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Doctor of Philosophy Program

Program Description

The Ph.D. program in the Department of Clinical Sciences is designed for students that have prior training and knowledge in the sciences basic to veterinary medicine and animal health related areas. The Ph.D. program is intended to provide in-depth graduate study and research training in an area of animal health. The program will provide the experiences and training necessary to develop an integrated basic and applied science approach to animal disease research.

Eligibility

In most instances, applicants must hold a D.V.M. degree or its equivalent medical degree and have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 in the last two years of graduate or professional courses prior to application. An M.S. degree is not required.

Application Procedures

 
Interested persons should write to both of the following for appropriate application information:

  1. The Graduate School
    Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
  2. The Department Head
    Department of Clinical Sciences
    College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
    Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
  3. Consult CSU's online Graduate School website for an online application.

In addition to the completed CSU on line application form and an application fee that are to be sent to the graduate school, the candidate's application to the Department of Clinical Sciences must include:

  1. The Colorado State University online graduate application form.
  2. One official transcript of all credits previously earned from each institution of higher education attended. 
  3. A biographical statement including interests and goals.
  4. At least three (3) letters of recommendation. 

The entire application should be received no later than six (6)months before registration for the term in which studies are anticipated to begin:

Department Head
Department of Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523

International students must apply directly to the Colorado State University's Graduate School. The application must include:
  1. A completed online graduate application form.
  2. Application fee.
  3. An official transcript of all collegiate work completed along with a certified translation into English.
  4. Certified proof of financial support.
  5. Scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if English is not the applicant's native language. The TOEFL score must be 550 or above. 
  6. A biographical statement including interests and goals.
  7. At least three (3) letters of recommendation. 

All graduate program applications to the Department of Clinical Sciences must meet the minimum requirements of the CSU Graduate School.

Selection of Ph.D. Graduate Students

 
Appropriate faculty in an area of study will review the applications and make their recommendations to the Department Head. Prior to final acceptance of a student:
 
  1. A faculty member must agree to serve as an advisor. The Department Head, prior to final acceptance of the student, must receive a letter indicating the advisor's acceptance of the student and the necessary financial support for the student.
  2. The application in its final form must be reviewed and supported by the Department Head.

Activities of Ph.D. Students

 
Ph.D. students will be required to participate in course work that is applicable to their area of study.  Involvement in a research project is mandatory. Clinical training will be limited to those areas directly related to the student's research.
 

Advisor

 
The advisor is the chief source of advice in the planning process. The advisor must work closely with the student throughout his/her graduate career on all matters related to the Ph.D. program. An advisor must be designated prior to acceptance of a student into the graduate program. The Department Head, prior to final acceptance of the student, should receive a letter indicating the advisor’s acceptance of the student. The temporary and permanent advisors for Ph.D. graduate studies must themselves be a qualified graduate faculty member as described by the Faculty Requirements for Resident/Graduate Student Advising. In those instances where an advisor is a full graduate faculty member, but does not possess a Ph.D. degree, a co-advisor that has a Ph.D. degree must be appointed. Acceptance of this co-advising role by the person possessing the Ph.D. degree must be forwarded to and be accepted by the Department Head.

Duties of the advisor for graduate studies

The advisor for graduate studies must counsel and advise the student on a regular basis throughout the graduate program.
 
His/Her duties include:
 
  1. Ensure that faculty members that provide support or major advising for the student's research projects or manuscripts are included on the student's committee and publications where appropriate (See authorship guidelines).
  2. Assist the student in choosing graduate committee members that will properly mentor and help the student during the program.
  3. Ensure that the student fulfills all graduate school and departmental requirements by the deadline dates and that evidence of this is submitted to the Department Head or designee prior to approval for graduation.
  4. Assure that all examination dates are announced and that all department and College faculty are invited at least one week prior to the examination.
  5. Assist in fulfilling the roles and responsibilities of the student's graduate committee as listed below. 
  6. The graduate student’s advisor is responsible for prompt 6-monthly evaluations of the student’s performance throughout the Ph.D. program. The evaluations must to be reviewed with the student and signed by the advisor and the student. A copy must be submitted to the resident/graduate coordinator in the departmental office to be included in the student’s file.
  7. Ensure that the quality of the graduate program is maintained.
  8. Assist the student in selecting a graduate committee and submitting the required GS-6 program of study form before the start of the fourth regular semester registration. However, the department recommends that the GS-6 be submitted during the third semester of study.

