Graduate School of Medical Sciences
A partnership with the Sloan Kettering Institute

Learning Assessment

Learning Proficiencies for all Graduate Students

Graduate education at Weill Cornell Graduate School is diverse, cross-disciplinary, and dynamic. While intended learning outcomes vary across the many academic programs, a set of overarching goals characterize the graduate educational experience. These aspirational goals (listed below) are intended to encourage students’ growth and development.

  • Serve as an ambassador for research and scholarship
  • Effectively engage in one’s broader community through various forms of outreach
  • Explore interconnections
    • Focus on plural contexts and cultures
    • Respect research in other areas
    • Understand and articulate the impact of research on society

Doctoral Proficiencies

A candidate for a doctoral degree is expected to demonstrate mastery of knowledge in the chosen discipline and to synthesize and create new knowledge, making an original and substantial contribution to the discipline in an appropriate timeframe. It is expected that students who have successfully completed one of the school's PhD programs of study will have:

  • Demonstrated a coherent understanding of the biomedical sciences (or 'sciences fundamental to medicine') and a proficiency in the current experimental and theoretical aspects of their chosen program of study;

  • Demonstrated the ability to evaluate and discuss primary literature in a critical manner;
  • Demonstrated the ability to independently conduct original and significant research with the potential to advance the biomedical sciences, and to document and defend such contributions;
  • Demonstrated the ability to communicate scientic knowledge and ideas effectively through both oral and written communications;
Exhibited and maintained complete integrity throughout their tenure, expressing the discipline’s best values, practices and ethical standards.

In addition, each academic program has its own learning goals that complement the overarching outcomes. At both the School- and program-level, academic leadership and program faculty assess on an annual basis whether learning goals are being met. They also review whether any changes need to be made to the overall learning assessment approach. Student performance is assessed through a variety of direct and indirect measures, which include:

  • Didactic and experiential coursework;

  • Official milestones, such as the admission to candidacy exam (ACE exam), which assess breadth and depth in the discipline;

  • Public presentations of scholarly work at program retreats, schoolwide symposia, and national and international meetings;
  • Annual thesis committee (Special Committee) meetings;
  • The final exam and thesis defense.

Through this comprehensive approach to student learning assessment, the Graduate School aims to offer extraordinary research and training for the future leaders in basic and translational science.

Doctoral Program Learning Assessment Documents

The following documents and rubrics will be used by each Program for the assessment of each student as part of the student’s annual assessment by her or his Program leadership or faculty thesis committee.


BCMB Worksheet
BCMB Response Form


IMP Worksheet
IMP Response Form


Neuroscience Worksheet
Neuroscience Response Form


Pharmacology Worksheet
Pharmacology Response Form


PBSB Worksheet
PBSB Response Form

Master’s Proficiencies

A candidate for a master’s degree is expected to demonstrate knowledge in the chosen discipline and to synthesize and create new knowledge, making a contribution to the field in an appropriate timeframe.

  • Demonstrate mastery of the program-specific subject matter
    • Acquire a body of knowledge in the student’s field of study
    • Learn the appropriate methodologies, techniques, and technical skills
  • Make a contribution to the scholarship of the field.
  • Learn advanced research skills 
    • Synthesize existing knowledge, identifying and accessing appropriate resources and other sources of relevant information and critically analyzing and evaluating one’s own findings and those of others
    • Apply existing research methodologies, techniques, and technical skills
    • Communicate in a style appropriate to the discipline
  • Demonstrate commitment to advancing the values of scholarship
    • Keep abreast of current advances within one’s field and related areas
    • Show commitment to personal professional development through engagement in professional societies and other knowledge transfer modes
    • Show a commitment to creating an environment that supports learning – through teaching, collaborative inquiry, mentoring, or demonstration
  • Demonstrate professional skills 
    • Adhere to ethical standards in the discipline
    • Listen, give, and receive feedback effectively

Masters Program-specific learning assessment documents

Health Sciences for Physician Assistants (PA Program):
PA Program Worksheet
PA Program Response Form

Clinical and Translational Investigation (CTI MS):
CTI MS Worksheet
CTI MS Response Form

Clinical Epidemiology (CEP MS):
CEP MS Worksheet
CEP MS Response Form

Biostatistics and Data Science (BDS MS):
BDS MS Worksheet
BDS MS Response Form

Health Informatics (HI MS):
HI MS Worksheet
HI MS Response Form

Health Policy and Economics (HPE MS):
HPE MS Worksheet
HPE MS Response Form

Masters in Computational Biology (CB MS):
CB MS Worksheet
CB MS Response Form

Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership (EMBA MS):
EMBA MS Worksheet
EMBA MS Response Form

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