Progression Requirements/Deadlines/Forms

Appropriate progression through the Masters program requires that students meet the Progression Deadlines outlined below.  If a student cannot meet a required deadline, they should submit a Request for Extension.

Note: Failure to meet progression deadlines without approved extensions may negatively influence the ability to receive financial aid and can result in termination from the program.

Note:  MS students are required to complete a Student Progression Report at the end of each semester after final grades have been assigned and before the beginning of the next semester of graduate study.  The form must be signed and dated by the student and the Major Advisor and submitted to the Graduate Program Director.
 

Progression Requirements:

1. Grades Required. A student must maintain a cumulative average of 3.0 in all course work taken for graduate credit. Two grades of C are acceptable, but a third C will lead to termination of the student's enrollment in the graduate program. A grade of U in any course will lead to termination of the student's enrollment in the graduate program.
 


2. Masters students must establish a Major Advisor: Students will not be admitted into the M.S. program without a tentative major advisor identified by the Department. All students must have a major advisor by the end of the second academic semester of graduate study.

  • Only Biology Graduate Faculty can serve as Major Advisors.  Adjunct Graduate Faculty can serve as co-advisors.  If a student has a co-advisor, they must also have a Major Advisor who is a member of the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Biology.  Furthermore, the co-Advisor must have Graduate Faculty status in their home department or Adjunct Graduate status in the Department of Biology, UNC Charlotte.
  • A student may switch major advisors at any time without negative consequences, although switching may delay the ability to meet Progression Requirements for the degree.
  • A major advisor can dismiss a student at any time because of poor performance under their direction or failure to demonstrate timely progression towards the degree.  If a student is dismissed by his/her Major Advisor, it is the student’s responsibility to arrange for a replacement advisor within 4 months.  If no faculty member has agreed to serve as the Major Advisor within the designated time period, the student will be terminated from the program.  The student must notify the Graduate Coordinator of the new Major Advisor using the Request to Establish a Supervisory Committee form.  

3. By no later than the end of the 2nd semester of graduate study, establish a Supervisory Committee: must be completed by the end of the 2nd semester of graduate study and must precede the Oral Comprehensive Exam, the Thesis Proposal Approval and Proposal Defense. The committee, selected by the student in consultation with his/her major advisor, must always include three members from the Biology Graduate Faculty. A typical Committee consists of a Major Advisor and two additional Committee members.  All members of the Supervisory Committee must have Graduate Faculty Status or Adjunct Graduate Faculty status.  The student must submit a Request to Establish a Supervisory Committee to the Graduate Program Director, which has been signed and dated by each faculty member who has agreed to serve. 


4. By the 3rd semester of graduate study, pass the oral Comprehensive Examination. 

Thesis-based MS students are required to take an oral Comprehensive Exam which evaluates the student's knowledge in his/her specialty area, as well as general knowledge of basic biological concepts. Successful completion of the Comprehensive Exam is required for continuation in the program. In the event the student's performance is judged not satisfactory, the Supervisory Committee may recommend a retake. Failing the retake exam results in termination from the program. For thesis-based MS students, the oral examination and approval of the Thesis Proposal and Thesis Topic can occur in combination, although the student must pass the Oral Comprehensive Exam for the Thesis Proposal to be approved. 

  • Oral Exam Format:  A block of no less than 2 hours should be reserved for the examination in order to allow for adequate time for questions and answers (though the examination may last longer or shorter than this time).  The examination is not public. Questions from the members of the Supervisor Committee will assess the student's knolwedge of his/her specialized areas of interest, graduate course work, and basic/general biological knowledge.  Students may give a brief PowerPoint presentation (no longer than 20 minutes) at the beginning of the oral exam that summarizes the Thesis Proposal.  
  • If the Oral Exam and Thesis Proposal are Combined: A block of no less than 2 hours should be reserved for the examination in order to allow for adequate time for questions and answers (though the examination may last longer or shorter than this time).  The examination is not public. Students may give a brief PowerPoint presentation (no longer than 20 minutes) at the beginning of the oral exam that summarizes the Thesis Proposal.  Defense of the Thesis Proposal will then form a portion of the oral examination.  Supervisory Committee members should receive a copy of the Thesis Proposal at least two weeks before the scheduled oral exam date. 
  • When the questioning is finished, the student is excused and the Committee then evaluates the student's performance.  After this discussion, the Committee will vote on the student’s performance. The student will be informed as to whether or not they have passed immediately following the Committee vote. The student will not be informed of the vote tally.
  • Examination Retake: In the event the student's performance is judged not satisfactory, the Supervisory Committee may recommend a retake, which must occur within two months (including summer) of the original exam. Students who fail both the oral exam and the retake oral exam will be dismissed from the program.
  • Forms for the Candidacy Exam:  It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the following two forms are taken to the exam and subsequently filed with the Graduate Program Director.


5. By the 3rd semester of graduate study, students must have an Approved Thesis Proposal. Each thesis-based MS degree candidate must prepare and present a written proposal for thesis research that is acceptable to the Supervisory Committee. The Thesis Proposal must be accompanied by a Cover Sheet and Proposal Defense Report. Both the Cover Sheet and the Topic Approval Form must be signed and dated by all members of the Supervisory Committee and returned to the Graduate Program Director.  Signing of the Thesis Proposal and Topic Approval Form can occur only after successful completion of the Oral Comprehensive Exam.  If the student passes the Oral Comprehensive Exam, the Thesis Proposal and Topic Approval Form can be signed by the Committee members at the end of the examination period. NOTE: University policy states that the Thesis Proposal Defense must be passed no later than the stated date on the academic calendar if the student plans to graduate in the same semester. Upcoming dates are Feb 19 2020 and Sept 28 2020. 


