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About our Graduate Degrees

Each student with their graduate advisory committee will develop a program of study including coursework and a research project in one of the following areas:

 Agroecosystems Management

Graduate research opportunities exist in the area of agroecosystems management, with an emphasis on a systems approach to research that incorporates the interactions of the ecosystem with soil and crop management. Research extends across all the major ecosystems of Colorado including prairie and mountain environments, dryland and irrigated agroecosystems in the semi-arid plains, and rangelands.

Major research emphases are precision crop and nutrient management and management systems that improve efficiency of crop water use. Additional research emphases include soil carbon and nutrient dynamics in cropping systems, beneficial use of manures, biosolids, and other wastes, crop variety development, forage management, and development of biofuel and other alternative crops.

Local studies are integrated to the global scale including efforts focused on global climate change and carbon cycling. Emphasis is on understanding processes and mechanisms controlling the interaction of soils, plants, nutrients, and climate. Research opportunities in agroecology include field studies, state of the art analytical laboratories, and computer simulation modeling. Students will gain a broad perspective of the soil, plant, and environmental interactions as well as specialized training in their area of interest.

Plant Breeding and Genetics

Major efforts are expended on the breeding, development, and/or testing of improved cultivars and genetic materials of wheat, dry beans, barley, oilseed crops, and corn. Special limitations due to high elevations, short growing seasons, and unpredictable rainfall impose unique demands on crop cultivars in the major growing areas of the state. The Department has a comprehensive crop molecular genetics program involving molecular mapping and characterization of agronomically important traits in wheat, beans, and barley.

In an interdisciplinary fashion, research programs investigate plant breeding methodologies – commonly involving biotechnologies such as molecular marker mapping, quantitative trait locus analysis, and marker-assisted selection –¬† cytogenetics, quantitative and population genetics, physiological and statistical genetics, disease and insect resistance, and improving the nutritional value of crops. Genetic engineering of crops offers both potential benefits and risks, and both aspects of this technology are being investigated in the department.

Soil Science

The Department has comprehensive research programs in Soil Science, which address a variety of topics including biogeochemical cycling of nutrients; land application of animal, municipal and industrial wastes; transport and fate of inorganic and organic contaminants in soils and water; soil microbial structural and functional diversity; movement of water, solutes, and gases through soil; soil formation processes; soil fertility and precision nutrient management; soil and water quality; and global climate change.

Because of Colorado’s exciting and diverse landscapes, a variety of soil systems Рagricultural, forest and rangeland Рare available for study by graduate students in the department. The Colorado Front Range also presents a unique opportunity to study the effects of urbanization on rural soil and water environments.

The Faculty has a strong history of collaboration, both within and outside the Department, and encourages Graduate Students to conduct their work in a cross-disciplinary fashion. With connections to Engineering, Natural Resources, Natural Sciences, and more; the Department provides a creative and dynamic learning experience for Graduate Students committed to the study and application of soil science.

Find out how to apply to our graduate programs.

Graduate Student Handbook

The accordions are set up in a FAQ format to easily find the information you are looking for.

General Graduate Student Information?

The first and best resource for anything related to being a graduate student is the Grad Student Hand book site you are on and/or the Graduate student resource page. The resource has frequently asked questions about more general items, while the handbook has more specifics.

If you can’t find an answer on those pages, please contact Kierra Jewell, grad student coordinator. Email is fastest at: kierra.jewell@colostate.edu. Office hours are 8 a.m. Р4 p.m. M-F.

The Graduate Studies Panel is there for you to bring up and discuss any policies and procedures, suggestions and/or issues you may have related to conducting your research in the SOCR department.

The Graduate Coordinator is Dr. Kelly Wrighton. The committee includes Drs Steve Fonte, Michaeal Wilkins, and Geoff Morris. Please reach out to Dr. Wrighton (Wrighton@colostate.edu) with any additional concerns so that she can address these at the Graduate Studies Panel Meeting, which occurs at least once a semester and includes a graduate student representative.

Graduate students must be enrolled for a least 1/2 time in order to qualify for health insurance.

1/2 time is considered 5-6 credits.

