Master of Science Biology
GRADUATE BIOLOGY PROGRAM PROCEDURES
The following is the process students must follow in order to graduate from the Graduate Biology Program.
I. Gain acceptance to the Graduate School and to the Graduate Program in Biology
For this to happen a student must:
A. Possess a Baccalaureate Degree in a biology-related field, from an accredited US University or an equivalently recognized foreign institution of higher learning.
B. Possess a minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA (grade-point average) of 2.50 on a 4.00 scale or the equivalent from another grading system.
C. Have completed or be prepared to complete at UOG, the following undergraduate prerequisite courses:
1. Calculus (1 semester or quarter).
2. Chemistry (4).
3. Physics (2) or Geology (2).
4. Biology (4, of which at least two are upper division).
D. Take the General Record Examination (GRE) General and Biology subject tests. Score a total of at least 900 (the sum of quantitative and verbal scores) on the general test. There is currently no minimum score for the biology subject test. If this is not possible before arriving on Guam, students may sit these tests while enrolled (preferably in their first semester) and have completed them before they are admitted as a candidate to the Graduate Biology Program (see below).
E. If you are from a non-US university, you must pass the Graduate English Proficiency Examination (GEPE) issued by UOG, the TOEFL exam or score at least 400 on the verbal section of the GRE or GMAT. If you have graduated from a US University or foreign institution in a country where English is the native language, this requirement can be waived upon request to the Graduate Chair (see Application Materials for further details).
F. Submit the results of a Tuberculin test (PPD) taken within the past 6 months. If coming from off-island this can be done after arriving on Guam by attending the clinic in the Student Services building on-campus.
G. Possess an appropriate visa if an international applicant.
H. Submit a completed application packet directly to the Office of Graduate Studies including the application fee. The fee amount varies depending on whether you are an international student or a resident/non-resident of Guam. Do this by contacting either Charlie Alcantara ((671)735-2169; email@example.com) or MarcyAnne Calvo ((671)735-2170; firstname.lastname@example.org;).
I. On receiving your application packet, the Graduate Studies Office will process it and when approved, a letter of acceptance will be sent from the Program Chair.
Once these requirements are completed the student is accepted to the UOG Graduate School as a non-degree candidate, which allows them to enroll in graduate classes.
PLEASE NOTE THIS DOES NOT CONSITITUTE ACCEPTANCE TO THE GRADUATE BIOLOGY PROGRAM
II. Applying for admission to the Graduate Biology Program
This occurs after the student has been accepted by the UOG Graduate School, but may be done concurrently when making the initial application. The major milestone is to have the thesis proposal approved by the Advisor and Committee members. Specifically one must do the following in order to achieve candidacy:
A. Submit three referee’s letters to the Graduate Biology Program Chair from people who are familiar with the student’s qualifications.
B. Establish a thesis committee which is composed of a minimum of three (3) members; at least two (2) Biology Program Graduate Faculty members and one (1) outside member. The student’s main advisor is one of these two required members. The outside member is compulsory and can either be a UOG Faculty (Graduate or otherwise), or from off-campus. If the latter, then these individuals may serve as committee members after submitting a CV documenting their qualifications for approval by the Biology Program Chair. The advisor or Committee Chair must be a listed Biology Program Graduate Faculty.
C. Prepare and defend a research proposal.
1. The proposal consists of a document outlining the proposed thesis work. This document is edited and approved by the student’s thesis committee. The proposal is comprised of an Introduction (which should include an exhaustive literature review and hypotheses to be test, as appropriate), Methods and Literature Cited sections of the thesis.
2. Oral defense of the approved proposal is via a public seminar open to the university community. The defense should occur within the first 18 months in the program. This meets the Graduate School’s requirement for a qualifying examination.
3. The student and the thesis committee meet privately following the seminar to discuss any needed changes to the proposed research. Other faculty are welcome to sit in on this meeting, if they choose.
4. A student who fails the defense may repeat it after three months upon recommendation of the graduate faculty and approval of the Graduate Chair. The student will not be considered further for candidacy in Biology should they fail the defense twice.
5. Upon approval of the proposal by the thesis committee, the committee members sign section V. Program Contract of form A-99.
6. The Graduate Biology Program Chair and Assistant President for Graduate Studies, Research and Sponsored Programs sign section VI. Candidacy for the M.S. Degree in Biology. Submit the form to the Graduate School.
D. Fill out section III. Program Committee of form A-99 prior to completing 12 credit hours of graduate courses at UOG, so that these courses may count towards graduation. The form will be signed by the committee members but only on completion and approval of the Thesis proposal.
