Bio & Ag Graduate Manual

INTRODUCTION

The following information has been prepared to guide students in planning their graduate study in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE). The information contained herein is intended only to supplement and not to replace general requirements set forth in the Graduate Catalog and the Administrative Handbook published by the Graduate School. It would be beneficial to seek guidance from the Director of Graduate Programs or the Graduate Services Coordinator whenever confusion arises as to which set of rules (or guidelines) applies.

The BAE Department offers programs of study for the Master of Science (MS) degree, the Master of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (MBAE) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees.

ADMISSION TO BAE GRADUATE PROGRAMS

Admission to graduate study in BAE is granted by the Graduate School upon recommendation of the BAE Director of Graduate Programs (DGP). The MS, MBAE, and PhD programs each have their own admission requirements. You must apply through The Graduate School.

MBAE, MS, and PhD,

The BAE Graduate Studies Committee reviews all applications and makes a recommendation to the Director of Graduate Programs of BAE regarding admission. Factors considered by the committee include, but are not limited to,

  • academic performance (including GRE scores if applicable),
  • reference letters,
  • a clear and concise statement of interest outlining why you would like to be in the program and what you feel you can contribute.

The specific qualifications required for each degree are outlined in the sections and paragraphs in this document (see below). Meeting the qualifications is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for admission. Admission is also contingent upon space available in the desired program and the match between student interest and the expertise of the faculty. BAE reserves the right to directly contact the references named by the applicant, and to solicit input from sources other than those identified by the applicant, if deemed appropriate.

MS and PhD only

Because the MS and PhD require a research project, and because that research project must be sponsored by a faculty member in this department, admission into the MS and PhD programs requires that a faculty member agree to work with the applicant. It is up to the applicant to obtain that approval. The DGP may offer advice and provide some assistance in the form of communication with the faculty, but no applicant will be admitted without a commitment from a faculty member.

Transfer into BAE Graduate Programs

While transfer into BAE graduate programs from another graduate program is possible, as a general rule we do not encourage it. Transfer between graduate programs should be undertaken only with careful assessment of the goals and objectives to be accomplished in doing so. It is not always possible to transfer in all of the courses previously taken by a student, and thus it is possible that the student may lose a great deal of work. Nevertheless, recognizing that circumstances occasionally favor such transfers, we require, as a minimum

  • the application used to secure admission into the student’s current program,
  • a record of academic performance while in the current program,
  • three updated reference letters (at least one of these must be from someone involved in the current program),
  • an updated, clear, and concise statement of interest, including the reason for the transfer.

Qualifications for transfer are the same as those for admission to full status (see below). BAE will not accept transfers from students on provisional status. As with admissions, meeting the minimum qualifications is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for transfer. The student must also be in good standing in his or her current program in order to be considered, and transfers to MS or PhD programs will only be approved if a BAE faculty member has agreed to work with the student. The responsibility for obtaining that agreement lies solely with the student.

Specific Qualifications

Full Graduate Standing

Admission to full graduate standing implies that the student has been judged to have the potential to succeed in graduate school without the need for remedial course work or proof of academic potential. The Graduate School has established the general requirements for admission to full status, which the department has chosen to supplement with requirements specific to our programs.

Master’s Programs

For admission to full graduate status, the department requires an overall undergraduate GPA of at least 2.8 (based on a 4.0 scale) coupled with a 3.0 or higher in the undergraduate major, provided that the major is in an accredited engineering program.

Doctoral Program

For admission to full graduate status in the PhD program, the department requires a minimum GPA of 3.2 in an MS program in an engineering field and a demonstration of the ability to conduct research. Exceptions will be considered after deliberations by members of the Graduate Faculty in the field of interest, the Graduate Studies Committee, the Director of Graduate Programs and the Department Head. Under normal circumstances students are not admitted to the PhD program on provisional status.

In exceptional cases, students may be allowed to enter a PhD program without having obtained an MS degree. Although this may sometimes be a shorter path to the PhD, it should not be embarked upon without serious consideration. Only mature, well-motivated students with overall undergraduate GPAs greater than 3.5, accompanied by exceptional rankings from their references, should pursue this alternative. A specific request from the student with support from his or her prospective advisor is required. Each such situation will be considered on its own merits by the Director of Graduate Programs and the Graduate Studies Committee.

Although not directly bearing on admission, the issue of support must be considered when requesting entry (or transfer) into a PhD program without an MS. Assistantships are normally granted for a two-year period for MS study and a three-year period for the PhD (see Financial Support below). Support for students entering a PhD without an MS will be for an initial period of two years, with a continuation of that support for the remaining three years being contingent upon the student having demonstrated satisfactory maturity and motivation during the initial two-year period to warrant that continuation.

Provisional Status

Applicants not meeting the requirements for full admission are sometimes granted provisional admission to make up academic deficiencies. The The general requirements for admission to provisional status are established by the Graduate School.

Students with GPAs less than the minimums for full graduate standing may also be considered for provisional admission if extenuating circumstances can be shown to have affected performance or if a clear trend of improvement in academic performance with time is obvious.The GPA criteria for admission are presented in tables in the Administrative Handbook of the Graduate School

Full status is generally granted when all of the remedial coursework is completed with a GPA of 3.0.

University regulations prohibit students on provisional status from holding assistantships

Applicants Without an Undergraduate Engineering Degree

Because our graduate degrees are engineering degrees we normally require an undergraduate engineering degree for admission to those programs. However, we do make allowance for admission for non-engineers with the provison that they acquire sufficient engineering fundamentals to sit for the Engineering Fundamentals exam (see http://www.ncees.org/Exams/FE_exam.php)

In addition to the remedial courses listed below, the equivalent of two semesters of engineering physics and four semesters of mathematics (through differential equations) are required if the applicant’s background does not include them.  These courses must be taken prior to taking the remedial engineering courses.

