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Posts tagged Ph.D.

Chapter 11d. The Challenge of the Comprehensives

With the neurophysiology texts and cheat sheets in front of me I tried to get started on my final studying for Wednesday. But I couldn’t get the endocrine-reproduction exam out of my head. I wrote down each of the questions from both exams and a brief synopsis of what my answers were. I was sure [...]

Chapter 11c. The Challenge of the Comprehensives

The big day finally arrived, after 42 days of studying during which my body went through 41 sleep/wake cycles. All eight of the Ph.D. candidate students got to our meeting place very early with coffee, food, drinks and even changes of clothes to be prepared for a long 8 hours of testing split by a [...]

Chapter 11b. The Challenge of the Comprehensives

I was intensely studying something called kinetics. This is the study of rates of chemical reactions and it involves a lot of math. It was an essential part of my research and I worked hard to learn all of the formulas and how the math worked with the science. I had all sorts of numbers [...]

Chapter 11a. The Challenge of the Comprehensives

The comprehensive exam is a big written and oral exam that every Ph.D. student at Michigan State University needs to take and pass. In my own case, it would cover all of the material in my physiology texts and be broken up into the 6 major areas of physiology. Those areas were: Neurophysiology, cardiovascular physiology, [...]

Chapter 7f. Duties of a Graduate Research Assistant

Michigan State is a huge university. The laboratories for my research were in two different buildings and they were about a mile apart. When the weather was nice, I would skateboard. One building was in the clinical center, where a lot of the doctors’ offices were, and the other building was the Department of Physiology, [...]

Chapter 7e. Duties of a Graduate Research Assistant

The Ph.D. treadmill is a long and intense ordeal of taking classes, helping teach classes, taking qualifying exams, doing research, proposing a thesis and then defending that thesis. All fairly well established and with clear requirements for continuing on to the next step. However, the need to produce and “’pass” was ever present. Michigan State [...]

Chapter 7d. Duties of a Graduate Research Assistant

Professor Sparks was excited. “Good, we finally have a clear difference of opinion here.” He continued quickly. “Joe, you did not think that the conclusions were supported by the data. What data would you personally want to see to support those conclusions?” I was on the spot and all alone on my opinion, but felt [...]

Chapter 7c. Duties of a Graduate Research Assistant

I was asked, or more precisely, ordered one semester, to do some lectures to the undergraduate physiology class on thermoregulation and thermogeneration in mammals. More simply stated, a series of lectures on how we keep warm. The senior lecturer for the class gave me some outline material and also the types of test questions that [...]

Chapter 7b. Duties of a Graduate Research Assistant

In graduate school I was taking classes with some incredibly bright students. There were two people who were veterinarians studying for Ph.Ds. and an MD/Ph.D. student as well as regular Ph.D. students. All of them were superstars in their undergraduate programs or even in their first doctorate degree. I say all of “them” because I [...]

Chapter 7a. Duties of a Graduate Research Assistant

 The more physiology I learned, the more I realized that I needed to learn a lot more physiology. I had a reasonable understanding of applied physiology between having worked on an ambulance to help pay for college and my experience as an athletic trainer, and my bachelor’s in chemistry gave me a solid foundation in [...]