Guidelines for Students Seeking Advanced Degrees
A. Master of Science
1. Thesis Option
Students seeking the master's degree will normally pursue the thesis option.
After admission to the Graduate School and acceptance by the Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences Department, the student will be assigned to a major professor. The major professor, in consultation with the student and with the approval of the Head of the Department, will set up a graduate advisory committee of at least four members (including the major professor) at the first practical opportunity (e.g. within the first semester). The committee will consist of graduate faculty members representing both the areas of Crops and Soils and at least one member from a relevant field outside the Department. The composition of the student's graduate committee may be changed with the written approval of the Department Head.
The Head of the Department will be an ex officio (by virtue of office) member of all committees. The student or major professor must contact the prospective committee members to determine whether those faculty are willing to serve on the student's committee.
. The student's graduate committee will serve as an advisory committee for the student's graduate program and as the thesis and oral examining committee. The committee will be informed, from time to time, of the progress being made. Major changes in the study course or research must be done in consultation with the committee members.
The major professor will, at the earliest opportunity, call a meeting of the student and committee. The M.S. student should present a tentative outline of the course work (minimum of 24 course hours and six thesis hours) and a research proposal on the objectives and procedures involved in the research. The committee will establish a definite plan of study and research at this time or, if necessary, in a second such meeting.
An outline of the student's plan of study (i.e., Memorandum of Courses) will be completed by the student and major professor, and copies should be forwarded to the Head of the Department, Graduate School, and members of the committee for their files.
. The thesis should be sent to the student's graduate committee at least two weeks prior to the defense date. If a committee member deems the thesis or dissertation not ready for defense, the committee member should tell the major professor prior to the defense meeting and, if appropriate, a new date for the defense should be scheduled.
The Masters oral exam includes the thesis defense and a comprehensive examination of the student's knowledge in crop, soil, and environmental sciences.
All regulations of the Graduate School must be followed. To avoid later delays, it is a good practice to check with the Graduate School when questions arise. The Guide for Preparing Theses and Dissertations can be purchased in the University of Arkansas Bookstore.
2. Non-thesis Option
Non-Thesis option - Minimum of 33 semester hours of course work as designated by the student’s graduate advisory committee. The student will be given an oral and/or written examination over all course work to be completed for the degree. The non-thesis option is considered a terminal degree in the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences.
3. M.S. Timetable
1) Minimum residence = 30 weeks 2) Maximum time allowed for M.S. work = 6 consecutive calendar years
b. Semester I
1) Select committee members 2) Present research or thesis proposal and proposed coursework 3) Submit Memorandum of Courses to Department 4) Submit Master’s Program Advisory Committee to Graduate School
c. Semester II, III, etc.
1) Continue coursework 2) Proceed with research 3) File Master's Thesis Committee form 1 semester prior to comprehensive exam 4) File Master’s Thesis Title form 3 months prior to comprehensive exam
d. Final Semester
1) Application for degree 2) Obtain Master's calendar for current year 3) Present
4) Submit thesis to committee a minimum of 2 weeks prior to comprehensive exam 5) Comprehensive exam a minimum of 2 weeks prior to graduation 6) Submit Record of Progress to Graduate School 7) Obtain approval of thesis from committee and the Graduate School 8) Submit final copies of thesis to Graduate School (2) and Departmental Office [1 for campus students and 2 for Altheimer students (1 for campus and 1 for Altheimer Lab)] a minimum of 1 week prior to graduation
B. Doctor of Philosophy
1. Guidelines for the Committee and the Student
a. "Students who wish to become candidates for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
are expected to complete work equivalent to the requirements for the master's degree,
and must file a Declaration of Intent with the Dean of the Graduate School upon registration
for their first semester of graduate work beyond the master's degree or its equivalent"
(Graduate Catalog). b. After the student has declared his/her intentions (Declaration
of Intent Form) and indicated an area of study, a committee of five or more members
will be appointed from graduate faculty to evaluate the candidate's preparation and
fitness for further graduate work. The major professor, in consultation with the department
head and the prospective candidate, will choose a list of committee members to be
submitted to the Graduate School. c. The student's committee includes the major professor
and two additional qualified members from the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental
Sciences’ faculty (they must represent two out of the three disciplines (crops, soils,
environmental)); a minimum of two other qualified graduate faculty from outside the
Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, but no more than one from
outside the university. A prospective candidate specializing in soil science has at least one committee member in crops; a candidate specializing in crop science has at least one committee member in soils. The composition of the student's graduate committee may be changed with the written approval of the Department Head. The Department Head is an ex-officio member of all Ph.D. committees. Following acceptance of a student as a prospective candidate for the doctoral degree, the major professor must call a meeting of the advisory committee, including the Head of the Department and the student. The meeting should convene at the earliest opportunity within the first or second semester. At the first meeting, the candidate will present an outline of the proposed course work and the objectives and procedures involved in the dissertation problem. The members of the committee will often offer suggestions, both in terms of the courses and the research problem planned. A definite plan of study and research is established at the first meeting or, if necessary, at subsequent committee meetings. d. No minimum number of course hours is required; however, a minimum of 18 dissertation hours is required. The candidate's course work plan is formulated by his/ her graduate committee in agreement with Graduate School requirements. e. The term used for the written and oral examinations for doctoral students will be candidacy examinations as specified by the Graduate School. Preliminary examinations may be given to a student to assist the doctoral advisor and/or doctoral advisory committee in selecting coursework and the like.
