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Annual Progress Reports

All graduate students advised by faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences, regardless of their official degree program, are required to submit annual progress reports (Appendix 1). Reports are due on March 1 each year. The data in these reports will be used to determine whether student expectations (see above) are being met and that adequate progress toward the degree is being made. The form will be available on our departmental Blackboard site and submitted electronically there. A copy of the official form can also be found in the appendix.

Student Responsibility

The student, in consultation with the major advisor, is responsible for meeting all requirements and deadlines. Students making satisfactory progress generally complete a master’s degree in two to three years and a doctorate in five to seven years. In cases where satisfactory progress is questioned, the Graduate Affairs Committee may either arrange meetings with the student and advisor to establish a schedule for completion of degree requirements or request a written report of the student’s progress to be submitted by the student’s advisor. Continued deficiency may result in dismissal. In cases where a particular requirement imposes undue hardship on a student, the student's graduate advisory committee may petition the Department, via the  Graduate Affairs Committee, for permission to waive that requirement

Major Advisor

The faculty member who accepts a graduate student will serve as the major advisor. Generally, the major advisor is active in the field of research specified by the applicant. Selection of an advisor must be mutually satisfactory to the student and the prospective advisor. The advisor - student relationship is unique and perhaps the most important one in the education and training of the graduate student. The mutual respect and stimulation derived from this relationship strengthens and promotes scientific achievement. The advisor should be both the student's severest critic and strongest supporter.

Graduate Supervisory Committee

M.S. Degree:

The committee shall consist of at least three members for a master's degree. Specific requirements for committee membership can be found here:  http://www.ndsu.edu/gradschool/bulletin/

Ph.D. Degree:

The committee shall consist of at least four members for a doctoral degree. One of the four members is appointed by the Graduate School, but appointments can be requested by the student and major advisor. The Graduate School appointee must be from outside the department. At least two of the members of the advisory committee must be faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences. Specific requirements for committee membership can be found here:

http://www.ndsu.edu/gradschool/bulletin/

Plan of Study

The plan of study should be submitted for approval to the advisory committee, the Head of the Department, and the Dean of the Graduate School by the end of the first semester following enrollment for M.S. students and the end of the second semester following enrollment for Ph.D. students. The formal plan of study should be completed during the initial meeting of the graduate advisory committee, or shortly thereafter, as a direct outcome of that meeting. The approved plan of study becomes part of the "contract" of the student with the Department and University for completion of his/her graduate program of study.

Changes in the plan of study must be approved by the advisory committee, the Department head, and the Graduate dean.

The official M.S. and Ph.D. plan of study forms can be found here:

http://www.ndsu.edu/gradschool/current_students/forms/

Course Work

The student, in conjunction with the graduate advisory committee, will design a plan of study appropriate to his/her needs. The student must complete minimum course credit requirements established by the Graduate School for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. These requirements are available in the Graduate Bulletin.

The student must complete minimum course credit requirements established by the Graduate School and the Department of Biological Science for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.

Course requirements

M.S. Degree:

Minimum of 30 credit hours total

Basic Research Principles 3 cr

Graduate Seminar (1 semester) 1 cr

Ethics (BIOC 720 Scientific Integrity or equivalent as approved by committee) 1 cr

Statistics (Quantitative Biology or other appropriate course as approved by the advisory committee) 3 cr

Biological Content Courses to be approved by the advisory committee

 From the Graduate Bulletin, “For the Thesis Based Masters, of the required minimum 30 graduate credits, at least 16 credits must be approved for graduate credit numbered from 601 - 689, 691; 700 - 789, 791; 800 - 889 and 891 while the research credits (798) must be not fewer than 6 nor more than 10 credits . Once these minimum requirements have been met, any other graduate courses can be used to satisfy the remaining Plan of Study requirements.”  http://ww w.ndsu.edu/gradschool/bulletin/

Ph.D. Degree:

Minimum of 90 credit hours total

Basic Research Principles 3 cr

Graduate Seminar (2 semesters)2 cr

Ethics (Univ 720 Scientific Integrity or equivalent as approved by the advisory committee) 1 cr

Statistics (Quantitative Biology or other appropriate course as approved by the advisory committee) 3 cr

Biological Content Courses to be approved by the advisory committee.