Graduate students must be enrolled at least 1/2 time to qualify for the GRA. Half time is considered 5-6 credits. Full time is considered nine or more credits.

The maximum number of credits in a semester is 15. If you wish to take more than 15 credits you will need to get permission from your advisor and fill out a form from the graduate school for permission.

If your GRA starts in the fall semester and you wish to begin your research set up in the summer before, you do not need to be registered for summer classes. You do need to be registered for fall classes in order to start your assistantship.

If your GRA starts in the spring semester, you do not need to worry about summer course registration either (unless you want to take summer classes).

The university bills graduate students for retirement funds in the summer paychecks. You can petition to have the amounts refunded to you after graduation, by contacting the grad school.

Registration should occur in the fall and spring semesters of each academic year but not the Summer sessions, unless the student plans to officially graduate during the summer or is enrolling for summer coursework.

Students who pursue their degree without interruption maintain their registration status by registering for any graduate credit-bearing course. Students who temporarily suspend their studies may pursue Continuous Registration.

Information regarding CR is available on the graduate school’s site at: https://graduateschool.colostate.edu/policies-and-procedures/continuous-registration-graduate-enrollment-policies/

The Department of Soil and Crop Sciences is financially responsible for the tuition payment for each graduate student on GRA or GTA appointment for the first year (out-of-state or in-state). In subsequent years the Department will be responsible for in-state tuition only. If an out-of-state student elects not to establish in-state residency within the first year, the tuition difference between and in-state and out-of-state resident will be paid by the student.

CSU will extend the Tuition Premium Program to international students appointed as a GRA for the length of their tenure in the graduate degree program as long as they are enrolled in a minimum of five resident-instruction credits during the fall and spring semesters and meet all terms and conditions of an assistantship. Tuition will be prorated as a percentage of FTE.

Colorado residency requires a domicile in Colorado for 12 continuous months on or prior to the first day of classes of each semester. You should start to establish residency within the first few months of being in Colorado.

“Domicile” is defined as your true, fixed, primary and permanent home and place of habitation. Both physical presence and evidence of intent must be in place to begin the domicile year. A “qualified individual” must reside in Colorado with the intent to make Colorado their primary permanent home and legal residence. Since domicile is defined as a permanent home and legal residence, being in Colorado solely for school purposes and/or temporarily for other purposes does not qualify as domicile for Colorado residency.

Physical presence is your actual permanent home and legal residence. Proof of physical presence may include all of the following:

  • Lease agreements
  • Rent receipts
  • Home ownership
  • Notarized statement from landlord

Evidence of intent to make Colorado your permanent home and legal residence is demonstrated by giving up all your legal ties with your prior state and establishing them with Colorado for 12 continuous months. Proof that demonstrates evidence of intent, as specified by the residency statue, may include all the following:

  • Colorado driver’s license or valid Colorado ID
  • Colorado motor vehicle registration
  • Permanent, full-time, off-campus employment
  • Colorado voter registration
  • Change in permanent address on all pertinent records
  • Payment of Colorado state income taxes as a Colorado resident
  • Withholding of Colorado state taxes from wages
  • Ownership of residential property in Colorado

You are expected to take appropriate action on all factors relevant in your circumstances. The “Petition for In-state Tuition Classification” (available at Student Financial Services) and all supporting documentation must be received by Student Financial Services by the published deadline date specified for the semester for which a change is being requested. The burden of proof rests upon the petitioner (i.e. the student) who has the responsibility to submit a timely petition along with the required documentation by the published deadline date. A change in tuition classification will be made when the Tuition Classification Office is convinced that physical presence and ties with the state have occurred at least 12 months prior to the first day of classes for which the applicant is petitioning.

Given that the summer term is not required for continuous registration, the office of financial aid suggests that students apply for residency starting in the Fall term.

Residency for Tuition Classification information can be found here: https://catalog.colostate.edu/general-catalog/financial/residency/

The office of Financial Aid can assist with residency if you have any questions. https://financialaid.colostate.edu/

Graduate students must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average in all formal course work. Two semesters below this average constitutes a reason for dismissal.Special studies, seminars, and research credits are not considered formal course work in calculating grade point averages. However, a passing grade must be maintained in these course areas.