Doctoral students will take candidacy examinations within 2 to 3 years after starting their degree program for half-time graduate assistants and within 3 to 4 years after starting their degree program for three-quarter-time graduate assistants and full-time research specialists. Doctoral students will complete all written candidacy examinations within ten consecutive working days.
Written doctoral candidacy examinations may be administered by any appropriate graduate faculty member. If a graduate faculty member administers a written examination and is not on the student's committee, that faculty member will be invited as a non-voting participant to the doctoral oral examination.
Doctoral students must pass all five written candidacy examinations before they can take the oral candidacy examination.
The doctoral oral candidacy examination will be held within one month of completion of the written candidacy examinations. The oral candidacy examination will be graded as "passed," "adjourned" (reconvene at a later date as decided by the committee), or "failed." f. All Ph.D. students must make sure that they meet the residency requirements as outlined in the Graduate School Catalog. For full-time research specialists the memorandum must be filed with the Graduate School. The residency requirement for Ph.D. students with more than a 50% appointment as found in the Graduate School Catalog. Every full-time research specialist must be certain these guidelines are followed.
A Ph.D. candidate must meet the residency requirement by first filing a Declaration of Intent and then completing a minimum of 6 hours of coursework or dissertation research for two consecutive semesters during the appointment. A plan for completing this requirement must be filed for approval by the Graduate Dean in advance of satisfying residency requirements. The graduate student is responsible for making sure this plan is filed at the beginning of their program.
The Graduate School has agreed to allow filing of residence plans for students who have already met the requirement as well as for those who are beginning their residency. It is imperative for the candidate to prepare and file this plan as soon as possible.
g. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required but is encouraged by the Department. It may be used by the committee in developing the student's program. h. The dissertation should be sent to the student's graduate committee at least 2 weeks prior to the defense date. If a committee member deems the dissertation not ready for defense, the committee member should tell the major professor prior to the defense meeting and, if appropriate, a new date for the defense should be scheduled.
Procedures must be adhered to as outlined in the regulations of the Graduate School. The Guide in Preparing Theses and Dissertations can be purchased in the University Bookstore.
2. Ph.D. Timetable
a. General 1) Minimum residency requirements = 2 consecutive semesters with 10 or more graduate credit hours per semester 2) Maximum time to degree = 7 consecutive calendar years
b. Semester I 1) Declaration of Intent in order to enter Ph.D. program, file first semester 2) Residency requirement
i. Non-research specialists, begins with filing of Declaration of Intent
ii. Research specialists, file Declaration of Intent and must also file memo with the Graduate School
3) Select committee members 4) Submit proposal and proposed coursework
c. Semester II, III, etc. 1) File Doctoral Advisory Committee Member Form a minimum of 1 year prior to oral exam 2) File Announcement of Doctoral Dissertation Title a minimum of 1 year prior to final exam 3) Candidacy examination:
A) Written - Within 2-3 years after starting for half time GA. Within 3-4 years after starting for three-quarter-time GA and RA. To be completed within a two week period.
B) Oral - Within one month of completing written candidacy exam
d. Final Semester 1) Application for degree 2) Obtain Ph.D. calendar for the current
year 3) Present departmental seminar 4) Submit dissertation with abstract to committee
a minimum of 2 weeks prior to defense date 5) Notice of final exam to Dean of Graduate
School (include abstract and memo announcing date, time and place of final exam)10
days prior to final exam 6) Take final exam a minimum of 3 weeks prior to graduation
7) Obtain final committee approval of dissertation 8) File Record of Progress of Doctoral Program with the Graduate School (obtained from the Graduate School) 9) Obtain Graduate School approval of dissertation 10) Submit final copies of thesis to Graduate School (2) and Departmental Office [1 for campus students - 2 for Altheimer students (1 for campus and 1 for Altheimer Lab)] a minimum of 1 week prior to graduation ADDITIONAL FORMS MUST BE COMPLETED AT GRADUATE SCHOOL UPON SUBMISSION OF FINAL DISSERTATION.
