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Graduate Student & Faculty Advisor Handbook

M.S. Biology, M.S. Raptor Biology, and M.A. Biology Degree Programs

Table of contents

Foreword

This graduate student handbook is intended as a supplement to, rather than a replacement for, official university publications such as the Boise State University Graduate Catalog, and the Standards for Preparation of Dissertations, Theses & Projects. It is the purpose of this handbook to provide students and faculty with information concerning the graduate program policies of the Department of Biological Sciences. While efforts are made to keep this handbook current, it is the student’ responsibility to keep informed of changes in the College of Graduate Studies regulations. Careful planning at the outset of your graduate program is important for you to complete degree requirements in a timely manner. We hope that this handbook will be a helpful guide to new and continuing graduate students and to faculty who serve as advisors.

Description of Graduate Degrees Offered

Master of Science (M.S.)

The M.S. is a research based degree. Admission to the M.S. Biology and M.S. Raptor Biology degree programs is based upon the compatibility of the applicant’s research interests with those of a prospective advisor (major advisor), the availability of support (assistantships), and the applicant’s academic preparation and academic promise. Students admitted to the M.S. program are expected to produce a written thesis based on original research carried out by the student. Ideally, the thesis should make a significant contribution to the body of scientific knowledge and be of sufficient quality to warrant publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Following completion of the thesis, the student is required to give an oral defense of the thesis and an exit seminar to present their results to the public.

Master of Arts (M.A.)

The M.A. is considered to be a terminal degree except for students intending to attend professional school. Students wishing to later pursue a Ph.D. should enroll in the M.S. program. There are two options for the M.A. in Biology: “Project Option” and “Examination Option”. The M.A. Project Option is a course work and project-based degree with a culminating oral defense, whereas the M.A. Examination Option is a course work-based degree with a culminating comprehensive examination. Students should discuss these options with their major advisor to determine which is most appropriate.

Department, Major Advisor, and Student Responsibilities

The department will provide the necessary tools and the environment for the growth and professional development of its graduate students.  The major advisor serves as advisor of thesis research, chairperson of the advisory committee, and the person who convenes most of the planning and examination committees associated with the degree program.  For research degrees (M.S.) the importance of the major advisor cannot be over-emphasized.  You and your major advisor will plan, perform, and publish your thesis research.  You should also seek the advice of your supervisory committee in all phases of your research.

The student, not the major advisor or the department, is responsible for meeting all deadlines and academic requirements and for initiating a process of regular communication with the major advisor and supervisory committee. The student is responsible for his/her own program. This includes:

  • Initiating regular communication and meetings with the major advisor.
  • Working with the major advisor to ensure that all degree requirements are met in a timely manner.
  • Meeting with the supervisory committee as early as possible to discuss research and academic goals.  Continuing to meet with the supervisory committee on a regular basis (e.g., once per semester) to update them on your activities.  At the very least, communicating with committee members regularly.
  • Planning adequate and appropriate amounts of time each semester for research activities, course work, and (if applicable) teaching.  Full time graduate students should expect to devote a minimum of 40 hours per week on these activities, although in some cases more time may be needed, and on a schedule dictated by the needs of the research.
  • Professional development activities such as attending scientific conferences, presenting conferences papers, presenting seminars, and writing scientific papers for publication are highly encouraged and recommended.
  • Writing sections of your thesis as soon as possible.  Delaying writing is a common problem for graduate students, and often leads to delays in finishing in a timely manner.
  • Preparing drafts (proposals, thesis chapters, manuscript’s) in consultation with major advisor prior to sending them to committee members. Drafts should be grammatically correct and free of typographical and spelling errors. 

Administering the Graduate Programs

Application and Admittance

Students wishing to enter any of the Department of Biological Sciences’ graduate degree programs must submit to the Graduate College an online application for graduate admission along with a non-refundable $65 ($95 for international students) application fee. 