Graduate Committee

 
The student together with his/her advisor will select a graduate committee and submit the required GS-6 program of study form before the start of the fourth regular semester
registration. However, the department recommends that this be performed during the third semester of study. The committee must consist of 4 or more members, one of whom is the advisor. It is required that one member of the committee be from another department within CSU.  
Per the Graduate and Professional Bulletin, a faculty member with a rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, or instructor can serve as an outside committee member on a graduate committee as long as he/she holds a regular, special, transitional, joint, or emeritus/emerita faculty appointment. 
 
  • A faculty member cannot hold one of the above appointments in the same department as the student and advisor. For example, if there is a faculty member who is a professor in the Physics Department but holds a joint appointment as a professor in the Mathematics Department, this faculty member may not serve as an outside committee member for a graduate student in either the Physics or Mathematics Departments. 
  • A faculty member who holds only a temporary or faculty affiliate appointment cannot serve as an outside committee member.
These changes took effect on April 1, 2008 for all newly-created graduate student committees and for changes of committees.
 
Faculty involved in supporting or doing major advising of the student on a research project, scientific paper or report should be included on the committee. Individuals who are not academic faculty but who have special expertise may serve on committees in addition to the prescribed members, but they may not vote at the final examination. While the graduate student's advisor is directly responsible for his/her work, committee members are expected to have an active interest in the student's progress and contribute to the successful completion of the program. The committee members must devote time to counseling and advising the student throughout the graduate program. Further guidelines regarding advisor and committee selection are provided in the CSU Graduate and Professional Bulletin: CSU Graduate and Professional Bulletin.

Duties of the Graduate Committee

  1. Assist in the selection of academic courses to fulfill graduate school requirements and to best train the student in their area of interest.
  2.  
  3. Provide guidance relative to the selection of an appropriate research project or paper, including project design and execution. The members of the graduate committee should be chosen on the basis of their expertise that is needed for the student's graduate program.
  4.  
  5. Help administer and evaluate the preliminary and final examinations required by the Graduate School and the Department of Clinical Sciences.
  6.  
  7. Ensure that the quality of the graduate program is maintained.
  8.  
  9. Ensure that the graduate student understands academic rules regarding ownership of data and authorship of publications.
  10.  
  11. The committee should meet at least twice each year. A written annual progress report should be submitted to the Administrative Assistant in the Department of Clinical Sciences for inclusion in the student’s file.
  12.  
  13. Minutes of each committee meeting should be kept by the graduate student, reviewed and signed by the student’s advisor, and a copy submitted to the resident/graduate student coordinator in the department.
  14.  
  15. The graduate committee is not responsible for reminding students of published deadlines or for monitoring procedural details. Such matters should be managed independently by the student.
  16.  
  17. The make-up of the graduate committee must be approved by the Department Head and agreed upon by members themselves. It is the responsibility of the student to secure these approvals and agreements.
  18.  
  19. The purpose of the graduate committee is to make available to the student a broad range of knowledge and expertise and advise the student in planning the Ph.D. program. The Committee also evaluates student progress throughout the program.

Duties of Philosophy Degree Program

The Ph.D. degree is the highest academic degree offered by the University. Those who earn it must demonstrate significant intellectual achievement, high scholarly ability and breadth of knowledge. The Ph.D. program in the Department of Clinical Sciences emphasizes development of the skills and knowledge necessary to perform independent research in relevant areas of veterinary medicine.

General Requirements

 
  1. The preparation of a dissertation is required. The dissertation is a formal written document that presents the results of sustained research or investigation of an important problem. The dissertation must represent independent intellectual achievement and must make an original meaningful contribution to the knowledge and accumulated wisdom of the field in which it is written.
  2.  
  3. Each student must prepare a program of study (GS Form 6), a document which lists all courses which will be taken in pursuit of the degree. The advisor and the committee should be closely involved in the development of the program of study, and they must indicate approval by signature. The GS-6 program of study form is due before the start of the fourth regular semester registration. However, the student is encouraged to have the form completed as soon as possible after commencing the program.
    While this document (GS Form 6) is essential, it may be modified as needed. Modifications must be approved by the graduate committee and formally recorded with and approved by the Graduate School. Any changes are recorded on the GS Form 25 Application to Graduate.
  4.  
  5. At the time of submission of the Program of Study (GS Form 6) to the Graduate School, a copy of this document and a written summary of the student's proposed research and tentative dates for preliminary and final examinations should be approved and signed by the advisor. A copy should also be forwarded to the Department Head for approval.