The remedial courses that address engineering fundamentals are divided into two groups, those for students other than bioprocessing and those for students in bioprocessing.

Non-Bioprocessing

  1. Engineering Statics (MAE 206 or CE 214);
  2. Engineering Dynamics (MAE 208 or CE 215);
  3. Solid Mechanics (MAE 314 or CE 313); and either
  4. Fluid Mechanics (MAE 308 or CE 382) or Thermodynamics (MAE 301), depending upon interest area (ask advisor).

Bioprocessing

  1. Thermodyamics (MAE 301), or equivalent;
  2. Fluid Mechanics (MAE 308), or equivalent;
  3. Transport Phenomena (BAE 402), or equivalent; and
  4. Analytical Methods in Engineering Design (BAE 361).

Applicants with BS degrees from non-engineering or non-accredited programs who possess undergraduate GPA’s greater than 3.5 may be admitted to provisional status while taking a minimum the four remedial engineering courses listed above. The decision to admit provisionally rests with the BAE Graduate Studies Committee.

Non-engineering applicants and applicants who hold BS degrees from non-accredited programs who do not have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.5 will generally not be considered for provisional status until the applicant completes some (or perhaps all) of the remedial coursework in Post-Baccalaureate (PBS) status (or at another institution).

Applicants in either category should contact the Director of Graduate Programs prior to submitting an application.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

International students and students not possessing degrees from accredited engineering programs are required to submit GRE scores (Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical Writing). In the case of international students, GRE scores are used to assist the admissions committee in assessing the the applicant’s undergraduate record, especially if the institution from which the BS was obtained is not well known to the committee. In the case of non-engineering applicants, the GRE scores are used to predict the potential for the applicant to successfully complete advanced engineering work.

Although we do not require GRE scores for those who hold a BS from an accredited engineering program, high GRE scores may compensate for deficiencies in other areas (such as GPA) and should thus be considered as potentially useful supplemental information. Students wishing to be considered for assistantships and fellowships should also consider submitting GRE scores because some awards require it and competitive-ness for those that do not can be significantly enhanced by high GRE scores. Additional information about the GRE can be obtained from the Graduate School.

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MATRICULATION

Each new student should plan to arrive on campus at least a week before first day of classes. Upon arrival, he or she should first come to the BAE department and make an appointment to see the Director of Graduate Programs. The student should then contact his/her major professor (advisor) to assist in selecting course work for the first semester. If the student’s advisor has not been identified, the Director of Graduate Programs will serve in this capacity. The new student will be issued a PIN (Personal ID Number) so that they can register under the TRACS (Telephonic Registration Access Computerized Scheduling) system.

All new students are encouraged to get a copy of the current semester’s Schedule of Courses upon arrival on campus. This document contains much useful information and will answer many questions that are frequently asked by new students. The Graduate School makes a list of resources available to new students to help them transition to life at NCSU.

It should be noted here that continuing students must go through the process of pre-registration, and if this is not done a late fee will be charged.

GRADUATE ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Each MS or PhD student, working with his or her major professor, is responsible for the formation of a graduate advisory committee and for the execution of the proper forms. If a major professor has not been identified upon the student’s arrival on campus, the Director of Graduate Programs will function in this capacity until the advisor is selected. The student must have a regular advisor with whom to consult at the first pre-registration period, which occurs halfway through the first semester..

Major Professor

If the student has not selected his or her major professor before arriving on campus this must be done as early as possible and prior to pre-registration for the second semester of study. The major professor will serve as the MS or PhD advisor and chairman of the student’s advisory committee, or in the case of the MBAE, the student’s advisor. Students are encouraged to confer with a broad spectrum of faculty before making this choice. The type of research topics of interest to the individual faculty member and the prospects of research funding should be addressed directly in these discussions. After the student has identified a faculty member whom he/she would like to serve as the major professor, the student should notify the Director of Graduate Programs.

The Committee

A Graduate Advisory Committee should be formed after one semester of course work has been completed, but no later than the student’s second semester. This should be done by the student in consultation with his or her major professor. A MS committee must consist of the major professor as chairman and at least two other members. One member must represent the student’s minor, if one has been specified, and must come from the minor field. Usually, the other members are from the major department. A PhD Committee must consist of the major professor and at least three other members, plus a Graduate School representative if desired. One of the members must represent the student’s minor and must come from that field.

The purpose of the Committee is to advise the student on the Plan of Graduate Work, to advise the student on questions relating to the student’s research, to evaluate the student’s progress, and to conduct all required examinations.

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PLAN OF GRADUATE WORK

The Plan of Graduate Work for the MS and PhD represents a study plan designed in collaboration with the major professor and advisory committee. In the case of the MBAE, it is a study plan agreed upon by the student and his or her advisor. In either case, it represents a definition of courses to be taken, when they are to be taken, and in the case of the MS and PhD, the research effort and level which the committee deems to be appropriate for the degree and specialty. It can be considered to be the curriculum for the graduate program, and as such every effort should be made to file the plan as early as possible in the program. Although no longer required by the Graduate School for masters programs, it remains a departmental requirement. A Plan of Work is still a Graduate School requirement for PhD..

The Plan of Graduate Work must be submitted to the departmental Director of Graduate Programs prior to the completion of the first year of study in order to remain eligible for assistantships.

The Plan of Work is to be completed in SIS (through MyPack Portal). Things to keep in mind:

  • Know the requirements for the degree program you are seeking. Failure to include the appropriate number of hours of coursework in a particular category will result in the plan being returned for revision. PhD programs must include 72 credit hours, 36 of which can come from your Master’s program if completed at NCSU (without a break between Master’s and PhD programs), or 18 if the Master’s program was completed at another university (or there is a break between programs).
  • To be eligible for the Graduate Student Support Plan (i.e., tuition and health insurance) you must be registered for a minimum number of hours.
  • Master’s coursework supporting a PhD program must be shown on a separate sheet attached to the Plan of Work.