In addition to the materials provided to the Graduate College, the Department of Biological Sciences requires three letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to comment on the applicant’s potential for graduate work and a professional career.  The department strongly encourages graduate applicants to identify and contact a prospective advisor at the time of the application, since acceptance into the MS Biology program requires the support of a faculty advisor.  Furthermore applicants must submit a cover letter explaining their career goals, academic interests, and personal objectives.  If a faculty member has agreed to serve as major professor on your M.S. thesis research or M.A. program, please provide this information in your letter.  For more information on the application process and where to upload your application, please see: https://www.boisestate.edu/biology/graduate-programs/ms-biology/

All application materials should be received no later than January 15th for fall admission, and October 1st for spring admission. International applicants should initiate the application process at least six weeks earlier than the deadlines listed above. For more information about international admissions, please consult the International Admissions Office.

International Admissions Office
Website: https://globaleducation.boisestate.edu/international/
Email: interntl@boisestate.edu
Phone: (208) 426-1757

Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree (preferably in biology or closely related field) from an accredited university or college.  Once the Graduate College receives all required University admission materials (online application, application fee, official academic transcripts), the applicants file is forwarded to the Director of Graduate Studies in Biology for initial review. Unless a major advisor has been identified, the file is circulated to faculty members in the applicant’s area of research interest in an attempt to identify a potential major advisor. Acceptance into the Biology or Raptor Biology graduate program is ultimately dependent on identifying a faculty member who is willing to serve as a student’s major advisor. Applicants are encouraged to contact faculty in advance regarding thesis research opportunities. 

After circulation, the file is reviewed by the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) for an admission recommendation (either acceptance or denial). Applicants are recommended for acceptance to the biology graduate program only if they appear qualified academically and if a major advisor is identified. Graduate students are expected to have funding support through either a Teaching Assistantship or grant-funded Research Assistantship; acceptance without funding will be considered only in exceptional cases. 

The admission recommendation made by the GSC is then forwarded to the Graduate College for review. An admission decision is not official until approved by the Graduate College.

Registration

You are required to register each semester (except in summer) while you are in residence, even if you are only doing research.  Students in an M.S. degree program should register for thesis research credits (BIOL 593) continuously until their degree program is completed, unless the student is not utilizing faculty time or department facilities. A student must be registered in at least one credit of thesis during the semester in which they complete their degree and submit final copies of their thesis to the Graduate College. Students receiving an assistantship must enroll in at least 9 credits, but no more than 12, credits per semester. In the absence of sufficient course work credits to reach full-time enrollment status, M.S. students should enroll in BIOL 593 thesis credits. Approval from the Director of Graduate Studies is required for students to enroll in more than 12 credits in a semester. Fees for courses enrolled in during the summer session are not covered by teaching assistantships.

International Students

International students must comply with and keep abreast of current rules and regulations of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).  Please refer any questions you have about such rules and regulations to the International Admissions Coordinator at: internl@boisestate.edu or visit the International Students website at: https://www.boisestate.edu/globaleducation-iss/

New Student Orientation

All new graduate students are required to attend a department orientation held at the beginning of the fall semester, the week prior to the start of classes. This event provides an opportunity for new students to meet with the director of graduate studies, department chair, and graduate program manager, and to become familiar with department facilities and procedures. After an introductory meeting about the graduate program, students will pick up their keys and ID proxy cards, take professional studio portraits, and help employees complete necessary paperwork. New Teaching Assistants will be required to attend additional orientation events to become familiar with their teaching responsibilities. 

Contacting Students via Email

Students are responsible for checking their Boise State University student email account for messages and announcements regarding the graduate program and teaching assistantships. If you prefer to use an alternate email address (e.g. Yahoo, Gmail, etc.) please have your Boise State email automatically forwarded to that account. Also make sure that those forwarded messages are not being quarantined as spam by your email server. 

Appointment of Major Advisor

The Major Advisor acts as a committee chair and the student’s main research advisor. A major advisor is identified during the review of the student’s graduate application and is in place prior to admission. To chair an M.S. or M.A. committee, the major advisor must either be a member of the university’s graduate faculty, or an adjunct or emeritus member of the graduate faculty with a departmental endorsement to chair thesis committees. Students with an off-campus advisor must have an on-campus co-advisor to assist the student with space needs and academic procedures. Final approval of major advisor selection is confirmed by the Graduate College.