From the Graduate Bulletin, “The total credits will be determined by each program but  must not be fewer than 90 semester graduate credits, of which not fewer than 27 credits  must be in courses approved for graduate credit numbered 601 - 689, 691; 700 - 789,  791;  800 - 889 and 891 (referred to as didactic courses). Of these 27 credits, not fewer than 15 credits must be in 700 or 800 - level course work (700 - 789, 791, 800 - 889 and 891). A student matriculating with a master's degree, including a degree earned at an international institution, must earn not fewer than 60 graduate credits at NDSU. Of these credits, not fewer than 15 credits must be NDSU courses at the 700 or 800 level (700 - 789, 791, 800 - 889, and 891).” www.ndsu.edu/gradschool/bulletin/

Graduate Seminar

Masters students must enroll in at least 1 semester of graduate seminar, and PhD students must enroll in at least 2 semesters of graduate seminar. These 2 credits cannot be earned during the same semester.

Topics vary each semester, but may include professional development topics or biological content topics . Students are encouraged to suggest relevant topics for this course

Research Program

M.S. Degree:

Before the end of the first year after enrollment, students should meet with their advisor and graduate advisory committee to discuss their research program. This discussion may be done at the same meeting where the plan of study is developed. Two weeks prior to the meeting, the student should submit a written preliminary proposal for approval by the advisory committee. This proposal shall be of sufficient detail so that  someone not familiar with the project can understand what the project is all about,  including why and how it is being conducted. The research program should be planned and the pertinent literature reviewed and understood. Students shall discuss what aspects of the project are original research. Proposals should be double - spaced, using no less than 11 point font and include the following:

Title and Signature Page

Abstract (not more than 1 page)

Introduction and Background (literature review)

Objectives

Methods and Materials

Significance of Research Plan

Timetable (not more than 1 page)

Literature cited

Curriculum Vitae

Appendix sections (as applicable): IACUC, IBC, IRB approval; Recombinant DNA training; Radioisotope training; etc

Ph.D. Degree:

Before the end of the second term after enrollment, students should meet with their advisor and graduate advisory committee to discuss their research program. This discussion may be done at the same meeting where the plan of study is developed.  Within the second or third year, t wo weeks prior to an annual committee meeting , the  student should submit a written preliminary proposal for approval by the advisory committee. This proposal shall be of sufficient detail so that someone not familiar with the project can understand what the project is all about, including why and how it is being conducted. The research program should be planned and the pertinent literature reviewed and understood. Students shall discuss which aspects of the project will be original research.  After the committee meeting, t h e student should submit to the department a final research proposal that incorporates the committee’s suggested revisions. Once approved and signed by the student, the advisory committee members, and the Department head, a copy of the signed proposal shall be submitted to and be maintained by the Department head.  Any significant changes in the direction of research need to be submitted in writing and approved in writing by the advisory committee. Typically, proposals are 15 - 25 pages in length, double spaced, using no  less than an 11 point font and should be structured as a National Science Foundation  Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant  (http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5234 ).

The following information should also be included:

Title and Signature Page

Abstract (not more than 1 page)

Introduction and Background (literature review)

Objectives

Methods and Materials

Significance of Research Plan

Timetable (not more than 1 page)

Budget (not more than 1 page)

Literature cited

Curriculum Vitae

Appendix sections (as applicable): IACUC, IBC, IRB approval; Recombinant DNA training; Radioisotope training; etc

Examinations

A form (Request to Schedule Examination) must be filed with the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the scheduled date of the examination. This form must be signed by the advisor, Department head or Program Director, and Graduate dean. The head or direct or may request to read the disquisition prior to signing the form.

Forms can be found here:  http://www.ndsu.edu/gradschool/current_students/forms/ 

M.S. Degree:

The student will give a departmental presentation of his/her research during his/her final semester. A comprehensive final oral examination will also be administered to each master's degree candidate. This examination will be either immediately following the departmental presentation or on a subsequent day. The examining body will consist of the student's advisory committee and any other faculty members; however, advisory committee members are the only voting participants. The examination will test general knowledge in biology, coursework and student's research area. The student passes the exam if no more than one member of the advisory committee votes to fail.

