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UCF - Graduate Program Handbooks 2017-2018

Program Info

Last Updated 2015-04-13

Conservation Biology PhD



Together, the Graduate Student Handbook and your graduate program handbook should serve as your main guide throughout your graduate career. The Graduate Student Handbook includes university information, policies, requirements and guidance for all graduate students. Your program handbook describes the details about graduate study and requirements in your specific program. While both of these handbooks are wonderful resources, know that you are always welcome to talk with faculty and staff in your program and in the Graduate College.

The central activities and missions of a university rest upon the fundamental assumption that all members of the university community conduct themselves in accordance with a strict adherence to academic and scholarly integrity. As a graduate student and member of the university community, you are expected to display the highest standards of academic and personal integrity.

Here are some resources to help you better understand your responsibilities:

Introduction

Below is some general information regarding the Conservation Biology PhD program.

  • Independent Learning – Doctoral students are expected to engage in independent learning throughout their graduate career. Research towards, and ultimate completion of, the doctoral dissertation is the primary example of independent learning in which all doctoral students participate. Independent learning is also a key component of the coursework, where emphasis is placed on the development of analytical skills and critical thinking. In addition, other experiences such as directed readings, additional research projects, or internships may be undertaken by the students. 
  • Research – A Doctor of Philosophy is not only a learned individual driven by curiosity, but someone who has contributed original knowledge to their chosen field. Thus, novel research is central to any PhD program. It is through a doctoral student’s capacity to conduct novel research that they are judged, and whether they are eventually awarded a PhD.
  • Academic Integrity – The activities and missions of a university rest upon the fundamental assumption that all members of the university community conduct themselves in accordance with a strict adherence to academic integrity. As a graduate student and member of the university community, you are expected to display the highest standards of academic and personal integrity. All students newly admitted to doctoral programs are required to complete Academic Integrity Training prior to advancement to candidacy. 

Track specialization – Upon applying to the program, doctoral students are required to identify a track of study. Tracks have different course requirements and should be chosen according to the student’s interests and research program. The track may be changed at any time during the student’s tenure within the program. The tracks are as follows:  

  • Applied Conservation Biology Track – aims to understand the consequences of anthropogenic activities on biodiversity and ecosystem health, and to develop management tools directed at mitigating the impact of these activities. Conservation biologists are well suited to careers as scientific educators, researchers, and in particular managers and policy makers.
  • Ecology and Organismal Biology Track – aims to understand the complexity of life by integrating research from across the continuum of biological disciplines, from molecules to ecosystems, as well as from other scientific fields. Integrative biologists are well suited to careers as managers and policy makers, and in particular scientific educators and researchers.

Credit hour requirement - Both tracks require a minimum of 72 semester hours of graduate credit, including general and track-specific required courses, elective coursework, and dissertation research. All coursework in a doctoral program must be at 5000 level or higher with a minimum of 36 credit hours at or above the 6000 level and include a minimum of 27 hours of formal course work exclusive of independent study, research and dissertation hours. 

Enrollment Requirements –Students who are funded as either a GTA or GRA are required to register for 9 credit hours in fall and spring and 6 credit hours in summer prior to passing their candidacy exam. Credits in excess of these requirements are not covered by tuition remission (waiver or payment from a grant). After being admitted to candidacy, full time enrollment is 3 credit hours of dissertation research each semester. Please check with your advisor regarding the possibility of part time enrollment during summer.

    GPA requirement - The College of Sciences requires that students maintain a 3.00 GPA in their program of study in order to qualify for graduation. Additionally, two grades of “C” or lower in any course in the student’s program of study are grounds for dismissal from the program.

    Program of study – A program of study outlines the courses the student will take to fulfill their coursework requirement. It is important to involve your committee in developing this program.  The form must be approved by your advisor and filed with the Graduate Program Assistant by the end of the second semester.

    Annual Report – The student is responsible for filing an annual report, which is due one week before the start of the fall semester.  This report should be completed after having a status meeting with all members of the dissertation committee. The report should be submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant.

    Publication requirement – PhD candidates are required to have at least one peer-reviewed paper accepted for publication and a second paper submitted based on work done while in the Conservation Biology PhD program in advance of their defense. The student must be the first author on at least one paper. In the event that there is not a decision from the journals after 6 months of the submission or if the articles are rejected, the graduate program faculty will review the student’s work and determine by vote if it fulfills the requirement.

    PhD Defense - PhD students are required to have their public defense during the scheduled time of the department seminar and must reserve a date no later than the end of the first week of the semester during which the student intends to defend.  This policy will be strictly enforced unless the candidate can show extenuating circumstances to the Graduate Program Committee.

    Academic Integrity - All newly admitted students in doctoral programs are required to complete Academic Integrity Training prior to the student's advancement to candidacy.

    Student Orientation - An orientation is required of all incoming students and will be scheduled one week prior to each fall semester. Expectations for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) and Graduate Research Assistants (GRA) will be covered. In addition, students will be required to participate in the program for GTAs offered by the UCF Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning and the College of Sciences. An additional university orientation is also held approximately one week prior to the fall semester and students are encouraged to attend.

    Curriculum

    Students in the Conservation Biology PhD program must choose either the Conservation Biology Track or the Integrative Biology Track.

    The Conservation Biology Track requires 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree, including a minimum of 27 hours of formal course work exclusive of independent study. The formal course work includes 15 credit hours of required core courses and 12 credit hours of graduate-level courses from Biology (or other departments) selected in consultation with the adviser and the dissertation committee (at least 4 of the 12 credit hours must be offered through the Biology Department). The remaining 45 credit hours may consist of additional electives, doctoral dissertation research (PCB 7980), and a maximum of 12 credit hours of combined directed research (PCB 6918, PCB 7919, and PCB 5917) and independent study (PCB 6908). In addition, 15 credit hours of the remaining 45 credit hours must be comprised of doctoral dissertation research (PCB 7980).

    The Integrative Biology Track requires 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree, including a minimum of 27 hours of formal course work exclusive of independent study. The formal course work includes 7 credit hours of required core courses and 20 credit hours of graduate-level courses from Biology (or other departments) selected in consultation with the adviser and the dissertation committee (at least 12 of the 20 credit hours must be offered through the Biology Department). The remaining 45 credit hours may consist of additional electives, doctoral dissertation research (PCB 7980), and a maximum of 12 credit hours of combined directed research (PCB 6918, PCB 7919, and PCB 5917) and independent study (PCB 6908). In addition, 15 credit hours of the remaining 45 credit hours must be comprised of doctoral dissertation research (PCB 7980).

    A student is required to establish a program of study before the completion of nine credit hours of course work, in conjunction with their dissertation adviser and advisory committee. A student's advisory committee may require the candidate to take any graduate course taught at UCF if deemed appropriate for the student’s area of emphasis. Students entering with a master’s degree may request up to 30 semester credit hours of previous work be waived toward the requirements for this degree with approval from the advisory committee. Students who transfer 30 credit hours must still take 2 credit hours of Biology Seminar (BSC 6935) and Professional Development I (PCB 6095) and II (PCB 6096). Students may register for dissertation research only after passing the candidacy exam.