It is strongly encouraged that courses listed on the Plan of Work be grouped by department. BAE courses should come first, followed by courses from other departments, in no particular order. Minor coursework should be listed under the appropriate heading. These groupings will greatly aid the Student Services Assistant with the entry of the information into the on-line database, thus minimizing the possibility of error.

It must be understood that the BAE department does not have a “common” or “core” graduate program, and that every student’s degree program is customized to meet his or her goals. Hence, technically a student cannot legitimately exist as a student in the BAE graduate program without a major professor, an Advisory Committee and a Plan of Graduate Work.

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DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Degree Options

The Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department offers the Master of Science (MS) degree, the Master of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (MBAE) degree (an option B program) and the Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural Engineering (PhD) degree.

The primary difference between the MBAE and MS degrees is that the MBAE is a coursework degree, as opposed to the MS which is a research degree. While the MBAE program is primarily intended for those intending to terminate study at the masters level, a student may, with departmental approval, develop a plan of study under this program which leads to study for the doctorate. There may also be cases where a student having completed the MBAE degree decides to pursue the PhD. Such cases will be handled on an individual basis in both the decision to admit to the PhD program and in designing a PhD program of study.

The PhD should be pursued only by outstanding students with an intense interest in independent study and research. It consists of advanced course work beyond that taken for the master’s degree, a written and oral comprehensive Preliminary Examination, extended and in-depth research, a written research dissertation, and a final oral defense of the research. The focus of the PhD is to demonstrate the ability to do independent research

Masters (Thesis Degree)

Credits

The Master of Science requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit, at least 20 semester hours of which must come from courses at the 500 level and above. The program must include two (2) hrs of Research Methods (a.k.a, Seminar) and no more than six (6) hours of S/U graded courses unless the total program exceeds 30 hours. Stating the latter requirement another way, each program must contain at least 24 hrs of A,B,C graded coursework. Please note that this is more stringent than the Graduate School requirements.

Each MS program must include a minimum of 6 semester hours of mathematics, statistics, and/or biomathematics at the 400-level or higher.

Thesis

All candidates for the Master of Science degree must prepare a thesis. Particulars as to style and organization are described in the Graduate School’s Thesis and Dissertation Manual. The thesis research (BAE 695) is directed by the student’s advisor and represents an individual engineering research effort. It should represent a graduate-level application of engineering principles to research on a biological or agricultural system. The thesis is prepared by the student and submitted to his/her advisory committee. The Graduate School strongly encourages electronic submission of the thesis.

Work on the thesis should begin as soon as possible after enrolling at NCSU.

The Final Oral Examination

Upon approval by the major adviser, the student may submit the thesis to the other members of the advisory committee for their evaluation, at which time the final oral examination may be scheduled. In the final oral examination the student is expected to defend the thesis and to answer questions on course work included in the program. A Request for a Permit to Schedule the Master’s Oral Examination must be filed with the Graduate School least 10 working days before the examination is scheduled, and the student’s committee must have the thesis in final form at least two (2) weeks before the oral. The student is responsible for arranging the examination time, date and location and notifying the advisory committee.

The Minor Field of Study

A minor is no longer required in MS programs administered in the department; however, one may be specified if the student or advisor wishes it so. Normally, the minor will be in a single discipline or field which, in the judgement of the advisory committee, provides relevant support to the major. In some situations it is determined that the student’s needs can best be met with an interdisciplinary minor. Requirements for the minor are specified by the minor department or program. Students in BAE select minors from a broad range of disciplines, some examples of which are shown below:

  • Biomathematics
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Studies
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Entomology
  • Food Science
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Marine Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Operations Research
  • Soil Science
  • Statistics
  • Water Resources

If a discipline specific minor is not appropriate, but a minor is still desired, an interdisciplinary minor can be chosen as an alternative. An interdisciplinary minor consists of 12 hrs of coursework taken from one or more departments outside BAE. These 12 hrs may be double counted with the 6 hrs of math/statistics required of all MS programs. An interdisciplinary minor requires that one of the advisory committee member come from one of the departments offering the coursework in the minor.

Deadlines For MS Students

First Semester:
Select Major Professor
Early in Second Semester:
Form Graduate Advisory Committee
By the end of the first year:
Present a Planning Seminar
Complete Plan of Graduate Work
Present a Proposal for Thesis Work to Advisor(effective 8/05)
Beginning of each semester:
Complete Student Information Form
At Least 10 Working Days Before Final Oral Exam:
Schedule Exam with Committee Members, Deliver Thesis to Committee Members (if applicable), and Request Approval for the Exam from Graduate School (this can be done a month or so in advance)
Before or After the Final Exam:
Present a Results Seminar
In addition to the above deadlines, the Graduate School provides a summary of all of the procedures required for a Master’s program. This summary should be consulted on a regular basis to insure prompt compliance with all policies and procedures.

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MBAE (Non-Thesis Degree)>> Fall ’06 and after

Option B Master’s

Starting in the fall of 2006, the MBAE became an option B master’s program. Advisory committees, minors, and final exams are not allowed. Students must complete at least 30 semester hours of graduate credit, at least 20 semester hours of which must at the 500-600 level. Up to 3 hours of Special Topics (BAE 610) or Special Problems (BAE 620) will be allowed, but research hours (BAE 693 or BAE 695) will not be allowed. Plans of Work that include more than 6 hrs of S/U coursework must be approved by the BAE Graduate Studies Committee. Additional requirements outlined by the Graduate School may come into play

All MBAE programs must include a minimum of 3 hours of mathematics, statistics, and/or biomathematics at the 400-level or higher. Moreover, each MBAE program must show 15 hours of 400-level (or greater) engineering courses, either on the undergraduate transcript or the Plan of Work. These courses must have engineering content and must be taught from an engineering perspective. At least 60% of the hours shown on the Plan of Work must be BAE courses.