Appointment of Graduate Supervisory Committee

The graduate supervisory committee assumes the responsibility for approving the student’s graduate program, advising thesis/project research, and conducting required examinations.  The committee will consist of the major advisor who serves as chair, plus at least two but no more than four additional members.  All members of the supervisory committee must have graduate faculty status as appointed by the Graduate College.  A majority of the committee membership must be tenured or tenure-track faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Students should form a supervisory committee during their first semester of enrollment in the graduate program.  Composition of the committee should be based on a reasonable match between student and faculty academic interest.  Selection of the committee typically begins with the graduate student and major advisor agreeing on appropriate committee membership.  The student then contacts and meets with potential members to determine their availability to serve on the committee.  Once a committee has been identified, a Supervisory Committee Appointment form must be completed and submitted to the director of graduate studies for department approval. The form is then submitted to the Graduate College for final approval. The Graduate College can either appoint the recommended committee or solicit an alternative recommendation from the department. A change in membership of the committee can be made after its appointment, but only in accordance with departmental policies and the approval of the Graduate College. 

Study Plan and Research Outline

The first meeting of the graduate supervisory committee should take place in the first semester of a student’s enrollment.  Prior to the meeting the student should, in consultation with the major advisor, complete an Individual Development Plan listing the courses the student intends to take in order to meet degree requirements, as well as proposed timeline for completion. M.S. and M.A. and M.A. “project option” students should also bring an outline of their proposed research/project topic. The Individual Development Plan is a tool that should be utilized for progress assurance and students will be prompted to complete their IDP’s on a regular basis.

The proposed schedule of courses and research outline (if applicable) will be discussed at the first committee meeting and revised if necessary.  Once approval for the study plan and research are obtained, the completed Individual Development Plan should be returned to the director of graduate studies for inclusion in the student’s file.  A copy of the form should also be retained by the committee members and the student.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy is required by all degree-seeking graduate students and serves as an important intermediate check that reveals overlooked or misinterpreted program requirements.  A student who has not been admitted to candidacy cannot schedule or participate in a final oral examination or apply for graduation.  A student may be admitted to candidacy if he/she is in regular status and has satisfactorily completed a set of courses sufficient to meet at least one half of the total credit requirements of the program.  Students must submit a completed Application for Admission to Candidacy form to the director of graduate studies prior to the deadline published in the academic calendar (note that this deadline occurs early in the semester preceding the intended semester of graduation). The completed form requires the student’s signature, director of graduate studies signature, and the final exact list of courses that are to be applied to meet the credit requirements of the student’s graduate program. Following department approval, the form will be forwarded to the Graduate College for approval. Once the Application for Admission to Candidacy receives approval from the Graduate College, students may apply for graduation on myBoiseState. Note that an approved Application for Admission to Candidacy is a binding agreement between the student and the university. Any subsequent changes to coursework requires department and Graduate College approval. Please consult with the director or graduate studies.

Thesis Defense Procedures

M.S. students are required to present a public pre-defense seminar of their completed thesis research, and to pass an oral defense of their thesis in a conference with the supervisory committee. Note that all M.S. students must be enrolled in at least once credit of BIOL 593 thesis in the semester in which they defend their thesis, and the semester in which they submit their archival copies of the thesis to the Graduate College. 

Before a thesis defense date can be formally set and announced, the student must submit the electronic Permission to Proceed to Defense form (https://orgsync.com/140348/forms/267166). Each committee member must approve confirming that the thesis has progressed sufficiently to be ready for defense by the proposed date. Upon your committee’s approval of the form it will be automatically forwarded to the graduate program manager. The graduate program manager will work with you to schedule and advertise your defense. Note that a signed Permission to Proceed to Defense form has no bearing on whether a student passes or fails the oral exam. 

Members of the supervisory committee must receive the defense version of the thesis at least two weeks in advance of the defense date unless other arrangements have been made with the committee members. Failure to do so may result in the defense being cancelled and subject to rescheduling. 