    Track Curriculum: Conservation Biology

    The Conservation Biology Track in the Conservation Biology PhD program requires 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree, including a minimum of 27 hours of formal course work exclusive of independent study. The formal course work includes 15 credit hours of required core courses and 12 credit hours of graduate-level courses from Biology (or other departments) selected in consultation with the adviser and the dissertation committee (at least 4 of the 12 credit hours must be offered through the Biology Department). The remaining 45 credit hours may consist of additional electives, doctoral dissertation research (PCB 7980), and a maximum of 12 credit hours of combined directed research (PCB 6918, PCB 7919, and PCB 5917) and independent study (PCB 6908). In addition, 15 credit hours of the remaining 45 credit hours must be comprised of doctoral dissertation research (PCB 7980).

    A student is required to establish a program of study before the completion of nine credit hours of course work, in conjunction with their dissertation adviser and advisory committee. Students are required to complete a minimum of 12 hours of electives in consultation with their advisory committee. In addition to these selected electives, a student's advisory committee may require the candidate to take any graduate course taught at UCF if deemed appropriate for the student’s area of emphasis. Students entering with a master’s degree may request up to 30 semester credit hours of previous work be waived toward the requirements for this degree with approval from the advisory committee. Students who transfer 30 credit hours must still take 2 credit hours of Biology Seminar (BSC 6935) and Professional Development I (PCB 6095) and II (PCB 6096). Students may register for dissertation research only after passing the candidacy exam.



    Required Courses—15 Credit Hours

    • PCB 6042 Conservation Biology Theory (4 credit hours)
    • PCB 6053C Restoration Ecology (4 credit hours)
    • PCB 6466 Methods in Experimental Ecology (3 credit hours)
    • BSC 6935 Seminar in Biology (2 credit hours, take twice at 1 credit hour each)
    • PCB 6095 Professional Development in Biology I (1 credit hour)
    • PCB 6096 Professional Development in Biology II (1 credit hour)

    Elective Courses—42 Credit Hours 

    A minimum of 12 credit hours of formal graduate-level courses from Biology, or other departments, are selected in consultation with the adviser and the dissertation committee. The goal is to tailor the program of study to the individual student's needs while maximizing exposure to a variety of disciplines including, among others, policy, economics, engineering, chemistry or sociology. The remaining 30 credit hours may include additional electives, dissertation research (PCB 7980), internship, and a maximum of 12 credit hours of combined independent study (PCB 6908) and directed research (PCB 6918, PCB 7919, and PCB 5917). Professional internship hours can be substituted for directed research.

    Dissertation—15 Credit Hours Minimum

    • PCB 7980 Dissertation (15 credit hours)

    Advisory Committee

    The Advisory Committee shall consist of a minimum of four members, including the dissertation adviser, with at least three members coming from the graduate faculty in the Biology Department. At least one member will be from a department other than Biology or from outside the university. The chair, or co-chair, must be a member of the program graduate faculty.

    Enrollment Requirements

    Students are required to register for 9 credit hours in fall and spring and 6 credit hours in summer before their candidacy exam. After being admitted to candidacy, minimum enrollment is 3 credit hours of dissertation research each semester.

    Qualifying Examination

    The written qualifying examination should be completed within the first two years of the student's program. The exam seeks to cover areas of general knowledge and discipline-specific knowledge within the student’s declared track. These questions could be related to the dissertation research proposal or designed to examine general knowledge and reasoning within the field.

    The candidate will meet with their advisory committee at least two months prior to the examination to discuss expectations. Committee members must clearly articulate in writing the general areas that may be examined. Any student failing the examination must repeat the examination within six calendar months of the date of the first examination and requires a majority vote by committee members to pass the exam.  A second failed attempt will result in dismissal from the program.

    Candidacy Examination

    Each student will be required to generate, organize and orally defend a written proposal outlining their dissertation research to their dissertation advisory committee no later than 12 months after passing the Qualifying Examination. The oral Candidacy Examination will cover all areas within the scope of the student’s doctoral program and requires that the student demonstrate knowledge of the theory, literature and research methodologies relevant to the proposed area of research as well as demonstrate an understanding of how their work relates to the field of biology as a whole. After passing the candidacy examination and meeting other requirements, the student will be deemed as having been admitted to candidacy and can register for dissertation hours. Once a student is admitted to candidacy, the focus will be on dissertation research. For most students, the research and writing of the dissertation will take two to three years after advancing to candidacy. During this time, students should remain in close contact with the dissertation adviser and advisory committee and annual progress reports must be filed with the Graduate Program Director.

    Candidacy Examination Proposal

    A written dissertation proposal, already approved by the adviser, must be submitted to each committee member no later than two weeks prior to the Candidacy Examination. Typically, the proposal will be in the format described below. However, in cases where this format is not appropriate, an alternative format may be used with the approval of the dissertation adviser. The proposal should be approximately 10 to 15 pages in length not including references, single-spaced and typed in 12-point font with one-inch margins on all sides. The use of figures and tables is encouraged. With rare exceptions it is expected that dissertation research will be hypothesis-driven.

    1. Specific Aims: Describe concisely the problem(s) to be addressed and the specific goals of the dissertation research as they relate to the problem(s), including clear statements of hypotheses to be tested.
    2. Background and Significance: Review background literature relevant to the dissertation topic, indicating clearly where gaps in knowledge exist. Justify the need for the research by explaining its anticipated significance. Conclude by linking gaps in current knowledge to the proposed specific aims.
    3. Methodology: Outline carefully the study design (observations, experiments, models, statistical analysis, etc.) related to, and the methodology to be used for, each specific aim. Methodologies should be explained in sufficient detail to allow committee members to assess the validity of its use in the study. Potential outcomes and alternative approaches should be discussed.
    4. Literature Cited: References should be indicated in the main body of the proposal wherever appropriate and should follow the format of a peer-reviewed journal in a field of study appropriate to your research. This section can be as long as necessary.

    Examination

    At least two weeks prior to the examination, an abstract describing the proposed research will be posted in the Biological Sciences Building and circulated by e-mail among faculty and graduate students. The candidate will present the research proposal in a forum open to all faculty, students and visitors. The oral presentation should be approximately 30-45 minutes in length to be followed by a public question-and-answer period. Presentation of preliminary data is neither required nor expected, but should be provided if available and relevant. With the exception of the advisory committee and candidate, all faculty, students and visitors will leave at the conclusion of the public question-and-answer period. The committee will continue the exam in closed session with further questioning. Questions can be directed to any matter relevant to the research proposal and areas of weakness previously identified in the written (qualifying) exam. A majority vote is required to pass the examination; however, no more than one negative vote is permitted. The majority must include the dissertation adviser. Any student failing the examination must repeat the examination within six calendar months of the date of the first examination. A second failed attempt will result in dismissal from the program.

    Admission to Candidacy

    The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours:

    • Program of study submitted and approved.
    • Dissertation Committee formed (without external member)
    • Successful completion of the qualifying exam.
    • Completion of all coursework (except for dissertation hours)
    • External member added to Dissertation Committee.
    • Successful completion of candidacy exam.

    Dissertation Defense

    The dissertation is expected to represent an original and significant contribution to the discipline. Upon completion and approval of the doctoral dissertation by all appropriate faculty and university offices, the student will make a formal presentation of the research findings in seminar format to the dissertation committee and other university faculty and students who may wish to attend.

