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Prelim, Defense, Thesis, Dissertation, Publication, and Intellectual Property Information

Ph.D. Preliminary Examination

A preliminary examination, administered by your graduate committee, must be taken at least two full semesters prior to the final examination. The graduate committees will determine the nature of the examination process and will do so by consensus. Typically, a written research proposal and/or exam is submitted to the committee and this is followed by an oral exam a week or two later. Although additional faculty members may be invited to participate in the oral exam, only members of your graduate committee may vote on whether you passed the exam. If you fail the exam, you may be granted one additional attempt if your committee decides it is appropriate. This exam must be administered between 2 and 12 months after the first exam and after successful completion of additional study or other requirements set by the committee.


Successful completion of this exam is evidence that you are qualified to continue your degree program. At this point, you are considered a Ph.D. candidate. You must file a GS-15 with the Graduate School prior to your exam and a GS-16 form afterward.


Thesis or Dissertation Defense

The final oral exam is open to academic faculty, but the deliberation and vote of your graduate committee is closed to all except your committee members. You must provide your written thesis or dissertation to your committee at least two weeks prior to the exam. Advisors must inform the student and the committee of the nature of the exam at least one week in advance of an M.S. exam and one month in advance of a Ph.D. exam. All committee members must be present. If one is unable to be present, a substitute must be identified ahead of time.


You should announce the title, date, and location to the department at least 1 week prior to the exam. This can be done by providing this information to Janet Dill. She will post the announcement on the department door and on our website. Typically, department members will attend the portion of the exam where you present a seminar defending your thesis, and then will leave before the committee begins asking questions.


At the end of the exam, your advisor will ask you to leave the room while the committee reviews your performance and decides the outcome of the exam. This conversation typically lasts 5-15 minutes. You will then be called back into the room. You should have the Report of Final Examination (GS-24) ready for your committee to sign.


If you fail the final exam, you may be reexamined if your committee agrees. This must occur between 2 and 12 months after the first examination. Your committee may assign you additional course work and you must satisfactorily complete this prior to the reexamination.


Dissertation, Thesis, or Pest Management Paper

Preparation of the dissertation, thesis, or Pest Management paper is the most critical test of your ability to critically review published literature and your work research and to report these research findings or other assigned problems. The dissertation or thesis can be written as a journal article(s) with additional appropriate sections, such as an introduction, overall conclusions, and appendices. A professional paper is generally a review of literature related to a specific Pest Management problem or concept. Details on thesis preparation are available at the Graduate School website ( Books that can assist you with writing are listed here (link). Writing a thesis, dissertation, or professional paper is a challenging and time-consuming job, but also rewarding. CSU Writes ( can provide assistance in how to manage and succeed in writing these documents.


The dissertation, thesis, or professional paper must be approved by your advisor, graduate committee, and the department head. The Graduate School website ( has instructions on the forms required for your thesis or dissertation and how to prepare your thesis for deposition in the library. You may prepare a bound copy for yourself, your advisor, and if you wish, your committee members. You may also choose to embargo your thesis for one year to allow time to publish your thesis results in the peer-reviewed literature.


Our department offers BSPM 530 Scientific Writing ( Graduate Students often take this course either when they write their first scientific paper or to assist them with starting their thesis.


Research Publications and Authorship Questions

You and your advisor have the right and responsibility to seek appropriate and timely dissemination of significant research results through publication, oral presentation, or other appropriate means. The content and authorship of your published work should be discussed among you, your advisor, and other authors as the research is planned and as it progresses. Scientists typically have to pay to have their work published and these fees should be covered by grant or gift funds from your advisor.


Questions of authorship and intellectual property that cannot be resolved by you, your advisor, the other authors, and your graduate committee are referred to the department head, and when necessary, to the Dean of the Graduate School for resolution.


If a chapter of your thesis or dissertation will be submitted for publication, we recommend that you provide a draft to your thesis committee for comment prior to submission for publication.

Intellectual Property


Details on CSU policies on intellectual property that may arise from your research are located in the Office of Policy and Compliance ( The policies cover both patents and copyrights. If you believe that your scholarly work will lead to a patent or copyright, you should review these policies immediately.

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