Students are expected to defend the thesis and demonstrate a solid grasp of academic knowledge related to the thesis and subject area. The decision of whether a student passes or fails the oral defense rests with the committee members. A final oral exam that is failed on the first attempt may be repeated once but only if a request to repeat is made by the student and approved by the department. The student’s request must be delivered in writing to the department chair within 5 days of the failed first attempt. If the request is approved by the department, the repeat exam must occur within 12 months after the first attempt.

Following a successful oral defense of the thesis, the student is responsible for completing to the satisfaction of the committee any thesis revisions required by the committee, and for meeting any graduation deadlines set by the Graduate College and the Registrar’s Office. Once the thesis is successfully defended, the major advisor will change the students BIOL 593 grade from IP to P (Pass).

The final version of the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate College for approval by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Before doing so it must conform to the standards of the Graduate College as determined by the Coordinator of Theses and Dissertations. Students should refer to the Standards and Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations manual (https://d25vtythmttl3o.cloudfront.net/uploads/sites/59/2019/04/Thesis-and-Dissertation-Guide_04112019.pdf) for instructions on formatting for official university copies of the thesis. A Thesis and Dissertation Template (https://www.boisestate.edu/graduatecollege-success/thesis-and-dissertation-template/) is also available for download. 

M.A. “Project Option” Defense Procedures

M.A. “Project Option” students are required to give an oral defense of their completed project in a conference with the supervisory committee. The committee, in consultation with the student, is responsible for determining when the project is complete and ready to defend. The department will determine the format and archival method that applies to projects completed in the M.A. program. This flexibility is to acknowledge the diversity of projects and the difficulty of preserving them within a fixed archival method. For text-based projects, students should refer to the Standards and Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations manual. Once a project is successfully defended, the major advisor will change the student’s BIOL 591 grade from IP to P (Pass). A copy of the final project, preferably electronic form, must be submitted to the Biology department for archiving. 

Academic and Scholastic Requirements

Credit Requirements

Each graduate student follows a study plan based on program requirements and on individual career goals. According to Graduate College policies, at least two thirds of the total credit requirement for the degree program must be earned at Boise State University after admission to the graduate program. Students beginning a graduate program in biology are expected to meet the same department core course requirements (or their equivalents) as for an undergraduate degree. Deficiencies should be made up early in the student’s graduate career. Assessment of deficiencies and the actions needed for remedy are made either in the form of provisions at the time of admission to the graduate program, or as recommendations by the student’s supervisory committee.

Students engaging in any activity requiring faculty time and consultation, or the use of any BSU facilities, must register for the number of credits appropriate to the degree of activity. Students engaged in any phase of research, such as writing a manuscript or thesis, must register for such work in the amount reflecting the effort required. All students funded by an assistantship must register for a minimum of 9 credits each fall and spring semester. Enrollment during the summer semester is not required unless the student plans on completing his/her program during that session. All students are required to enroll in the appropriate number of credits during the semester in which their degree requirements are completed.

M.S. Biology

A minimum of 30 credits is required for the M.S. Biology degree. Of these at least 18 will be elective credits from 300G, 400G, 500 and 600 level courses. Electives may include a maximum of six credits of Directed Research or Independent Study (BIOL 696 or BIOL 596, respectively), subject to the approval of the student’s thesis supervisory committee, department, and the Graduate College. Electives may not include workshop, pass/fail, or practicum/internship credits. An upper division undergraduate course from another discipline may, subject to committee and department approval, be applied to meet the elective credit requirements for a master’s degree. M.S. candidates must also complete four credits of Biometry (BIOL 697), at least two credits of graduate seminar (BIOL 598) or Advanced Topics courses (BIOL 561-567), and at least six credits of thesis research (BIOL 593).

M.S. Raptor Biology

A minimum of 30 credits is required for the M.S. Raptor Biology degree. Of these at least 13 will be elective credits from 300G, 400G, 500 and 600 level courses. Electives may include a maximum of six credits of Directed Research or Independent Study (BIOL 696 or BIOL 596, respectively), subject to the approval of the student’s thesis supervisory committee, department, and the Graduate College. Electives may not include workshop, pass/fail, or practicum/internship credits. An upper division undergraduate course from another discipline may, subject to committee and department approval, be applied to meet the elective credit requirements for a master’s degree. M.S. candidates must also complete four credits of Biometry (BIOL 697), two credits of Applied Raptor Biology (BIOL 605), three credits of Raptor Ecology (BIOL 606), at least two credits of graduate seminar (BIOL 598) or Advanced Topics courses (BIOL 561-567), and at least six credits of thesis research (BIOL 593).

