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Division of Biology

Graduate Responsibilities and Expectations

Admission into our graduate program is a first step toward what we hope will be a long and productive career in science. To take full advantage of the many opportunities that are available to you, both now and in the future, it is important that you understand the responsibilities and expectations for graduate students in the KSU Division of Biology. It is also important to understand that this document is not meant to be comprehensive.

Responsibilities of all Biology Graduate Students

The M.S. program in biology requires a minimum of 30 hours past the bachelor's degree, including 22 hours of graded course work (18 hours should be at the 700 level and above), and 6-8 hours of research credit. All students are required to take BIOL 863, Professional Skills in Biology (3 hours) during their first year. A Doctor of Philosophy requires a minimum of 90 credit hours, including 24-30 hours of graded course work (with 15 hours of courses at the 800-level or higher) and at least 30 hours of research for the dissertation. Graduate students will develop a program of study with their supervisory committee that is individually tailored to their research interests. Graduate students in the PhD program are expected to have one external member (not in the Division of Biology) on their supervisory committees.

Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 GPA. Students who fail to maintain grade standards will be placed on probation and dismissed from graduate school after 2 semesters if poor academic performance persists. Students are expected to enroll for 9 credit hours during spring and fall semesters.

All graduate students in the Division of Biology, regardless of the source of their stipend support, must teach in our undergraduate or graduate courses during every fall and spring semester in residence. The average time commitment for these responsibilities is 6-8 hours per week, including 4-6 contact hours (time in the classroom or laboratory).

All graduate students must submit an annual progress report in collaboration with their advisor. Forms are usually available in January and due in February.

All graduate students are expected to devote full-time effort to teaching, coursework, and research. No additional employment may be undertaken without the permission of your research advisor and the Graduate Affairs Committee.

Expectations for all Biology Graduate Students

The average length of time for completion of a degree is 2-3 years for the MS program and 4-5 years for the PhD program. 

All graduate students are expected to meet with their advisory committee at least once a year.

Your research is expected to generate data that are publishable in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Typical goals for these efforts are:

Publish 1-2 peer-reviewed publications for a MS thesis.
Publish 3-5 peer-reviewed publications for a PhD dissertation.
It also is expected that you will present your research findings regularly at regional, national or international meetings.

All graduate students are expected to participate in Division activities including:

Division Seminars, usually scheduled at 4 PM every Friday.
The Biology Graduate Research Forum, scheduled for late winter or early spring every year.
Thesis/dissertation defenses, which can occur at any time throughout the year.
Journal clubs and other organized group meetings.
The KSU Biology Graduate Student Association (BGSA).