    The dissertation should be in a format appropriate for publication and should be "tightened" to a readiness for submittal by use of appendixes for nonessential information. The major role of the student’s advisory committee is to offer guidance on study design and interpretation of results. A polished draft must be delivered to the advisory committee for review after the student and dissertation adviser have agreed upon editorial changes; this should occur well before the anticipated date of the final defense. Committee members have the right to reject documents that fail to meet these guidelines. Committee members should be given at least two weeks to review the draft before the student attempts to schedule the final defense. The final defense is to be scheduled only after the advisory committee agrees that the dissertation is ready for defense. Committee members should return the corrected dissertation to the student two weeks after receipt and the candidate should check with committee members to ensure they have the time to review the document. If the student delivers the final draft to the committee one month prior to the proposed defense date, that would allow two weeks before the scheduled defense date for the student to make recommended changes.

    At least two weeks prior to the defense, an abstract describing the research conducted and conclusions reached will be posted in the Biological Sciences Building, circulated by e-mail among faculty and graduate students, and posted at the College of Graduate Studies Events Calendar. The candidate will present the research in a forum open to all faculty, students, and visitors. The oral presentation should be approximately 45-50 minutes in length to be followed by a question-and-answer period. In the presentation the candidate should focus on background information, describe the research performed, and draw attention to the significance of the conclusions reached. With the exception of the committee and candidate, all faculty, students, and visitors will leave at the conclusion of the question-and-answer period. The committee will continue the defense and the candidate will answer questions about the subject matter presented and defend the conclusions drawn. The committee will ask questions of the process used and assess the candidate’s level of competency with the research topic. A majority vote is required to pass the examination; however, no more than one negative vote is permitted. The majority must include the dissertation adviser.

    Student Orientation

    An orientation for all incoming students will be scheduled one week prior to each fall semester. The orientation will include tours of the program facilities, a session on registration, university policies and procedures, and expectations of doctoral study. Further, Environmental Health and Safety will present a program on topics such as laboratory safety, chemical and fire safety, biohazard training, and radioisotope handling. Expectations for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) and Graduate Research Assistants (GRA) will be fully covered. In addition, students will be required to participate in the program for GTAs offered by the UCF Faculty Teaching and Learning Center and the College of Sciences. Students are strongly encouraged to attend the university's orientation also, held approximately one week before classes begin in the Fall semester.


    Track Curriculum: Integrative Biology

    The Integrative Biology Track requires 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree, including a minimum of 27 hours of formal course work exclusive of independent study. The formal course work includes 7 credit hours of required core courses and 20 credit hours of graduate-level courses from Biology (or other departments) selected in consultation with the adviser and the dissertation committee (at least 12 of the 20 credit hours must be offered through the Biology Department). The remaining 45 credit hours may consist of additional electives, doctoral dissertation research (PCB 7980), and a maximum of 12 credit hours of combined directed research (PCB 6918, PCB 7919, and PCB 5917) and independent study (PCB 6908). In addition, 15 credit hours of the remaining 45 credit hours must be comprised of doctoral dissertation research (PCB 7980).

    A student is required to establish a program of study before the completion of nine credit hours of course work, in conjunction with their dissertation adviser and advisory committee. Students are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of electives in consultation with their advisory committee. In addition to these selected electives, a student's advisory committee may require the candidate to take any graduate course taught at UCF if deemed appropriate for the student’s area of emphasis. Students entering with a master’s degree may request up to 30 semester credit hours of previous work be waived toward the requirements for this degree with approval from the advisory committee. Students who transfer 30 credit hours must still take 2 credit hours of Biology Seminar (BSC 6935) and Professional Development I (PCB 6095) and II (PCB 6096). Students may register for dissertation research only after passing the candidacy exam.



    Required Courses—7 Credit Hours

    • PCB 6466 Methods in Experimental Ecology (3 credit hours)
    • BSC 6935 Seminar in Biology (2 credit hours, take twice at 1 credit hour each)
    • PCB 6095 Professional Development in Biology I (1 credit hour)
    • PCB 6096 Professional Development in Biology II (1 credit hour)

      Elective Courses—50 Credit Hours

      A minimum of 20 credit hours of formal graduate-level courses from Biology, or other departments, are selected in consultation with the adviser and the dissertation committee. The goal is to tailor the program of study to the individual student's needs while maximizing exposure to a variety of disciplines including, among others, policy, economics, engineering, chemistry or sociology. The remaining 30 credit hours may include additional electives, dissertation research (PCB 7980), and a maximum of 12 hours of combined independent study (PCB 6908) and directed research (PCB 6918, PCB 7919, and PCB 5917). Professional internship hours can be substituted for directed research.

      Dissertation—15 Credit Hours Minimum

      • PCB 7980 Dissertation (15 credit hours)

      Advisory Committee

      The Advisory Committee shall consist of a minimum of four members, including the dissertation adviser, with at least three members coming from the graduate faculty of the Biology Department. At least one member will be from a department other than Biology or from outside the university. The chair, or co-chair, must be a member of the program graduate faculty.

      Enrollment Requirements

      Students are required to register for 9 credit hours in fall and spring and 6 credit hours in summer before their candidacy exam. After being admitted to candidacy, minimum enrollment is 3 credit hours of dissertation research each semester.

      Qualifying Examination

      The written qualifying examination should be completed within the first two years of the students program. The exam seeks to cover areas of general knowledge and discipline-specific knowledge within the student’s declared track. These questions could be related to the dissertation research proposal or designed to examine general knowledge and reasoning within the field.

      The candidate will meet with their advisory committee at least two months prior to the examination to discuss expectations. Committee members must clearly articulate in writing the general areas that may be examined. Any student failing the examination must repeat the examination within six calendar months of the date of the first examination and the examination requires a majority vote by committee members. A second failed attempt will result in dismissal from the program.

      Candidacy Examination

      Each student will be required to generate, organize and orally defend a written proposal outlining their dissertation research to their dissertation advisory committee no later than 12 months after passing the Qualifying Examination. The oral Candidacy Examination will cover all areas within the scope of the student’s doctoral program and requires that the student demonstrate knowledge of the theory, literature and research methodologies relevant to the proposed area of research as well as demonstrate an understanding of how their work relates to the field of biology as a whole. After passing the candidacy examination and meeting other requirements, the student will be deemed as having been admitted to candidacy and can register for dissertation hours. Once a student is admitted to candidacy, the focus will be on dissertation research. For most students, the research and writing of the dissertation will take two to three years after advancing to candidacy. During this time, students should remain in close contact with the dissertation adviser and advisory committee and annual progress reports must be filed with the Graduate Program Director.

      Candidacy Examination Proposal

      A written dissertation proposal, already approved by the adviser, must be submitted to each committee member no later than two weeks prior to the Candidacy Examination. Typically, the proposal will be in the format described below. However, in cases where this format is not appropriate, an alternative format may be used with the approval of the dissertation adviser. The proposal should be approximately 10 to 15 pages in length not including references, single-spaced and typed in 12-point font with one-inch margins on all sides. The use of figures and tables is encouraged. With rare exceptions it is expected that dissertation research will be hypothesis-driven.

