For Current Students -- Making progress towards your degree

General requirements / guidance

1) The UAF catalog describes the degree requirements for all UAF programs. The catalog is the set of official rules that UAF will apply when you seek to graduate. However, our department and the graduate school have policies and advice regarding how to proceed to graduation. This page describes the policies and advice that will help you navigate the process smoothly. The graduate committee and/or department chair may refuse to sign graduate school forms if students fail to follow policies set out in this document.
 
 
2) Many graduate courses are offered on an every-other-year schedule, so students should take courses, particularly their core courses when they are offered.
 
3) Graduate school-required reports / forms can be found online at the link below.  
 
 
It is the student's responsibility to schedule committee meetings and bring all necessary paperwork to all meetings and defenses.  At all meetings, students will bring the departmental graduate program assessment form.
 
4) The student identifies a faculty member or affiliate of the program to be their primary advisor and establishes a committee.  The establishment of the committee is done on the "Appointment of Graduate Advisory Committee" form.  The student will work with the advisor and committee on their thesis, eventually leading to the writing of their thesis.  The student will work with the committee to form a "Graduate Study Plan" and file this form (typically at the first annual committee meeting).  The form is due at the end of the student's second semester in the program.
 
5) The student will convene an annual committee meetings, typically in spring.  Students must bring the "Report of Graduate Student Advisory Committee" form as well as the departmental "Graduate Program Assessment Form".  The report from this meeting must be to the graduate school by 15 May.  A two-page annual report, written by the student, must be attached to the "report on annual committee meeting form" in every year (including the first year).  Email the research report to the program coordinator, department chair, and department administrative assistant.  That report includes:
  •  A description of project background and specific questions being studied
  •  A progress report since last report
  •  A research plan for next year
  •  A list of publications references, grants/fellowships submitted and/or funded since last report
  •  A list of conferences attended and titles/authors of presentations at confereces
  •  A list of awards and/or fellowships 
At the annual committee meeting, the student will:
  • Bring all necessary forms and included printed copies of the annual report for each committee member.
  • Present a 20-30 minute powerpoint presentation on their work.  This presentation either lays out the project and describes literature research (early on) or shows the last year's progress and future directions (later).
  • Receive feedback from their committee on progress, advice on research direction / coursework.
The "Report of Graduate Student Advisory Committee" serves as the mechanism by which students are judged to be in good academic standing.  If the committee is not satisfied with the student's progress, they will indicate this on the annual committee form, along with specific remedies.  Continued inadequate progress puts a student into bad academic standing, which may lead to discontinuation of TA/RA support or removal from the program.  
 
6) The student will file the "Advancement to Candidacy Form", which is always due at least one semester before graduating.  
 
7)  Students must have their thesis (M.S.) or project report (M.A.) to their committee members two weeks before their defense date. The thesis / project defense must be advertised by the department, so an abstract must be to the department administrative assistant two weeks before the public defense.  
 
8) The students' thesis (M.S.) or project (M.A.), after review by the committee and addressing all comments, must be signed by the committee members and then brought to the department chair and then the CNSM dean.  Typical deadlines are that the thesis should be to the department chair two weeks before the Graduate School's deadline, and to the CNSM dean one week before the Graduate School's deadline.  It is our policy that M.A. project reports have the same deadline as the Graduate School deadline. Speak with your advisor or the department chair for specific deadlines for a given semester.  Program-specific timelines are also provided below. The Dean requires a printed copy of the thesis (M.S.) or project report (M.A).  For the M.S., work with the graduate school to satisfy their formatting requirements.  For the M.A. see departmental M.A. project report guidelines.

M.S. Specific Information

The M.S. thesis defense acts as both a defense of the thesis and the M.S. comprehensive examination.  The defense must be advertised as described in the above general requirements.  The student will prepare an ~40 minute public presentation defending their thesis.  Following the student's presentation, the committee and student will enter a closed session where the student is orally examined.  The student must be able to answer both specific questions on the thesis and show mastery of the field in at least the areas in which they took core courses.  The student must bring the "Report on Thesis/Dissertation Defense" and "Report on Comprehensive Examination" forms to their defense for the committee to fill in and sign.  Note that although there are spaces for external examiners on both of these forms, no external examiners are required for the M.S. program, so those lines are left blank. Past students also prepared the M.S. Thesis completion timeline, which is a useful resource.  

M.A. Specific Information

The M.A. is a non-thesis degree program. Substitute a research project (CHEM 698) for thesis.  Instead of a thesis, the student writes a project report that must be approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee, and the report is then submitted to the department and Graduate School. M.A. project reports are archived in the Chemistry and Biochemistry office, and when the report is accepted by the committee and chair and placed in the archives, the student's "Report on Project Defense" form will be signed by the chair. See the M.A. project report guidelines.  The project is defended at a public oral presentation that acts as both a defense of the project and the M.A. comprehensive examination. The defense must be advertised as described in the above general requirements.  The student will prepare an ~40 minute public presentation defending their project.  Following the student's presentation, the committee and student will enter a closed session where the student is orally examined.  The student must be able to answer both specific questions on the thesis and show mastery of the field in at least the areas in which they took core courses.  The student must bring the "Report on Project Defense" and "Report on Comprehensive Examination" forms to their defense for the committee to fill in and sign.  

Useful information

Financial Aid and Fellowships:

Students may wish to apply for financial aid. Forms may be found at:

http://www.uaf.edu/gradsch/grants-and-fellowships/

If you have further questions, please contact the Department Chair (see the Staff page).

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