Admission to the MBAE is governed by the rules outlined above.

Transfer from the MS to the MBAE

MS students who were supported via assistantship but have not been able to complete their thesis are discouraged from transferring to the MBAE. Assistantships are provided with the understanding that the result will be a thesis; however, it is recognized that unusual circumstances may occasionally preclude the completion of a thesis. In these cases, transfer to the MBAE may be allowed provided that the student submits a request to the Director of Graduate Programs, in writing, to be acted upon by the BAE Graduate Studies Committee. The committee will consider the nature of the circumstances, the amount of thesis work completed, and the harm to the project forgiving the thesis . The committee may require a written summary of the work accomplished to be submitted for the advisor’s approval before granting the transfer.

General Masters Information

Transfer Credit

At least eighteen (18) semester hours of graduate credit must be unique to a Master’s program. Up to 12 credit hours may be transferred from any of the following sources or any combination thereof:

  1. Transfer of graduate credits earned at other universities
  2. Transfer of graduate credits earned while enrolled in an undergraduate program at NC State University
  3. Transfer of graduate credits earned while enrolled in a previous graduate degree program at NC State University
  4. Transfer of Post-Baccalaureate Studies (PBS) graduate credits earned at NC State University

More specific information on this subject is available in the Graduate Administrative Handbook (section 3.1).

Each Master’s program (MS or MBAE) must show 15 hours of 400-level (or greater) engineering courses, either on the undergraduate transcript or the Plan of Work. These courses must have engineering content and must be taught from an engineering perspective.

PhD

Credits

The Graduate School requires a total of 72 hours beyond the BS for a PhD program. If the Master’s was completed at NCSU (without a break between the master’s and PhD), 36 hours may be counted from that program toward the total, provided that they are applicable to the PhD program, leaving a requirement for 36 additional hours. If a relevant Master’s was completed elsewhere, only 18 hours from that program may be counted, leaving a requirement for an additional 54 hours. At least two (2) hours in the plan must be Research Methods (a.k.a. Seminar)..

For students entering after October 26, 2001, PhD programs must include a minimum of 6 semester hours of advanced mathematics, statistics, and/or biomathematics either in the PhD Plan of Work or the previous MS program. If taken as a part of the PhD program they must be at the 500-level or above. If in the MS program the requirement may include advanced 400-level math courses. In addition, each PhD program must show 15 hours of 400-level (or greater) engineering courses, either on the undergraduate transcript, MS coursework or the PhD Plan of Work. As is the case for the MS, these courses must have engineering content and must be taught from an engineering perspective. Please note that the Graduate School will not permit 400-level coursework to count as a part of the 72 hr requirement.

The PhD Minor

A minor is required in all PhD programs administered in the department. Normally, the minor will be in a single discipline or field which, in the judgement of the advisory committee, provides relevant support to the BAE major. In some situations it is determined that the student’s needs can best be met with an interdisciplinary minor. Requirements for a discipline specific minor are specified by the minor department or program. Interdisciplinary minors consist of 12 hrs of coursework from one or more departments outside BAE. These 12 hrs may be double counted with the 6 hrs of math/statistics required of all PhD programs. Students in BAE may select minors from a broad range of disciplines, some examples of which are shown below:

  • Biomathematics
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Studies
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Entomology
  • Food Science
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Marine Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Operations Research
  • Soil Science
  • Statistics
  • Water Resources

Information Transfer Requirement

All PhD students will be expected to participate in some form of information transfer experience as part of their degree program. It will be left to the students advisory committee and the departmental Graduate Program Director to determine what type of experience is most appropriate for a particular student. Evidence of this effort is to be denoted by inclusion of at least (1) hr of Doctoral Supervised Teaching (BAE 885) on the Plan of Work. Potential activities may include, but are not limited to, one of the following:

  1. Teaching a course and/or laboratory under the guidance of a faculty mentor.
  2. Significant input into the preparation, presentation, and grading of student assignments in a course being taught by a faculty member. Routine paper grading is not considered sufficient.
  3. Enrollment in and successful completion of a formal course with the objective of developing teaching skills. Courses approved for this purpose are listed Approved Courses for Information Transfer Req.pdf. Others may be considered for approval, with justification.
  4. Development, documentation, and presentation of instructional materials which may be utilized for information transfer. These may be targeted at students in formal undergraduate or graduate classes or for citizen groups such as might be addressed by extension personnel. The materials developed might be written manuscripts, Internet sites, videos, etc. However, some verbal presentation of the material to a live audience is expected.

A proposed method for fulfilling the requirement must be described on the ‘PhD Information Transfer Requirement’ form and attached to the Plan of Work.

While students may actually obtain credit for an information transfer activity, it is not intended that such credit substitute for the nominal thirty credit hours of formal academic work beyond an MS degree normally expected. Such credit would, however, satisfy the requirement for continuous enrollment and count toward the overall Graduate School credit hour requirements.

Dissertation Proposal

Each PhD student is expected to present a written proposal of the proposed dissertation topic to the advisory committee prior to the preliminary examinations. During the oral examination, the committee will discuss the proposed work with the student and determine it’s feasibility and appropriateness. During this oral examination, the student will be expected to demonstrate more than a superficial understanding of the research topic. Also, questions on the written exams sometimes originate from the research proposal. It is expected that the dissertation proposal will present a significant amount of preliminary research on the part of the student.

