STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK -- STATE COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY
GRADUATE PROGRAM IN VISION SCIENCE - GRADUATE POLICY DOCUMENT
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GRADUATE PROGRAM IN VISION SCIENCE

GRADUATE POLICY DOCUMENT

(Amended: 07/25/2013)

I. DEFINITIONS AND PROCEDURES

A. Definitions

1.      “Associate Dean” refers to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research
2.      “Graduate Committee” refers to the Graduate Committee on Policy, Curriculum, Admissions, and Course and Standing (also known as the “G4” Committee).
3.      "Graduate Program" refers to the Graduate Program in Vision Science at the Graduate Center for Vision Research, SUNY College of Optometry.
4.      "Qualified graduate faculty" refers to a member of the College Faculty who, following the recommendation of the Graduate Qualifications Committee, has been formally designated as qualified for the responsibilities under discussion.
5.      "Academic-year semesters" refers to the Fall and Spring semesters.

B. Procedures

1.      This Policy Document is subordinate to, and must be interpreted in conformity with, the negotiated agreement with the UUP, the Policies of the Trustees of the State University of New York, and the Faculty Bylaws of the State College of Optometry.
2.      This Policy Document shall constitute the Graduate Policy Document referred to in the Faculty Bylaws (Appendix A, “COMMITTEE ON GRADUATE PROGRAM, POLICY, ADMISSIONS & STANDING”, Section C).
3.      Changes in this Policy Document shall be made in accordance with the procedures described in the Faculty Bylaws (Appendix A, “COMMITTEE ON GRADUATE PROGRAM, POLICY, ADMISSIONS & STANDING”, Section C).
4.      In the sections that follow, when references are made to recommendations made by the Graduate Committee it shall be understood:
a.      All such recommendations shall be made in writing to the Associate Dean.
b.      The Associate Dean shall either proceed to implement the recommendation OR shall meet with the Committee to discuss its recommendation OR shall respond in writing to the Committee indicating that its recommendation has been rejected or modified.
5.      As indicated in several places below, formal communications from students concerning the Graduate Program shall be made to the Associate Dean. When appropriate, the Associate Dean shall then pass copies of these communications to the appropriate committee for its consideration. Likewise (with the exception of transcripts, which come from the Registrar), formal communication to students concerning the Graduate Program shall come from the Associate Dean’s office.
6.      The Associate Dean shall be informed of all meetings of the Graduate Committee and may attend and participate in these meetings.
7.       The academic calendar for the Graduate Program shall be prepared and distributed by the office of the Associate Dean. The calendar shall generally incorporate the dates given in these policies, but under exceptional circumstances any of these dates may, in consultation with the Graduate Committee, be altered.
8.      Every year, prior to the beginning of the Fall semester, the Qualifications Committee shall prepare a list, in accordance with the Faculty Bylaws, of all members of the Graduate Faculty for the coming academic year. This list shall indicate which functions within the Graduate Program each faculty member has been formally authorized to perform. This list shall be sent to the office of the Associate Dean and be distributed to all members of the Graduate Faculty.

II. ADMISSIONS

A. Admissions Decisions

1.      Applications for admission to the Graduate Program shall be made, directly or indirectly, to the Associate Dean, whose office shall maintain access to all admissions records and shall conduct or authorize all correspondence with applicants.
2.      The Associate Dean’s office shall transmit all applications materials to the Graduate Committee, which shall consider them and convey to the Director its decisions concerning action to be taken on the application. The Committee may consult other faculty and students as it deems appropriate. It may also interview applicants, when possible, as it deems appropriate. The Associate Dean’s office shall inform applicants of the decisions made by the Graduate Committee. (See section III-1, and note that the Graduate Committee makes the final decision on admissions, but not on financial support.)
3.      Admission is to the Graduate Program is to either the MS, OD-MS, or PhD program.  
B. Admission Requirements

An applicant for admission must have completed the following requirements within the past ten years:
a.      Baccalaureate degree, or a professional degree in a health science
b.      Graduate Record Examination General Exam or at the discretion of the Graduate Committee, the OAT or other similar examination.
c.      Demonstration of ability in both written and spoken English. Foreign applicants from non-English speaking countries must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
d.      Letters of recommendation from three (3) mentors familiar with the applicant.
e.      Official Transcripts of all college and post-graduate work (up to the last recent semester or quarter prior to application deadline).
f.      Under special circumstances, the Graduate Committee may recommend waiving some of the requirements for admission.

