Graduate Student Support
Any university support, whether as a Graduate Teaching Assistant or as a Graduate Research Assistant, will be awarded competitively through the Molecular Biosciences Program Committee. Students may also be supported from faculty research grants.
Doctoral Advisory Committees
During the first year of their program of study, each student is expected to identify a Doctoral Advisory Committee Chair to direct the research of the student and who must be approved by the Molecular Biosciences Program Committee and the graduate dean. In addition to the chair, the Doctoral Advisory Committee will consist of members of the graduate faculty and other professionals as deemed appropriate and approved by the Molecular Biosciences Program Committee, the Molecular Biosciences Program director and the graduate dean. Each committee must have at least four members. The Doctoral Advisory Committee is to review the student’s dissertation proposal, administer the Qualifying and Candidacy Exams and provide guidance toward the successful completion of the research project.
Students in the program without a designated committee chair during their first semester will be assigned an interim adviser by the Molecular Biosciences Program Committee and the graduate dean. The primary role of the interim adviser will be to establish a tentative curriculum for the student, pending establishment of the Doctoral Advisory Committee. An interim adviser may serve for a maximum of one year until a permanent advisory committee chair is selected.
Membership of Advisory Committees may be changed if either the student or a member of their committee feels that such a change is appropriate and the requested change is approved by the Molecular Biosciences Program Committee and the graduate dean. Such a change will not be approved except in clearly unusual circumstances. If approval is given, the student will be notified in writing by the Graduate School.
General Program Of Study
A program of study, to be developed by the Doctoral Advisory Committee in consultation with the student, is to be submitted to the Director of the Molecular Biosciences Program for approval no later than one calendar year after admission to the program. As a reflection of the interdisciplinary nature of the program, a course of study will be tailored to each student’s own scholarly interests, research, and proposed career direction. General course requirements are outlined on the Molecular Biosciences home page under “Program of Study for the Ph.D. in Molecular Biosciences”.
Each Doctoral Advisory Committee will meet at least once a year to review and provide a written report of the student’s progress.
Students are required to earn a grade of “B” or better in all courses attempted. A single instance of a grade below "C" within the student's immediate research topic area will be accepted for courses outside the student’s immediate research topic area. A second instance of a grade of “C” or a single instance of a grade below “C” will be cause for the review of the student’s status within the program by the Molecular Biosciences Program Committee. After such review, the Program Committee may recommend dismissal of the student from the program.
Time To Degree
A minimum of 72 graduate credits beyond the baccalaureate degree or 45 graduate credits beyond the master’s degree is required. All requirements for the degree must be completed within eight calendar years of admission to the program. Requirements subsequent to admission to candidacy must be completed within four calendar years of admission to candidacy.
A student exceeding the time limit may be required to repeat the qualifying examination, replace out-of-date credits with up-to-date ones, and/or show other evidence of being cur-rent within both the core curriculum and the student’s area of specialization. Extension of the eight-year requirement will be granted only if a student has obtained prior approval from his or her Doctoral Advisory Committee, the Molecular Biosciences Program Committee and the Arkansas State University Graduate School.
The student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee will administer a Qualifying Examination as one means of assessing a student’s preparedness for doctoral level study. This exam will consist of the student’s written dissertation proposal which is then orally defended. The student may be required to take additional academic work at the discretion of the committee. All dissertation research proposals must be approved by the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee through the mechanism of a dissertation proposal seminar. It is the responsibility of the student to file an announcement of the seminar with the program office at least two weeks in advance of the seminar. The seminar will be an open forum. The candidate will be notified in writing of the committee’s approval. If required by the committee, the candidate may hold a second seminar in order to meet the committee’s approval. This exam must be taken during the third semester, and successfully completed no later than the end of the fourth semester.
Admission To Candidacy
A student may apply for admission to candidacy upon successful completion of the Qualifying Examination and defense of the dissertation proposal. A student may not apply for candidacy while on probation or with a GPA of less than 3.00.
The Candidacy Examination is designed to assess a student’s ability to develop and defend a hypothesis-driven research proposal outside the area of the student’s thesis project. The selected topic must be approved by the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee. The format of the proposal will follow that of either NSF or NIH guidelines or another federal agency approved by the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee. The seminar will include an open forum and, if required, may involve a second seminar in order to meet with the Doctoral Advisory Committee’s approval. This exam must be completed within one year after passing the Qualifying Exam.
After the research is completed, the student will submit a draft of the dissertation to his or her Doctoral Advisory Committee. Upon the recommendation of the Committee, the candidate will arrange with the chair of the Doctoral Advisory Committee to schedule and conduct a presentation of the results.
The candidate will also be required to orally defend the dissertation before the Doctoral Advisory Committee, members of the faculty, students and interested persons. Arrangements for the dissertation defense will be made through the Molecular Biosciences Program Office, but announced by the Graduate School. Students are advised to be aware of the deadlines set by the Graduate School for submission of defense results and dissertations.
The defense must occur at least four weeks before the date of graduation. A successful defense receives no more than one negative vote by the members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee. Failure of the defense requires a one semester probation before a second defense can be scheduled. A second failure of the defense results in elimination from the program.
Deadline For Submission
The completed dissertation must follow the format requirements of the Graduate School as contained in the Guide to Dissertations and Theses: Preparation and Electronic Submissions. Before submission online, the completed dissertation must be approved by the advisory committee. Candidates will also be responsible for the preparation of an abstract of the dissertation, not to exceed 350 words, which will be submitted with the completed dissertation.
The student is required to purchase four copies of the bound dissertation for the A-State Library, the Graduate School, the Molecular Biosciences Program Office, and the dissertation advisor.
Checklist for the Last Semester Before Graduation
- In the last semester before graduation, candidates must register for the graduation fee.
- File an Intent to Graduate Form with the graduate dean by the relevant deadline.
- Complete the oral defense of the dissertation.
- Submit the dissertation by the relevant deadline.