Requests for waiver of Department academic requirements should be submitted in writing by the student’s advisor to the Department Graduate Panel. The waiver is granted upon approval by three of the four members of the Department Graduate Panel and the Department Head.

Faculty should advise the grad admin that a student is incoming so a desk can be assigned. Please contact Kierra Jewell at kierra.jewell@colostate.edu if you need a desk assigned to you.

Kierra can also order keys for labs, offices, and other spaces you may need a key for. You’ll need to send her your CSU ID and the room numbers needed. See general key info below.

Keycard access is available to the graduate student offices (main offices) and coming soon to the outside building doors. Contact Kierra to add access to your CSU ID card.

General Key Info: Graduate students are issued keys to the Plant Science building, student’s office, and necessary greenhouse and laboratory areas. A written request or an email for keys is approved by the advisor and then submitted to the Grad Assistant. Keys may be picked up in the main Soil and Crop Sciences Office. If a graduate student desires access to a research laboratory other than the one to which he/she is specifically assigned, the student must obtain written approval for a key to that area from the staff member responsible for that room. University and Department policy state that keys will not be duplicated except by Facilities Services personnel. All keys must be returned to the Administrative Assistant upon leaving the University.

Grad student mailboxes are located in C124 in the plant science building (copy room).

All graduates will be able to:

  1. Critically apply theories, methodologies, and knowledge from Soil and Crop Sciences to address fundamental questions and to solve real-world problems in collaboration with professionals in other disciplines. (Research, Critical Thinking, Content Knowledge)
  2. Pursue original research of significance to advance the field of Soil and Crop Sciences. Students plan and conduct this research or implement this project under the guidance of an advisor while developing the intellectual independence that typifies true scholarship. (Research, Critical and Creative Thinking)
  3. Demonstrate professional communication skills, using effective strategies when writing technical reports, research proposals, journal articles, or popular press articles and when giving oral or poster presentations to scientific or lay audiences. (Communication)
  4. Follow the principles of ethics in Soil and Crop Sciences. (Ethics)
  5. Demonstrate, through service, the value of Soil and Crop Sciences to society. (Service, Content Knowledge)
  6. Demonstrate a mastery of skills and knowledge at a level required for college and university undergraduate teaching in their discipline and assessment of student learning. (Content Knowledge, Teaching)
  7. Interact productively with people from diverse backgrounds as both leaders/mentors and team members with integrity and professionalism.  Maintain, in collaboration with the faculty, an environment of discovery, professional pride, collaboration, and mutual support. (Communication, Leadership)

The GS52 is used to make changes to the GS6.

M.S. Plan A (Thesis)

16 credits are required to be upper division.

12 of those credits must be in regular courses.

Courses that do NOT count in the regular courses are:

  • SOCR 699
  • SOCR 784
  • SOCR 792
  • SOCR 795
  • SOCR 796
  • SOCR 799

There are two classes required for an M.S. in SOCR. One is a Professional Development course and the second is a Seminar Course.

Professional Development Courses:

M.S. Students are required to complete at least one of these courses. However, all of the courses are recommended. These courses count as “regular” courses.

SOCR 530 – Scientific Writing

SOCR 650 – Research Proposal Development

SOCR 675 – Presentations for Scientific Audiences

Seminar Course:

