The program for the Ph.D. degree must lead to mastery at a high level of the fundamental
principles in the student’s area of interest in the general realm of evolution, ecology, and organismal biology. The program is planned by the student and a member of the EEOB Graduate
Faculty who acts as her/his research advisor so as to meet the student's individual needs and interests. The student and research advisor select an Advisory Committee that is also involved in suggesting courses and planning the graduate program of the student. Further information on important aspects of the program is provided below.
EEOB 8894 must be taken during the first Autumn semester in residence and at least once more during any Winter semester. The program also must include a minimum of 16 graduate credits, excluding EEOB 6193, 8894, 8999, and courses taken during a Master’s Program. Thirty graduate credit hours of Master’s Degree course work can be transferred into a student’s doctoral program, thereby reducing the number of graduate credits earned at OSU from 80 credit hours to 50 credit hours. All graduate students are required to enroll in at least one graduate level seminar course each calendar year (not including EEOB 8894). These courses are usually numbered EEOB 8896, but other courses that involve intensive, small-group discussion of the recent primary literature are acceptable. EEOB 8896 courses are limited to 2 credit hours per offering, and students may count any number towards the required 16 graduate credit hours that exclude EEOB 6193, 8894, and 8999.
Guidelines for Completion of the Research Proposal and Candidacy Exam
All Ph.D. students must submit a proposal outlining their dissertation research. As expected of a Ph.D. project, the research outlined in the proposal should represent a significant and original contribution by the student in addressing an important research question or problem. The proposal will typically form the written portion of a student’s candidacy exam (see below). Successful completion of the written portion of the exam will signify approval of the proposal by the committee. As such, a student cannot advance to candidacy without a successfully defended proposal. In consultation with their supervisor, students are encouraged to begin working on their proposal as soon as possible usually by the end of their first year in the program so as to meet the deadlines for completion of the written and oral portions of the candidacy exam (see below). The proposal should be written in the format similar to that of a proposal for an NSF panel. The proposal has three major sections: 1) Project Summary, 2) Project Description, and 3) References Cited. The Project Description (10-15 pages in length) should include an explanation of the problem being addressed, a literature review, a methods section, preliminary data if available, a discussion of appropriate data analyses, and a description of possible results. A timetable for completing the project also should be included. The final version of a student’s proposal must represent their own original work and questions during the oral portion of the Candidacy Exam may be used to establish that this is the case.
Candidacy Examination Definition
The Candidacy Examination is a single examination consisting of two portions, written and oral, administered under the auspices of the Graduate Studies Committee in conjunction with the student’s Advisory Committee and the Graduate School.
For Ph.D. Students, the Candidacy Examination is not only a test of the student’s comprehension of the field, but also of allied areas of study, of the capacity to undertake independent research, and of the ability to think and express ideas clearly. The production of a dissertation proposal which contains a critical review of the literature, a description of the goals, hypotheses to be tested, methods to be used, a projected analysis of results and a timetable for completion of the study is an important step in planning a successful research program as a graduate student.
All students entering the program must have their proposal approved (and successfully complete the oral portion of the candidacy exam) by the end of their 8th semester in residence. Failure to meet these deadlines will represent a lack of satisfactory progress by a student and may result in a withdrawal of financial support by the department. Research Advisor: Students admitted to the EEOB PhD Graduate Program may have arranged for a major research advisor or have been assigned a temporary research advisor, but this arrangement should be formalized no later than the end of the student’s first semester. An Advisory Committee, comprising the major research advisor and three other members of Graduate Faculty, should be selected by the end of the student’s second semester. Advisory Committee: The Graduate School defines two principal committees for Ph.D. programs, the Advisory Committee and the Dissertation Committee. The only necessary common member of these committees in EEOB is the student’s major research advisor, who serves as the Chair of each. The primary responsibility of the Advisory Committee is administering the Candidacy Exam and that committee is therefore in a sense more responsible for seeing to the student’s mastery of subject matter in the discipline. This committee must comprise at least four Graduate Faculty members. The Dissertation Committee’s primary responsibility is overseeing and evaluating the research component of the student’s program. This committee must comprise at least three members of the Graduate Faculty (including the Advisor). Most often in EEOB these two committees are the same in membership, but again, except for the Advisor, they do not need to be.