      1. Specific Aims: Describe concisely the problem(s) to be addressed and the specific goals of the dissertation research as they relate to the problem(s), including clear statements of hypotheses to be tested.
      2. Background and Significance: Review background literature relevant to the dissertation topic, indicating clearly where gaps in knowledge exist. Justify the need for the research by explaining its anticipated significance. Conclude by linking gaps in current knowledge to the proposed specific aims.
      3. Methodology: Outline carefully the study design (observations, experiments, models, statistical analysis, etc.) related to, and the methodology to be used for, each specific aim. Methodologies should be explained in sufficient detail to allow committee members to assess the validity of its use in the study. Potential outcomes and alternative approaches should be discussed.
      4. Literature Cited: References should be indicated in the main body of the proposal wherever appropriate and should follow the format of a peer-reviewed journal in a field of study appropriate to your research. This section can be as long as necessary.

      Examination

      At least two weeks prior to the examination, an abstract describing the proposed research will be posted in the Biological Sciences Building and circulated by e-mail among faculty and graduate students. The candidate will present the research proposal in a forum open to all faculty, students and visitors. The oral presentation should be approximately 30-45 minutes in length to be followed by a public question-and-answer period. Presentation of preliminary data is neither required nor expected, but should be provided if available and relevant. With the exception of the advisory committee and candidate, all faculty, students and visitors will leave at the conclusion of the public question-and-answer period. The committee will continue the exam in closed session with further questioning. Questions can be directed to any matter relevant to the research proposal and areas of weakness previously identified in the written (qualifying) exam. A majority vote is required to pass the examination; however, no more than one negative vote is permitted. The majority must include the dissertation adviser. Any student failing the examination must repeat the examination within six calendar months of the date of the first examination. A second failed attempt will result in dismissal from the program.

      Admission to Candidacy

      The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours:

      • Program of study submitted and approved.
      • Dissertation Committee formed (without external member).
      • Successful completion of qualifying exam.
      • Completion of all coursework (except for dissertation hours).
      • External member added to Dissertation Committee.
      • Successful completion of candidacy exam.

      Dissertation Defense

      The dissertation is expected to represent an original and significant contribution to the discipline. Upon completion and approval of the doctoral dissertation by all appropriate faculty and university offices, the student will make a formal presentation of the research findings in seminar format to the dissertation committee and other university faculty and students who may wish to attend.

      The dissertation should be in a format appropriate for publication and should be "tightened" to a readiness for submittal by use of appendixes for nonessential information. The major role of the student’s advisory committee is to offer guidance on study design and interpretation of results. A polished draft must be delivered to the advisory committee for review after the student and dissertation adviser have agreed upon editorial changes; this should occur well before the anticipated date of the final defense. Committee members have the right to reject documents that fail to meet these guidelines. Committee members should be given at least two weeks to review the draft before the student attempts to schedule the final defense. The final defense is to be scheduled only after the advisory committee agrees that the dissertation is ready for defense. Committee members should return the corrected dissertation to the student two weeks after receipt and the candidate should check with committee members to ensure they have the time to review the document. If the student delivers the final draft to the committee one month prior to the proposed defense date, that would allow two weeks before the scheduled defense date for the student to make recommended changes.

      At least two weeks prior to the defense, an abstract describing the research conducted and conclusions reached will be posted in the Biological Sciences Building, circulated by e-mail among faculty and graduate students, and posted on the College of Graduate Studies Events Calendar. The candidate will present the research in a forum open to all faculty, students, and visitors. The oral presentation should be approximately 45-50 minutes in length to be followed by a question-and-answer period. In the presentation the candidate should focus on background information, describe the research performed, and draw attention to the significance of the conclusions reached. With the exception of the committee and candidate, all faculty, students, and visitors will leave at the conclusion of the question-and-answer period. The committee will continue the defense and the candidate will answer questions about the subject matter presented and defend the conclusions drawn. The committee will ask questions of the process used and assess the candidate’s level of competency with the research topic. A majority vote is required to pass the examination; however, no more than one negative vote is permitted. The majority must include the dissertation adviser.

      Student Orientation

      An orientation for all incoming students will be scheduled one week prior to each fall semester. The orientation will include tours of the program facilities, a session on registration, university policies and procedures, and expectations of doctoral study. Further, Environmental Health and Safety will present a program on topics such as laboratory safety, chemical and fire safety, biohazard training, and radioisotope handling. Expectations for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) and Graduate Research Assistants (GRA) will be fully covered. In addition, students will be required to participate in the program for GTAs offered by the UCF Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning and the College of Sciences. Students are strongly encouraged to attend the university orientation as well, held approximately one week prior to each fall semester.


      Timeline for Completion

      Year 1

      FallSpringSummer
      • PCB 6095 Professional Development I
      • PCB 6935 Seminar in Biology
      • PCB 6466 Methods in Exp. Ecology I
      • Required Track Course I
      • PCB 6908 Directed Research
      • Form Advisory Committee
      • Submit Program of Study
      • PCB 6095 Professional Development II
      • PCB 6935 Seminar in Biology
      • PCB 6468 Methods in Exp Ecology II
      • Required Track Course II
      • PCB 6908 Directed Research
      • PCB 6908 Directed Research
      • Qualifying Exam
      • Form Dissertation Committee
      Semester Total: 9 creditsSemester Total: 9 creditsSemester Total: 6 credits

      Year 2

      FallSpringSummer
      • Elective Course 1
      • Elective Course 2
      • PCB 6908 Directed Research
      • Elective Course 1
      • Elective Course 2
      • PCB 6908 Directed Research
      • PCB 6908 Directed Research
      • Oral Candidacy Exam
      Semester Total: 9 creditsSemester Total: 9 creditsSemester Total: 6 credits

      Year 3

      FallSpringSummer
      • PCB 7980 Dissertation Research
      • PCB 7980 Dissertation Research 
      • PCB 7980 Dissertation Research
      Semester Total: 3 creditsSemester Total: 3 creditsSemester Total: 3 credits

      Year 4

      FallSpringSummer
      • PCB 7980 Dissertation Research
      • PCB 7980 Dissertation Research 
      • PCB 7980 Dissertation Research
      Semester Total: 3 creditsSemester Total: 3 creditsSemester Total: 3 credits

      Year 5

      FallSpring
      • PCB 7980 Dissertation Research
      • PCB 7980 Dissertation Research
      • Dissertation Defense
      Semester Total: 3 creditsSemester Total: 3 credits
       