M.A. Biology “Project Option”

The M.A. Project Option is an application-based degree requiring a minimum of 33 credits. Of these credits, at least 23 will be elective credits that may include up to a combined total of six workshop, practicum/internship, and directed research or directed studies credits. A combined total of nine credits may include approved courses taken outside the biological sciences. Workshop, directed studies, directed research, and practicum/internships are limited to a maximum of three credits each. M.A. candidates must also complete two credits of Research in Biological Sciences (BIOL 579), at least two credits of graduate seminar (BIOL 598) or Advanced Topics courses (BIOL 561-567), and at least six “Project” credits (BIOL 591). Examples of projects include development of biology-based curricula, compilation and analysis of previously conducted studies, and development of a resource management plan based on relevant studies. Upon completion of the project the candidate will meet with the supervisory committee for an oral review and discussion of the project.

M.A. Biology “Examination Option”

The M.A. Examination Option is a course work-based degree requiring a minimum of 33 credits. The allocation of credits is the same as for the project-based M.A. except that the six credits of BIOL 591 are replaced by five elective credits plus one credit of BIOL 600 Assessment – a comprehensive examination taken in the final semester of the student’s program. The examination is tailored by each candidate’s committee to emphasize the areas covered by course work. After the candidate has completed the written portion of the examination, the candidate will meet with the committee for an oral review prior to approval or rejection of the written examination.

Research Proposal and Proposal Seminar Requirement (M.S. Programs Only)

M.S. Students will need to work closely with their major advisor and other members of the supervisory committee to ensure that a well-developed written research proposal is prepared by the end of their second semester of enrollment. M.S. students are also required to present their proposed research to the department during their second semester of enrollment.

Scholastic Grade Requirements

All students admitted to a graduate program must meet three scholastic grade requirements set by the Graduate College. The first requirement is a minimum GPA of 3.0 each and every semester in which the student is enrolled. If a student fails to meet the semester GPA requirement and the failure is the first occurrence since admission to the program, the student will be placed on academic notice by the college but will be allowed to continue in the program. If a student fails to meet the semester GPA for a second time since admission to the program, the student will be administratively withdrawn from the program by the Graduate College. The withdrawal decision is subject to an appeal process; please discuss your situation with the director of graduate studies.
A second requirement of the Graduate College is that students must achieve a program GPA of 3.0 or higher to be eligible for a graduate degree. If a student fails to achieve a program GPA of 3.0 or better, the student is ineligible for a degree and should consult with the director of graduate studies for advice and possible options.
Thirdly, graduate courses (500 and 600 level) for which a student receives a grade lower than C will not count toward the degree requirements of the program. Undergraduate courses approved for graduate credit, G-level courses, and transfer credits require at least a grade of B to count toward the degree requirements of the program.
A grade of I (Incomplete) is assigned only when extenuating circumstances make it impossible for a student to complete a course before the end of the semester, subject to the requirement that the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work up to a time within 3 weeks of the end of the semester. In order to receive an incomplete on a graduate course, the student and instructor must agree to a contract which stipulates the work that is required and the time frame in which it must be completed for the student to receive a grade in the class.
A grade of IP (In Progress) is used for BIOL 593 thesis credits and BIOL 591 Project credits until all aspects of the thesis or project are complete. When the thesis or project is complete, or when the student ceases to work under the faculty member supervising the research, the IP grade is changed either to Pass (P) or Fail (F). Once a final grade for BIOL 591 or BIOL 593 has been submitted by the major advisor, the Registrar’s Office will adjust all IP grades on the student’s transcript to reflect the new final grade.

