Comprehensive Evaluation

This three-part comprehensive evaluation is intended to provide evidence that the student has attained a level of preparedness appropriate to the Ph.D. degree. The comprehensive evaluation process is administered after a minimum of 24 credits of didactic courses have been completed and at least twelve months prior to the expected date of graduation. The three components of the comprehensive evaluation process include:

  1. Comprehensive Examination – This is a written examination designed to test the student's scientific approach to problem solving in their area of specialization. The specific format of the examination is at discretion of the faculty within the discipline of the student. Please review the GSPS Canvas site for each discipline's requirements.
  2. Research Proposal – The student will develop a complete research proposal (original research proposal, ORP or proposed research proposal, PRP) and submit the written research proposal to the faculty of the specific area of study. The student will be required to defend the proposal to faculty of the specific discipline and invited guests. A copy of the research proposal and the results of the faculty evaluation of the candidate's defense will be forwarded to the ADRGP. Please review the GSPS Canvas site for each discipline's requirements.
  3. General Evaluation – The candidate's performance in areas such as seminar presentations, coursework, progress in research, contributions to the academic atmosphere, general attitude, potential for future growth, and other matters will be evaluated annually by the faculty of the specific discipline. The evaluation is subjective and attempts to evaluate the candidate on the basis of attributes other than formal examinations.


Teaching and research assistantships, which may include full remission of tuition and fees, are available to qualified applicants. Assistantships are normally awarded twice per year for six-month contract periods.

Eligibility for assistantships is based on academic records, qualifications and financial need. These assistantships are granted in return for serving in the capacity of a laboratory teaching assistant and/or research assistant on a semester-to-semester basis. To be eligible for consideration for an assistantship, the student must complete the appropriate section on the official application.

An international student seeking a teaching assistantship is advised that Duquesne University institutional policy and Pennsylvania state law requires that all instructional teaching assistants who are non-native speakers of English, be certified by the University as meeting acceptable standards of English language fluency. Candidates for teaching assistantships are required to submit TSE (Test of Spoken English) scores to the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Also, candidates must sit for on-campus language tests conducted for such certification.

If results of the on-campus language testing for such certification indicate that the candidate requires assistance with the English language, that candidate will be responsible for the cost of remediating their skills until that individual's language proficiency improves to acceptable standards. Also, testing results may affect the nature and/or limits of the candidate's assistantship and instructional duties.

Learning Outcomes

The GSPS completed a comprehensive process of self-evaluation, external review and curriculum update in 2010 resulting in a modern, outcomes-based curriculum. The following Outcomes/Competency map allows the reader to compare expected student competencies and program outcomes for the graduate programs of the GSPS.

GSPS Learning Outcomes