C. Admissions Timetable

1.      PhD and MS program students will normally be admitted to the Fall semester. The OD-MS program will accept MS applications no later than November 30 for acceptance in the Spring.  The Graduate Committee may, at its discretion, recommend that a student be admitted to any other semester.
2.      Completed applications normally must be received not later than January 15 for admission to the Fall semester, but the Graduate Committee may, at its discretion, recommend the acceptance of a late application. 
3.      For PhD and MS applications completed by January 15, notification of acceptance or rejection shall be sent to the applicant not later than 1 April.
4.      For MS applicants to the OD-MS program, notification of acceptance or rejection shall be sent to the applicant not later than the first week in January.

D. Admission with advanced standing

1.      A student who has been admitted to the Graduate Program may apply to the Associate Dean for transfer credit for graduate level work completed at another institution. The Graduate Committee shall then assess the work that has been completed and make its recommendation concerning what transfer credit to grant. Transfer credit shall be indicated as such on the student's transcript, and no grade shall be assigned to it, nor shall it be counted in the determination of the student's GPA

III. FINANCIAL AID, AWARDS, AND ASSISTANTSHIPS

1.      Recommendations concerning granting of financial aid and awards and the assignment of graduate assistantships shall be made by the Graduate Committee.
2.      Students shall receive graduate assistantship support only for those semesters during which they are enrolled full-time in the graduate program.

IV. ADVISORS

1.      Every graduate student must have a graduate advisor, whose role shall be to help the student plan her or his course of study, to direct the student's research, and to assist the Associate Dean and Graduate Committee in their periodic assessments of the student's progress.
2.      A student's advisor shall be selected by the student, with the consent of the chosen advisor, from among the appropriately qualified graduate faculty.
3.      It shall be the responsibility of the Associate Dean to inform students concerning available advisors and to inform all qualified faculty of students who are in need of advisors.
4.      For the PhD program, an advisor should be selected no later than the end of the student's third semester in the program.  For the MS and OD-MS programs, an advisor should be selected no later than the end of the student’s first full semester in the program.  
5.      The Associate Dean, or his or her designee, shall be the interim advisor to students who have not yet selected an advisor. 
6.      A student who does not or cannot identify an advisor willing to work with the student may not remain in the program.
7.      A formal event for prospective OD-MS students, with lectures/demonstrations by available advisors, will occur in the Fall semester of the first year of the professional program.  Students will then interview with the advisors of their choice.  
8.      A student may change to a new advisor with the consent of the Associate Dean. 
9.      A student shall signify her or his choice of advisor, or change in advisor, by a written statement, signed by both the student and the new advisor, filed with the office of the Associate Dean. In the case of a change of advisor, the office of the Associate Dean shall immediately notify the previous advisor of the requested change.
10.      At least once a year, the Associate Dean shall meet with the Graduate Committee and qualified Faculty to discuss student progress and the assignment or changes of assignment of advisors to graduate students.
           
V. REGISTRATION AND MAINTENANCE OF MATRICULATION

A. Registration
1.      Each student's registration form must be approved in writing by her or his advisor and filed with the Associate Dean before the beginning of the semester or as specified in the academic calendar. 

B. Adding Courses
1.      With the written approval of the instructor and the written approval of the student's advisor, a student may add courses to his or her program. Notification of such additions, along with the written approvals, must be filed with the office of the Associate Dean within the first two weeks of the semester.