Ph.D. Degree:

Preliminary Examination   A comprehensive preliminary examination will be required of each student following the completion of at least 15 credits of didactic coursework (either in residence at NDSU or transferred credits). This examination consists of a written portion followed within one month by an oral portion. Both the written and the oral portions should be successfully completed by the end of the student’s second or third year, at which time the student is  formally admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree. The content of the exam will be determined by the graduate committee, incorporating questions that facilitate both broad - based and in - depth knowledge acquisition. The forms for scheduling the preliminary exam and reporting the results of the exam can be found here:  http://www.ndsu.edu/gradschool/current_students/forms/

Written Portion:

Typically the exam will focus on topics related to the student’s area of study, with the objective of broadening the student’s general knowledge of related fields and placing their research within the context of their broader discipline. The format and the time frame of the exam should be decided by the advisory committee.  The exam will be prepared and administered by the advisory committee.

Committee members who had submitted questions will return their grades to the chair of the advisory committee within two weeks of the examination. Results will be presented on a pass/fail basis. A "pass" is given when a student receives more "passes" than "fails." Students may retake failed sections once  within 12  months of the exam.  Graduate School policies on comprehensive and oral examinations can be found here:  http://www.ndsu.edu/gradschool/bulletin/

Oral Portion:

Typically the exam will address the research area and the student's coursework, plus any topics from the written section that were not appropriately addressed by the student. Following the exam, the advisory committee will review the student's progress (including such areas as GPA, completion of coursework on the plan of study, research, and seminars). The student passes the oral portion if no more than one member of the advisory committee votes to fail. One of the following recommendations will be communicated to the student, the Department head, and the graduate dean: 1 .that the student be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree; 2. that if the student failed the exam, he/she be allowed to repeat the exam; or 3. that the student be terminated from the Graduate Program in Biological Sciences. Students may appeal unfavorable decisions to the entire Biological Sciences’ faculty through the Graduate Affairs Committee. If not successful, the student may then appeal to the Dean of the Graduate School

Presentation of Research

The candidate will present a public seminar covering the dissertation research during his/her final semester. The seminar must be presented before the final examination can be administered, but does not need to be immediately before the exam.

Disquisitions (Thesis or Dissertation)

A thesis is required for the M.S. degree in the Thesis Option, and a research paper is required for the Comprehensive Study Option. A dissertation and production of a 2 - 3 minute video are required for the Ph.D. Consult the NDSU Graduate Bulletin for additional details and requirements for these options and degrees. Please see the graduate school timeline for graduation requirements http://www.ndsu.edu/gradschool/graduating_students/.

A publication is available from the Graduate School entitled "Guidelines for the Preparation of Disquisitions" at www.ndsu.edu/gradschool/graduating_students/dtp/format/. Students need to adhere to the policies concerning disquisitions as stated in this publication. Students will submit copies of their disquisition (thesis or dissertation) in a near final form to the members of their advisory committee at least two weeks before the scheduled date of the oral exam. This deadline should be regarded as a minimum period (one month is preferred), with more time being desirable to allow the committee ample time to evaluate the disquisition. After approval of the disquisition by the Graduate School, the student must submit electronic copies to the Department and Graduate School.  http://www.ndsu.edu/gradschool/graduating_students/dtp/submit/

Students are encouraged to publish the results of research and to give papers at professional meetings. The advisory committee may require the student to have his/her results in a form suitable for publication as well as filing a disquisition. Publication of a disquisition or part(s) of a disquisition should include a statement identifying the work as part of a thesis or dissertation submitted to the Graduate School of North Dakota State University


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North Dakota State University
Campus address: 201 Stevens Hall
Physical/delivery address: 1340 Bolley Drive, 201 Stevens Hall Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: Biological Sciences, Dept. 2715, North Dakota State University, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050

Last Updated: Friday, December 19, 2014 5:13:22 PM
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