Department of Environmental Science & Ecology

Master of Science Program

Combined BS/MS Degree Program

This manual codifies procedures and policies relating to the Master of Science in Environmental Science and Ecology and the Combined BS/MS in Environmental Science and Ecology. For students, the manual contains information on the advisory committee, the plan of study, the thesis proposal and defense, assistantships, thesis defense, format of the thesis and even advice on graduation. For faculty, the manual outlines responsibilities regarding the thesis exam, thesis defense, admission procedures, etc. In this way, both students and faculty understand requirements of the graduate program in Environmental Science and Ecology, and associated rights of appeal.

Program Descriptions

Master of Science Program Description

The Master of Science in Environmental Science and Ecology is a demanding, thesis-based experience. The curriculum is designed to challenge students to think critically, independently and creatively, while providing the intellectual depth and breadth necessary to support the research formally developed in the thesis proposal. The curriculum, with a common core and an individual course of study, allows graduate candidates to develop the conceptual knowledge and technical skills necessary to understand and solve environmental problems in ecology, chemistry and the earth sciences. Thus, fields of study like “green” and water chemistry, watershed analysis, limnology, fisheries and wildlife science and management, conservation biology, wetland ecology, ecosystem ecology and global change, and aquaculture are encompassed in this degree program. Faculty research interests are reviewed in Appendix G. This manual, graduate forms, and faculty profiles are available from the department administrative assistant (585-395-5975) and on the web.

Combined Bachelor of Science/Master of Science Program Description

The Combined Degree program enables students to complete their Bachelors in Environmental Science and Masters in Environmental Science and Ecology in an accelerated fashion, in as little as five years. When qualified Brockport undergraduate Environmental Science majors are admitted to this Combined Degree program, they may take up to 12 graduate credits of coursework in Environmental Science and Ecology, all at the undergraduate tuition rate. These credits may apply to undergraduate and graduate degree requirements simultaneously. Upon finishing all undergraduate degree requirements and graduating in good academic standing in the Combined Degree program, students may choose to matriculate directly into the graduate degree program in Environmental Science and Ecology.

Departmental Graduate Committee

The Departmental Graduate Committee will consist of three faculty members: The Graduate Coordinator, another faculty member from the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology, and a third member from the either the Chemistry & Biochemistry or Earth Sciences Department. Completed application files forwarded to the departmental Graduate Coordinator from the Office of Graduate Studies will be distributed to other members of the committee.

Admission to the Program (MS Studies)

A. Admission Procedures – Program Requirements

Admission into the MS program in Environmental Science and Ecology is competitive and is based on previous academic performance, letters of recommendation, and work experience. Applicants should have a 3.0 GPA and a BS or BA in an appropriate field (e.g., Biology, Environmental Science, Earth Science, Chemistry & Biochemistry). However, acceptance is not limited to those with the above undergraduate degrees if the applicant has taken sufficient core science courses. If the applicant has an overall cumulative undergraduate GPA of less than 3.0, or the applicant’s undergraduate transcript shows a pattern of courses with grades below “B,” the student may be considered for admission with a ‘conditional’ admission, whereby a student must achieve minimum grades in a set of required classes, as determined by the graduate committee. Ultimately, whether the applicant can be accepted will depend on his or her credentials, intended area of specialization, and the ability of a faculty member to accept a new advisee.

A student pursuing the Master of Science will be supervised by a faculty member in the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology, or by an “associate” faculty member from the Departments of the Earth Sciences or Chemistry & Biochemistry. The Thesis Advisor monitors the student’s academic progress and is responsible for directing the student’s academic program: Thesis Proposal Defense, Thesis Project and Thesis Defense. Before admission to the Master of Science program in Environmental Science and Ecology, a faculty member must be willing to serve as the Major Advisor.

MATRICULATED STUDENTS:

Matriculation in the Master of Science in Environmental Science and Ecology program is by application to the Office of Graduate Admissions (gradadmit@brockport.edu). To be considered for admission, an applicant must submit:

  1. A completed application for admissions as a matriculated graduate student, including a statement of objectives for graduate study and the applicant’s main area of interest within environmental science;
  2. Transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work;
  3. Two letters of recommendation from persons who have knowledge of the applicant’s training and aptitude for graduate study (letters from academic referees are preferred);
  4. A word-processed document (e.g., term paper, lab report, research study) of at least three pages demonstrating the applicant’s technical writing skills. If the document was graded, it should contain the original comments and grade of the evaluator.
  5. A resume or curriculum vitae (‘CV’).

Graduate Record Examination scores in the General Aptitude or Advanced Biology tests are not required, but are recommended. Information on the place and time of these examinations may be obtained from the Office of Graduate Admissions; from the Educational Testing Service, Box 955, Princeton, NY 08540; or at www.gre.org.