Course Requirements

 
  1. A minimum number of 72 semester credit hours in course work and research is required. A minimum of 24 credits must be in regular, didactic, graded coursework. Regular course work is defined as courses other than independent or group studies, research courses, open seminars, thesis/dissertation credits, supervised college teaching, unique title courses offered through the Division of Continuing Education and any courses graded pass/fail. Note that individual programs or committees may require more than 72 semester credit hours.
  2.  
  3. A minimum of 32 semester credit hours must be earned at CSU after admission to the Ph.D. program.
  4.  
  5. Credits from a Master's degree from an accredited college or university may be accepted for a maximum of 30 credit hours toward the Ph.D. degree. The decision to transfer part or all of these credit hours must have the primary approval of the student's graduate committee, the advisor, the Graduate Education Committee of the Department of Clinical Sciences and the Department head.  The decision to transfer these credit hours will be made on the basis of relevance of previous course work to the proposed program of study toward the Ph.D. degree at CSU.
  6.  
  7. Ten credit hours in formal courses earned after the date on which the Master's degree was awarded or during the completion of the Master's degree in the case of courses offered only every second or third year, may be accepted for transfer if recommended by the student's graduate committee and approved by the Graduate Education Committee of the Department of Clinical Sciences. The statement "Earned after the date on which the Master's degree was awarded" is interpreted by the Graduate Education Committee of the Department of Clinical Sciences to mean "started and completed after the last day of the semester during which the student completed all the requirements for the Master's degree".
  8.  
  9. At least 21 credit hours beyond the Master's degree or 37 credit hours beyond the D.V.M. (or equivalent) degree must be earned in courses numbered 500 or above.
  10.  
  11. Full time Ph.D. students in the Department of Clinical Sciences should register for 9 or more credit hours per semester. The maximum load is 15 credit hours per semester, regardless of course level or basis of admission.
  12.  
  13. Appropriate courses in statistics and experimental design are highly recommended. The student must demonstrate adequate training in statistics as determined by the student’s graduate committee.
    • Appropriate courses in statistics are recommended in the first year of the program. Additional requirements for statistical training may be determined for the individual's program by the graduate committee.
    •  
    • A course in experimental planning, design and analysis (such as VS562) is recommended by the end of the second year of the Ph.D. program, or prior to completion of the preliminary examination, whichever comes first. Students are encouraged to complete this course during the first year of the program.
    •  
    • The student's advisor will ensure that the qualifying examination provides for testing of competence in statistics either by inclusion on the committee of a qualified faculty member who teaches statistics, or by receiving from the student's statistics instructor documentation that the candidate has achieved and is maintaining statistical skills adequate for the program.
  14.  
  15. It is strongly advised that all Ph.D. graduate students attend weekly graduate seminars (VS 792). It is required that all Ph.D. graduate students present at least 2 seminars prior to completion of their program. Registration for VS792 is not a requirement (including those semesters during which the Ph.D. student is scheduled to present a seminar) unless the student wishes to receive credit for the course. In order to receive credit the student must not only register for the course but must also meet the specific course requirements (i.e. grade based on attendance). It is the responsibility of the Ph.D. student to schedule their seminar presentations with the graduate program coordinator in the departmental office well in advance of the semesters during which they wish to present.
  16.  
  17. A minimum cumulative grade point average of "B" must be maintained in all course work, exclusive of grades earned in research, special studies and seminar courses. Credit will not be given in courses in which a "C" is received. Any course in which a "D", "F" or "U" is received must be repeated.
  18.  
  19. It is recommended that the student keep an updated checklist of departmental program requirements for the Ph.D. degree. Each requirement on the checklist should be signed by the student’s advisor upon completion (Appendix 1). This checklist of program requirements can also be found at the departmental website:

On-Campus Credit Requirement

 
Following admission to a Ph.D. degree program, a student must be on campus at CSU for at least two academic semesters (fall and spring), or 2 consecutive semesters, one of which may be a summer session, and earn at least 9 credits each semester/session. The maximum load is 15 credit hours per semester, regardless of course load or basis of admission.
 