Preliminary Examination

All PhD students are required to take a comprehensive preliminary examination covering all graduate course work and the proposed area of research. The examination will consist of written and oral parts, each administered by the student’s major professor and advisory committee. The committee will grade the examination and make the decision of pass or fail on each part. The decision is then submitted to the Graduate School.

All matters relating to the written examination such as the schedule, type of questions, areas to be included, numbers of parts, etc., are to be decided by the student’s major professor in collaboration with the advisory committee, and not by the student. Normally, the student receives written questions from each committee member covering the various fundamental subject areas which comprise the major. These questions can be either of a textbook or research nature, but shall be such that a student’s breadth of knowledge and research capability can be determined. Some minor departments or programs require comprehensive written preliminary examinations which are given only once or twice a year.

The oral examination covers course work taken in both the student’s major as well as minor subject areas, and often relates to questions posed in the written exams. A major portion of the oral examination is also devoted to questions on the student’s proposed research. The purpose of the oral examination is to clarify weaknesses and strengths which may have been made apparent in the written exam, to ascertain the adequacy of the student’s understanding of his or her research topic, and to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed research and it’s appropriateness as a PhD Dissertation.

The preliminary oral examination should be scheduled soon after the preliminary written examinations are completed. A Request to Schedule the Doctoral Oral Examination should be submitted to the Graduate School at least 5 working days before the examination (10 days if the Graduate School representative has not yet been assigned and one has been requested). The student is responsible for arranging the examination time, date and location and notifying the advisory committee. The preliminary examination results, if favorable, must be transmitted to the Graduate School at least six months before the anticipated date of graduation. Thus, it is expected that each student will be engaged in active, full-time research for at least six months after admission to Candidacy.

Normally, students are expected to pass the preliminary examinations in their first attempt. However, a second attempt may be allowed under extenuating circumstances.

Dissertation

The dissertation should be an original contribution to the literature in the field of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. The Graduate School’s Thesis and Dissertation Manual provides a style and organizational guide that must be followed. The dissertations must be complete, in final form, and submitted to the members of the student’s advisory committee at least two weeks before the anticipated defense. The final oral defense must be scheduled through the Graduate School by the chairman of the student’s advisory committee or the departmental Director of Graduate Programs at least two weeks before the anticipated date. Electronic submission of the final version of the dissertation is strongly encouraged by the Graduate School.

Final Oral Examination

Each PhD candidate must pass a final oral examination which is primarily a defense of the dissertation. It will be administered by the advisory committee and other members of the University faculty who may have an interest in the work. The final oral defense must be scheduled through the Graduate School in the same way as the preliminary oral examination. The student’s actual record must comply with his/her Plan of Graduate Study at this time. The final oral examination must be scheduled at least two weeks prior to the date on which it must be held. A notice announcing the examination is published in the University Bulletin.

Deadlines for PhD Students

First Semester:
Select Major Advisor
Early in Second Semester:
Form Graduate Advisory Committee
By the End of the First Year:
Present a Planning Seminar
Complete Plan of Graduate Work
Beginning of each semester:
Complete Student Information Form
At Least Four Months Before Your Anticipated Final Exam:
Schedule Preliminary Exams with Advisor
Present and Defend a Dissertation Proposal as Part of Prelim Exam
At Least Two Weeks Before Preliminary Oral Exam:
Schedule Exam with Committee Members and submit a Request to Schedule the Doctoral Oral Examination to the Graduate School at least 5 working days before the examination (10 days if the Graduate School representative has not yet been assigned and one has been requested).
At Least Two Weeks Before Final Oral Exam:
Schedule Exam with Committee Members and submit a Request to Schedule the Doctoral Oral Examination to the Graduate School at least 5 working days before the examination (10 days if the Graduate School representative has not yet been assigned and one has been requested).
Before or After the Final Exam:
Present a Results Seminar

In addition to the above deadlines, the Graduate School provides a summary of all of the procedures and deadlines required for a PhD program. This summary should be consulted on a regular basis to insure prompt compliance with all policies and procedures.

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FINANCIAL

Graduate students in full standing may be appointed to either a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA), a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA), or a combination of the two. The majority of GRA’s are associated with individual research projects and carry a service obligation associated with the funding project. GRA’s funded by the department require a student to have a 3.2 Grade Point Average (GPA) in their undergraduate program and carry a service obligation to the teaching program of BAE. The normal service obligation for Master’s students is 1semester while the normal obligation for PhD students is 2 semester. Duties vary, but generally consist of grading and/or assisting with classes or labs.

GTA’s are no longer funded separately by BAE, but the opportunity exists to obtain a GTA through another department on campus. The GTA normally carries a requirement that the student provide a teaching service to the department funding the assistantship.

A 1/2-time appointment carries a 20 hour per week commitment to the department whereas a 3/4-time appointment requires 30 hours of service per week. The student’s major professor determines how and when these requirements are met. If the student’s work performance is not satisfactory, upon formal notice, the student’s financial support may be discontinued. In addition, the student must maintain a GPA of 3.0 on all course work taken, whether a part of the plan of work or not. Any time the cumulative GPA drops below 3.0, the student must give up the assistantship. GPA’s are calculated on graduate coursework only.

Funding for BAE departmental assistantships is limited; therefore, a time limit is imposed to ensure that the maximum number of students can be supported at any given time. For the MS, the limit is two (2) years while for the PhD it is three (3) years. For PhD students who do not hold an MS, departmental support may be granted for up to five (5) years provided that sufficient maturity and motivation is demonstrated at the two (2) year mark to warrant continuation of the support for the final three (3) years. Support beyond the limits outlined here is not guaranteed and is subject to availability of funds. If granted, it might not include tuition, either in-state or out-of-state, nor health insurance.