      Frequently Taught Graduate Courses in the Department of Biology

      Number

      Course Title

      Credits

      Frequency

      PCB6042

      Conservation Biology Theory*

      4

      Every Fall

      PCB6466

      Methods in Experimental Ecology I

      3

      Every Fall

      PCB6053C

      Restoration Ecology*

      4

      Every Spring

      PCB6468

      Methods in Experimental Ecology II

      3

      Every Spring

      PCB6095

      Professional Development I

      1

      Every Fall

      PCB6096

      Professional Development II

      1

      Every Spring

      BSC6935

      Seminar in Biology

      1

      Fall & Spring

      PCB6675C

      Evolutionary Biology**

      3

      Even Fall

      ZOO5456C

      Ichthyology

      4

      Even Fall

      BSC5618

      Phylogenetic Approaches in Biology**

      3

      Even Fall

      PCB6480C

      Quantitative Conservation Biology

      4

      Even Fall

      PCB6556

      Conservation Genetics

      3

      Odd spring

      ZOO5463C

      Herpetology

      4

      Odd Spring

      BSC5316

      Marine Conservation Biology

      3

      Odd spring

      PCB5447

      Disease Ecology & Eco-immunology

      3

      Odd Fall

      ENY5006C

      Entomology

      4

      Odd Fall

      ZOO5486

      Mammalogy

      4

      Odd Fall

      PCB6046

      Advanced Ecology**

      3

      Odd Fall

      PCB6677

      Molecular Evolution & Phylogenetics**

      3

      Odd Fall

      BSC5824

      Biogeography

      4

      Even Spring

      ZOO5475L

      Field Ornithology

      3

      Even Spring

      PCB5935

      Population Genetics

      3

      Even Spring

      PCB5326C

      Ecosystems of Florida

      5

      TBA

      PCB6XXX

      Epigenetics and the Environment**

      3

      TBA

      PAZ5235

      Zoo and Aquarium Biology Management

      3

      TBA

        * Course associated with Conservation Biology Track requirement

      ** Course associated with Ecology and Organismal Biology Track requirement 

      Infrequently Taught Graduate Courses in Department of Biology 

      Course Prefix

      Course Name

      Credits

      BSC6614

      Advanced Topics in Systematics

      1

      BSC5408L

      Advanced Biology Laboratory Techniques

      3

      PCB6107C

      Advanced Cell Biology

      4

      PCB6256C

      Advanced Developmental Biology

      4

      PCB6585C

      Advanced Genetics

      4

      PCB6655

      Advanced Invertebrate Genetics

      1

      PCB6415

      Advanced Topics in Behavioral Ecology

      1

      PCB6047

      Advances in Plant Ecology Research

      1

      ZOO6520

      Behavioral Ecology

      3

      PCB6727

      Comparative Animal Physiology

      3

      PCB5807

      Comparative Endocrinology

      3

      PCB6108

      Concepts in Plant Cell Biology

      4

      PCB5935

      Current Res in Population Genetics & Evolution

      1

      PCB6936

      Current Research in Marine Vertebrate Ecology

      1

      PCB6930

      Current Topics in Ecology

      1

      PCB6365

      Environmental Physiology

      3

      PCB5687

      Evolutionary Ecology

      3

      BSC5332

      Invasion Biology

      3

      PCB6328C

      Landscape Ecology

      4

      PCB6040

      Methods in Behavioral Ecology

      1

      PCB5485

      Models in Ecology

      3

      PCB6934

      Molecular Mechanisms of Fertilization: JC

      1

      BOT6623C

      Plant Ecology

      4

      PBC6939

      Topics in Genomics

      1

      BSC5258L

      Tropical Research and Conservation

      3

      PCB6035

      Wetland Ecology

      4

      Potential Electives Offered by Other Departments

      (check the Graduate Catalog for current offerings)



      Examination Requirements

      Qualifying Examination – The goal of the qualifying exam is to test a student’s knowledge base. The qualifying exam is a written exam, which will be administered individually to each student within their first 2 years. The exam seeks to cover areas of general knowledge and discipline specific knowledge within the student’s declared track. These questions will allow the department to assess if the student is prepared to continue in the PhD program. Each faculty member will prepare comprehensive questions and administer them on their day. The student will meet with their advisory committee at least two months prior to the examination to discuss expectations for the questions. Committee members must clearly articulate in writing the areas that may be examined. The chair of the advisory committee must collate the questions from the committee members and forward to the Chair of the Graduate Curricula Committee at least 45 days prior to the scheduled examination.  Upon agreement of the breadth and content of the questions, a written approval will be sent to the advisory committee chair and the exam may proceed. The goal of this departmental review is to maintain content and consistency of the qualifying examination. The student will have one business day (8 hours) to answer each set of questions from a committee member. In order to continue in the program, students are required to earn at least a 70%, per faculty question set. Any student scoring below this must repeat that particular faculty member’s questions within six calendar months to bring their score above a 70%. A second failed attempt will result in dismissal from the program.  Upon completion of the required courses within the track and the Qualifying Exam, an external member should be added to the Dissertation committee.

      Proposal Review - No later than 12 months after passing the Qualifying Examination, each student will be required to write a proposal outlining their research to their dissertation committee. After the proposal is approved by the dissertation advisor, the student will schedule a public presentation of the proposal. The proposal must be submitted to the dissertation committee for review two weeks prior to the public presentation. In an effort to prepare students in effective grant writing, the proposal should use the format of the funding agency most likely to fund the student’s research (e.g. NSF, NIH, USDA, EPA, etc). Review of the proposal is comprised of three sequential components: (1) a review of the written proposal by the dissertation committee, (2) public presentation of the proposal and (3) a public defense of the proposed work. During the review process, the following criteria will be assessed:

      • Oral communication
      • Written communication
      • Knowledge content
      • Study / experimental design and analysis

      At the end of the review, the committee will assess all three sequential components and make one of the following recommendations to the student for each component

      • Accept with minor revision
      • Revise and resubmit
      • Reject 

      If the written communication component receives a “revise and resubmit” designation, the student must revise and resubmit the written proposal according to the committee’s recommendations. If the oral communication component receives a “revise and resubmit” the student must schedule another public presentation. This process may be repeated until the committee either accepts or rejects the proposal. If the proposal is rejected, the student may be asked to leave the graduate program. If the proposal is accepted by the dissertation committee (and all additional criteria listed in section IV.A are met), then the student will be advanced to candidacy, at which time they can register for dissertation hours. Only one dissertation committee member is permitted to use remote telepresence during the dissertation proposal review. The dissertation advisor must be physically present.

      Proposal - An example format is described below. In general, the proposal should be approximately 10 to 15 pages in length not including references, single-spaced and typed in 12-point font with one-inch margins on all sides. The use of figures and tables is encouraged. With rare exceptions, it is expected that dissertation research will be hypothesis-driven. Alternative formats may be used with the approval of the dissertation adviser and/or committee.

      Recommended proposal structure

      Specific Aims: Describe concisely the problem(s) to be addressed and the specific goals of the dissertation research as they relate to the problem(s), including clear statements of hypotheses to be tested.

      Background and Significance: Review background literature relevant to the dissertation topic, indicating clearly where gaps in knowledge exist. Justify the need for the research by explaining its anticipated significance. Conclude by linking gaps in current knowledge to the proposed specific aims.

      Methodology and study design: Outline carefully the study design (observations, experiments, models, statistical analysis, etc.) related to, and the methodology to be used for, each specific aim. Methodologies should be explained in sufficient detail to allow committee members to assess the validity of its use in the study. Potential outcomes and alternative approaches should be discussed.

      Literature Cited: References should be indicated in the main body of the proposal wherever appropriate and should follow the format of a peer-reviewed journal in a field of study appropriate to your research. This section can be as long as necessary.

      Proposal Presentation – The candidate will present the dissertation proposal in a forum open to faculty, students and the public. The oral presentation should focus on background information, outline specific aims, and describe how the proposed objectives fill a significant gap in knowledge in a manner that clearly demonstrates mastery of the literature in his/her chosen field. Presentation of preliminary data is neither required nor expected, but should be provided if available and relevant. Presentations are typically 30 to 45 minutes with a public question period to follow. All members of the public are welcomed. Students must schedule a room that can accommodate a minimum of 20 people. The presentation should be advertised two weeks in advance of the presentation date. Please see the Graduate Program Assistant to schedule and advertise the presentation.