It is the responsibility of the Department Head to certify the candidate's completion of the on-campus credit requirement.
 
If a student has accumulated a minimum of 72 semester credits of course work and research, and continues to reside in Colorado, occupy office space, use secretarial services, or photocopying facilities at CSU, then he/she must enroll in course work or continuous registration each semester up to and including the semester of graduation.
 

Preliminary (Qualifying) Examination

 
A student gains admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree by passing a comprehensive preliminary examination covering the entire program of study.
 
  1. A preliminary (qualifying) examination will be administered at least two semesters prior to a final examination. The objective of the preliminary examination is to determine whether the student is qualified to continue toward the Ph.D. degree.
  2.  
  3. The intent to hold a Ph.D. preliminary examination should be formally declared in advance by the advisor and student to the following persons: all graduate committee members, Department Head, Graduate School, and the faculty of the Department of Clinical Sciences. A target date must be declared at least one week in advance.  The examination must then be held within a period of 6 days of the stated target date. All parties should be kept fully advised as to the details of the scheduling, including date, time and location of the preliminary examination.  Preliminary examinations are open to all faculty members, however only members of the student’s graduate committee will be permitted to ask questions unless otherwise specified by the advisor.
  4.  
  5. For the examination to take place, it is mandatory that the student's advisor, the entire graduate committee and an independent Department representative appointed by the Assistant Department Head be in attendance. If a graduate committee member is unable to attend, the Graduate School must be notified at least two weeks in advance of the examination to allow approval of an alternate committee member.
  6.  
  7. Voting at all examinations should be limited to the members of the student's graduate committee. A majority vote by the committee is required for passage of the examination by the student. A tie vote means the student has failed the examination. Committee members who are not associate or full members of the graduate faculty do not have a vote on a preliminary examination.
  8.  
  9. The student is responsible for obtaining the Report of Preliminary Examination (GS Form 6) from the Graduate School office and returning the signed form within two working days following the oral examination.
  10.  
  11. At least 30 credit hours of the Ph.D. credit requirement must have been completed prior to administration of the preliminary examination.  These 30 credit hours are in addition to the 30 credit hours that may have been transferred from an approved Master's degree. These 30 credit hours are also in addition to up to 10 credit hours in formal courses earned after the date on which the Master's degree was awarded that may have been transferred.
  12.  
  13. Provided the committee approves, a student who fails the preliminary examination may be re-examined once. Further studies may be required prior to this re-examination. Re-examination must be held no earlier than two months and not later than 12 months after the first examination. The Dean’s representative must attend the re-examination to ensure that fair and due process is followed.
  14.  
  15. The recommended procedure for a preliminary examination is to have written examination in the area of specialization and in supporting areas as designated by the graduate committee, followed by an oral examination in these same areas. The form that these examinations take is at the discretion of the graduate committee.
  16.  
  17. It is strongly recommended that not sooner than 15 days, nor longer than 45 days following successful completion of the preliminary examination, candidates should formally present a dissertation research proposal to the graduate committee. The proposal should include a thorough literature review, any results of relevant research already completed, and proposed future research. The proposal should require approximately 30-45 minutes for delivery. A written copy of the accepted proposal should be kept on file in the Department of Clinical Sciences.

Final Examination

 
  1. A final examination will be administered at least two semesters following successful completion of a preliminary examination. The final examination must be held prior to the end of the 11th week of the graduation term for fall or spring semesters and by the end of the fifth week of the eight-week summer semester. The examining committee is the student's graduate committee with the advisor serving as chairperson.
  2.  
  3. At least one month before the final examination, the advisor will inform the student and graduate committee members of the nature and scope of the examination. Normally, the final examination will cover primarily the dissertation but additional subject matter specified by the graduate committee at the time of the preliminary examination may also be covered. The final examination will generally consist of a lecture followed by an oral examination of the student by the graduate committee.
  4.  
  5. The final examination is open to all members of the university and the public at large. In order to assure timely notification across campus, the student and advisor must notify the Department Head at least three weeks in advance of the date, time and location of the examination. The Department Head will in turn advise the Graduate School of the date, time and location of the examination at least two weeks in advance of the examination date. The Graduate School will publicize the defense in its weekly notice or by other appropriate campus-wide means.
  6.  
  7. The advisor will have the prerogative to decide whether those in attendance (outside the student's graduate committee) will be permitted to ask questions during the oral examination and should so state before commencing the examination.
  8.  
  9. Voting at the oral examination shall be limited to the members of the student's graduate committee and a majority vote is needed to pass the examination.
  10.  
  11. Providing the graduate committee approves, a candidate who fails the final examination may be re-examined once and for the re-examination may be required to complete further work. The re-examination must be held no earlier than two months and not later than 12 months after the first examination.
  12.  
  13. The student is responsible for taking the Report of Final Examination (GS Form 24) to the examination and returning it completed and signed to the Graduate School office within two working days of the final examination.