Research assistantship appointments may begin at any time during the year. The initial appointment will end the following June 30, and one year reappointments made, effective July 1, as long as the student is in good standing until the end of the maximum term of appointment. Students on a research assistantship are paid at the end of each month.

Tuition and Fees

All graduate students at NCSU who are not on assistantships or fellowships pay tuition and fees appropriate to their residence status and current rates as determined on an annual basis. Those who are legal residents of North Carolina pay in-state tuition rates. Those who are not legal residents of North Carolina must pay out-of-state tuition rates.

Students who have been awarded an assistantship or fellowship are eligible to participate in the Graduate Student Support Plan. The rules for this plan are complex and will not be repeated here; however, in general, out-of-state tuition is covered by the plan for a period of two years for Master’s students and three years for PhD students. To participate, students are required to enroll for a minimum number of hours each semester of their program. In addition to having out-of-state tuition covered by the program, students are also automatically enrolled in a health insurance plan at no cost.

Students who have been awarded an assistantship or fellowship will also have their in-state tuition covered by the source of the assistantship funds. Fees are not covered and are the responsibility of the student.

North Carolina Residency

US citizens who are not legal residents of North Carolina are strongly encouraged to take the steps necessary to acquire NC residence status as soon as possible after arrival on campus. An explanation of requirements and the steps necessary to accomplish NC residence have been made available by the Graduate School. Students who do not obtain NC residence status are responsible for out-of-state tuition rates for any courses taken after exhausting eligibility under the Graduate Student Support Plan.

Other Financial Responsibilities of the Student

Graduate students should be aware of other financial responsibilities that they will incur as a graduate student at NCSU and while living in the North Carolina/Wake County/Raleigh area. Students must pay state and federal income taxes on all income earned from assistantships and fellowships. Students who are awarded fellowships may deduct all educational expenses. Those on assistantships are not eligible to deduct associated educational expenses. The defining line between an assistantship and a fellowship from the perspective of the IRS is the requirement for a service obligation. To be considered a fellowship, a service obligation may not be required. Graduate students are expected to list all personal property, including automobiles, in Wake County/Raleigh and pay property taxes per property valuation. Automobiles should be registered with the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles and city of Raleigh (if residing therein). There is a fee associated with each of these.

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OTHER GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

Evaluation of Progress

The academic standing and research progress of each graduate student is reviewed at the end of each semester by the student’s major professor (committee chairman). In the case of deficiencies, any necessary action is taken by the Dean of the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the student’s committee and the Director of Graduate Programs. A graduate student whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 is issued an academic warning if he/she has accumulated less than 18 hours. If the student’s cumulative GPA is below 3.0 after 18 hours of credit, the Graduate School will terminate the student’s enrollment at NCSU. The student may be reinstated upon recommendation, with strong justification, of the advisory committee chairman and the Director of Graduate Programs and approval by the Graduate School. The department can recommend termination prior to the completion of 18 hours when it is deemed appropriate to do so.

In the event of unsatisfactory work performance on an assistantship, the student will be given notice of this in writing. If the work performance does not then improve, the assistantship may be terminated with written notice.

Seminar

Students entering fall ’05 or after — All students must register for two semesters of seminar (either BAE 590 for MS or 790 for PhD) during their program and deliver a planning seminar as part of the course. Students will be required to present an exit seminar as the public part of their final exam.

Planning Seminar

In addition to attending seminar, all graduate students in Biological and Agricultural Engineering are expected to present a preliminary or planning seminar during the first year of their graduate program. The purpose of these seminars is threefold:

  • Preparation for the seminar requires that the student begin planning for his/her thesis/dissertation research,
  • The seminar allows time for feedback from other graduate students and faculty which may be helpful in final plans for experimental work,
  • the presentation is an opportunity for graduate students to get experience in preparation of graphics, speaking before a group, and responding to questions from the audience.

The planning seminars are not expected to include final results and conclusions but in some cases may include preliminary data. It is expected that the seminars will contain the following features:

  • A general introduction of the area in which the student will be working.
  • A definition of the specific problem(s) to be solved, background on what has already been done on the problem(s), and a justification for the efforts to be undertaken.
  • A discussion of procedures to be used in solving the problem(s) including any initial development of theories to be tested.
  • A discussion of anticipated results and how they can be used.

Although the seminars are preliminary to the primary experimental studies of the student, they are expected to be presented in a professional manner. This should include the preparation and use of appropriate visual aids. The presentation will be evaluated (for the use of the presenting student only) by all persons in the audience and thus should help the student to develop better communication skills.

The length of preliminary seminars is likely to vary with topic. However, they are expected in general to be in the range of 15-25 minutes, allowing two student presentations within a normal 50 minute seminar session.

Final Seminar

At about the time of the final oral examination, each student is expected to present a final seminar on his or her research. The emphasis of the presentation should be on methodology and results, but an introduction to the research area should also be included so that those individuals in the audience who did not attend the planning seminar will be able to follow the presentation.

Patent Agreement

It is the policy of North Carolina State University that all graduate students read the Patent Copyright Policies of North Carolina State University and sign a declaration wherein the student agrees to abide by the Policies. This an agreement is included on the student’s Plan of Graduate Work. A copy of the Policies document is issued to each student along with their first issue of this BAE Graduate Manual.

Student Information Form

Because the BAE graduate program is relatively large, it is sometimes difficult to monitor each student’s progress and status. We carry this out on a “student-help” basis, wherein we ask each student to submit an Information Form each semester. Forms are placed in the student mailboxes, and it is expected that they be returned promptly (within one week). If they are not returned, it is automatically assumed that the student is not in residence and his/her program will be placed in the inactive file and any GTA or GRA will be canceled.

