The Masters Program

Normally, students are not accepted into the MCB Program if they indicate an initial interest in earning a master's degree at the time of their application to the program (i.e. we have no formal master's degree program). However, the MCB Program realizes that, once here, a student's career goals, expectations, and/or level of performance can change and therefore it might be in the student's best interest to leave the program and seek other alternatives. Accordingly, the program offers an opportunity to those students who have completed a body of acceptable work to write a thesis and thus leave the MCB Program with a Master's degree from Dartmouth College. The switch to the Master's track needs approval from the Graduate Committee. Once approved, the requirements for the Master's degree are as outlined below (a.-g.). The judgment of whether or not the student has enough data to write an acceptable Master's thesis is made by the student's Advisory Committee in consultation with the respective Department and/or Graduate Program Chair (see below, 'e. Thesis: Required').

  1. Courses: Course requirements are the same as for the Ph.D, six courses total: three-term core course plus three MCB elective courses.
    Note: a course in research ethics, while useful, does not substitute for any of the six required courses.
  2. Lab Rotations: three successfully completed lab rotations are required
  3. Teaching: one term experience as a teaching assistant in the second year is required
  4. Qualifying Exam: None Required
  5. Research In Progress (RIP) presentation: Required
    Students in their second year and beyond are required to present a RIP seminar each year (defined as the period from July 1 to June 30) in which the student is enrolled for research credit (Bioc/Biol/Gene/Micr 197-199 or Bioc/Biol/Gene/Micr 297-299) in two or more terms. In the year in which the student expects to defend his/her thesis and receive the Masters, the student must still present a RIP seminar unless the confirmed defense date has been sent to the MCB office before August 15.
  6. Thesis: Required
    The Master's thesis should present a coherent investigation of an original scientific question. Both the topic and the experimental approach require approval by the Advisory Committee in consultation with the Department and/or Graduate Program Chair. Furthermore, the Master's thesis will have the usual section components (introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, literature cited, figures, figure legends, tables, etc.) and should conform to the standards of scholarship generally required for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal. See Section II.E.
  7. Oral Examination: Required
    The exam will be conducted by a committee of three program faculty (or two program faculty plus one member from outside the program, although an outside member on the committee is not required); the thesis committee will usually be the same as the advisory committee, although this is not a requirement. The composition of the thesis committee and the date of the thesis exam must be approved by the Graduate Committee.
  8. Oral Presentation: Optional, at the discretion of the thesis committee
  9. Submission of final thesis to the Graduate Studies Office

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