The PhD degree program provides the necessary flexibility to design an appropriate plan of study and has only minimal course requirements. A doctoral committee will be appointed within six months following matriculation. The committee shall consist of between four and six faculty or professional members nominated by the graduate advisor and approved by the Department Chairperson. Participation from industry, government, or other academic departments on the doctoral committee may be required depending on the student’s area of research. At least one member of the committee shall be from outside the Department of Animal and Food Sciences; however, not more than half of the committee members shall be from outside the Department. Departmental Adjunct Faculty shall be considered as “outside” members in their participation on doctoral committees. The committee is responsible for approving the student’s course work and research program. The committee will prepare, administer, and evaluate the student’s comprehensive and final examinations and will supervise and approve the dissertation. The student’s faculty advisor serves as chair of the doctoral committee.
Core Courses and General Requirements. All students pursuing the PhD will complete the following core courses; ANFS 865 - Seminar (1cr.) , ANFS 969 - Doctoral Dissertation (1 to 12cr.) , CHEM 641 - Biochemistry (3cr.) , CHEM 642 - Biochemistry (3cr.) , and a statistics course [APEC 608 Research Methods, APEC 806 - Research Techniques and Procedures (3cr.) , or equivalent]. Attendance in ANFS 865 - Seminar (1cr.) is required each semester for all graduate students. Beyond the core courses, no specific number of courses completed or credits earned are uniformly required. The student and advisor in concert with the doctoral committee will select appropriate course work based on the student’s background and major and minor (if applicable) area(s) of specialization for the PhD. Consideration will be given to the student’s prior training and experience at the undergraduate (B.A. or B.S.) and MS and/or D.V.M./V.M.D. (if applicable) level(s). Students with more advanced training and experience will need fewer courses to complete their PhD program. General requirements for the PhD are based on the University residency requirement, writing of a satisfactory research proposal and dissertation, and passing the comprehensive and the final oral examinations. The candidate’s doctoral program will consist of a combination of doctoral committee-approved formal courses, seminars, individual study, and research credits as needed by the student.
Research Proposal. Advancement to degree candidacy requires successful oral defense of a research proposal. The proposal will be submitted to the doctoral committee at least two weeks prior to the scheduled defense. The student will give an oral presentation summarizing the proposal. The committee members will question the student to verify that the student understands the research problem and the experimental approaches needed to address it. The committee will also ensure that the student has the proper training and resources to do the research. As a result of the meeting, the student may be required to revise the proposal and/or take additional course work. The research proposal defense should precede the comprehensive examination.
Comprehensive Examination. Successful completion of the comprehensive examination is required of all PhD students prior to their admission to candidacy. The examination, administered by the student’s graduate committee, is normally given to the student after completion of all course work and selection of a dissertation topic. The student is required to have a minimum grade point average of 3.0(4 point scale) at the time of the examination. The written portion of the comprehensive examination will be to prepare and present a research proposal following the formats of one of the following government agencies: USDA(AFRI), NIH, or NSF. The topic of the proposal must be outside the primary area of study. The student will follow the proposal preparation guidelines of the chosen granting agency to generate the “Project Description” portion of the proposal. References cited in an accepted bibiliographical format are required. The student will have one month to prepare the proposal, which must then be distributed to committee members at least two weeks prior to the presentation and defense. The format of the examination will be presentation by the student, followed by a question and answer period focussed primarily on the proposal, but may be expanded to include other appropriate subject areas. A favorable vote by a majority of the committee including the major advisor is required for passing. Based on the performance of the student in the comprehensive examination, the committee may recommend one of the following actions:
- The student be admitted to candidacy, without qualification or subject to fulfillment of certain conditions.
- The student be reexamined at later date.
- The student be disapproved unconditionally for the degree.
Dissertation. The ability to conduct independent research and competence in scholarly writing must be demonstrated by the preparation of a dissertation on a topic related to the major area of specialization in accordance with the regulations of the Office of Graduate and Professional Education. The contents and conclusions of the dissertation must be defended at the time of the Final Oral Examination (see below) and approved by the doctoral committee. Copies of the dissertation must be available in the departmental office at least ten working days before the date of the Final Oral Examination. Preparation of (a) manuscript(s) for publication of the information contained within the dissertation is expected prior to, or within one month after, approval of the dissertation by the committee at the Final Oral Examination.
Final Oral Examination. Upon recommendation of the doctoral committee, a Final Oral Examination of the dissertation will be scheduled for the doctoral candidate who has satisfied all other requirements for the degree. The examination must be scheduled at least three weeks prior to the time the examination is to be held. The examination shall be related in a large part to the dissertation but it may cover the entire field of study of the candidate. The examination will be administered by the student’s doctoral committee. The student will give an oral presentation (seminar) summarizing the dissertation research. Committee members will question the student about the dissertation and related subject areas to verify that the candidate fully understands the research findings and their implications. A favorable vote of a majority of the members of the committee is required for passing. If the candidate fails, it is the responsibility of the doctoral committee to determine whether he/she may take another examination.