The Master of Science Program

A. Admission and scholarship requirements 

See the admission and scholarship requirements for all students in Sections II and III. Students must pass BRTP 821, 822, 823, and 824, and Biochemistry 970, with a minimal grade of B. Failure to do so may result in being dropped from the program, subject to the recommendation of the Graduate Committee to the chairman of the department. 

All M.S. students will have selected an advisor prior to acceptance into the program. An Advisory Committee will be appointed by the Graduate Committee for each M.S. student. It will consist of the advisor and at least two graduate Fellows from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 

B. Curriculum 

The required courses for M.S. students will be BRTP 821, 822, 823, and 824 and Biochemistry 970 (Seminar). In addition, the student must pass a Comprehensive Examination, write and orally defend a thesis. It should be emphasized that neither the courses completed nor the time spent in study determines the granting of the degree. The Advisory Committee with approval of the Graduate Committee will determine the curriculum to be followed by the student. 

C. Time for completion of work 

In most cases work for the Master of Science degree can be finished in three years but must be completed within five consecutive calendar years. In cases where graduate credit has been received but becomes obsolete, the student may (upon recommendation by the Graduate Committee) apply to the Dean for Graduate Studies and Research for permission to take a special examination or the current semester final examination in that subject. 

Unless a grade of B or better is obtained in the examination, the student shall be required to take additional work, the amount and nature of which shall be determined by the Advisory Committee and approved by the Graduate Committee and the Dean for Graduate Studies.  

D. Semiannual review 

Twice each year the progress and status of each graduate student working for the Master's Degree will be reviewed by the Advisory Committee. Any problem relating to academic work should be noted. The student should work with the advisor to prepare a brief progress report which shall include his/her thesis research as well as the anticipated direction of the work. 

In cases where there may be an unsolved question of scholastic performance or research progress, the Graduate Committee shall meet with the student and/or the advisor and determine the course of action to be followed.  

E. Outline of chronological steps to be followed 

1. Initial program 

Following acceptance into the M.S. degree program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, an Advisory Committee will be appointed by the Graduate Committee; and the student, with the help of the Advisory Committee, will outline a program of study and with the approval of the Graduate Committee, begin taking courses. 

The student will begin laboratory work as soon as possible. Initially the student may register for BRTP 821 and 822, and Biochemistry 970, and 896 (Research Other Than Thesis) and work in the laboratory of the sponsoring faculty. This sponsoring faculty will serve as the thesis advisor of the student. The Graduate Committee shall continue to exercise supervision over the student's program, but the Advisory Committee shall be responsible for monitoring the training of the student. 

2. Research tools requirement 

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department has no foreign language or research tool requirement for the Master's Degree. However, an individual student may be asked to complete a research tool requirement as part of the program of study. This must be completed by the time of admission to candidacy.  

3. Comprehensive examination

Before admission to candidacy for the Master's Degree, the student must pass a comprehensive examination. This examination is conducted by the Examining Committee to be appointed by the Dean for Graduate Studies and Research on the recommendation of the Graduate Committee. 

The Examining Committee shall include one member of the Graduate Committee as the chairman. Examination requests must be submitted to the Graduate College two weeks in advance on the form, Request for Scheduling Qualifying and Comprehensive Examinations. 

The exact format of the Comprehensive Examination will be determined by the Examining Committee with the approval of the Graduate Committee. The Comprehensive Examination must be taken no sooner than ten months prior to the completion of the degree requirements. 

The chairman of the Examining Committee will provide each member of the committee with a copy of the departmental form, Results of Comprehensive Examination for the M.S. Degree. After the examination, each member of the Examining Committee will complete this form and forward it to the chairman of the Graduate Committee for inclusion in the student's file. 

If any Examining Committee member lists any portion of the Comprehensive Examination as less than satisfactory, an explanation must be included on the form. If more than one member recommends failure, the student shall fail the examination. 

The results of the Comprehensive Examination should be reported on the form, Examination Report Form and forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Committee within 7 days after the examination. 

If the student fails the examination, the Examining Committee will report it to the Graduate Dean and the Graduate Committee in writing precisely what the student must do before becoming eligible to take another examination. A student who fails the regular examination must request approval, in writing, from the Graduate Committee to take a second examination. 

A student must wait a minimum of three months before retaking the examination. A student who fails the examination twice will be dropped from the program.