6. Thesis, Oral Presentation, and Defense Each candidate must present a written thesis and seminar acceptable to the Supervisory Committee and the department in defense of the thesis work. The seminar will be open to the public. Notice of each defense must be publicized at least one week prior to the defense. A written thesis is required based upon original laboratory or field results. 

  • Oral Defense Format:  A block of no less than 2 hours should be reserved for the examination in order to allow for adequate time for questions and answers (though the examination may last longer or shorter than this time).  The examination is not public. Questions from the members of the Supervisory Committee will assess the student's knowledge of his/her specialized areas of interest and Thesis.  
  • Given that the thesis-based M.S. degree is centered on original research, it is expected that a student will have a minimum of one peer reviewed publication based on original research accepted, in press, or published at the time of the Defense. The individual Major Advisor or Supervisory Committee may require more publications as appropriate for the field of study.

  • Choosing a Thesis defense date should be made in consultation with the Major Advisor and Supervisory Committee. Work with Ms. Ruthie Mosier in the departmental office to obtain a suitable room on campus. Work with Ruthie Mosier to print our at least 10 copies of your thesis presentation announcements and display them prominently around Woodward, Notify the Graduate Program Director with the date, time, and location of the defense. 

  • The final version of the Thesis should be given to each Committee member and the Graduate Coordinator at least two weeks prior to the public defense. Complete the initial thesis format appointment by the Graduate School deadline (see Graduation Checklist). The Oral Presentation and Defense must occur at least one week before the deadline set by the Graduate School for the submission of the approved thesis (see Graduation Checklist). Students are strongly encouraged to schedule the thesis defense well in advance of the stated deadline, to ensure sufficient time to incorporate revisions.
  • If one of your Committee members must attend the defense remotely please complete the Remote Participation Approval form.
  • Successful completion of Thesis Oral Presentation and Defense. Submit the Final Defense Report. Check box marked Thesis.
  • Submit copy of final Thesis to the Graduate School. Submission and ETD Signature - Dissertation/Thesis. The Dissertation/Thesis Submission Form combined with the ETD Form to accompany your dissertation or thesis submission and the student and committee acknowledgment of electronic document submission.​

Forms and other Graduation Information Click here for additional graduation information available from the UNC Charlotte Graduate School.


7. Time limits for completion. No courses older than seven years (including transfer credits) may be applied toward the MS degree; no course revalidation option exists; courses would need to be retaken. The Graduate School may consider requests for a single extension of the time limits for one (1) year in cases with rare, extenuating circumstances and with supporting documentation. In such cases, the student and graduate program must provide a signed timeline for program completion that does not exceed one year. Failure to adhere to the approved timeline for completion will result in automatic termination of the student’s enrollment for a lack of satisfactory academic progress. Multiple extensions will not be approved. 

These time limits are maximums; students will typically be expected to complete all the degree requirements in two-three years.


I AM READY TO GRADUATE WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

1. See Graduate Program Director at the end of the semester/summer session BEFORE you plan to graduate to review the process and consult your Degree Works file to ensure all milestones and courses are correct. View the Graduation Checklist for the appropriate semester.

2.  Apply for Graduation. To apply to graduate with a graduate doctoral, master's or graduate certificate degree: Log into my.uncc.edu, select Banner Self-Service, Student Services, Student Records, and Online Graduation Application. Click "Continue" if this is the first time a graduation application has been submitted, or "Create a New Application" if one has been submitted previously. After completing all sections, click the "Submit" button.

  • This form is due by the 8th instructional day of the semester in which you will graduate. If you change your graduation date, you will need to submit a new form.

3. Change of IP grades to P. For individualized instruction courses, such as Research and Thesis BIOL8999, an “IP” grade is received up until the semester in which a student graduates. During the semester in which a student graduates, those grades need to be changed. A copy of your Degree Works audit page will list all such courses which need a grade change. Take the print out to your Advisor and have he/she make changes to each course in the Banner system. If there are additional courses to be changed, consult with the Graduate Coordinator. 

4. Thesis, Oral Presentation, and Defense

  • Choosing a Thesis defense date should be made in consultation with the Major Advisor and Supervisory Committee. Work with Ms. Ruthie Mosier in teh departmental office to obtain a suitable room on campus. Work with Ruthie Mosier to print our at least 10 copies of your thesis presentation announcements and display them prominently around Woodward, Notify the Graduate Coordinator with the date, time, and location of the defense. 

  • The final version of the Thesis should be given to each Committee member and the Graduate Coordinator at least two weeks prior to the public defense. 
  • IF one of your Committee members must attend the defense remotely please complete the Remote Participation Approval form.
  • Successful completion of Thesis Oral Presentation and Defense. Submit the Final Defense Report. Check box marked Thesis.
  • Submit copy of final Thesis to the Graduate School. Submission and ETD Signature - Dissertation/Thesis. The Dissertation/Thesis Submission Form combined with the ETD Form to accompany your thesis submission and the student and committee acknowledgment of electronic document submission.​

Forms and other Graduation Information Click here for additional graduation information available from the UNC Charlotte Graduate School.