SOCR 792 – Seminar

  1. Register for classes through Ram Web
    • Students must be registered every fall and spring semester in a credit-bearing course or enrolled in continuous registration (CR). If you are graduating in the summer, registration in a course or CR is required. Please review our¬†Continuous Registration & Graduation Enrollment Policies¬†page for more information and resources.
  2. Select your committee with your advisor.
    • This is typically done at the end of your first year or beginning of your second year.
    • Pick your advisor and your committee members in consultation with your department prior to filling out the GS6 Program of Study.¬†Advisor & committee members must meet Graduate School requirements.
  3. Fill out your GS6 Program of Study.
    • The GS6 Program of Study Form lists your¬†intended coursework,¬†the members of your committee, and¬†any other requirements to complete your degree.
    • The form must be submitted to the Graduate School prior to your¬†fourth regular semester. Visit our¬†GS6 Program of Study page¬†and¬†forms page¬†for more details. Familiarize yourself with the¬†Deadline Dates¬†for your anticipated graduation term.
  4. Review Thesis Formatting Guidelines
    • Prior to starting your thesis, please review the¬†formatting guidelines¬†for resources and requirements.
  5. Apply to Graduate
    • To apply or reapply to graduate, you must submit the¬†GS25 Application For Graduation Form¬†to the Graduate School by the¬†deadline date¬†of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements. Access the GS25 Application for Graduation Form in¬†RAMweb.¬†You will complete the required information in RAMweb, follow instructions for printing the form, and then submit the form with all required signatures to the Graduate School Office. Visit our¬†GS25 Application for Graduation page¬†and¬†forms page¬†for more details.
  6. Give Your Final Oral Defense
    • The¬†GS24 Final Exam Results Form¬†is signed by members of a student‚Äôs committee after the student has completed the final defense. View additional¬†procedures and information. The form must be submitted to the Graduate School within two working days after the results of the examination are known, and by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements.
  7. Complete your Thesis Submission Form
    • The¬†GS30 Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form¬†is signed by the members of your committee when your thesis is approved and ready for electronic submission. This form must be submitted to the Graduate School by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements.
  8. Submit your Thesis Electronically through ProQuest/UMI
    • As you finish your thesis, visit the¬†Thesis/Dissertation pages for formatting requirements. Submit your thesis electronically to ProQuest/UMI. Your document must be approved for formatting prior to the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements. You may have required formatting corrections in your document, it is recommended that you submit your thesis in advance of the deadline date.
  9. Attend Commencement Ceremony (optional)
    • Graduate School celebrates your achievements! Graduate students who are completing their degree requirements are welcome to attend the ceremony at the end of the semester (fall and spring only). Visit our¬†commencement pages¬†for more information about commencement event details.
  10. Receive your Diploma
    • The Registrar‚Äôs Office processes official transcript requests and handles diplomas. Diplomas are mailed to students approximately six ‚Äď eight weeks after the last day of classes of the semester which all degree requirements were completed. Please refer to¬†Registrar‚Äôs Office¬†for details about transcript ordering or diplomas.

M.S. Plan B (Technical Report)

16 credits are required to be upper division.

12 of those credits must be in regular courses.

Courses that do NOT count in the regular courses are:

  • SOCR 699
  • SOCR 784
  • SOCR 792
  • SOCR 795
  • SOCR 796
  • SOCR 799

There are two classes required for an M.S. in SOCR. One is a Professional Development course and the second is a Seminar Course.

Professional Development Courses:

M.S. Students are required to complete at least one of these courses. However, all of the courses are recommended. These courses count as “regular” courses.

SOCR 530 – Scientific Writing

SOCR 650 – Research Proposal Development

SOCR 675 – Presentations for Scientific Audiences

Seminar Course:

SOCR 792 – Seminar

  1. Register for classes through Ram Web
    • Students must be registered every fall and spring semester in a credit-bearing course or enrolled in continuous registration (CR). If you are graduating in the summer, registration in a course or CR is required. Please review our¬†Continuous Registration & Graduation Enrollment Policies¬†page for more information and resources.
  2. Select your committee with your advisor.
    • This is typically done at the end of your first year or beginning of your second year.
    • Pick your advisor and your committee members in consultation with your department prior to filling out the GS6 Program of Study.¬†Advisor & committee members must meet Graduate School requirements.
  3. Fill out your GS6 Program of Study.
    • The GS6 Program of Study Form lists your¬†intended coursework,¬†the members of your committee, and¬†any other requirements to complete your degree.
    • The form must be submitted to the Graduate School prior to your¬†fourth regular semester. Visit our¬†GS6 Program of Study page¬†and¬†forms page¬†for more details. Familiarize yourself with the¬†Deadline Dates¬†for your anticipated graduation term.
  4. Review Thesis Formatting Guidelines
    • Prior to starting your thesis, please review the¬†formatting guidelines¬†for resources and requirements.
  5. Apply to Graduate
    • To apply or reapply to graduate, you must submit the¬†GS25 Application For Graduation Form¬†to the Graduate School by the¬†deadline date¬†of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements. Access the GS25 Application for Graduation Form in¬†RAMweb.¬†You will complete the required information in RAMweb, follow instructions for printing the form, and then submit the form with all required signatures to the Graduate School Office. Visit our¬†GS25 Application for Graduation page¬†and¬†forms page¬†for more details.
  6. Give Your Final Oral Defense
    • The¬†GS24 Final Exam Results Form¬†is signed by members of a student‚Äôs committee after the student has completed the final defense. View additional¬†procedures and information. The form must be submitted to the Graduate School within two working days after the results of the examination are known, and by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements.
  7. Complete your Thesis Submission Form
    • The¬†GS30 Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form¬†is signed by the members of your committee when your thesis is approved and ready for electronic submission. This form must be submitted to the Graduate School by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements.
  8. Submit your Thesis Electronically through ProQuest/UMI
    • As you finish your thesis, visit the¬†Thesis/Dissertation pages for formatting requirements. Submit your thesis electronically to ProQuest/UMI. Your document must be approved for formatting prior to the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements. You may have required formatting corrections in your document, it is recommended that you submit your thesis in advance of the deadline date.
  9. Attend Commencement Ceremony (optional)
    • Graduate School celebrates your achievements! Graduate students who are completing their degree requirements are welcome to attend the ceremony at the end of the semester (fall and spring only). Visit our¬†commencement pages¬†for more information about commencement event details.
  10. Receive your Diploma
    • The Registrar‚Äôs Office processes official transcript requests and handles diplomas. Diplomas are mailed to students approximately six ‚Äď eight weeks after the last day of classes of the semester which all degree requirements were completed. Please refer to¬†Registrar‚Äôs Office¬†for details about transcript ordering or diplomas.

To complete the M.S. Plan B, students must write a comprehensive technical report and take an oral examination that may include questions regarding the technical report and course work.

B.S. to Ph.D.

There is no maximum to the amount of research credits for a Ph.D.

37 credits are required to be upper division.

Unlike the SOCR M.S., there is no requirement for these courses being regular courses. (All courses over 500 level will count). However, there is a requirement for two professional development courses and a seminar course. Additionally, the Ph.D. includes a teaching requirement.

To complete the Ph.D., students must write a dissertation and take an oral examination that may include questions regarding the dissertation and course work.

There is also a requirement for two professional development courses and a seminar course. Additionally, the Ph.D. includes a teaching requirement.

Professional Development Courses:

Ph.D. Students are required to complete at least two of these courses. However, all of the courses are recommended.

SOCR 530 – Scientific Writing

SOCR 650 – Research Proposal Development

SOCR 675 – Presentations for Scientific Audiences

Seminar Course: 

SOCR 792 – Seminar

There are two parts to the teaching requirement. The first is an orientation program or alternatively a teaching methodology course.

  • GTA/GRA Orientation Program: The Graduate School offers a one-day GTA/GRA Orientation program just before fall semester begins. This should be done prior to taking Supervised College Teaching.

OR

  • Complete a formal course in teaching methodology (e.g., A 546, AD 520, ED 628, or GS 792), or have completed such a course previously.

The second part is supervised college teaching. 1 credit of SOCR 784 ‚ÄďSupervised College Teaching. The supervised college teaching experience must include one or more of the following teaching activities, with the major advisor and/or the course instructor serving as a teaching mentor to evaluate and help improve the candidate‚Äôs teaching skills:

