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Degree and Other Requirements - M.S.

1. Program of Study

M.S. students should meet with their Advisory Committee to agree on a program of study. The Program of Study form is typed by Graduate Coordinator Assistant then submitted to the Graduate Coordinator with a short (1-3 page) summary of the student’s research project. After approving the program of study, the Graduate Coordinator sends it to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval. 

The program of study must include a minimum of 30 semester hours consisting of at least 24 hours of course work and 6 hours of thesis and related research. Of the 24 hours of course work, at least one-half of this credit must be in courses open only to graduate students. A maximum of 6 semester hours of PBIO 7000 is allowed to count toward the 30 hour requirement but PBIO 7000 or 7300 cannot be included as part of the 12 hours of courses open only to graduate students. It is possible to make a request to the Graduate School that certain 6000 level courses in the program of study be counted toward the 12 hours of “graduate student only” courses if there were no undergraduate students enrolled in those 6000 level courses and the student did graduate level work beyond that required of students enrolled in the 4000 level course. The instructor of the course should write a letter to the Dean of the Graduate School (to be included with the Program of Study) stating the circumstances and requesting that the course be counted towards the 12 hours of “graduate student only” courses. At least 3 semester hours of Master’s Thesis (PBIO 7300) must be included in the 30 semester hours. PBIO 8830, GRSC 7770, LLED 7768, LLED 7769 and PBIO 8040 rotation credits are departmental requirements and cannot be included in the body of the Program of Study

2. General Course Requirements

There are two obligatory courses required:

Plant Biology graduate students are required to sign up for 1-2 credit hours (2 credit hours if you’re working toward a teaching certificate) of PBIO 8020 their first fall semester. The first half of PBIO 8020 gives the faculty an opportunity to introduce themselves and tell you about their ongoing research. The second half teaches a set of skills that are key to being successful. 

Plant Biology graduate students are required to sign up for the PBIO 8830 Departmental seminar course every Fall and Spring semester, except when they are away from campus on field research, or have a conflict with either a teaching assignment or have a scheduled class. Please email Graduate Coordinator Assistant if you have a conflict and she will excuse you for the semester. The requirements for this course consist of attending at least 2/3 of the scheduled departmental seminars, which are normally held Mondays at 4:00PM. Graduate Coordinator Assistant will take attendance at each Monday seminar, and will inform the Graduate Coordinator if registered students do not attend the required number of times in a semester. We periodically have special seminars on other days and if you don’t have a conflict you are required to attend. 

3. Graduate Enrollment Requirements

You are required to register for two semesters each academic year (an academic year is defined as Fall, Spring, Summer). 

If you are supported on an assistantship, you are required to register BEFORE the first day of class for a minimum of 18 credit hours Fall and Spring semesters and a minimum of 9 credit hours Summer semester. 

If you are self-supported your minimum requirements are: registration of 3 graduate credit hours for 2 semesters each academic year. 

To maintain visa status, international students must register every semester, including summer. 

All students must be registered for a minimum of three credit hours until the semester degree requirements are completed. 

Under certain extreme circumstances (i.e. illness, pregnancy, or unexpected financial hardship) you can request a leave of absence from the enrollment requirement for a maximum of three semesters total. A leave of absence does not stop the clock on time limits, i.e. course expirations and admission to candidacy. 

4. Graduate Teaching Requirement

It is the policy of the Plant Biology Department that teaching experience is a vital part of a graduate student’s training. M.S. students are required to teach at least one semester during their graduate training. Students supported on grants or from other sources will normally be supported by the Department during the semester they teach. Serving in a lab prep, lecture TA, or grading TA does not fulfill these requirements. A teaching assignment is the acceptance of the entire teaching schedule, including pre-class preparation. Field work, conferences, and oral exams should be scheduled around teaching commitments. Please contact the instructor in advance for the class schedule and TA policies. 

In order to be considered as making adequate progress toward their degree, students have to be eligible to teach by spring of their 3rd year before their oral exam and admission to candidacy. 

Domestic and international students who received their degree from a U.S. institution have to have attended the teaching and lab assistant orientation and have taken or currently taking GRSC 7770. International students who don’t have a degree from a U.S. institution must meet the above criteria as well as obtain a 26 on the speaking section of the TOEFL test or have a letter of recommendation from Dr. Linda Harklau, have successfully completed LLED 7768 and/or LLED 7769, and obtain a TOEFL speaking section score of at least 24. 

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