C. Withdrawal from Courses
1.      A student may withdraw from a course within the first four weeks of the course without the registration or withdrawal being recorded on the transcript.
2.      A student withdrawing within the first four weeks must give written notice to both the Associate Dean and the instructor in writing of his/her intention to withdraw.

D. Requirements for Active Status
1.      To maintain active full-time status, students normally must maintain registration in at least 12 semester-hours of graduate credit in each of the academic-year semesters (Fall, and Spring). With the written approval of her or his advisor, a student may petition the Associate Dean to be granted full-time status for a particular semester while maintaining registration for as few as 9 semester-hours of credit. A recommendation to approve such a petition shall be at the discretion of the Graduate Committee. Students enrolled for fewer than 9 credits shall be considered part-time.
2.      To maintain active combined program or part-time status, students normally must maintain registration for at least one graduate credit (including research done for graduate credit) per academic-year semester.
3.      To maintain active status, students must have an advisor.
4.      Failure to maintain active status, without formal leave of absence, for more than one academic-year semester, consecutively, shall result in dismissal from the graduate program.

E. Leaves of Absence
1.      A student may request a leave of absence by petitioning in writing to the Associate Dean. Such requests are generally for medical or emergency reasons.
2.      The Graduate Committee, following consultation with the student's advisor and other appropriate persons, may recommend granting a leave of absence of up to one year in duration.
3.      A request for an extension of a leave of absence may be made and acted upon in the same manner as an original request for a leave of absence.

VI. GRADES, PROBATION, AND DISMISSAL

A. Letter Grades and Credit-only Grades
1.      The letter grades are "A", "B", "C", "D", and "F". Of these grades, "A", "B", and "C" are passing grades and receive full graduate credit, while "D" and "F" are failing grades and receive no graduate credit.
2.      All graduate courses with the exception of research and independent study must be taken for letter grades.
3.      The credit-only grades are P and U.
4.      Research or independent study shall be taken for a credit-only grade. 
5.      The instructor of each course is responsible for determining the procedures to be used in evaluating performance for the course and is responsible for informing the students of these procedures at the beginning of the course.

B. Incomplete Grades
1.      A grade of "I"--incomplete--indicates that the requirements of the course have not been completed by the end of the grading period but that the work that has been done has been at a passing level. A grade of "I" may be given at the discretion of the instructor.
2.      An "I" grade must be replaced by a letter grade or credit-only grade no later than the end of the following semester. An "I" grade that has not been replaced by this time will be automatically converted to an "F" or a "U" grade. Under exceptional circumstances the course instructor may grant an extension of one semester to this period. The instructor is to notify the Program Director's office in writing of any extension that is granted. After the "I" grade has been replaced, the student's transcript shall not indicate that the initial grade received in the course was an "I".

C. Submission of Grades
1.      Instructors shall submit course grades to the Registrar within 1 week of end of the final exam period.
2.      A grade may be changed by the instructor of the course at any time after the grades for the course have been submitted, but ONLY in the event that the original grade issued was in error. A written statement of such a grade change is to be submitted by the instructor to the Registrar and to the Program Director.

D. Notification of Grades
1.      Following every academic semester, each student will receive by mail from the Registrar a transcript of his/her grades. Grades with students' names should not be posted or otherwise made public.
2.      The Registrar shall also send a copy of each transcript to the Associate Dean, who shall make it available to the Graduate Committee and to the student's advisor.  

E. Grade Point Average (GPA)
1.      In calculating a student's grade point average, the quarter- hour credit assigned to a course is multiplied by the numerical weight of the grade received in the course. The numerical weights of the letter grades are as follows:
A - 4
B - 3
C - 2
D - 1
F - 0
Credit-only grades are not used in calculating grade point averages.
2.      If a student repeats a graduate course for any reason, the student's transcript shall show this and shall show both the first and second grades received. The grades and the credit hours shall each be averaged in calculating the student's cumulative grade point average.
3.      Following every academic semester, cumulative GPAs shall be calculated by the Registrar and recorded on the students' transcripts.