      Public Defense -The public phase of the proposal defense will take place directly after the proposal presentation and will cover all areas within the scope of the student’s doctoral program. It requires that the student demonstrate knowledge of the theory, literature and research methodologies relevant to (1) the proposed area of research, and (2) how their work relates to the field of Biology as a whole. You are encouraged to ask your committee members to have them clearly define the specific topics they expect you to have expertise in. All committee members (including an outside member) must be present at the public defense, although remote electronic attendance is permitted.

      Candidacy Examination Details –At least two weeks prior to the proposal review, an abstract describing the proposed research will be posted in the Biological Sciences Building, department web page and circulated by e-mail among faculty and graduate students

      After the public phase of the question-and-answer session, the general public and candidate are dismissed. At this time, non-committee faculty have an opportunity to provide private comments to the dissertation committee on the presentation. After non-committee faculty have been dismissed, the dissertation committee and student will continue the exam in closed session. Questions can be directed to any matter relevant to the research proposal, areas of weakness previously identified in the written (qualifying) exam, proposal or presentation. The purpose of the examination is to ascertain that the student can demonstrate knowledge of the theory, literature, research methods, and potential significance of the proposed area of research. A majority vote is required to pass the examination.

      Admission to Candidacy - After passing the Qualifying examination and Proposal review the student will be admitted to candidacy and can register for dissertation hours. To this end, students must have the candidacy and dissertation advisory committee documentation received and processed by the College of Graduate Studies prior to the first day of classes for the term in order to enroll in dissertation hours for that term. Candidates enrolled in three dissertation credit hours are considered full-time students. Most students require 2-3 years to conduct research and write their dissertation after advancing to candidacy. During this time, students should remain in close contact with the dissertation advisor and advisory committee. Annual progress reports must be filed with the Graduate Program Assistant. The following steps are required to be completed in order to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours (in suggested order of completion): 

      • Program of study submitted and approved.
      • Dissertation Committee formed (minus outside member).
      • Successful completion of qualifying exam.
      • Completion of all course work (except for dissertation hours).
      • Outside member added to Dissertation Committee.
      • Successful completion of candidacy exam. 

      Dissertation Requirements

      Dissertation Committee

      The role of the student’s Dissertation Committee is to offer guidance on the student’s dissertation research, mediate conflicts between the student and the advisor regarding the scope and nature of the proposed research work and ultimately determine if a PhD is to be awarded. This involves assessing and advising the student on the relevancy of their research, study design, and analysis/interpretation of results. The committee will serve as a resource for the student throughout the dissertation process. In turn, the student should keep their adviser and committee regularly informed of progress and problems.

      To properly advise the student, the Dissertation Committee should be formed within the first year of the PhD program. Prior to the Qualifying Exam (section IVB), the Dissertation Committee must consist of a minimum of three Graduate Faculty members, including the dissertation adviser, and two Biology graduate faculty. After successful completion of the Qualifying Exam, a member from outside the department (or university) who qualifies as a Graduate Faculty or Graduate Faculty Scholar must be added to the committee.  It is recommended that this external member is added only after the student passes the qualifying exam. Emeritus faculty are considered outside members, but may also serve as committee co-Chair. The Curriculum Vitae of potential off-campus committee members are reviewed by the Graduate Program Coordinator and the College of Graduate Studies for suitability. When more than four members are appointed to a committee, UCF Graduate Faculty members must form the majority.  A student may request a change in membership of the Dissertation Committee at any time, including the dissertation advisor.

      The Dissertation Committee must be approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator and the College of Graduate Studies prior to any formal examinations. The College of Graduate Studies reserves the right to review appointments to a Dissertation Committee, place a representative on the committee, or appoint a co-chair. The Dissertation Committee Approval Form is at: http://graduate.cos.ucf.edu > Current Students > Forms. For more details about the Dissertation Advisory Committee, please refer to the UCF Graduate Catalog: www.graduatecatalog.ucf.edu > Policies > Doctoral Program Policies > Dissertation Requirements > Dissertation Advisory Committee Membership. 

      Dissertation Defense

      The dissertation represents an original and significant contribution to the discipline. Upon approval by the dissertation adviser and advisory committee, the candidate makes a formal presentation of the research findings in seminar format to the dissertation committee and the public. The dissertation must meet format specifications of the university. The most commonly preferred structure would be to have chapters that are targeted for publication, with an overall introduction, summary, and appendices for accessory information. Each candidate must consult their dissertation adviser and advisory committee on the preferred structure.

      The final defense is to be scheduled only after the Chair of the Graduate Advisory Committee agrees that the dissertation is ready to be defended. Thus, a complete draft must be delivered to the advisory committee for review after the candidate and dissertation adviser have agreed upon editorial changes; this should occur no later than a month before the public defense. Written approval from the Graduate Advisory Committee is required if the document is given to the committee less than three weeks prior to the public defense. Committee members have the right to reject documents that fail to meet customary scientific standards. Committee members should return the corrected dissertation to the candidate prior to the defense date. PhD students are required to have their public defense at a designated time and day of the week that will be agreed upon every semester and must reserve a date within this schedule a month in advance of the defense. This policy will be enforced unless the candidate can show extenuating circumstances to the Graduate Curriculum Committee. 

      Defense details- At least two weeks prior to the defense, a 250 word abstract describing the research conducted and conclusions reached will be posted in the Biological Sciences Building, the department web page, circulated by e-mail among faculty and graduate students, and posted on the College of Graduate Studies Events Calendar. Students must submit their abstract to the Graduate Program Assistant. The candidate will present the research, in an open forum, to all faculty, students, and visitors. The oral presentation should be approximately 45-50 minutes in length and be followed by a question-and-answer period. In the presentation the candidate should focus on background information, describe the research performed, and draw attention to the significance of the conclusions reached. Department faculty have an opportunity for private comment to the advisory committee at the conclusion of the question-and-answer period, and then the committee and candidate will continue the defense and the candidate will answer questions about the subject matter presented and defend the conclusions drawn. The committee will ask questions of the process used and assess the candidate’s level of competency with the research topic. A majority vote is required to pass the examination.

      University Dissertation Requirements

      The College of Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation page contains information on the university’s requirements for dissertation formatting, format review, defenses, final submission, and more. A step-by-step completion guide is also available at Completing Your Thesis or Dissertation.

      All university deadlines are listed in the Academic Calendar. Your program or college may have other earlier deadlines; please check with your program and college staff for additional deadlines.

      The following requirements must be met by dissertation students in their final term:

      • Submit a properly formatted file for initial format review by the format review deadline
      • Submit the Thesis and Dissertation Release Option form well before the defense
      • Defend by the defense deadline
      • Receive format approval (if not granted upon initial review)
      • Submit signed approval form by final submission deadline
      • Submit final dissertation document by final submission deadline

      Students must format their dissertation according to the standards outlined at Formatting the ETD. Formatting questions or issues can be submitted to the Format Help page in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site. Format reviews and final submission must be completed in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site. The Dissertation Approval Form is also available in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site.

