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GRADUATE PROGRAM GUIDELINES
for general information consult the Graduate School
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Program
see flowchart for successful PhD completion
Thesis Committee Program Meeting
The Ph.D. Graduate Committee consists of 5 members of the OSU graduate faculty, and at least 2 must be from the Microbiology Program Graduate Faculty. A Graduate Council Representative is included to serve as advocate for appropriate process. A Program Meeting will be held no later than the end of the first year of graduate enrollment. The Program Meeting will cover two aspects: the proposed coursework (Program of Study) and the proposed research (Thesis Outline). This meeting will include all members of the committee. A Program of Study form should be completed during the meeting.
Program of Study (108 graduate credits required, i.e., 500 or 600 level):
a. The required core sequence of 4 courses (6 credits) that must be taken during Year 1: MB 511 Scientific Skills (1 cr, F); MB 512 Highlights of Microbiology (1 cr, W); MB 513 Microbial Systems (3 cr, F); GRAD 520 Responsible Conduct of Research (1 cr, all terms and eCampus).
b. 30 or more credits from MB listings or courses relevant to the thesis research offered by other programs IF agreed to by the thesis committee.
Note: 54 of the 108 credits must be graduate stand-alone courses (500 or 600 level) that are not derived from the 500 component of 400/500 slash courses. This will typically be satisfied by the 6 credits of the required first year core sequence and MB 603 Thesis credits.
Note: Enrollment in MB 501 Research is appropriate while rotating or before thesis project has been decided.
Note: The 108 credit requirement is for credits beyond the bachelor's degree; thus coursework credits from a recent MS degree may be counted.
Note: Full time enrollment is 12 credits per term in the academic year and 9 in the summer. Maximum load permitted is 16 credits.
Students must prepare and submit to their committee an outline of the thesis project. This outline must be sufficiently detailed to enable the committee to evaluate the progress of the student on a yearly basis.
Annual Meeting Requirements
Students are required to meet yearly with their Graduate Committee to evaluate their progress. The Annual Graduate Student Progress Report Form must be completed by the student and major professor and returned to the Microbiology Graduate Student Advisor (Dr. Bruce Geller) by the end of October each year.
As outlined by the Graduate School, to be admitted for the doctoral degree, students must pass a comprehensive Preliminary Examination conducted by the Graduate Committee. The purpose of this exam is to determine the student's understanding of their major and minor fields and to assess their capability for research. The exam for the Microbiology Ph.D. degree involves a written research proposal on a topic that is distinct from the student's thesis research, followed by an oral examination that features a presentation and then questions on the proposal topic. There will also be questions on more general topics drawn from the student's coursework and/or general area of thesis research. The Preliminary Examination is best taken after about two years, near the completion of the coursework on the Program of Study.
Scheduling the Preliminary Exam
The committee is contacted for:
(1) Agreement on the research proposal topic
(2) Setting the target date for completion of the written proposal
(3) Acceptance of written proposal
(4) Arrangement of a date, time, and place for the exam
Students must write a proposal on an approved topic.
Unless otherwise specified by the committee, the proposal shall be based on the format of an NSF postdoctoral proposal. The format and length should be discussed with the committee; a general guideline follows.
Background and Significance
Research Design and Methods
Literature cited (not included in the page limit)
Clearly stated research problem
Clearly developed, testable hypothesis
Focused experimental aims
Contingency plans for aims/objectives
Appropriate experimental design
Appropriate data analysis methods
Justification for, and impact of, the proposed research
A realistic project timeline
The proposal should be submitted to the committee within the specified period after the committee has approved the topic (typically 4-6 weeks). The individual committee members must review the proposal and determine if the written proposal is acceptable for an oral exam defense. This review should take place within 1 week of submission.
The exam is scheduled with the Graduate School using the Exam Scheduling Form.
The major professor will collect the completed forms for filing in the Microbiology office.
Final Oral Examination
The examination committee will consist of the same members as for the Preliminary Examination, although substitutions may be made if approved by the Program and the Graduate School. The student must contact members of the committee to arrange the date, time and place, then schedule the exam with the Graduate School not less than two weeks before the examination. One copy of the pre-text pages of the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School when scheduling the exam. Examination copies must be distributed to all committee members two weeks prior to the examination. All members of the graduate committee should be physically present at all required graduate exam (for exceptions, see the Remote Participation requirements).
The first part of the exam is the thesis presentation portion, which is open to all interested parties. After the thesis seminar, the committee and student will continue in closed session to examine the thesis and its broader relationship to microbiology.