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Moving Through Your Graduate Program


  • Meet with advisor to select a thesis/dissertation topic, your graduate committee and complete initial plan of study.  The sooner that you identify a thesis/dissertation topic, the more rapidly you will progress through your graduate program.
  • Your major professor and graduate committee will review and approve your plan of study and your research proposal. PhD students meet with full committee by the end of the second semester of registration to obtain approval of initial plan of study, proposal and to obtain signatures.  MNR and MS students prior to registration for the second semester. The plan of study will then be reviewed by the SFWS GPO and, once approved, filed with the Graduate School.
  • In the case of PhD students, after completion of courses, a written preliminary examination should be scheduled with the major professor and committee.
  • If the result of the written prelim is positive, oral prelims are scheduled.  Once a date is set, an Application for General Oral Examination Form must be submitted to the Graduate School at least one week prior to expected date of examination.  There must be at least one term between the General Oral Exam and the final, defense examination.
  • If you have a student loan, in order to waive the 5-hr registration requirement, loan deferments are available if you have completed your graduate coursework. See Ms. Audrey Grindle for details.  PhD students will need to complete the deferment once oral exam is passed and plan of study is completed.  MS students will need to complete it once the plan of study is completed.  Under special circumstances, students may submit before plan of study is completed.
  • Make appropriate changes on Revision of Existing Plan of Study Form prior to submitting graduation check.
  • Request graduation check in the graduate school no later than the last day of semester prior to graduation to verify status of courses and graduation requirements.
  • After approval of a thesis/dissertation draft by the major professor, a copy of the draft will be provided to each committee member.  A minimum of 3 weeks will be provided for each committee member to review and return comments to the graduate student. After evaluation, any changes required by the major professor and committee must be made.
  • Final thesis and dissertation defense exams may be scheduled once the major professor and committee indicate the thesis/dissertation is ready to be defended.  If you are a M.S. student, request room reservations and report time, date and location to Ms. Audrey Grindle.
  • If you are a PhD student, an outside reader will be assigned to your committee before the defense and will evaluate the dissertation and submit a Dissertation First Submission Approval Form to Graduate School. Make appropriate changes.  Request schedule date, time, and room confirmation from Ms. Audrey Grindle.
  • PhD students must file an application for the Final Oral Examination with the Graduate School,  recommending place, day, and hour for the final oral examination at least one week prior to exam.  The Outside Reader must be included when scheduling the Final Oral Exam.
  • Conduct final oral examination for MS/PhD degree.
  • Submit final paperwork to Ms. Audrey Grindle.