Biology: New Grad Students Links
For New Biology Graduate Students

General Grad Links | Applying to BGSU | Grad Student Handbook | Forms | Funding


This page is intended to serve as a source for important information affecting new graduate students in Biological Sciences. We have also included links to many of the forms you may need throughout your time in the program as well as other helpful links. This page is a *work in progress* and we welcome your suggestions. Please send suggestions or questions that you have to the Graduate Coordinator.

General LinksGSO   •   Keys to Success   •   Frequently Asked Questions   •   Financial Aid   •   Degree Requirements   •   Forms    


For general information:


Graduate Student Orientation

As an incoming graduate student in Biology, you will be participating in a week-long orientation program called GSO (Graduate Student Orientation). This program gives you training in specific areas that are designed to enhance your graduate experience in research and teaching. Participation is mandatory if you will be on an Assistantship (e.g., Teaching Assistantship) and storngly encouraged for all graduate students.

August 2012 Schedule


Keys to Success

(1) Identify a graduate advisor.

It is important that you identify a faculty member to serve as your advisor for your graduate work as soon as possible. Make sure you talk to the faculty member to make sure they are interested in taking additional graduate students in their laboratory. You will also want to ask some questions about their advising philosophy and what they expect of you as a member of their laboratory. Faculty have distinctly different advising styles and you will want to find someone that you feel you can work with and that will help you successfully complete your graduate program. It is a good idea to talk to other graduate students about their experiences with the faculty.
          You must have identified an advisor by your second semester enrolled in the program.

(2) Develop a set of goals for your graduate program.

You will want to develop a set of goals for what you would like to accomplish during your time as a graduate student at BGSU. You may want to have discussions with other graduate students and faculty to help shape these goals.
For example:
  • What skills would you like to acquire?
  • What subjects would you like to learn more about?
  • What type of research would you like to complete?
  • Are there specific people you would like to engage in collaboration?
  • What are your professional goals?
The key will be to use these goals to identify the courses you will take (which will become your TDP), the research question(s) you will address (which will become your proposal), and identify opportunities to increase your scientific expertise (e.g., presentations at professional meetings, writing grant proposals, attend a workshop).

(3) Ask questions.

Good scientists ask questions. Never be afraid to ask questions if you do not understand something or wish clarification. Most scientists enjoy talking about their research and their favorite subject areas, just keep in mind that everyone is very busy. Seek answers not just from others but from the scientific literature. One valuable resource is the staff at most libraries, who are specially trained to assist people in their search for the answer to their questions.
Have questions about the program requirements? Ask your advisor or check these sources of information.

(4) Behave professionally.

Since the ultimate result of your graduate degree should be some type of professional employment, develop your professional behavior. Be punctual, courteous, and collegial. Respect the views of others and try to maintain an open mind. Give credit to others for their ideas and don't plaguarize. Remember that science is about critiquing ideas, so learn to give and receive constructive criticism. Appreciate the help of others.

(5) Pay attention to rules and deadlines.

Time is short--you will have only 2 years to complete your Masters or 4 years to complete your Ph.D. Here are some general guidelines.
For the MS:
  • Identify an advisor during your first semester.
  • Complete your TDP by the end of the first semester.
  • With your advisor, identify two additional faculty to serve as committee members. Only one may be outside of the Department of Biological Sciences.
  • Write and defend your thesis proposal by the end of your second semester.
  • Try to finish as much of your coursework as possible the first three semesters to give yourself sufficient time to write and defend your thesis in your final (fourth) semester.
For the Ph.D.:
  • Identify an advisor during your first semester.
  • Complete your TDP by the end of your first year.
  • Complete your coursework by the end of your third semester so that you may take your Preliminary Exam during your fourth semester.
  • With your advisor, identify three additional faculty to serve as committee members. Only one may be outside of the Department of Biological Sciences. You will also need to submit a form to the Graduate College requesting the assigment of an additional committee member.
  • Write and defend your disseration proposal within 6 months of successfully completing your Preliminary Exam.
  • Defend your disseration at the end of your fourth year.
  • Submit a manuscript for publication before graduation.