Research Training Program

Selecting a Thesis Adviser and Research Work

It is the student's responsibility to secure a commitment from a member of the regular faculty to serve as the Thesis Advisor. The prospective student is strongly encouraged to identify a Thesis Advisor prior to entering the program. As part of the application process, the student is encouraged to contact the Director of Research and Graduate studies for assistance. Resources available to the student are the detailed descriptions of Faculty Research Interests on the Department website, the MSU Community of Science (COS) database, and the Joint Graduate Student Orientation program presented by the Biomedical Sciences Departments each Fall prior to the start of the school year. Information concerning the identification of a potential Advisor/ student's area of interest is required as part of the application process (Departmental Questionnaire), and in conjunction of discussions with the potential advisor, is used as part of the admissions process

If a thesis advisor cannot be identified by the end of the first semester, he/she will be directed to investigate additional opportunities within the Department or to withdraw from graduate training in the program. The Director of Research and Graduate Studies will assist with this decision.

Faculty members that qualify to serve as Thesis Advisors include regular and adjunct physiology faculty members. A faculty member outside the physiology Department can serve as a proxy Thesis Advisor when approved by the Director of Research and Graduate Studies. If a student chooses a Thesis Advisor who is not a regular or adjunct physiology faculty member, a regular physiology faculty member will be selected by the Director of Research and Graduate Studies to oversee and officiate the student's progress towards their degree; adjuncts that are not regular MSU faculty must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.

After identifying a Thesis Advisor, the student must complete a minimum of 6 credits of PSL 899: Master's Thesis Research (University requirement). Although only 6 hours of research credit are required, students will typically complete about 9 credits of PSL 899. A maximum of 10 credits of Master's thesis research may be applied toward the 30 credits required for an M.S. program.

Thesis research can be laboratory-based (Thesis Option I) or library-based (Thesis Option II).

The thesis research must be based on work done by the student after entering the Master's program.

Thesis is to be written under the guidance of the Thesis Adviser, in consultation with the Guidance Committee, and in accordance with: The Graduate School Guide to the Preparation of Master's Theses and Doctoral Dissertations.

Guidance Committee

The Guidance Committee consists of the Thesis Adviser and at least two other regular faculty from the Physiology Department. Additional faculty from other university departments may be included on the Guidance Committee, at the discretion of the student and Thesis Adviser. The student and major adviser will arrange for the selection and first meeting of the student's Guidance Committee whose central role is to guide the conception, completion, and reporting of the student's research. The Guidance Committee and the student shall jointly design the student's course of academic study. The Guidance Committee shall administer the Certifying Examination after the completion of the research. The committee will outline at their first meeting at least a tentative program and establish target dates for each phase of training. Any member of the committee or any other member of the faculty in the department is available to any student for counsel or guidance throughout his/her graduate career. It is strongly suggested that the Guidance Committee be formed by the end of the second semester of the second year.

Following the first meeting and filing of the Report of the Guidance Committee, each student's Guidance Committee is expected to meet and file an annual Progress Report. The student will need to provide the thesis guidance committee with a written progress report of their research, as outlined in the Department of Physiology Graduate Handbook.

Certifying Examination

The certifying exam consists of an oral examination in defense of the student's written thesis. Passing this exam requires approval of the written thesis, in addition to the satisfactory, oral defencse of the thesis. A student who fails the exam will be given one opportunity to retake the exam. If the student fails the second exam, the student will be dismissed from the Program.

Program Duration

The nominal duration of the program is four semesters (2yrs). The actural time needed to complete all program requirements will vary from one student to student, however, the M.S. degree can be completed in two years under Thesis Option II. The University time limit is 6 years from date of enrollment in first course in the M.S. Program.

Financial Support

The department does not provide graduate assistantships or other stipends for students in the Master's Program. A student may, however, obtain support from the Thesis Adviser or other sources.