4. Admission to candidacy 

After having performed satisfactorily in BRTP 821, 822, 823, and 824 and Biochemistry 970 and thesis research, and successfully passed the Comprehensive Examination, a student may be admitted to candidacy for the Master's Degree on recommendation of the major upon approval by the Dean for Graduate Studies and Research. The appropriate form, Application for Candidacy for the Master's Degree, should be completed and sent to the Graduate Office, and a copy of the completed form should be sent to the chairman of the Graduate Committee of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department.

5. Application for completion of requirements for Master's Degree 

When a student plans to graduate at a particular commencement, the form, Application for Completion of Requirements for Master's Degree, should be filed in the Graduate Office four weeks before the final oral, but in no case longer than four weeks before the published deadline in the Graduate College calendar for the final oral examination.

Filing of this form is necessary so that the Graduate Office can determine whether all requirements have been or will be met at the time of planned graduation. The form will be returned to the chairman of the Examining Committee. The thesis must be approved by the advisor at this time and all "Incompletes", if any, must have been removed. 

6. Filing for diploma 

When the student has progressed sufficiently in the program of studies to anticipate graduating at the next commencement, an Application for Advanced Degree should be filed by the student at the Academic Records Office by the date listed in the Graduate College academic calendar. This application is effective only for the given time period and must be renewed if requirements are not met during the given time.  

7. Completion of work by M.S. students 

a. Thesis - Preparation and preliminary approval 

The Master's thesis in its preliminary form must be approved by the Advisory Committee prior to submission of the form Application for Completion of Requirements for Master's Degree (Section V. F. 5).

The Graduate Office has instructions pertaining to the typing or reproduction of the thesis. This is called Instructions for Preparation and Submission of Master's Thesis. It is recommended that the student examines copies of recent Master's Degree theses, either from the departmental collection or the library. The student and advisor should then come to an agreement on the format to be used. 

b. Final Oral (Defense of Thesis) Examination 

1) Appointment of Examining Committee. The Application for Completion of Requirements for Master's Degree contains a section for request of a committee to administer a final oral examination. This committee is recommended by the Graduate Committee and appointed by the Dean for Graduate Studies. The Examining Committee shall consist of the advisor, who serves as chairman of the committee, and at least two other persons, of which one must be a Fellow of the Graduate Faculty. 

2) Approval of thesis. Copies will be given to the Examining Committee for their use in the examination. Later the copies will be returned to the student. If the examination is waived, the two copies of the thesis must be presented to the Graduate Office no later than two weeks before the final date for the oral examination. These shall be returned to the student. 

3) Time of examination. Students generally take the Final Oral Examination during the last term for which they are registered, but in no case shall more than 10 months elapse between the Comprehensive Examination and the Final Oral Examination. The latest date on which the examination can be given for each commencement is listed in the Graduate College calendar. 

4) Format for the examination. The student shall present the highlights of the thesis at a seminar to be announced at least two weeks in advance. The seminar will be open to all faculty and students and other interested persons. The examination may be devoted to the thesis or field of investigation to test his/her judgment and critical thinking powers.

Following the examination, the Examining Committee shall meet in executive session and arrive at a decision as to the competence of the candidate. Within seven days a report of the results of the examination must be submitted to the Graduate College by the deadline published in the current calendar of the Graduate College

If more than one member recommends failure in a Comprehensive or Final Oral Examination, the student shall be considered to have failed the examination. In the event of failure, the Examining Committee shall within seven days recommend to the Dean for Graduate Studies whether the student should be given the option of retaking the examination, and if so, the committee shall identify general areas of weakness which require special attention and any remedial actions which the student should complete prior to the re-examination.

No student shall be permitted to take either the Comprehensive or Final Oral Examination more than twice, and the student must wait a minimum of three months before retaking the examination. The same committee shall give the re-examination unless the Graduate Committee recommends and the Dean for Graduate Studies approves a substitution. 

c. Deposition of thesis 

Two copies of the thesis must be presented in final form to the Graduate Office. These copies will be stamped and returned to the student. These same copies of the thesis must be deposited in the McGoogan Library of Medicine in Omaha and one bound copy must be filed with the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department. Students working toward the Master's Degree are not required to furnish an abstract, announcement or microfilm materials.  

d. Granting of the degree 

The Application for Completion of Requirement for the Master's Degree signed by the Examining Committee and librarian, indicating that all requirements for the degree have been met, must be delivered to the Graduate Office before the published deadline given in the current Graduate College calendar. The degree may be granted.

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