C. Additional Policies Governing Candidates for Advanced Degrees
1. For those students who have received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Arkansas and who apply for the Ph.D. in the Department, the application must be:
a. Recommended by the student's graduate committee; b. Reviewed by the departmental graduate committee which will make a recommendation to the Department Head and the graduate faculty; c. Approved by Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences graduate faculty. d. Approved by Department Head. The student applicant will be informed of the decision at each stage and retain the option of withdrawing his or her request at any stage.
For students who have received their M.S. degree (and not their B.S. degree) in the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Arkansas and who wish to pursue their Ph.D. in the same Department, the following are required:
a. Positive written recommendation from the student's M.S. committee with brief documentation of the deliberations; b. Approval by Department Head. If necessary, in borderline cases, the Department Head will seek advice from the Departmental Graduate Committee.
2. Where the M.S. degree is to be by-passed, the following criteria will be used to judge the qualifications of the student to progress directly to the Ph.D. degree:
a. Evidence of outstanding scholastic ability and achievement; b. Evidence of writing ability; c. Evidence of ability to carry out independent study or research; and d. Evidence of academic or professional experience outside the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences. e. Approval by graduate faculty of the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences. f. Approval by Department Head. These criteria are applied to all students considered for by-passing the M.S. degree, regardless of the source of the baccalaureate degree.
3. Policies Governing Departmental Seminar
a. All faculty and graduate students in the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental
Sciences must attend weekly Departmental seminars as a professional responsibility.
Undergraduate students are encouraged to attend.
b. 1) Each candidate for either the M.S. or the Ph.D. degree is required to give a regularly scheduled departmental seminar toward the end of the degree program. 2) The degree candidate is responsible for scheduling his/her seminar. 3) No grade or credit hours will be awarded for departmental seminar presentations, but critique of the presentation may be helpful to the student and his/her committee. c. The course entitled Scientific Presentations (CSES 5103) is recommended for all graduate students. Students are encouraged to take the course early in their degree program in order to prepare for committee meetings, for professional meetings, and for the departmental seminar.
4. Change of Objectives, Status, or Termination of Admission
a. Modification of Status Students who wish to alter specific objectives as set forth for their admission, registration, or assistantship status must, along with approval from their major advisor and advisory committee, process whatever actions or papers are needed for that change. These changes may include modifications in status such as conditional admission to regular admission, degree status to non-degree status, a research assistantship to a graduate assistantship; simple changes in registration from audit to credit or dropping and adding a course; or numerous other changes in status. Any such modification in the status must be recorded in the Graduate School office and the Departmental office not just with the student’s major advisor. The student must be certain that the process of change is complete and recorded before operating under a new status. b. Termination of Graduate Standing A graduate student's admission status will be terminated on failure to maintain academic standards required by the Graduate School and the Department. Termination may also result when students fail to fulfill obligations within the time frame established by the Graduate School and the Department. Graduate status may be terminated before expiration of specified time under circumstances of academic dishonesty, incompetence, inefficiency, or neglect of duties; job-related misconduct; moral turpitude; financial exigency; or other unforeseen circumstances which severely deter or halt progress in the student's program.
If the graduate student is not on an assistantship and not an Arkansas resident, he/she must establish in-state residency in order to pay only in-state tuition and fees. To be eligible for in-state tuition he/she will need to show proof of residency for at least 6 months prior to that semester's registration. Registering a car, obtaining an Arkansas driver's license, and registering to vote before the first semester here may be very important. (Students on assistantships refer to Section 7.b.).
6. Waiver of Registration Fee and Tuition for Graduate Assistantships
a. Registration Fee Any graduate student appointed to the position of Graduate Assistant whose appointment is equal to or greater than fifty percent (50%) may be granted registration fees in addition to the stipend. b. Non-resident Tuition Any graduate student appointed to the position of Graduate Assistant whose appointment is equal to or greater than twenty-five percent (25%) shall, in addition to any stipend, be classified as an in-state student for tuition and fee purposes. (These students should still begin the reclassification process above to avoid possible over-charges.)