F. Academic Probation and Dismissal

1.      Students are expected to maintain a cumulative graduate grade point average of at least 3.00. 
2.      Starting with the end of a student's second academic semester in the graduate program, a student who, following the end of a semester or evaluation period, has a cumulative graduate GPA of less than 3.00, or who has received a grade of "D" or "F" in any graduate course or a grade of “unsatisfactory”  in a research course, in the semester just completed, shall be placed on automatic academic probation.
3.      A student may also be placed on academic probation if he or she is judged not to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree for which he or she is a candidate. In such cases explicit conditions should be specified that the student must meet during the next academic semester to be removed from academic probation.
4.      When a student's academic performance does not yet warrant probation but appears to be in danger of doing so, a letter of warning may be sent. The Graduate Committee shall recommend to the Associate Dean that the student and his/her advisor receive written notification that the student is in jeopardy of being placed on probation. In such cases explicit conditions should be specified that the student must meet to avoid being placed on probation.
5.      A student whose performance warrants automatic academic probation for two consecutive academic semesters or evaluation periods, or who fails to meet the conditions specified when he or she was placed on probation may be dismissed from the Graduate Program.
6.      Prior to making a recommendation of dismissal, the Graduate Committee shall consult with the student's advisor and shall offer the student an opportunity to meet with the Committee.
7.      A student shall be informed in writing of academic probation or dismissal. A copy of any such communications shall be sent to the student's advisor.
8.      Decisions concerning probation and dismissal shall be made and communicated within the first two weeks of the semester following the semester under consideration. A student who is dismissed shall be allowed to complete the semester during which the decision is made. Prior commitments of financial support shall be honored during this period.

G. Transcripts and record-keeping

1.      The Registrar shall maintain official graduate transcripts for each graduate student. The transcript shall be a chronological record of each course taken, the course's instructor, the credit assigned to the course, the grade received, and the GPA The transcript shall include an explanation of the Program's grading system and an explanation of the course numbering (GP100-level, GM200-level, etc.). Any credit awarded for prior academic work shall also be noted on the transcript.
2.      Copies of all records pertinent to each student's admission to and progress through the Graduate program shall be kept by the Associate Dean and made available to the Graduate Committee as requested.

VII. GRADUATE COURSES AND CREDIT

A. Graduate credit for professional courses

1.      Certain courses in the profession curriculum have been designated as courses that may be taken for graduate credit. The Graduate Committee may recommend additions to or deletions from this list.
2.      The graduate credit assigned to professional level courses shall be computed as one semester-hour of credit for each hour of lecture per week and 0.5 semester-hour of credit for each hour of laboratory or recitation per week.
3.      Students who have a passing grade in the courses in the professional program that are required for completion of the MS will retroactively receive credit for these courses when they are accepted into the OD-MS program.

B. Graduate Seminars and Tutorials

1.      All graduate seminars/tutorials on the options list shall be designated as GM200-level courses.
2.      Other graduate seminars/tutorials shall be designated as GE300 level courses.
3.      Proposals for graduate courses must be submitted to the Associate Dean no later than the third week of the semester prior to the semester in which the seminar is proposed to be offered. The Graduate Committee shall consider such proposals and shall recommend whether the proposal be accepted, rejected, or modified as to content and amount of meeting time and associated credit.

C. Credit for research and independent study

1.      Students may register for and receive credit for independent study. Such credit shall be at the G300-level and may be applied toward the requirements for elective credits in the professional program
2.      Students working toward the PhD degree may register for and receive credit for their research activities. Such credit shall be designated at the GD400-level.
3.      To receive graduate credit for research or independent study in a given semester, a student must follow the usual procedures for registration in (or withdrawal from) graduate courses and so must have the signed consent of the advisor. They must also have the signed consent of the person supervising the research or independent study, if different from the advisor.
4.      In general, it shall be expected that a student do at least 2 hours of work per week for each one semester-hour of credit for research.
5.      Research shall receive credit-only grades.

