After Spring term of the first year, graduate students will be reviewed by the faculty as to their potential to continue towards a higher degree. This evaluation encompasses student performance in the classroom, in research (primarily during laboratory rotations), and in teaching (see Teaching Responsibilities above). The continuation of the student in the degree program is dependent on performance in all three of these areas AND success in securing support from a mentoring major professor, with whom the student plans to carry out doctoral research, and from whom the student expects to receive support for a substantial amount of time while in the department.

It should be noted that the graduate school and department set a B grade (3.0) as the cutoff for passing a course in good standing. Thus grades below B (i.e. B- and below) earned by a student in the first year are viewed unfavorably. Earning two such grades normally terminates candidacy for the Ph.D.