Independent Study (BIOL 596) and Directed Research (BIOL 696)

Independent Study (BIOL 596)

Involves the advanced study of a specialized topic. The student works with a high degree of independence to meet well-defined goals under the supervision of a member of the graduate faculty. Credit is variable (1-3) and dependent on the magnitude and scope of the study. Enrolling in BIOL 596 requires submission of a completed Application for Graduate Independent Study form (https://www.boisestate.edu/graduatecollege/forms/) prior to the deadline specified in the academic calendar. Approval from the department and Graduate College is required.

Directed Research (BIOL 696)

Involves research conducted by the student under the supervision of a member of the graduate faculty. The study requires a clear statement of the hypothesis or proposition, a review of relevant literature, analysis and synthesis of data, and the inference of conclusions. Credit is variable (1-3) and dependent on the magnitude and scope of the study. Students may not apply portions of their thesis research toward BIOL 696 credit, although projects related to the thesis topic are acceptable. Enrolling in BIOL 696 requires submission of a completed Application for Directed Research form (https://www.boisestate.edu/graduatecollege/forms/)prior to the deadline specified in the academic calendar. Approval from the department and Graduate College is required.

Length of Graduate Program

The minimum duration of study for the master’s degree (M.A. and M.S.) is one academic year after admission to the program. All requirements for a master’s degree, including courses completed at another college or university, must be started and completed within a single continuous interval of no more than seven years.

Department Facilities

Graduate Student Desk Space

Faculty may have desk space available for their graduate students.  Alternatively, limited desk space is available for graduate students in rooms SCIENCE 146A, and 146B in the Science building. Please contact the Administrative Assistant for the Raptor Research Center d’Andra Cahill (dandracahill@boisestate.edu)

Computers and Printing

For students needing access to department computing facilities and printing facilities. The following options are available:

Computer Lab

A computer lab with access to printing is located in SCIENCE 149. This computer lab is open during normal business hours Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Biology courses may also be scheduled in this room during the semester. Make sure to check the schedule on the window outside of the computer lab.  A list of available software for this lab can be found at: https://www.boisestate.edu/oit-software/

Photocopies and Faxes

A photocopier is available for graduate student use in SCIENCE 107 and SCIENCE 219. Photocopiers should be limited to activities associated with thesis research, graduate course work, and teaching responsibilities. The Biology office has an electronic fax service (426-1040). Requests for faxes should be made to the Biology office. Faxes should be limited to research related activities. Personal faxes are not permitted. 

Poster Printing

The Biology Department has a plotter printer which students can request poster printing for research and academic purposes. Requests should be made well in advance or required date utilizing the Poster Printing Request form (https://www.boisestate.edu/biology/about/department-forms/poster-printing-request/)

Color Printing

At this time color printing is only available in the Biology Department front office work-study reception desk. Make sure to plan your color printing needs as the color printer is only available when the desk is not occupied by a department work-study student. Please check with the front office regarding this. 

Mail

Each graduate student has a mailbox in SCIENCE 106. Packages can be picked up in the main biology office (SCIENCE 107). The Biology Department office staff is available to assist with creating mailing labels and shipping packages via FedEx as needed for research purposes. Requests for FedEx mailing labels may be made by completing the FedEx label request form (https://www.boisestate.edu/biology/about/department-forms/fedex-label-request/).

Financial Assistance

Assistantship Support

Teaching assistantships are available on a limited basis to M.S. students, and are generally offered at the time of admission to the graduate program. These assistantships include a stipend over the nine-month academic year, a tuition and fee waiver covering the Fall and Spring semesters, and student health insurance. New Student ID Card Fees ($25) and Course fees are the responsibility of the student. Continued assistantship support is contingent on satisfactory progress in teaching, course work, and thesis research, and will not extend beyond the third year of a student’s graduate program (i.e., six semesters counted consecutively from the time of admission). Teaching assistants are required to enroll in BIOL 604 “Introduction to Biology College Teaching” in their first fall semester in the graduate Program. 

Students on teaching assistantships generally help in lower division undergraduate laboratories, and are expected to provide up to 20 hours of service per week. Department policy prohibits students on teaching assistantships from accepting additional employment without written approval of the major advisor and the director of graduate studies. 

Research assistantships funded by research grants may also be available to students. The terms of such assistantships will depend on the amount of funding available. Please consult your major advisor for details about funding opportunities. 

