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GUIDELINES FOR NEW MA STUDENTS

ADVISING
.
  In your first semester of study, you will be assigned a faculty advisor normally drawn from the field in which you plan to specialize.  The faculty advisor can discuss course options with you and serve as a source of information about the substantive part of your program.

REQUIRED COURSES. Master's students must take PSC 5913, Introduction to Analysis of Political  and Administrative Data. This course is normally offered in the Fall semester, although alternate offerings may be available.

FIELDS OF STUDY.  You should choose your concentration and distribution fields as soon as possible. Knowing your fields of study will aid you with course selection and identification of potential members for your advisory committee.

M.A. ADVISORY COMMITTEE.  You are strongly encouraged to select your three member advisory committee by the end of your second semester in the program.
 
    (a)    You should consider selecting the person who will serve as the chair of your committee first.  Students frequently choose a chair from the field they consider to be their primary area of interest. This person can advise you on other possible committee members who are appropriate given your particular interests. However, it is your responsibility to contact each prospective member and secure their consent to serve.
    (b)    The chair of your committee is responsible for the general oversight of your program of study and will coordinate the oral defense and comprehensive examination. More information on this is provided in the Guidelines Concerning the M.A. Comprehensive Examination included in this manual.

    (c)    You are responsible for meeting with your committee chair to consider your proposed course of study. The M.A. Advisory Worksheet provides information regarding the courses you have taken and those you propose to take. After your committee chair has approved your program of study, submit the completed form to the Graduate Program office.

    (d)    You may alter your program of study or change the membership of your committee at any time with the consent of your committee chair and the Graduate Program Director.

PROGRESS TOWARD  DEGREE COMPLETION.  The department normally expects full-time master’s students to enroll in at least nine hours of course work each of the fall and spring semesters. If a student carries a lesser load, it becomes difficult to complete the degree within a reasonable period of time.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT.  The department encourages graduate students to participate in a variety of professional development opportunities.  Each month, there is a graduate student brown bag in which faculty and students meet to discuss special topics.  Recent examples include taking courses and preparing for comprehensive and general examinations, research expectations, job opportunities, conference presentations, and networking.  In addition, the department hosts irregular research brown bags for faculty and graduate students who are presenting conference papers to “test-drive” their talk.

There are many special events with guest speakers such as the biennial Rothbaum Lectures, the annual Bellmon Lecture, and job talks for prospective faculty members, and graduate students are encouraged to attend these as well. 

ANNUAL EVALUATION.  The Graduate College requires that all departments conduct an annual evaluation of graduate student progress. In political science, this assessment occurs in June, after spring grades are available. The period covered includes the fall and spring semesters and the previous summer, if applicable. Guidelines for the Annual Evaluation of Graduate Students are included in this manual.
   
In preparation for the annual evaluation, all MA students are required to submit a Mini-vitae to the Graduate Program Director at the end of the spring semester.  This form is included in the Forms section of this manual and can be transmitted to students electronically after spring break with instructions for completion and submission.

RESEARCH.  Any student conducting human subjects research for a thesis must first receive approval of the project from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) before filing the Admission to Candidacy and Thesis Topic and Committee Membership forms.  A copy of that approval must accompany the forms at time of submission. 

If a Master’s student is doing a research paper instead of a thesis, the project must be approved by the IRB only if publication of the results is expected.

You should review the department’s official document, Graduate Studies in Political Science Statement, on a regular basis. Nothing in these guidelines for new M.A. students is intended to supersede or contradict any information found in the department’s official document of the Graduate College Bulletin in the year you entered the program.


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