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GRADUATE STUDENT ASSOCIATION

The North Carolina State Graduate Student Association (GSA) functions as a voice for graduate students in dealing with problems concerning graduate education. All graduate students are members of GSA. The GSA Council consists of elected representatives from each department. The BAE representative also serves as president of the BAE GSA Chapter.

All graduate students are encouraged to participate in activities of both the GSA and the BAE GSA Chapter.

RESPONSIBILITIES

All BAE Graduate Students and Graduate Faculty are expected to be knowledgeable of, and to comply with, all university and departmental graduate regulations as stated in the Graduate Catalog and this manual. Specific responsibilities are included in the appendix of this document.

MEMBERSHIP IN THE BAE GRADUATE FACULTY

Membership in the BAE Graduate Faculty is governed by the rules of the Graduate School (http://www.ncsu.edu/grad/handbook/sections/1.3-grad-faculty.html). Appointment to associate status is at the discretion of the department head and the director of graduate programs. Appointment to full status is subject to a vote of the full members of the BAE Graduate Faculty.

In order to maintain membership in the Graduate Faculty in BAE, members must have been active in the BAE graduate program within the past five years; i.e., they must have served on a BAE graduate advisory committee or they must have taught a graduate course in BAE.

Members will be removed from the Graduate Faculty in BAE upon full retirement from the university. Participants in the Phased Retirement Program are exempt from this removal until they go on full retirement. Upon achieving the rank of Emeritus Faculty, retired faculty may request re-instatement at the associate level with only approval of the DGP or the Department Head required.

Re-instatement at the full status level will require the vote of the full members of the Graduate Faculty of BAE (as per Graduate School rules). Adjustments to the policy will be made to protect the interests of students on whose committees a retiring faculty member may be serving. For example, changes in graduate faculty status may be postponed until all students graduate or the member requests withdrawal from all active committees, whichever comes first.

APPENDIX

Forms

Copies of University, Graduate School and Registration and Records forms are located on-line. Copies of the departmental graduate student information form may be obtained in Room 110.

Responsibilities of the Graduate Student

All Graduate Students

  1. Formulate the objectives of the graduate program and initiate the accomplishment of these objectives.
  2. Select research/emphasis area and select major professor accordingly. This will be done with help of the department head and Director of Graduate Programs after consultation with faculty. In some cases acceptance of a certain research assistantships or fellowships may determine the major professor. (To be accomplished by preregistration of the first semester of study.)
  3. Select Graduate Advisory Committee members with the counsel and approval of the major advisor. Ensure that Graduate Advisory Committee Appointment Request form is completed and forwarded to Director of Graduate Programs. (To be accomplished early in second semester of study.)
  4. Prepare Graduate Plan of Work with the counsel of major professor and advisory committee. Obtain signatures of all members of advisory committee and forward to the Director of Graduate Programs. The Plan of Work is to be accomplished as soon as possible after completion of 12 hours of coursework in a PhD program or before 1/2 the credits have been completed in a Master’s program.
  5. Complete all courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  6. Develop a research proposal in consultation with the major professor and advisory committee.
  7. Present a planning seminar outlining the research plan and anticipated results.
  8. PhD students must schedule and satisfactorily complete all written preliminary examinations.
  9. PhD students must set a time for the oral preliminary examination, working with the committee (including Graduate School representative, if that option is selected). Ensure that Request For Approval To Schedule Doctoral Examination form is sent to Graduate School two weeks prior to requested date of examination. The preliminary examinations must be scheduled 1 semester prior to the final oral exam.
  10. Perform research or independent study and prepare an appropriate thesis, dissertation, or report. Consult with major professor, members of the advisory committee and other faculty as appropriate.
  11. Attend BAE Seminar each semester, even if not registered for BAE 601/801, unless there is a schedule conflict with a course that is on the Graduate Plan of Work.
  12. Work with major professor to refine draft of thesis, dissertation, or report, before submitting to committee members.
  13. Submit thesis, dissertation, or report to committee members at least two weeks before intended date of final oral examination.
  14. PhD students must present a final seminar covering their dissertation methodology and results.
  15. In consultation with major professor and committee members (including Graduate School representative, if chosen), set date for final oral examination. Ensure that the appropriate form, Request For Approval To Schedule Doctoral Examination or Request For Approval to Schedule Final Master’s Oral Examination, is forwarded to the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the intended date of the examination.
  16. Complete Diploma Order Request for Graduate Students form by the end of the third week of the semester or summer session that the degree will be awarded.
  17. Discuss organization and schedule for publishing research work with major professor.

Additional Responsibilities of the Student on Assistantship

Research Assistants are expected to contribute their professional effort to the research program of the department as determined by the major professor in consultation with the department head and Director of Graduate Programs. For example, a Research Assistant appointed as a one-half time assistant would be expected to provide effort at a rate equivalent to 50% of a professional person year. While the contributions needed to meet this requirement may be related to the topic of the thesis or dissertation research, it must be understood that the dissertation research is above and beyond this contribution.

While measurement of professional contribution is not simply made in terms of time in the office or lab, it is expected that the norm would be that the student would be “on duty” in university facilities, or acting as agent in other facilities, for at least 20 hours per week. Engagement in taking courses and in intensive thesis or dissertation research will, of course, require most of the rest of the student’s professional effort.

Vacation time will consist of approximately ten (10) days per year, with the length and timing of the vacation time being arranged with the major professor. Students with teaching assistant responsibilities must meet their obligations before vacation time can be taken. Other times off are limited to official state holidays which occur during the appointment period. These DO NOT INCLUDE CLASS HOLIDAYS WHICH ARE NOT ALSO STATE HOLIDAYS (for example: spring, fall and portions of Christmas breaks).