D. Credit for work to be done at other institutions

1.      A student enrolled in the graduate program may, with the written approval of his or her advisor, petition the Associate Dean to receive graduate credit for courses, seminars, or research to be undertaken at another institution. Regarding research, when the majority of it is being done off campus, the Office of the Associate Dean and the Graduate Committee should be notified. Subsequently, after due consideration, the Graduate Committee should make a recommendation to the Associate Dean. Petitions must be made no later than the beginning of the semester prior to the quarter in which such work is to be done.
2.      Such petitions shall be considered by the Graduate Committee, which shall make a recommendation on granting or denying credit, and may also recommend conditions that must be met (in terms of grade earned, supervision, reporting, etc.) for credit to be granted.

VIII. MASTER OF SCIENCE (MS) IN VISION SCIENCE

A.      Requirements for the MS degree, including the OD-MS degree
1.      Completion of the curriculum requirements (see Section VIII-B).
2.      Completion of at least 40 semester-hours of graduate credit, at least 25.5 of which must be at the GM200-level or above. Up to 14.5 semester-hours of graduate credit may be earned at another institution (either prior to or following enrollment in this program), but at least 25.5 semester-hours (including research credit) at the GM200-level or above must be completed in this program.
3.      A cumulative graduate grade point average of at least 3.00.
4.      Completion of the Master's Research requirement and oral defense of the work (see section VIII-E).
5.      All MS graduate students are required to attend a minimum of six (6) presentations per year from SIVR Colloquia, VisioNYC, and/or Journal Club or equivalent.  Students are also encouraged to attending scientific meetings such as ARVO or the Academy of Optometry.
6.      All requirements for the MS degree must be completed within 5 years of starting the program.
7.      MS degrees may be awarded two times a year, near the end of each semester. (Commence-ment ceremonies are held once a year, near the end of the Spring semester, for all degrees awarded during the past year.)
8.      When a student has completed all the requirements for the MS degree, the student may file a written request for the degree with the office of the Associate Dean. The first day of each semester is the deadline for filing a request to receive a degree near the end of that semester.
9.      At the time of filing a request for the MS degree, the student must also indicate whether he or she wishes to be considered for admission to the PhD program.
10.      Following a written request for the degree, the Graduate Committee shall examine the student's credentials and, if all the requirements have been completed, shall recommend to the Associate Dean that the student be awarded the degree of MS in Vision Science at the next opportunity. Awarding of the degree shall be subject to verification by the Registrar that all requirements have been completed.  

B. MS Core Curriculum

1.      To qualify for the MS degree, students enrolled in the OD-MS Program must pass the following professional program courses:
Integrated Optics I
Visual Function: Sensory, parts A and B
Ocular Anatomy, Biochemistry & Physiology I
Ocular Anatomy, Biochemistry & Physiology II
2.      Students must also pass the GM200-level Introduction to Statistical Methods (GM201).
3.        Students must pass the GM240 Research Survival Skills course.
4.      To qualify for the MS degree, students must pass the seminar GM219: Ethics in Research.
5.      The published description of each core course shall list any courses or material prerequisite or co-requisite to that course. Students must meet these requirements to the satisfaction of the course instructor.