      The College of Graduate Studies offers several thesis and dissertation Workshops each term. Students are highly encouraged to attend these workshops early in the dissertation process to fully understand the above policies and procedures.

      The College of Graduate Studies thesis and dissertation office is best reached by email at editor@ucf.edu.   

      Review for Originality

      The University requires all students submitting a dissertation as part of their graduate degree requirements to first submit their electronic documents through iThenticate.com for advisement purposes and for review of originality. The dissertation chair is responsible for scheduling this submission to iThenticate.com and for reviewing the results from iThenticate.com with the student’s advisory committee. The advisory committee uses the results appropriately to assist the student in the preparation of their thesis or dissertation. Before the student may be approved for final submission to the university, the dissertation chair must indicate completion of the Turnitin.com requirement by signing the Dissertation Approval Form.

      Dissertation Dissemination

      The following is from the UCF Graduate Catalog Dissertation Requirements section: "While UCF respects the wishes of students who would like to publish their work and/or apply for patents, it is essential for scholarly research conducted at a university to be available for dissemination. While several options are available for the release of an ETD, it is the goal of the university that all theses be available through the UCF Libraries catalog. Upon uploading the final ETD to the UCF Libraries ETD website, students, in some cases with their advisers, must choose one of the options for the availability of their ETD through UCF. Students with potential patent concerns are required to discuss the dissemination options with their thesis adviser and indicate the availability choice on the Thesis and Dissertation Release Option electronic form, which the student submits in the myUCF Student Center."

      Graduate Research

       Animal Subjects 

      • Human Subjects - If the student chooses to conduct research that involves human subjects (surveys, interviews, etc.), he or she must gain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval prior to beginning the study. For access to the IRB submission form and sample consent forms, please visit the Office of Research & Commercialization website: www.research.ucf.edu/   > Compliance > Institutional Review Board (IRB) > Investigators > UCF Principal Investigator Manual. An approved copy of your protocol must be on file with the Program Graduate Coordinator.
      • Non-human vertebrates - If the student chooses to conduct research that involves vertebrate subjects, he or she must gain Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval prior to beginning the study. For access to the IACUC submission forms, please visit the Office of Research & Commercialization website: www.research.ucf.edu/ > Compliance > Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) > Animal Use Approval Form. An approved copy of this protocol must be on file with the Program Graduate Coordinator.

      Ethics in Research

      Researchers in every discipline have a responsibility for ethical awareness as the status of the profession rests with each individual researcher. The ethical collection and use of information includes, but is by no means limited to, the following: confidentiality, accuracy, relevance, self-responsibility, honesty, and awareness of conflict of interest. Students guilty of academic dishonesty or improper ethical behavior will be dismissed from the program.

      Patent and Invention Policy

      UCF has three fundamental responsibilities with regard to graduate student research. They are to (1) support an academic environment that stimulates the spirit of inquiry, (2) develop the intellectual property stemming from research, and to (3) disseminate the intellectual property to the general public. UCF owns the intellectual property developed using university resources. The graduate student, as inventor, will, according to this policy, share in the proceeds of the invention. The full policy is available online from the Graduate Catalog:
      www.graduatecatalog.ucf.edu > Policies > General Graduate Policies > Patent and Invention Policy.

      Financial Support

      Graduate Assistantships

      UCF has several different graduate assistantships, including research, teaching, and general assistantships. Students can be offered Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) or Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) positions. If a doctoral student is offered a GTA in their letter of admission, the student is guaranteed eight semesters (fall/spring) of support. Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) positions are funded by grant accounts and there is no guarantee of continued support. For general information about assistantships, see www.graduatecatalog.ucf.edu > Financial Information > Graduate Assistantships. For complete information about university assistantships, tuition remission, and health insurance, please see the UCF Graduate Catalog: www.graduatecatalog.ucf.edu/ > Financial Information. See also funding.graduate.ucf.edu/ . GTA support is not guaranteed for doctoral students beyond five years in the program. Students may supplement their GTA or GRA with University fellowships.

        To be employed and to maintain employment in a graduate assistantship position, the student must be in good academic standing and enrolled full time. E-mails will be sent informing students when Assistantship Agreements need to be signed to ensure correct processing. If the student does not sign and turn in their Assistantship Agreement by the specified deadline, payment will likely be delayed. Agreements must be approved at three levels before the student will be granted payment. 

        • GTA Training Requirements - GTA (graduate teaching assistantships) can help students develop their training, experience and skills in preparation for future employment. UCF requires students to complete GTA training requirements before their Assistantship Agreement can be approved. These GTA requirements, registration instructions, and schedule of training can be found at www.students.graduate.ucf.edu/graduate_teaching/. Students who are non-native speakers of English and do not have a degree from a U.S. institution must pass the SPEAK test before they will be permitted to teach as Graduate Teaching Associates (position code 9183) or Graduate Teaching Assistants (position code 9184). If a student is unable to pass the SPEAK test within a year student financial support should not be expected from the Department. 
        • GTA Performance Assessment - At the completion of each semester in which a student is employed as a GTA or GRA, the student’s performance will be evaluated by the faculty member teaching the course or supervising the work. These assessments will be used to review strengths and weaknesses in the student’s performance in preparation for future employment. 
        • Tuition remission – Tuition remission covers the tuition fee, but not other local fees (health fee, athletic fee, building fee, etc.). Students must enroll as soon as possible to assure that assistantships and tuition remission are processed in a timely manner. Failure to be registered full time will result in the tuition remission being revoked from the student. 
        • Health Insurance - For university fellows and graduate assistantships with appointments totaling 20 hours per week, the College of Graduate Studies will provide health insurance coverage. Full annual coverage will be provided in two separate time periods. Students with qualifying assistantships and fellowships in the fall term will receive fall coverage, running from August 15 through December 31. Students with qualifying assistantships and fellowships in the spring term will receive coverage for the remainder of the year, running from January 1 through August 14. 
        • Payroll - The current payroll schedule may be found on both the BGSA website and also the graduate section of the Biology webpage. Time sheets are due the Wednesday prior to the Friday on which the student will be paid. Failure to turn timesheets in on the correct day will delay payment to the student. 

        International Students  

        Several types of on-campus employment are available to international students. For more information about the types of employment available to international students, and the requirements and restrictions based on visa type, please see the International Services Center’s website: www.intl.ucf.edu/ > Students > Employment. 

        Research Support / Fellowships 

        Award Name

        Information

        EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR)

        www.epa.gov/ncer/fellows/

        NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

        www.nsfgrfp.org/

        NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG)

        www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5234

        National Academies - Ford Fellowship

        sites.nationalacademies.org/pga/fordfellowships/index.htm

        Smithsonian Institution Fellowships (general)

        www.smithsonianofi.com/fellowship-opportunities/

        Smithsonian Marine Station Fellowship

        www.sms.si.edu/Education_and_fellowships.html

        Smithsonian - Center for Tropical Forest Science

        www.stri.si.edu/english/education_fellowships/fellowships/index.php

        NOAA Coastal Management Fellowships

        www.coast.noaa.gov/fellowship/

        NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program

        www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/descriptions/Graduate_Student_Researchers_Project.html

         

         

        Graduate Student Associations

        Biology Graduate Student Association

        The (BGSA) was established in 1997 to provide opportunities for UCF Biology students to participate in extracurricular activities in Biology. These activities include:

        • Regular seminars by visiting professors as well as UCF faculty and grad student presentation seminars
        • Active service organization, participating in both roadside and beach cleanup activities
        • Social events (canoeing, nature walks, volunteer activities, social gatherings)
        • Journal Club Paper Discussions of scientific data in areas studied in the department (e.g., Behavioral Ecology, GIS modeling, Conservation Biology).