Financial Aid

Graduate students may be eligible for other types of financial aid. Please see the Financial Aid office website (https://www.boisestate.edu/financialaid/) for more information.

Graduate Student Awards and Fellowships

Travel Grants

M.S. Students in good standing may apply for travel funds to attend and present their thesis research at scientific meetings. To be eligible for travel funds the student must submit details of the conference to the Graduate Program Coordinator, including the name, date, and location of the conference, a budget, proof that you are presenting research at the conference, and evidence that you have applied for travel assistance if such assistance is offered by conference organizers. If everything is in order, the GPC will ask the Graduate Program Manage to begin processing the travel request paperwork. 

Each M.S. Biology student is eligible to apply for one travel grant valued at up to $600, whereas M.S. Raptor Biology students may apply for a total of two travel grants valued at up to $600 a piece. The awarding of travel grants is contingent on the availability of funds. Off campus travel requests permission in the form of an approved travel request. Please see the Graduate Program Manager for details on travel procedure.

Fellowships

The Dan Montgomery Graduate Student Award

The Dan Montgomery Graduate Student Award is given to a graduate student conducting research. Funds from the award may be used to provide support for a graduate student stipend (up to 60% of award max) and their research (research assistant(s), travel, supplies, etc.). The funds must be used while the student is enrolled at Boise State and actively engaged in thesis research (preferably data collection). All currently enrolled MS Biology or MS Raptor Biology students who have not received this award in a previous year are eligible for this award. Notification and application for this award is sent out each spring.

The Michael W. Butler Ecological Research Award

Mike Butler graduated from the MS Raptor Biology program at Boise State, received a PhD from Arizona State University, and is now a faculty member at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. This endowed scholarship in Mike’s name is presented annually to a deserving graduate student actively engaged in ecological research in either the MS Biology or MS Raptor Biology program. Funds from this award can be used for a summer research stipend, research supplies and equipment, or for travel in pursuit of research. Ideally the breakdown of funds should be approximately 70% stipend and 30% for research supplies, equipment, and travel related expenses. MS Biology or MS Raptor Biology students are eligible to apply for their first two summers of MS thesis research but can receive the award only once. Notification and application for this award is sent out each spring. Preference is given to a student meeting the following criteria:

  • Engaged in research in the area of plant and/or animal ecology
  • An active and helpful participant in the department affairs
  • A regular attendee of department seminars
  • Making timely progress towards completion of their thesis 

Trustee Fellowship in Raptor Biology

The Trustee Fellowship in Raptor Biology is awarded to graduate students in the M.S. Raptor Biology program conducting research. Funds from the awards may be used to provide support for a graduate student stipend, tuition and fees, books and materials, and travel. Notification of application for this award is sent out each spring. 

Housing

Many graduate students find off-campus accommodations in the vicinity of Boise State University. For those interested in on-campus accommodations, there are a number of options. For information on-campus housing and application procedures, please refer to the Housing Office website (https://www.boisestate.edu/housing/) for more information. 

Notice of Non-Discrimination

Notice of Non-Discrimination

It is the policy of Boise State University to comply with all federal, state and local authorities requiring nondiscrimination, including but not limited to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and Executive Orders 12898 (Environmental Justice) and 13166 (Limited English Proficiency). Boise State is an equal opportunity employer. The University does not exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject any individual to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, income, protected veteran status, limited English proficiency, or any other status protected under applicable federal, state or local law.

For more information or if you believe you have been subject to discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other basis, please contact Boise State’s Title IX, ADA, and 504 Coordinator:

Alicia Estey
Interim Coordinator of IX/ADA/504 Compliance
Riverfront Hall Building, Room 306
1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725-1500
(208) 426-1258
reportdiscrimination@boisestate.edu

Gradwell

Graduate school is a significant undertaking and maintaining work/life balance will be important throughout your program of study. Diminished mental health, including anxiety, worry or problems with sleeping and/or eating may interfere with peak academic performance. You are encouraged to seek help sooner, rather than later. To support you during your course work, the Graduate College at Boise State University offers resources, including the Graduate Student Success Center and Gradwell: Do Well to Be Well. In addition, Counseling Services, located on 2nd floor of the Norco Building on campus, provides a variety of services for students to help with personal, academic, career, and crisis concerns. They offer individual, group, couples and family counseling and also provide assistance in coordinating referral with local community providers. You can schedule an appointment by calling (208) 426-1459. If your concern is too urgent to wait for a scheduled appointment, they offer walk-in crisis services on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8am to 5pm and Wednesday from 10am to 5pm. 