C. Course options list
1.      To qualify for the MS degree, a student must pass five (5) GM200-level seminars, such as:
GM202 Optics of the Eye
GM203 Spatial-temporal Processes
GM204 Color Vision
GM205 Vegetative Physiology of the Eye
GM207 LGN and Cortex
GM208 Ocular Motility
GM209 Binocular Vision
GM210 Visual Perception
GM211 Ocular Biochemistry
GM212 Ocular Pharmacology
GM213 Ocular Pathology
GM214 Accommodation
GM216 Visual Physiology of the Eye
GM218 Visual Development
GM220 Receptors and Cell Signaling Pathways
GM221 Early Visual Processing in the Brain
GM222 Retinal Mechanism & Behavior
2.      Each of the above seminars shall be a 2-credit course.
3.      Seminars in the above areas are expected to be somewhat broad, rather than narrowly specialized, but they are also not expected to cover all of the topic area nor to cover exactly the same material each time offered. A student may, with the permission of his or her advisor, take more than one seminar in the same topic area for credit; in that case he or she must still take seminars in five distinct options list areas.
4.      A student taking an options list seminar must also satisfy any prerequisites and co-requisites for the seminar as specified by the instructor.
5.      Each time an options list seminar is to be offered, a proposal concerning the topics to be covered must be submitted to the Associate Dean no later than the third week of the semester prior to the semester in which the seminar is to be offered. The Graduate Committee shall consider the proposal and recommend whether it is appropriate in content and breadth for the options list area or needs to be modified. If necessary, the Graduate Committee shall also recommend whether the proposed seminar is sufficiently different in content from a previous seminar in that options area so that a student taking both seminars could receive separate graduate credit for each of them.
6.      By the end of the semester during which an options list seminar is offered, a complete reading list for the seminar must be requested and received by the Associate Dean to be put on file.
7.      The Associate  Dean is requested to make every reasonable effort to ensure that at least two options list seminars are offered every academic semester and to plan and announce the scheduling of these offerings at least two years in advance.

D. Exemptions from required courses

1.      A student may, on the basis of previous work, request an exemption either from a required course in the core curriculum or from a required prerequisite or co-requisite to a core curriculum course or to an options list seminar. Such requests shall be made by petition in writing to the instructor of the core course or the options list seminar.
2.      The instructor may use any appropriate evaluative method in deciding on whether to recommend the exemption and shall transmit his or her recommendation in writing to the Associate Dean.

E. MS Research requirement

1.       In consultation with his/her thesis advisor, an OD-MS student will invite at least two members of the graduate faculty to serve on his/her thesis committee by June 15 of their first year. Since one role of the thesis committee is to resolve any conflicts that may arise between a student and his/her advisor, a member other than the thesis advisor should be named committee chairperson.  This committee shall be approved by the Associate Dean. The ad hoc committee may if it desires make use of consultants not on the committee.
2.      Also by June 15 of their first year, the student will write a brief thesis proposal and meet with the committee members to discuss the project and obtain approval and submit a M.S. Thesis Committee Progress Report to the Office of the Associate.  As a proposal, it is anticipated that changes may be made as the research project is executed; students should inform committee members of any significant changes in the project as it progresses.  Students are expected to meet with their Thesis Committee and submit a progress report by the end of each semester.
3.      Each student must submit a final paper based upon their research activities, which must be    approved by the student’s thesis committee.
4.      In addition to the written Master’s thesis, OD-MS students will be required to present their work orally in the form of a scheduled talk to the College community, including the thesis committee, followed by a question and answer period.  A satisfactory oral presentation, as judged by the student’s thesis committee, is a requirement of the M.S. degree.
5       OD-MS students are encouraged to finish the written thesis and oral defense before the beginning of their 4th year, particularly if they will be away on internships. 

