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Graduate Thesis Degree

Thesis Students

Students pursuing a master’s degree with thesis should have a thesis committee approved by the end of their first long term of enrollment in the graduate program. The thesis committee comprises three or more individuals and is chaired by the thesis advisor. Committee members should be selected by the student in consultation with the thesis advisor and should be chosen on the basis of what they can contribute to the student’s research and/or graduate studies. Committee members expect to be consulted about the research project and should contribute guidance and expertise to the project. A “Master’s Thesis Committee form” can be downloaded from the The Graduate College website and must be approved by the chair of the department’s graduate committee and the department chair prior to the submission of a thesis proposal.

Students working on a thesis are expected to enroll in a thesis course (BIO 5399A or BIO 5399B) each term that they are actively involved in research. Students should enroll in BIO 5399A for their first term of thesis research and in BIO 5399B for all subsequent terms. While enrolled in BIO 5399A the student should prepare a detailed thesis proposal that introduces the project to be investigated, summarizes the relevant background literature, and explains the methodology to be used in carrying out the research. A “Master’s Thesis Proposal form" can be downloaded from The Graduate College website. Submission of an approved thesis proposal to The Graduate College must be completed before the end of the student’s second term of enrollment in BIO 5399B. Students pursuing a thesis-based degree must be enrolled in at least one hour of thesis credit during the term in which they graduate.

All students completing a thesis are required to present the results of their research in an open seminar attended by the thesis committee members and other interested individuals. Following the public presentation of the thesis, the student must pass a comprehensive examination administered by the thesis committee.

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  • All candidates for master’s degrees in the Department of Biology must pass a comprehensive final examination administered by the student’s committee. The examination may be oral or written and must cover, at a minimum, the student’s field of concentration and the thesis, if one was written. The results of this exam should be reported on the “Master's Comprehensive Examination Report form", which can be downloaded from the department’s website and which must be filed with The Graduate College at least 10 days prior to the date of expected graduation.

  • Assistantships and scholarships are available to qualified applicants on a competitive basis. In order to be considered for assistantships or scholarships, applicants must have their application completed for review before the priority application deadline. The Department of Biology offers a limited number of graduate instructional assistantships to full-time students enrolled in the master’s program. These assistantships are renewable based upon an annual review of each student’s progress and performance. Faculty members may also have funds available to support students as research assistants. Support is normally limited to two years.

    The Graduate College can provide information concerning the availability of graduate scholarships.