Time Limit

 
  1. The Ph.D. program will ordinarily require three to four years for completion.
  2.  
  3. Courses to be applied toward fulfilling the requirements for a Ph.D. degree must have been registered for and completed within ten years of the date of completion of the requirements for the Ph.D. degree.

Research Requirements

  1. A proposed research project must be reviewed and approved by all members of the graduate committee prior to the project's commencement.  A written copy of the accepted proposal should be submitted to the Department Head of Clinical Sciences.
    Residents in the Department of Clinical Sciences who plan to continue with a Ph.D. program after completion of the Residency/Master’s program must take special note of this requirement.  Research completed during the Residency/Master's program that is intended to form the basis of a Ph.D. program must have the prior approval of the student's Ph.D. graduate committee. This will ensure that the Ph.D. graduate committee guides the student in this research.
  2. Appropriate funding must be present to support the research program. The graduate student's advisor is responsible for execution and completion of the research.

Dissertation

 
A Ph.D. candidate is required to prepare a well-written dissertation based on independent research conducted during the course of study.
 
  1. Although a dissertation is planned and executed with the advice and supervision of the advisor and graduate committee, the student must assume primary responsibility both in terms of the content of the document and in terms of its format and presentation.
  2.  
  3. Graduate students must be responsible for all of the expenses of their dissertation.
  4.  
  5. A properly prepared manuscript must be submitted to the student's graduate committee two weeks prior to the final examination. The candidate must submit to the Graduate School two unbound copies of the manuscript no later than the end of the 11th week of the graduation term for fall or spring semesters and by the end of the fifth week of the eight-week summer term.  Guidance for preparation of the manuscript may be found in the "Thesis Manual" (available in the book store) and in the references listed therein.
  6.  
  7. Doctoral dissertations are made available to the scholarly community through the University Microfilms International. A $50.00 fee for this microfilming service is collected when the final copies of the dissertation are deposited with the graduate school.

Publication Requirements

 
  1. The graduate student and the student's advisor have the right and responsibility to seek appropriate and timely dissemination of significant research results through publication, oral presentation and other appropriate means. Such dissemination of research results must be discussed and approved by the graduate student, the advisor and sponsoring agency, and appropriate acknowledgements made. Each candidate is to prepare manuscript(s) for publication on the subject of his or her research and submit it to a refereed journal as a condition of acceptance of the dissertation. In general, the nature and scope of all Ph.D. research should lead to more than a single publication.
  2.  
  3. Questions regarding publications that cannot be resolved by the student, the advisor and the graduate committee shall be referred to the Department Head and when necessary, to the Dean of the Graduate School for resolution.

Graduation Procedures

 
  1. The Application to Graduate, GS Form 25, is due in the Graduate School office no later than the end of the second week of the graduation term for fall and spring semesters or no later than the end of the first week of the eight week summer term. Students must be enrolled in classes or registered for continuous registration (CR) during the semester in which they wish to graduate. Please refer to the departmental graduate program requirements.
  2.  
  3. Failure to meet all requirements during the term requested on GS Form 25 will necessitate a new GS Form 25B.
  4.  
  5. Diplomas will be mailed approximately four to six weeks after the end of the graduation term to the student’s address as it is listed in ARIES.

Financial Support

 
  1. Tuition and fees are paid by the student or by funds available through the student's advisor. 
  2.  
  3. A stipend is not paid to a student unless an advisor has funds available to do so. If a stipend is paid, its duration and withdrawal is at the discretion of the advisor and is equal to the current graduate school minimum.
​Colorado State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex. The University complies with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, related Executive Orders 11246 and 11375, and all Civil Rights Laws of the State of Colorado. Accordingly, equal opportunity for employment admission shall be extended to all persons and the University shall promote equal opportunity and treatment through a positive and continuing affirmative action program.