Graduate Program guidelines and rules

Visit the Graduate Studies FAQ Page - or email the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee - for more information on admissions and programs

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

Graduate Assistantships (Teaching or Research)

Graduate Teaching Assistants are assigned to duties in specific courses, as prescribed by the instructor in charge. These duties are normally for 50% time (20 hours per week); normally this is equivalent to 6 to 10 contact hours in laboratory instruction, depending upon duties and level of a particular assignment. The Graduate Studies Committee recommends appointment for teaching assistantships based on evaluation of transcript(s), GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and the prior experience of the applicant. Graduate Research Assistants are appointed and assigned duties prescribed by the principal investigators of funded research projects. Students for both categories are drawn from applicants approved by the Graduate Studies Committee. For successive appointments, a graduate assistant is evaluated by his or her major professor, the faculty supervisor(s), and the Chairman. Teaching performances are evaluated each semester, and research progress is evaluated each spring semester. Those evaluations become part of the student's permanent file and are used by the Graduate Studies Committee in the reappointment process. Although appointments are normally made for an academic year, failure to meet the criteria stated herein constitutes grounds for review and possible termination of appointment. Appointments are limited to 4 semesters for the Masters Degree and 8 for the doctoral program.

Satisfactory service is defined as follows:

  • Maintenance of a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Satisfactory performance of assigned duties as determined by faculty supervisors.
  • Satisfactory progress in research as reported by the student's major professor in the annual review.

Academic Load for Graduate Students on Assistantships (as defined by the Graduate School):

Appointment Minimum Enrollment Maximum Enrollment Tuition Portion Paid
Spring and Fall Semester Assistantships
0-49% 9 15 Out of State portion
50-74% 6 15 All
75-99% 3 15 All
Summer 12 week Assistantships (enrollment in any summer session)
0-49% 3 9 Out of State
50-74% 3 9 up to 9 hours + all Out of State
75-99% 3 9 up to 9 hours + all Out of State
Summer 6 week Assistantships (enrollment in any summer session)
0-49% 3 6 Out of State
50-74% 3 6 up to 6 hours + all Out of State
75-99% 3 6 up to 6 hours + all Out of State

During the regular academic year students with assistantships must register for the appropriate number of credit hours as indicated above. Credit hours may be distributed among courses, research, and dissertation or thesis.

Doctoral candidates who have passed the Candidacy Examination and who are working on research or the dissertation, either in residence or away from campus, must register for a minimum of 1 credit hour of BIOL 700V per semester and 1 credit hour for 1 summer term. If the thesis option is elected and after a thesis proposal is approved, students working towards a Master's degree must register for a minimum of 1 hour of BIOL 600V for each semester of the academic year and summer.

For Graduate Students not on Assistantships

  • Full Time: 9+ hours
  • 3/4 Time: 7-8 hours
  • ½ Time: 5-6 hours
  • Less than ½ time: 1-4 hours

Academic Performance:

If a grade point average of 3.0 is not attained during any semester, the student will be placed on probation and must maintain a 3.0 average in all following semesters or be dropped from the graduate program. The University policy with respect to academic honesty applies to programs in Biological Sciences. Academic dishonesty is considered unsatisfactory performance.


Seminars:

All students are required to earn credit in two graduate seminars within the first 3 academic semesters. Candidates for M.S. or Ph.D. degrees are required to present a research seminar prior to the oral thesis or dissertation defense. Additional seminar requirements may be specified by the major professor in conjunction with the graduate committee.

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MASTER OF SCIENCE PROGRAM

Requirements for Admission

  1. Regular Admission

    more detailed information on application and admission is in the Graduate Catalog Description

    Requirements for admission into the Master of Science program are the same as those of the Graduate School, with the additional requirement that each student must have a major professor prior to starting the graduate program. All requirements must be completed within a 6 year period.

  2. Conditional Admission

    The Graduate School has a plan for conditional admission, whereby regular status may be attained after a 12-hour program is successfully completed. To remove conditional status, a minimum GPA of 3.0 or better must be attained for 12 hours of graduate credit. A student in conditional status may not be awarded a Graduate Assistantship. In the Department of Biological Sciences, the conditional admission plan requires that the student take 12 graduate hours within 2 semesters or 1 semester and 1 summer session. At least 6 of the 12 hours must be taken in the student's degree program. Any student with a bachelor's degree in any field except biology may be conditionally admitted into the Department, with the stipulation that the student's total hours in biology must equal 18 at the end of the conditional period. Only those hours taken for graduate credit may be applied toward the Master's degree. A written justification prepared by the major professor must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee in support of the conditional admission.


Financial Support:

Students working for the M.S. degree cannot be supported for more than 4 semesters with a teaching and/or research assistantship.


Committee

  1. Major Professor: Each student must have a major professor willing to sponsor that student for admission into the Department and must have a major professor to continue in the program.

  2. Graduate Committee: All students must select, in consultation with the major professor, a graduate committee. This committee is to consist of at least 2 faculty members in addition to the major professor. This committee is selected by the end of the second semester of graduate work; it is then nominated to the Dean of the Graduate School. Adjunct appointees to the Biological Sciences Graduate Faculty may serve on graduate committees. Adjunct appointees will be in addition to the normal number of specified graduate committee members; no more than one Adjunct appointee may serve on the committee. Special consultants need not meet the criteria for Adjunct appointment so long as they bring an expertise to the graduate program committee in a subfield not currently available in the department. The student will meet with the Master's committee to plan a program of study prior to starting research. The student will present a research proposal to the committee so that a program of course work may be planned which will be relevant to the research.