IX. DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (PhD) IN VISION SCIENCE

A. Requirements for the PhD degree

1.      The student must complete at least 80 semester credits (see PhD Curriculum requirements, Section IX-B). Candidates are encouraged, in consultation with their advisors, to take advanced seminars and tutorials and relevant course work.
2.      The student must have a cumulative grade point average from course work, including research course work, of 3.00 or higher.
3.      The student must be enrolled full-time for at least 2 consecutive semesters.
4.      All students in the PhD Program are expected to attend at least 75% of the SIVR Colloquia, VisioNYC, and Journal Club presented each academic year.
5.      All PhD students are expected to give a minimum of one conference presentation during Year 3, and at least one presentation during Year 4 or 5. In addition, PhD students are required to give one journal club presentation each year starting with Year 2.
6.      All PhD students are required to make an oral presentation of the work done after each year (see Section IX-D on Oral Presentations.)
7.      Students must take and pass a Qualifying exam: (see Section IX-F). After passing this exam, the student will be said to have advanced to candidacy.
8.      Students must write a dissertation and have it approved (see Section IX-H).
9.      PhD degrees may be awarded two times a year, near the end of the Fall and Spring semester. Commencement ceremonies are held once a year, near the end of the Spring semester, for all degrees awarded during the year.
10.      When a student has completed all the requirements for the PhD degree, the student may file a written request for the degree with the office of the Associate Dean. The first day of each semester is the deadline for filing a request to receive a degree near the end of that semester.
11.      Following a written request for the degree, the Graduate Committee shall examine the student's credentials and, if all the requirements have been completed, shall recommend to the Associate Dean that the student be awarded the degree of PhD in Vision Science at the next opportunity. Awarding of the degree shall be subject to verification by the Registrar that all requirements have been completed. 
12. A student in the PhD program who must leave before completion of the PhD for any reason may submit a written request to the Associate Dean to be considered for conferral of the MS degree.  This “terminal masters” is typically awarded only to students who have completed the PhD Core Curriculum and submitted a paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal resulting from research conducted in the Program.

B. PhD Core Curriculum Requirements

1.      To qualify for the PhD degree, students must pass the following courses:
GM230 Introduction to Vision Science – Part I
GM231 Introduction to Vision Science – Part II
2.      Students must also pass GM200-level Introduction to Statistical Methods (GM201).
3.      Students must pass the seminar GM219: Ethics in Research.
4.      PhD students are required to complete a minimum of two lab rotations during the first year in the program, one during the Fall semester and a second in the Spring semester.
5.      The published description of each core course shall list any courses or material prerequisite or co-requisite to that course. Students must meet these requirements to the satisfaction of the course instructor.

6.      To qualify for the PhD degree, a student must pass five (5) of the following GM200-level seminars/tutorials from the Options List:
GM202 Optics of the Eye
GM203 Spatial-temporal Processes
GM204 Color Vision
GM205 Vegetative Physiology of the Eye
GM207 LGN and Cortex
GM208 Ocular Motility
GM209 Binocular Vision
GM210 Visual Perception
GM211 Ocular Biochemistry
GM212 Ocular Pharmacology
GM213 Ocular Pathology
GM214 Accommodation
GM216 Visual Physiology of the Eye
GM218 Visual Development
GM220 Receptors and Cell Signaling Pathways
GM221 Early Visual Processing in the Brain
GM222 Retinal Mechanism & Behavior
7.      Each of the above seminars/tutorials shall be a 2-credit course.
8.      Seminars/tutorials in the above areas are expected to be somewhat broad, rather than narrowly specialized, but they are also not expected to cover all of the topic area nor to cover exactly the same material each time offered. A student may, with the permission of his or her advisor, take more than one seminar in the same topic area for credit; in that case he or she must still take seminars/tutorials in five distinct options list areas.
9.      A student taking an options list seminar or tutorial must also satisfy the prerequisites and co-requisites for the seminar.
10.      Each time an options list seminar/tutorial is to be offered, a proposal concerning the topics to be covered must be submitted to the Associate Dean no later than the third week of the semester prior to the semester in which the seminar is to be offered. The Graduate Committee shall consider the proposal and recommend whether it is appropriate in content and breadth for the options list area or needs to be modified. If necessary, the Graduate Committee shall also recommend whether the proposed seminar/tutorial is sufficiently different in content from a previous seminar in that options area so that a student taking both seminars could receive separate graduate credit for each of them.
11.      By the end of the semester during which an options list seminar/tutorial is offered, a complete reading list for the seminar must be requested and received by the Associate Dean to be put on file.
12.      The Associate Dean is requested to make every reasonable effort to ensure that at least two options list seminars are offered every academic semester and to plan and announce the scheduling of these offerings at least two years in advance.