  • Serve as a Teaching Assistant in a Soil and Crop Sciences course or a suitable substitute.
  • Teach a minimum equivalent of four 50-minute lecture or lab periods in a Soil and Crop Sciences course or suitable substitute.
  • Participate in an alternative teaching experience that will require an effort equivalent to the aforementioned classroom teaching. These activities might include development of Internet teaching modules, delivery of extension programming (such as through workshops, field days, web pages, fact sheets, or bulletins), curriculum development, or another equivalent teaching experience approved by the student‚Äôs advisor.
  1. Register for classes through Ram Web
    • Students must be registered every fall and spring semester in a credit-bearing course or enrolled in continuous registration (CR). If you are graduating in the summer, registration in a course or CR is required. Please review our¬†Continuous Registration & Graduation Enrollment Policies¬†page for more information and resources.
  2. Select your committee with your advisor.
  3. Fill out your GS6 Program of Study.
    • The GS6 Program of Study Form lists your¬†intended coursework,¬†the members of your committee, and¬†any other requirements to complete your degree.
    • The form must be submitted to the Graduate School prior to your¬†fourth regular semester. Visit our¬†GS6 Program of Study page¬†and¬†forms page¬†for more details. Familiarize yourself with the¬†Deadline Dates¬†for your anticipated graduation term.
  4. Take your Preliminary Exam
    • An exam determines whether a Ph.D. student is qualified to continue toward the doctorate degree. Exam must be completed at least two semesters prior to the Ph.D. student‚Äôs final examination/defense. The¬†GS16 Preliminary Exam Form¬†is signed by members of a Ph.D. student‚Äôs committee after the student has completed his/her preliminary examination. Must be submitted to the Graduate School within two working days after the results of the examination are known.
  5. Review Dissertation Formatting Guidelines
    • Prior to starting your thesis, please review the¬†formatting guidelines¬†for resources and requirements.
  6. Apply to Graduate
    • To apply or reapply to graduate, you must submit the¬†GS25 Application For Graduation Form¬†to the Graduate School by the¬†deadline date¬†of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements. Access the GS25 Application for Graduation Form in¬†RAMweb.¬†You will complete the required information in RAMweb, follow instructions for printing the form, and then submit the form with all required signatures to the Graduate School Office. Visit our¬†GS25 Application for Graduation page¬†and¬†forms page¬†for more details.
  7. Give Your Final Oral Defense
    • A final exam is required for all Doctoral students and must be completed by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements. The¬†GS24 Final Exam Results Form¬†is signed by members of a student‚Äôs committee after the student has completed the final examination/defense. The form must be submitted to the Graduate School within two working days after the results of the examination are known, and by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements.
  8. Complete your Thesis Submission Form
    • The¬†GS30 Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form¬†is signed by the members of your committee when your thesis is approved and ready for electronic submission. This form must be submitted to the Graduate School by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements.
  9. Submit your Thesis Electronically through ProQuest/UMI
    • As you finish your thesis, visit the¬†Thesis/Dissertation pages for formatting requirements. Submit your thesis electronically to ProQuest/UMI. Your document must be approved for formatting prior to the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements. You may have required formatting corrections in your document, it is recommended that you submit your thesis in advance of the deadline date.
  10. Attend Commencement Ceremony (optional)
    • Graduate School celebrates your achievements! Graduate students who are completing their degree requirements are welcome to attend the ceremony at the end of the semester (fall and spring only). Visit our¬†commencement pages¬†for more information about commencement event details.
  11. Receive your Diploma
    • The Registrar‚Äôs Office processes official transcript requests and handles diplomas. Diplomas are mailed to students approximately six ‚Äď eight weeks after the last day of classes of the semester which all degree requirements were completed. Please refer to¬†Registrar‚Äôs Office¬†for details about transcript ordering or diplomas.

Starting in 2021 Fall, all incoming PHD students and faculty will be required to submit an Individual Development Plan (IDP) to the department prior to submission of their GS6. We suggest students and faculty do this during the second semester, or the summer before the third semester. The goal of this exercise is to help the student identify professional development needs and create a dialog between student and mentor. Directions for the IDP are found here: https://graduateschool.colostate.edu/professional-development/idp/

What the department asks you to submit is the IDP worksheet. If there are any areas that faculty and student discussed in their meeting, feel free to add any notes to this document. This summary should be signed and approved by both the mentor and the student to demonstrate shared research and mentoring goals across the team. The final signed document should be emailed to Kierra prior to submission of the GS6 (ideally at the beginning of the third semester).

