The graduate committee should be formed during the first semester after enrolling in classes (including research hours). The graduate committee will consist of at least three members for MS or MFR students and at least four members for Ph.D. students. The Doctoral students’ committee will include at least one but not more than half of the members from outside the department. If the student is pursuing a minor, a faculty member from the department offering the minor must serve on the committee. Both the major advisor and at least half of the committee members must hold rank in FNR.
The graduate committee will determine by the middle of the second semester in residence the student’s overall proficiencies and deficiencies and consider these in program formulation. The GS-2 form should be submitted to the Enrolled Services by the middle of the second semester in residence (MS) or second year (Ph.D).
A research prospectus must be submitted to the graduate committee by the end of the first semester in residence. The prospectus is a brief, 2-5 page document to alert the committee as to the students’ intended research. The “Introduction” (1/2 -1 page) should explain: (1) the study area, (2) number of treatments, observations, replications, etc. planned, (3) protocols for handling animals and data collection, (4) timetable for research activities and (5) source of funds and other resources. The plan for statistical analysis and literature citations should be included.
Following approval of the research prospectus, the student should begin preparing the research working plan. The working plan is written in greater detail than the prospectus and should include a detailed literature review, statement of hypothesis, statistical analysis techniques to be tested, and plans for presentation and publication of results. The plan must be reviewed and approved by the graduate committee during the second semester after the student enrolls.
A well prepared working plan should facilitate research and will usually provide the Introduction, Literature Review, and Methods sections of the final thesis/dissertation. The plan will fully acquaint the student and the committee with what will be accomplished and will ensure the student has a sound project. Students should seek help from within and outside the department in developing the research working plan.
Graduate students will submit a report of their research activities to the graduate committee at the end of each semester (including summer). The report should summarize installation of treatment plots, data collection and analysis, animals captured, etc. Any problems or delays in conduct of the project should be discussed. Goals and expected accomplishments for the next semester should be discussed.
The exam will be given at or near the completion of the students’ course work. The exam will consist of written and oral parts that span a period of about two months. The committee needs 4-6 weeks to compose the exam, thus planning the timing of the exam in advance is essential. Satisfactory completion of the comprehensive exam must occur no less than six months and no more than 5 years prior to the date of graduation.
The final oral exam should be completed at least 3 weeks prior to the commencement at which you plan to obtain the degree. This examination demands a broad and penetrating interpretation of the research project and conclusions. For MS students, the final examination may include examination of the student in the major and minor fields of specialization. The final examination for the Ph.D. is a defense of the dissertation only, as proficiency in major and minor fields of study are covered in the preliminary/comprehensive examination. The thesis or dissertation should be given to the committee for review 2-3 weeks prior to the oral exam.