  1. Students on research assistantships will coordinate with major professor concerning service requirement, work schedule and vacation schedule.
  2. Students on teaching assistantship will coordinate with the Director of Graduate Programs to determine semester teaching assignment. Work and vacation schedule during a semester will be determined by the instructor(s) in course(s) to which student is assigned and the Director of Graduate Programs.
  3. All students will follow policies, rules and regulations regarding use of all BAE resources, i.e., office space, laboratories, laboratory equipment, classrooms, computers, and vehicles.
  4. All students should be familiar with and comply with the policies and deadlines stated in the Graduate Catalog and the BAE Graduate Manual.

Responsibilities of the Major Professor

  1. Program guidance, training, evaluation, supervision, arrangements, and counseling for each assigned student.
  2. Conduct regularly scheduled conferences with the student. Frequency of the conferences will likely increase as the student becomes more active in research for his/her thesis, dissertation or report.
  3. Assist the student in the selection of an advisory committee to insure that faculty appointed have the appropriate background and interest to meet the needs of the student and his/her research interests. Complete the Graduate Advisory Committee Appointment Request form and forward to Director of Graduate Programs for transmittal to Graduate School. (Early in second semester of student’s graduate program.)
  4. Assist student in selecting courses and completing the Graduate Plan of Work. Ensure that four copies of the completed plan are forwarded to the Director of Graduate Programs for transmittal to the Graduate School. (This should be done as soon as possible after the student has completed 12 hours of coursework for PhD programs or before 1/2 the credits have been completed in a Master’s program.)
  5. Arrange for space, equipment, labor, computer support, and other resources necessary for student to successfully carry out required research for thesis, dissertation, or report.
  6. Assist the student in preparation of a research proposal.
  7. After the PhD student has successfully completed all written preliminary exams, process the Request For Approval To Schedule Doctoral Oral Examination form and forward to Graduate School at least two weeks before the designated time of the preliminary oral examination. (A copy should be forwarded to the Director of Graduate Programs.) Attach a statement to the request indicating that the written preliminary examinations have been successfully completed.
  8. Conduct the PhD student’s oral preliminary examination and turn in form indicating results to the Director of Graduate Programs.
  9. Review drafts of the student’s thesis, dissertation, or report.
  10. Process the appropriate form, Request for Approval To Schedule Doctoral Oral Examination (same form as above) or Request for Approval to Schedule Final Master’s Oral Examination, at least two weeks prior to the designated examination time. A copy should be forwarded to the Director of Graduate Programs.
  11. Conduct the final oral examination and turn in form indicating results to the Director of Graduate Programs

Responsibilities of the Director of Graduate Programs

  1. Provide general supervision, counseling, and coordination of graduate students enrolled in the department.
  2. Chair BAE Graduate Studies Committee.
  3. Provides leadership in and coordinates the recruiting of new graduate students. Handle and/or coordinate correspondence with prospective graduate students. Encourage and coordinate with individual faculty recruiting efforts.
  4. Maintain database of all students who inquire about graduate study in the department.
  5. Coordinate with Graduate School on requests for Graduate Catalog and application forms.
  6. Process all graduate applications and prepare application packages for review by the BAE Graduate Studies Committee and selected faculty.
  7. After applications are reviewed by the Graduate Studies Committee, prepare Graduate Recommendation Forms per the Committee’s decision, and forward to Graduate School.
  8. Keep faculty informed on status of new student admissions.
  9. Coordinate the allocation of research and teaching assistantships per direction of the department head and Graduate Studies Committee. Writes assistantship award letters to students.
  10. Serve as adviser to all new graduate students who have not selected an adviser prior to entry into a graduate program. Assist these students in the selection of a major professor by preregistration time of their first semester.
  11. Approve all Advisory Committee Appointments Requests and forwards to Graduate School. Notify each committee member of appointment upon approval by the Graduate School.
  12. Approve all Graduate Plans of Work.
  13. Notify graduate advisory committee members, upon approval by the Graduate School, of official scheduling of oral examinations.
  14. Monitor status of all department assistantship/fellowship funds.
  15. Maintain a database of all active graduate students.
  16. Oversee and assign graduate office space.
  17. Maintain and update the BAE Graduate Studies Manual.
  18. Respond to requests for data and surveys regarding graduate students in BAE.
  19. Maintain a database of former graduate students (jobs, addresses, salaries, etc…).

Responsibilities of the Student Services Assistant

The Student Services Assistant provides administrative assistance to the Director of Graduate Programs. Specific responsibilities are as follows.

  1. Open incoming mail and log in graduate inquiries, requests for information from prospective students, applications (or portions of applications), requests from Graduate School, CALS, NCARS, COE, concerning graduate matters. Pass to Director of Graduate Programs or file as appropriate.
  2. Prepare and mail all correspondence.
  3. Ensure that inquiries from prospective students are answered in a timely manner.
  4. Complete and forward to Graduate School requests for Graduate Catalogs and graduate application forms.
  5. Update student inquiry database as new information becomes available.
  6. Monitor application packages and inform Director of Graduate Programs when packages are complete so they can be scheduled for evaluation by Graduate Studies Committee.
  7. Complete Graduate Admission Recommendation Form, upon admission decision by Graduate Studies Committee and forward to Graduate School.
  8. Complete appointment/change actions on PeopleSoft.
  9. Monitor all student suspenses, e.g., advisory committee appointments, plans of work, and reminds students/major professors when deadlines are not being met.
  10. Update active graduate student database and hard copy file upon entry of new student into a program, when end of semester grade reports are available, and upon completion of key events such as appointment of graduate advisory committee or completion of preliminary oral examination.
  11. Remove student’s record from active student database and hard copy file upon completion/termination of his/her graduate study. Add same record to former graduate student database and hard copy file.
  12. Respond to graduate students/faculty questions on graduate matters.

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Questions see graduate Director of Graduate Programs