For reference, an example IDP worksheet is found here, and only provided as a suggestion to faculty and student on what to to submit to the department. But please feel free to add to the questions as relevant for your discussion and mentoring plan, as we recognize each IDP is unique.  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Wtxe9YCHqFgN-8u3kA_O_8Ar54nkawvduGygCFi9k9I/ed

Qualifying exams are required 2 semesters before you defend your dissertation (final exam).

Qualifying exams are meant as a way for you and your committee to review your progress and make any changes necessary before continuing on your Ph.D. program. They may look different for each grad student based on your committee’s expectations and needs.

M.S. to Ph.D.

72 credits.

Note: M.S. degrees from other accredited universities may be accepted up to 30 credits, pending approval by the grad school. See related question regarding transfer credits below.

There is no maximum to the amount of research credits for a Ph.D.

21 credits are required to be upper division.

Unlike the SOCR M.S., there is no requirement for these courses being regular courses. (All courses over 500 level will count). However, there is a requirement for two professional development courses and a seminar course. Additionally, the Ph.D. includes a teaching requirement.

To complete the Ph.D., students must write a dissertation and take an oral examination that may include questions regarding the dissertation and course work.

There is also a requirement for two professional development courses and a seminar course. Additionally, the Ph.D. includes a teaching requirement.

Professional Development Courses:

Ph.D. Students are required to complete at least two of these courses. However, all of the courses are recommended.

SOCR 530 – Scientific Writing

SOCR 650 – Research Proposal Development

SOCR 675 – Presentations for Scientific Audiences

Seminar Course: 

SOCR 792 – Seminar

The graduate school can formally evaluate the credits proposed for transfer towards the student’s degree during evaluation of the student’s GS6 Program of Study form. All credits proposed for transfer should be approved by their faculty advisor and department. Please visit the transfer credit evaluation criteria page for more information concerning requirements each course must meet to be considered eligible on the Graduate School’s side: https://graduateschool.colostate.edu/policies-and-procedures/transfer-credits/

The student will want to ensure their official transcript from the institution is on file before submitting the GS6 with the transfer courses proposed. We request that transcripts be mailed directly from their previous institution to the following address:

Colorado State University
Graduate School
1005 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1005

Or, if they’re sending from a domestic institution:
Electronic transcripts are acceptable and may be sent on their behalf to gradschool@colostate.edu directly from the prior institution via a secure server such as, Parchment, eScrip-Safe, the National Student Clearinghouse, or any other secure site used by the sending institution.

There are two parts to the teaching requirement. The first is an orientation program or alternatively a teaching methodology course.

  • GTA/GRA Orientation Program: The Graduate School offers a one-day GTA/GRA Orientation program just before fall semester begins. This should be done prior to taking Supervised College Teaching.

OR

  • Complete a formal course in teaching methodology (e.g., A 546, AD 520, ED 628, or GS 792), or have completed such a course previously.

The second part is supervised college teaching. 1 credit of SOCR 784 ‚ÄďSupervised College Teaching. The supervised college teaching experience must include one or more of the following teaching activities, with the major advisor and/or the course instructor serving as a teaching mentor to evaluate and help improve the candidate‚Äôs teaching skills:

  • Serve as a Teaching Assistant in a Soil and Crop Sciences course or a suitable substitute.
  • Teach a minimum equivalent of four 50-minute lecture or lab periods in a Soil and Crop Sciences course or suitable substitute.
  • Participate in an alternative teaching experience that will require an effort equivalent to the aforementioned classroom teaching. These activities might include development of Internet teaching modules, delivery of extension programming (such as through workshops, field days, web pages, fact sheets, or bulletins), curriculum development, or another equivalent teaching experience approved by the student‚Äôs advisor.
  • Register for classes through Ram Web
    • Students must be registered every fall and spring semester in a credit-bearing course or enrolled in continuous registration (CR). If you are graduating in the summer, registration in a course or CR is required. Please review our¬†Continuous Registration & Graduation Enrollment Policies¬†page for more information and resources.
  • Select your committee with your advisor.
  • Fill out your GS6 Program of Study.
    • The GS6 Program of Study Form lists your¬†intended coursework,¬†the members of your committee, and¬†any other requirements to complete your degree.
    • The form must be submitted to the Graduate School prior to your¬†fourth regular semester. Visit our¬†GS6 Program of Study page¬†and¬†forms page¬†for more details. Familiarize yourself with the¬†Deadline Dates¬†for your anticipated graduation term.
  • Take your Preliminary Exam
    • An exam determines whether a Ph.D. student is qualified to continue toward the doctorate degree. Exam must be completed at least two semesters prior to the Ph.D. student‚Äôs final examination/defense. The¬†GS16 Preliminary Exam Form¬†is signed by members of a Ph.D. student‚Äôs committee after the student has completed his/her preliminary examination. Must be submitted to the Graduate School within two working days after the results of the examination are known.
  • Review Dissertation Formatting Guidelines
    • Prior to starting your thesis, please review the¬†formatting guidelines¬†for resources and requirements.
  • Apply to Graduate
    • To apply or reapply to graduate, you must submit the¬†GS25 Application For Graduation Form¬†to the Graduate School by the¬†deadline date¬†of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements. Access the GS25 Application for Graduation Form in¬†RAMweb.¬†You will complete the required information in RAMweb, follow instructions for printing the form, and then submit the form with all required signatures to the Graduate School Office. Visit our¬†GS25 Application for Graduation page¬†and¬†forms page¬†for more details.
  • Give Your Final Oral Defense
    • A final exam is required for all Doctoral students and must be completed by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements. The¬†GS24 Final Exam Results Form¬†is signed by members of a student‚Äôs committee after the student has completed the final examination/defense. The form must be submitted to the Graduate School within two working days after the results of the examination are known, and by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements.
  • Complete your Thesis Submission Form
    • The¬†GS30 Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form¬†is signed by the members of your committee when your thesis is approved and ready for electronic submission. This form must be submitted to the Graduate School by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements.
  • Submit your Thesis Electronically through ProQuest/UMI
    • As you finish your thesis, visit the¬†Thesis/Dissertation pages for formatting requirements. Submit your thesis electronically to ProQuest/UMI. Your document must be approved for formatting prior to the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements. You may have required formatting corrections in your document, it is recommended that you submit your thesis in advance of the deadline date.
  • Attend Commencement Ceremony (optional)
    • Graduate School celebrates your achievements! Graduate students who are completing their degree requirements are welcome to attend the ceremony at the end of the semester (fall and spring only). Visit our¬†commencement pages¬†for more information about commencement event details.
  • Receive your Diploma
    • The Registrar‚Äôs Office processes official transcript requests and handles diplomas. Diplomas are mailed to students approximately six ‚Äď eight weeks after the last day of classes of the semester which all degree requirements were completed. Please refer to¬†Registrar‚Äôs Office¬†for details about transcript ordering or diplomas.

Starting in 2021 Fall, all incoming PHD students and faculty will be required to submit an Individual Development Plan (IDP) to the department prior to submission of their GS6. We suggest students and faculty do this during the second semester, or the summer before the third semester. The goal of this exercise is to help the student identify professional development needs and create a dialog between student and mentor. Directions for the IDP are found here: https://graduateschool.colostate.edu/professional-development/idp/

What the department asks you to submit is the IDP worksheet. If there are any areas that faculty and student discussed in their meeting, feel free to add any notes to this document. This summary should be signed and approved by both the mentor and the student to demonstrate shared research and mentoring goals across the team. The final signed document should be emailed to Kierra prior to submission of the GS6 (ideally at the beginning of the third semester).

For reference, an example IDP worksheet is found here, and only provided as a suggestion to faculty and student on what to to submit to the department. But please feel free to add to the questions as relevant for your discussion and mentoring plan, as we recognize each IDP is unique.  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Wtxe9YCHqFgN-8u3kA_O_8Ar54nkawvduGygCFi9k9I/ed

Qualifying exams are required two semesters before you defend your dissertation (final exam).

Qualifying exams are meant as a way for you and your committee to review your progress and make any changes necessary before continuing on your Ph.D. program. They may look different for each grad student based on your committee’s expectations and needs.

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