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Graduate Program Degree Requirements - Requirements Common to Thesis Based Degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.)

Advisors and Graduate Committee

Students are accepted into the program by individual faculty, and the same faculty serve as advisors.  The faculty advisor is the primary supervisor of a graduate student during their program.  Students will select a graduate committee to oversee and guide them through their graduate program.  Students will select their graduate committee before the end of the first semester of study.  At least one member of the committee must be external to the department, and at least two members of the committee must be faculty within the department.  Cooperating faculty who hold a joint appointment in the department may serve as the external member on graduate committees.

The initial academic meeting will establish the student’s course of study and should occur before the end of the student’s first semester.  Before the initiation of research, the candidate is expected to have written a proposal for research that must meet the approval of the graduate committee.  Consequently, the graduate committee may require a review of the student’s proposed research during the initial committee meeting or a subsequent meeting.  Students will present their thesis proposal to the Department in a seminar format prior to the completion of the second semester of study.

At a minimum, the graduate advisor(s) shall evaluate annually the progress and level of achievement of the student.  Students should meet with the graduate committee for an annual review of progress.  Copies of the evaluation will be submitted to the student and to the Department Chair.

Professional and Departmental Activities

All candidates are expected to participate in professional and departmental activities.  Candidates are expected to present at least one seminar on their thesis research during their tenure in the Department, to regularly attend departmental and university seminars, to participate in professional development workshops, as available, and to participate in departmental operations and activities.  Graduate students are encouraged to present talks to the public (secondary schools, conservation organizations, etc.) or professional organizations on their thesis research and other topics concerning wildlife ecology or management.  Departmental duties assigned to graduate students will include: helping in the maintenance of laboratories, coordination of the Department’s seminar program, mentor to the Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society, etc.

Research Proposal and Proposal Seminar

A presentation to the Department of the student’s preliminary research plan is required before the first major field season.  This presentation is intended to be informal and serve as a point of discussion for the goals, objectives, and literature of the research topic. The presentation should be about 15-25 minutes long for masters students (followed by 15-25 minutes of discussion) and about 20-30 minutes long for PhD students (followed by 20-30 minutes of discussion).

A completed written proposal is required before research is undertaken (preliminary research excluded) and by the end of the second semester. A final copy must be submitted to the Department Chair for filing with the student’s program of study. A timeline for the student’s entire program is required as part of the proposal.


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