☜ VII. PhD Proposal

Admission Policies
Requirements for the Degree:
I. Time Limits for Degrees
II. Supervisory Committee
III. Required Courses
IV. Teaching Requirement
V. Program of Studies
VI. MS Prospectus
VII. PhD Proposal
VIII. Graduate Examinations
IX. Timetable
Annual Reviews
Financial Support
I: Residency
II: Student Travel
III: Dual Compensation
IV: English Competency
V: Graduate Appeals Policy
VI: Teaching Assistants Manual
VII: Neuroscience Program
Detailed Contents

Requirements for the Degree:

VIII. Graduate Examinations

It is often difficult to arrange an exam or defense during the summer because of the unavailability of committee members who tend to be off-campus during this time. Analogous problems might result from one or more committee members being on sabbatical for one or both semesters of the academic year. Students should check with their committee members well in advance of any such examination to make sure that everybody will be available to participate.

Theses, written exams, and dissertations are expected to reflect original work. The review of academic integrity should be completed prior to the oral defense by the major professor. Faculty may choose to use appropriate plagiarism checkers and peer review tools (such as iThenticate) with early drafts of these manuscripts as an instructional aid in advising students on matters relating to plagiarism.

A. Comprehensive Written Examination for Course-type MS
Students will have to pass a written examination to be composed and administered by the Supervisory Committee. The written examination may be tailored to the area of study and the research area. A memo will be sent to the Graduate Advising Office confirming when the student has successfully passed this exam.

B. The Thesis Defense (BSC 8976)
The Thesis Defense (BSC8976) will consist of an oral defense of the completed master's thesis as well as a test of general knowledge. FormsThe candidate must submit the final copy of the thesis to the supervisory committee at least one week before the scheduled examination.

C. The Preliminary Examination (BSC 8964) for Doctoral Students
The written portion of the Preliminary Examination should be taken no later than the seventh semester and the written and oral portion of the exam should be completed within a 3 month period. Committees of students not meeting this schedule must submit a memo to the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies explaining why the exam is delayed and setting a clear date for the exam. At the discretion of the Supervisory Committee, any portion of the exam may be retaken within 3 months if the performance was judged unsatisfactory.

This examination is "designed to test scholarly competence and knowledge and to afford the examiners the basis for constructive recommendations concerning the student's subsequent formal or informal study" (2007-2009 FSU Graduate Bulletin, p. 54).

The possible outcomes of the Preliminary Examination are:

  1. passed
  2. failed, without possibility of re-examination
  3. conditional pass, additional work to be completed
  4. re-examine

MemoResults of the Preliminary Examination must be submitted to the Graduate Office immediately following the completion of the exam.

If a conditional pass is received, the committee must stipulate, in writing, the conditions and the deadline for meeting these conditions.

Upon passing the Preliminary Examination, and if the student has met the graded credit-hour requirement, the student may apply for a course-based Masters with the approval of the Director of the Course-type Master’s program.

Preliminary Examination Failure Policy

Approved by the GPC on 1/11/21 and Faculty Senate on 1/20/21.

If a student fails the preliminary examination before being admitted to candidacy, a re-examination may be offered by the student’s supervisory committee or other relevant decision making body within each department or unit, per that department or unit’s doctoral student handbook. The Academic Dean’s office should be notified of the outcome of any preliminary exam attempt.

Students can take the preliminary examination for admission to candidacy only two times. A second failure on the preliminary exam makes the student ineligible to continue in the degree program. The second attempt at the preliminary exam shall occur no sooner than six full class weeks after the results of the first attempt are shared with the student. For the purpose of this policy, a “full class week” is defined as a week with five days during which classes are held at FSU. Students must be registered separately for their first and second attempt, if necessary within the same semester, and must receive either a “pass” or a “fail” grade for each attempt.

An exception request regarding the timing of the re-examination can be submitted for consideration to the Academic Dean’s Office by either the student or the supervisory committee. Students who allege that academic regulations and/or procedures were improperly applied for the re-examination of their preliminary exam may have their grievances addressed through the general academic appeals process.

D. The Dissertation Defense (BSC 8985)
The Dissertation Defense (BSC 8985) for doctoral students will consist of a public seminar presenting information from the dissertation prior to an oral examination which is administered by the candidate's supervisory committee. "Academic courtesy requires that a preliminary draft of the dissertation be submitted to each member of the supervisory committee at least four weeks before the date of the oral examination" (2007-2009 FSU Graduate Bulletin, p. 54).

University policy requires that all members of the supervisory committee be present -- either physically, or by a real time virtual connection -- for the dissertation defense. In the Department of Biological Science if one committee member cannot be physically present for the dissertation defense then that committee member must be present by a video conference connection. More than one committee member may attend by a video conference connection with the agreement of the entire supervisory committee. If the full committee cannot be present —- either physically or by a real time virtual connection -— then the defense must be rescheduled or new committee members appointed.

Passage of the dissertation defense will be based on a vote of the supervisory committee. FormsThe vote is to be recorded and communicated to the Associate Chair. The Department has a long tradition of supervisory committees making decisions by consensus. Committees are encouraged to continue to work for consensus as this produces the best possible dissertation and is in the best interest of the student and the department. However if consensus (a unanimously positive vote) cannot be reached, only one negative vote is permitted regardless of committee size, and the University Representative on the committee must vote for passage. If the University representative votes no, or if there are 2 or more negative votes by the committee, then the student has not passed the dissertation defense.

☞ IX. Timetable