Residence and Course Requirements:

The residency requirements are stated in the Graduate catalog. A total of 30 graduate credits are required by the Graduate School for the Master's Degree six hours of which must be BIOL 600V.


Thesis:

The form "Announcement of Thesis Subject" must be completed and submitted to the Graduate School at least 3 months before the Final Examination. Theses are to be written in accordance with the format described in the web document Guide For Preparing Theses And Dissertations,which may also be obtained in hard copy at the University Bookstore. The Master's committee will establish an acceptable schedule for review of drafts of the thesis. Ordinarily the thesis should be filed with the Graduate School 2 weeks before the degree is to be conferred.


Final Examination:

An oral final examination preceded by a research seminar is required of all Master of Science candidates. Candidates must successfully defend their thesis. The scheduling of the final examination must be announced to the department at least 1 week prior to the examination.

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DOCTORAL PROGRAM

Application for Admission:

Requirements for admission into the doctoral program are the same as those stated by the Graduate School, with the additional requirement that each student must have a major professor prior to starting the graduate program.

more detailed information on application and admission is in the Graduate Catalog Description

Qualified applicants may be extended early offers for graduate assistantships based on the recommendation of the Graduate Studies Committee and the concurrence of the faculty. Students may apply to enter directly into the doctoral program after completing 24 credit hours of graduate post-baccalaureate courses, as required by the Graduate School, with a minimum GPA of 3.0.


Declaration of Intention:

At the beginning of the first semester of graduate work, the student must file a statement of intention to enter the program for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy with the Graduate School. All requirements must be completed within 7 consecutive calendar years from the declaration of intention.


Financial Support:

Students working on a doctoral degree can be supported on a teaching and/or research assistantship for no more than 8 semesters beyond the M.S. degree or filing the declaration of intent.


Doctoral Committees

Major Professor:

Each student must have a major professor willing to sponsor that student for admission into the Department and must have a major professor to continue in the program.

Doctoral Advisory Committee:

Not later than the end of the first academic year, the student, in consultation with the major professor, must nominate a doctoral advisory committee to the Graduate School. The advisory committee form should be submitted in duplicate to the Graduate School immediately after or at the time of the submission of the Declaration of Intent. This committee shall consist of at least 4 members of the graduate faculty, at least 3 of whom shall be members of the BISC Program Faculty and at least 1 of whom shall be from another department or another institution. The student will meet with that committee to plan a program of study prior to starting research and present a research proposal to the committee.

Doctoral Dissertation Committee:

The student, in consultation with the major professor, must form a doctoral dissertation committee and submit this information to the Graduate School. The dissertation committee form should be submitted in duplicate to the Graduate School at least one year before the defense of the dissertation. This committee shall consist of at least 4 members of the graduate faculty, at least 3 of whom shall be members of the BISC Program Faculty and at least 1 of whom shall be from another department or another institution. Adjunct appointees to the Biological Sciences Graduate Faculty may serve on doctoral advisory committees. Adjunct appointees will be in addition to the normal number of specified committee members; no more than one Adjunct appointee may serve on the committee. Special consultants need not meet the criteria for Adjunct appointment so long as they bring an expertise to the graduate program committee in a subfield not currently available in the department. Composition of the advisory and dissertation committees may be the same.


Residence Requirement:

The residency requirements are stated in the Graduate catalog.


Course Work Requirements.

There are no formal course work requirements for doctoral students, with the exception of prescriptive courses as recommended by the Graduate Studies Committee to the doctoral committee as determined from the Biology Subject test of the GRE, and those listed under Seminars above. This does not preclude the assignment of required courses by a student's doctoral committee. A minimum of 18 hours must be taken in dissertation credit.


Candidacy Examination:

The Candidacy Examination is related to the candidate's special field of interest and such other areas as the doctoral committee may specify. The examination should be taken in the fourth or fifth academic semester (excluding summer sessions). This examination is given by the doctoral advisory committee in 2 parts, written and oral. Satisfactory performance on this examination will be determined by the doctoral committee. The examination must be taken at least 1 year before completion of the degree requirements. In the event of failure the examination may be repeated at the discretion of the doctoral committee. In no case may the candidacy examination be taken more than twice. Notification to the Graduate School of failure to pass the Candidacy Examination means that the student is not eligible for readmission into the Department of Biological Sciences.


Dissertation:

The form "Announcement of Doctoral Dissertation Title" must be submitted to the Graduate School 3 months prior to the dissertation defense. Dissertations are to be written in accordance with the format detailed in "Regulations for Preparing Theses and Dissertations", which may be obtained at the University Bookstore.  Also see the Graduate School's Guide for Preparing Theses and Dissertations website. The candidate's doctoral committee will establish the format of the dissertation and an acceptable schedule for review of drafts. Ordinarily the dissertation should be filed with the Graduate School 2 weeks before the degree is to be conferred.


Final Examination:

The candidate's doctoral committee will approve the scheduling of the final oral examination, which must be announced to the University campus. This examination is primarily concerned with the candidate's dissertation and must be preceded by a departmental research seminar.


Teaching Requirement:

Doctoral candidates may be required to teach as part of their training by the student's doctoral committee.