctoral training. All committee members must therefore be present for the oral research design exam. If all the members of the committee are not present at the beginning of the oral defense for Part II, the oral examination cannot continue. Absence of a committee member from the exam is only acceptable in the event of illness or some other serious unforeseen problem
- If a committee member is unexpectedly unable to participate in a scheduled oral examination, the examination should be rescheduled for another time within the next two weeks when all members can be present. The student may request that the examination not be rescheduled, provided that a substitute committee member can be found (if one is needed to meet minimal dissertation committee requirements). Requests for member substitution will be granted in only very rare and exceptional circumstances. The division chair must approve any temporary substitutions.
- The substitute must have adequate time to read the written proposal and prepare for the examination. The substitute must be a suitable graduate faculty with established expertise in an area previously represented by the absent committee member. It is not appropriate to substitute one faculty with another if a different research expertise would be represented by the substitution. Any substitute must be acceptable to both the student and the dissertation advisor, and the substitute must meet the requirements for dissertation committee membership. The substitute member will be considered a full-voting member of the dissertation committee for the purpose of administering and grading the examination. The substitute member will also be provided copies of the student’s written responses for Parts I and II. The final examining committee may contain no more than one substitute member, and the students’ advisor (normally dissertation committee chair) may not be substituted.
Qualifications for Advancement to Ph.D. Candidacy
The student must demonstrate the following:
- A wide base of knowledge in exercise physiology
- An ability to think independently
- Integration of existing knowledge into a practical research question by identifying what is known, what is not known, etc.
- Critical evaluation of literature
- Problem-solving skills
- Acceptable written and oral communication skills including the ability to “think on one’s feet”
Submission of Written Research Proposal to a Funding Agency
The written candidacy examination also serves an additional purpose. Graduate students are expected to submit at least one grant proposal to an external granting agency by the end of his/her second year of enrollment. Constructing the proposal is a part of the requirements for graduation. The candidacy examination provides the graduate student the opportunity to complete these requirements for submitting the grant proposal while also preparing for the qualifying examination and assembling ideas for the dissertation project.
The student should wait until successfully negotiating the candidacy examination (both written and oral components) and revise the grant according to the suggestions of his/her dissertation chair and dissertation committee. Graduate students should not submit a grant proposal without input, feedback, and approval of the committee chair and dissertation committee. It is acceptable and appropriate for the student to obtain feedback from all members of the dissertation committee before submitting it to a funding agency.
The submission of the grant proposal to a funding agency should be used to: (a) seek a graduate student stipend and other research supplies as allowed by the external source, (b) seek funding for travel to national/international meetings if it is permitted by the funding agency, (c) obtain independent external review of the student’s research proposal/dissertation project, and/or (d) obtain experience in writing grants for external funding. The student should also notify the Director of Graduate Studies of the grant submission. This will be accomplished by submitting a copy of the front page of the grant proposal (with the title, signatures, etc.) and the budget page of the grant to the Director of Graduate Studies.
General Dissertation Requirements
The purpose of the dissertation is to provide experiences that will assist the student in becoming an independent investigator and constructing manuscripts from the data collected in the research process. Typical dissertation projects will be about three years in length.
The student must complete a dissertation in which they have obtained original data that makes a novel and important contribution to knowledge in the broad field of exercise physiology and submit all manuscripts containing these data to peer-reviewed journals. Students must pass an oral examination based upon his/her dissertation.
The dissertation must be constructed in a format suitable to the graduate school and the advisor. Preferable formats will include writing the data chapters as if they have been submitted to peer-reviewed journals (including abstract, introduction, methods and materials, results, discussion, and literature cited in each chapter). In addition, the final one to two chapters of the dissertation should include an integrative discussion concerning the total research project and evaluation of hypothesis that were tested. The typical doctoral dissertation will yield three to five peer-reviewed manuscripts. To optimize feedback from the co-authors and to ensure timely publication, the manuscripts originating from dissertation work should be submitted for peer review prior to graduation, and some manuscripts may be published before the student graduates. Proper acknowledgment for funding of the research should be noted in both the dissertation and the manuscripts obtained from dissertation work. It is expected that several of these manuscripts that will be included in the dissertation will have been published before graduation. It is further expected that all of the manuscripts will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for consideration for publication before graduation. The student must have published a minimum of one manuscript as a first author from the completed dissertation work prior to graduation. The process of writing the chapters as journal manuscripts will facilitate this process.
Students will be formally evaluated by the program faculty on a yearly basis with respect to courses, research, teaching, professional development, and progress through the program. The student will be asked to fill out an activity report encompassing these areas and submit it to the Chair of the Division of Exercise Physiology. The chair will convene the program faculty to evaluate each student. The chair will provide the students a written assessment of their progress.
- Arthur J. Ross III - M.D. (Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine)
Vice Dean for Medical Education & Academic Affairs
- Norman D. Ferrari III - M.D. (WVU School of Medicine)
Vice Dean for Clinical Services & CMO WVU Healthcare
- Judie Charlton - M.D. (WVU School of Medicine)
- Scott A. Cottrell - Ed.D. (WVU)
Student Services & Curriculum
- Barbara Ducatman - M.D. (Albany Medical College)
- James P. Griffith - M.D. (WVU School of Medicine)
Charleston Campus Student Services
- Maria Kolar - M.D. (WVU School of Medicine)
- Rosemarie Cannarella Lorenzetti - M.D. (WVU School of Medicine)
Eastern Campus Student Services
- Timothy Palencik - M.B.A.
- James M. Stevenson - M.D. (WVU School of Medicine)
- Kathleen Bors - M.D. (WVU School of Medicine)
- James Brown - M.D. (Meharry Medical School)
- Hannah Hazard - M.D. (WVU School of Medicine)
- Fred L. Minnear - Ph.D. (Oregon Health Sciences University)
- Jamal Mustafa - Ph.D. (Lucknow University, India)
- James O'Donnell - Ph.D. (University of Chicago)
- David Wilks - M.D. (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine)
Medical Education Technology
Associate Dean for Professional and Undergraduate Programs
- MaryBeth Mandich - Ph.D. (WVU)
Professional & Undergraduate Programs
Associate Vice President for Health Sciences
- Clark Hansbarger - M.D. (Medical College of Virginia School of Medicine)
Dean, Charleston Campus
- Konrad Nau - M.D. (WVU School of Medicine)
Dean, Eastern Campus
Senior Associate Dean/Chief Administrative Officer
- John Worth - M.B.A. (State University of New York at Buffalo)