E. Transfer graduate course credits from another institution.
1. Transfer of courses is initially subject to approval of the student’s advisor.
2. Only courses garnering grades of A or B are transferable.
3. No more than nine semester (or quarter) hours of graduate work (excluding prerequisites) can be transferred from other accredited institutions.
5. Fill out section IV. Transfer of Credits on form A-99. When the form is submitted, they will be transmitted to the Director of Admissions and Records for certification.
F. Coursework considerations
1. When necessary, courses, including program requirements, may be substituted via a Substitution of Course form in consultation with one’s advisor and the approval of the Program Chair and Assistant Vice President of Graduate Studies.
2. Students must maintain a B average (3.0) and make no more than one grade of C (2.0) or lower. A student whose cumulative grade-point average (GPA) falls below 3.0 has one semester of probation to raise the average before being dismissed from the program. Cumulative GPA is calculated each semester by the Office of Admissions and Records to four decimal places.
3. Fill out the upper portion of section V. Program Contract of form A-99 by providing a list when core and elective courses will be taken.
Upon successful completion of all the above requirements, the student is admitted to Degree Candidate Status.
III. Thesis defense and graduation
At present, students enrolled in the Graduate Biology Program are required to complete all coursework and the degree requirements within 7 years of admission to the graduate school. The student must write and successfully defend original research in the form of a written thesis based on the proposal submitted and approved by the thesis committee. The thesis committee, especially the committee chair (Advisor), guides the student throughout the development of the research problem, data acquisition and analysis, and writing of the thesis.
A. Before writing the thesis obtain the booklet Style and Format Manual for Graduate Thesis and Special Project Preparation from the graduate school well ahead of time of intended graduation. This booklet lists details on when to announce, where to send a reading copy, etc.
B. Obtain Form B from the graduate school, Notice of Completion of Master’s Degree; the application for thesis approval. This will be signed after a successful thesis defense.
C. Ensure all credits and other requirements for graduation have been met by going to admissions and requesting an unofficial review of your academic history and records to check for any deficiencies.
D. Gain approval of adviser and all members of the thesis committee to defend and decide on an appropriate date. The date, time and location of the defense must be announced by the student at least one week in advance via email and posters. The Graduate Biology Program Chair will forward this notice to the Assistant President for Graduate Studies, the Academic Vice President and the President.
E. When the date of defense is set, fill out an Application to Graduate for M.Sc. candidates with the Office of Admissions and Records and pay the fee before the deadline in the Graduate Bulletin. When this is done, the Graduate Studies Office will officially review your academic records for deficiencies or fees owed, or note if there are any incomplete grades.
F. Before the defense an unsigned and unformatted copy of your thesis should be approved by your committee. A reading copy of this version must be lodged with the Graduate Studies Office at least 10 days before the oral defense date. This must be approved by the Assistant Vice President for Graduate Studies before the defense takes place.
G. The defense consists of a public seminar where the student presents the main findings of their research results and responds to questions from the audience. This normally takes approximately 1 hour. After the seminar, the student and thesis committee meet in private to discuss the thesis in more detail. This is also the time when the committee can ask additional questions arising from either the seminar or the written document (thesis). Other faculty may be invited to attend this meeting at the discretion of the thesis committee chair. However, only thesis committee members are allowed to vote on whether the thesis is accepted or rejected. If the thesis is accepted, all committee members and the Graduate Biology Program Chair sign the signature page of the final copy of the thesis. If the thesis is accepted with revisions (which is usually the case) the student is given: a) a checklist of all the issues that need to be addressed, and b) a timeline of when these must take place, which is coordinated by the Committee Chair.
H. Turn in Form B at the Office of Graduate Studies with the required signatures: your advisor, other committee members, the Chair of the Graduate Biology Program and the Assistant Vice President for Graduate Studies. If any committee member is off-island during the final stages of thesis preparation, ensure that she/he has signed the signature page before they go.
After the defense and before graduation
Turn in two finished copies of your thesis signed by your committee, along with two extra copies of the abstract and title pages. This MUST be done by the due date as stated in the Graduate Bulletin. Pay a $30 fee to the Graduate Studies Office to have both copies bound. The signed thesis copies will be checked for conformation to Graduate School requirements, such as weight and composition of the paper (cotton paper), margin widths and order of sections, e.g., Table of Contents, Figures and total page length.
It is the responsibility of the student to know all due dates for relevant forms, oral presentation and copies of thesis, etc. Dates are clearly marked in the academic calendar of the Graduate Bulletin. Make copies of all required documents, including signed forms and signature pages, then have them stamped by the Graduate school as received when you turn in the originals. Back up electronic copies of your thesis. And congratulations on all your hard work.