Personal Matters

Matter Contact Information Website
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2245 University Dr.

426-6911

https://www.boisestate.edu/publicsafety-security/
Campus Safety Alerts Opt In – Bronco Alert System  https://www.boisestate.edu/publicsafety-emergencymanagement/
Student Conduct Office of the Dean of Students

1st Floor of Norco Building

426-1527

https://www.boisestate.edu/deanofstudents/
Discrimination Alicia Estey, Interim Coordinator of Title IX/ADA/504 Compliance

Riverfront Hall Building, Rm 304

426-1258

https://www.boisestate.edu/compliance// 
Financial Concerns Financial Aid Office

Admin Building, Rm 113

426-1664

FAQuest@boisestate.edu 

https://www.boisestate.edu/financialaid/
Health or Medical University Health Services

Norco Building, Rm 113

426-1459

https://www.boisestate.edu/healthservices/
Gradwell Resources Resources for Graduate student wellbeing https://www.boisestate.edu/healthservices/gradwell/
Counseling Services Health & Wellness Counseling

Norco Building

https://www.boisestate.edu/healthservices/counseling/
Academic Accommodations Educational Access Center

Lincoln Parking Garage 1st Floor

426-1583

https://www.boisestate.edu/eac/
Veteran Resources Veteran Services

Lincoln Parking Garage, 1st Floor

426-3744

https://veterans.boisestate.edu/
Sexual Harassment Alicia Estey, Interim Coordinator of Title IX/ADA/504 Compliance

Riverfront Hall, Rm 306

426-1258

https://www.boisestate.edu/compliance/
Student Success Center Riverfront Hall, Room 318

426-1026

Monday – Friday 8am to 5pm

https://www.boisestate.edu/graduatecollege-success/
Gender Equity Center Student Union Building, 2nd Floor

426-4259

https://www.boisestate.edu/genderequity/

Appendix A – Suggested Timeline for Graduate Students

Appendix A – Suggested Timeline for Graduate Students 

Note: This timeline applies primarily to MS students because of the additional requirements associated with thesis research, preparation, and defense. MA timelines may require modification to what is suggested below. 

First Semester 

  • Student develops thesis project in consultation with major advisor
  • Form supervisory committee. Student completes and submits the Appointment of Supervisory Committee form to the Major Advisor. 
  • Convene initial committee meeting. Students brings an outline of proposed research topic for discussion with committee. 

Second Semester 

  • Student finalizes written proposal and animal care protocols (if necessary);
  • Student presents proposal seminar to department
  • Thesis research (MS) 

Intervening Period

  • Project Completion (MA Project Option)
  • Thesis research (MS): Student analyzes data; continues research; writes about preliminary results; attends meetings etc.
  • Student meets with and updates supervisory committee regularly about research progress
  • Thesis preparation (Start writing early)

Third Semester

  • Thesis preparation (MS) /Project completion (MA)
  • Student applies for candidacy in the semester before expected completion (Application for Admission to Candidacy Form) – be aware of the deadline!
  • Presentations at meeting(s)

Fourth Semester

  • Student completes “Application for Graduate Degree” by going to my.BoiseState, clicking on the STUDENT heading, then the REGISTRAR heading, then the link to APPLY FOR GRADUATION. The system will check to confirm that the candidacy form has been approved by the Graduate College. If you have not submitted a candidacy form you will receive an error message and will not be able to apply for graduation. The deadline for the Application to Graduate comes early in the semester – check the graduate catalog for details
  • Student completes and defends thesis (be aware of the deadlines for defending and submitting the completed thesis to the Graduate College, and department regulations for scheduling a defense!)
  • Student submits Thesis, Final Reading Approval, and Access Agreement for a Thesis to the Graduate College.
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