        Graduate Student Association

        The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is UCF's graduate organization committed to enriching graduate students' personal, educational and professional experience.

        Professional Development

        Instructional Strategies and Resources

        The UCF Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning provides classes and programs designed to assist graduate students with the educational issues they face in the classroom as teaching assistants or instructors. These resources include assistance in course design and syllabi development, learning theories, and the use of different technologies in the classroom or on the internet. Further information on these resources is available at www.fctl.ucf.edu/TeachingAndLearningResources/.

        Pathways to Success Workshops

        Coordinated by the College of Graduate Studies, the Pathways to Success program offers free development opportunities for graduate students including workshops in Academic Integrity, Graduate Grantsmanship, Graduate Teaching, Personal Development, Professional Development, and Research. For more information and how to register, please visit www.students.graduate.ucf.edu/pathways/.

        Graduate Research Forum

        The Research Forum will feature poster displays representing UCF’s diverse colleges and disciplines. The Research Forum is an opportunity for students to showcase their research and creative projects and to receive valuable feedback from faculty judges. Awards for best poster presentation in each category will be given and all participants will receive recognition. The College of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Student Association invite all UCF students, community, and employers to attend the Graduate Research Forum. For more information, contact:  researchweek@ucf.edu. For more information see: www.graduate.ucf.edu/ResearchForum

        Graduate Awards of Excellence

        Each year, the College of Graduate Studies offers graduate students who strive for academic and professional excellence the opportunity to be recognized for their work. For the nomination and eligibility criteria, see www.graduate.ucf.edu/gradawards. The award categories include the following:  

        Award for Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant - For students who provide teaching support and assistance under the direction of a lead teacher. This award focuses on the extent and quality of the assistance provided by the student to the lead instructor and the students in the class. (Not intended for students who are instructor of record.)

        Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching - For students who serve as instructors of record and have independent classroom responsibilities. The focus of this award is on the quality of the student’s teaching and the academic contributions of those activities.

        Award for the Outstanding Dissertation - To recognize doctoral students for excellence in the dissertation. The focus of this award is on the quality and contribution of the student's dissertation. Excellence of the dissertation may be demonstrated by evidences such as, but not limited to: publications in refereed journals, awards and recognitions from professional organizations, and praise from faculty members and other colleagues in the field.

        Council of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) thesis and dissertation awards. 

        See their website: www.csgs.org  > Awards.

        Additional Student Resources

        Biology Graduate Student Lounge: BIO 311

        Graduate Student Teaching Office: BIO 201.  GTAs may request to hold their office hours in BIO 201 to avoid disruptions in their laboratories. Desks are assigned on a space available basis. During some terms GTAs will have to share desks.

        Computer Lab: BIO 305 (Note: Your adviser must request access this lab for you.)

        For grant-proposal writing resources: http://uwc.cah.ucf.edu/

        Job Search

        UCF’s Career Services department offers a wide range of programs and services designed to assist graduate students. These services include evaluation and exploration of career goals, preparation for the job search and job search resources. To learn more, visit their website at www.career.ucf.edu.

        Forms

        • College of Graduate Studies Forms
          A listing of general forms and files for graduate students including student services and records and graduation forms.
        • Doctoral Committee Status Form
          Dissertation committees must be in place and approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator, the Department Chair/Director, and the College of Sciences Associate Dean of Graduate Studies prior to a student’s enrollment into Dissertation Research (BSC 7980).
        • Graduate Petition Form
          When unusual situations arise, petitions for exceptions to policy may be requested by the student. Depending on the type of appeal, the student should contact his/her program adviser to begin the petition process.
        • Official Transcript Request
          In order for transfer courses to be requested for use in a UCF degree, the official transcripts from the institution where the courses were taken must be sent to UCF’s College of Graduate Studies.
        • Traveling Scholar Form
          If a student would like to take advantage of special resources available on another campus but not available on the home campus; for example, special course offerings, research opportunities, unique laboratories and library collections, this form must be completed and approved prior to the start of the semester.

        Plagiarism

        Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s work and presenting it as your own. Any ideas, data, text, media or materials taken from another source (either written or verbal) must be fully acknowledged.a) A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another person without acknowledgment.b) A student must give credit to the originality of others whenever:

        1. Directly quoting another person's actual words, whether oral or written;
        2. Using another person's ideas, opinions, or theories;
        3. Paraphrasing the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of others, whether oral or written;
        4. Borrowing facts, statistics, or illustrative material; or
        5. Offering materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment.

        When using the ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another, students must give credit to the original source at the location or place in the document where that source's material is found as well as provide bibliographic information at the end of the document. When students are verbally discussing the ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another, they must give credit to the original source at the time they speak about that source. In this manner, students must make clear (so there is no doubt) within their written or verbal materials, which parts are gained from other sources, and which are their own original ideas, theories, formulas, graphics, and pictures.The Office of Student Conduct has a set of criteria that determines if students are in violation of plagiarism. This set of criteria may be set to a higher standard in graduate programs. Therefore, a student may not be found in violation of plagiarism by the Office of Student Conduct, but a professor or program requiring higher standards of attribution and citation may find a student in violation of plagiarism and administer program level sanctions. The standard in doctoral programs should be the highest as students earning these degrees are expected to be experts in their fields and producing independent work that contributes knowledge to their discipline.

        Example of Material that has been appropriately cited:

        Paraphrased Material

        Source: Osborne, Richard, ed. How to Grow Annuals. 2nd ed. Menlo Park: Lane, 1974. Print. Page 24: As a recent authority has pointed out, for a dependable long-blooming swatch of soft blue in your garden, ageratum is a fine choice. From early summer until frost, ageratum is continuously covered with clustered heads of fine, silky, fringed flowers in dusty shades of lavender-blue, lavender-pink or white. The popular dwarf varieties grow in mounds six to twelve inches high and twelve inches across; they make fine container plants. Larger types grow up to three feet tall. Ageratum makes an excellent edging.

        Use and Adaptation of the Material:

        You can depend on ageratum if you want some soft blue in your garden. It blooms through the summer and the flowers, soft, small, and fringed, come in various shades of lavender. The small varieties which grow in mounds are very popular, especially when planted in containers. There are also larger varieties. Ageratum is good as a border plant (Osborne 24).

        Explanation:

        The writer has done a good job of paraphrasing what could be considered common knowledge (available in a number of sources), but because the structure and progression of detail is someone else’s, the writer has acknowledged the source. This the writer can do at the end of the paragraph since he or she has not used the author’s words.

        The above example was provided by Northwestern University.

        Northwestern University, Sept. 2016. “Academic Integrity: A Basic Guide.” Accessed 20 September 2017.

        For more information about Academic Honesty, Click here.

        Useful Links