C. Exemptions from required courses
1.      A student may, on the basis of previous work, request an exemption either from a required course in the core curriculum or from a required prerequisite or co-requisite to a core curriculum course or to an options list seminar. Such requests shall be made by petition in writing to the instructor of the core course or the options list seminar.
2.      The instructor may use any appropriate evaluative method in deciding on whether to recommend the exemption and shall transmit his or her recommendation in writing to the Associate Dean.

D. Required Oral Presentations
1.      Each PhD student is required to make an oral presentation of the work done after each year. The presentation will last 15 minutes, with 5 minutes for questioning by the Graduate Faculty.  The Annual Oral Presentations serves to assess students’ proficiency in communicating the knowledge they have gained during their lab rotations or thesis research to an audience.
2.      All members of the Graduate Faculty attending the presentations will evaluate each student’s performance.   Based on these evaluations, students’ advisors will provide individual feedback to each of their students and submit a grade of Pass or Unsatisfactory, which will be recorded on the official graduate student transcript.

E. Dissertation Committee
1.      Each student, in consultation with his/her advisor, will select a Dissertation Research Committee.The Dissertation Committee will consist of (a) the student’s advisor, and (b) at least two qualified faculty who have agreed to serve on the Committee.  Since one role of the Dissertation Committee is to resolve any conflicts between the student and his/her advisor, the advisor cannot be the chairperson of the committee.  The Dissertation Committee must be created prior to the Qualifying Examination. The Dissertation Committee will be approved by the Associate Dean.

F. Qualifying Examination
1.      The Qualifying Exam consists of a Dissertation Proposal which must be submitted by the end of Year 3. It should be in the form of a grant application, such as the National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award (NRSA) to include:
Aims
Background and Significance
Preliminary Data, Materials and Methods
Timetable
Students are encouraged to submit the proposal to the Dissertation Committee by the beginning of Year 3.
2.      The student will be required to provide an oral defense of this written exam which will be graded by the student’s Dissertation Research Committee.  The Committee may: (i) pass the proposal indicating that the detailed aims are sufficient for an acceptable doctoral thesis; (ii) conditionally pass the proposal calling for remedial changes; or (iii) fail the proposal. Failure of the Dissertation Proposal may result in a student’s termination from the graduate program as decided by the Associate Dean.  A student so terminated may submit a written request to the Associate Dean for the conferral of a M.S. degree.  (IX. A.12)
3.      Appropriate forms will be signed by the Dissertation Committee and filed with the Associate Dean’s Office indicating that the proposal has been accepted and that completion of the detailed aims are sufficient for an acceptable doctoral thesis.  A copy of this form will be forwarded to the student.

H. Dissertation
1.       Doctoral students must meet annually with the Dissertation Committee to give a progress report.  The committee will determine whether adequate progress has been made by the student and report this to the Associate Dean.  Any changes in the aims of the project should be provided to and approved by the Dissertation Committee at these meetings.  At the last progress report meeting, the committee will certify that all aims proposed by the student have been completed and that the student can begin writing the dissertation.
2.      An oral dissertation defense will be conducted by the Dissertation Committee, augmented by a member appointed from outside the College by the Associate Dean in consultation with the Graduate Committee. It is expected that in-house members of the Dissertation Committee will have been kept informed of progress on the dissertation during the conduct of research.
3.      A portion of the candidate’s public dissertation defense will consist of a SIVR Colloquium.
4.      Interested members of the graduate faculty may attend the dissertation defense and may participate in the questioning. Only the Dissertation Committee (including its outside member) may vote on approval.
5.      Approval of the dissertation must be unanimous. Signatures are required from all members of the Dissertation Committee (including its outside member) indicating approval.
6.      Final, approved copies of the dissertation must be submitted to the Associate Dean not later than 5 years after advancing to candidacy.