NON-MATRICULATED STUDENTS:

Applicants may be allowed to take courses on a non-matriculated basis by filing a non-matriculated application with the Graduate Admissions Office. If matriculated status is later desired, the requirements listed above must be satisfied. A maximum of nine semester hours taken under non-matriculated status may be applied to the degree program, at the discretion of the candidate’s Advisory Committee.

NON-MATRICULATED STUDENTS ARE THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO EITHER:

  • Have earned a baccalaureate degree and fulfilled the prerequisites for the courses in which they wish to enroll;
  • Do not wish to pursue a degree but who, for their own interest, wish to enroll in graduate-level courses; and
  • Intend to seek admission to a graduate program, but have not yet completed admissions requirements.

Non-matriculated graduate students wishing to enroll for the first time are required to submit a non-degree application, along with the required $25 fee, to the Office of Graduate Admissions. For further assistance please call (585) 395-5465. This application should only be used for non-degree status. If you are interested in taking summer or winter courses only, please call the Special Sessions Office at (585) 395-5720.

B. Admissions Procedures - General

  1. The Committee will review applications and send them to appropriate faculty members to determine their interest in the student.
  2. Assignment of a student to a faculty member will be determined by the Graduate Committee. When a file is circulated among members of the faculty and associate faculty, those faculty expressing an interest in the student will be considered for the position of Major Advisor by the Graduate Committee. In making the assignment, the committee will consider the following criteria:
    1. Area of expertise, relative to the interests of the applicant.
    2. Expressed (written) desire of a student to work with a faculty member.
    3. The ability of a faculty member to provide financial support for the applicant.
    4. Number of graduate students currently supervised by a faculty member.
    5. All other things being equal, priority will be given to those faculty with fewer graduate students. One goal of the graduate program is to distribute graduate students evenly among willing faculty whenever possible.
  3. If the applicant is acceptable to the Graduate Committee and a major advisor, the Graduate Coordinator will recommend to the Graduate Admissions Office that the student be admitted as a matriculated MS candidate in the Department.
  4. In cases where the candidate shows signs of promise but has a GPA below 3.0 or is deficient in other areas and a faculty member is willing to act as the student’s major advisor, the faculty member should write a letter supporting the applicant’s candidacy, which the Graduate Committee will consider in its decision. Candidates may be accepted “conditionally”, upon the successful completion of specific classes required by the Graduate Committee, or upon the successful completion of the first term with a specified GPA.
  5. If the applicant is accepted or conditionally accepted for admission to the MS program in Environmental Science and Ecology, the Graduate Coordinator will notify the Office of Graduate Studies, send a letter of acceptance to the applicant, and give a copy of the letter the major advisor. A copy of this letter will also be placed in the student’s file.
  6. If the applicant is deemed unqualified for admission to the MS program in Environmental Science and Ecology or no faculty member is willing to serve as the thesis advisor, the Graduate Coordinator will send a letter of rejection to the applicant and notify the Office of Graduate Studies.
  7. The major advisor is responsible for working with the accepted student concerning the logistics of becoming a MS candidate in the department.

C. Deadline for Application for Graduate Study

Application deadlines are nominally April 15 for the summer and fall terms and November 15 for the spring semester, but we accept students on a rolling basis. We recommend that applicants apply before 1 March to be considered for assistantships.

Admission to the Program – Combined BS/MS Program

A. Admission Procedures – Program Requirements

Admission to this highly selective Combined Degree program is highly selective. It is restricted to Brockport Environmental Science and Ecology students who have completed at least 75 credits with a minimum GPA of 3.4, subject to the availability of a faculty member able to serve as a thesis advisor. Admitted students are expected to complete the undergraduate core curriculum by end of the second semester the junior year. Transfer students may be considered for the BS/MS program after taking 15 credits of course work at SUNY-Brockport. Please note that achievement of the minimum standards for admission does not guarantee acceptance into the combined program.

B. Admissions Procedures - General

Qualified applicants interested in this Combined Degree program should speak with their undergraduate faculty advisor or the graduate coordinator before submitting the online application. Application deadline is December 1 of the applicant’s junior year.
After applying to the program, qualified individuals will be interviewed by the Graduate Committee of the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology, which will decide on admission to the program in the period between the end of the fall term of applicant’s junior year and beginning of the following spring term. Entry into the program also requires an online application that includes a statement of interest, technical writing sample, and two letters of recommendation.

Graduate Assistantships

The Department of Environmental Science and Ecology offers two graduate teaching assistantships. Generally, one assistantship becomes available every fall semester. The goal of these assistantships is to attract new students, to provide teaching experience to graduate students, and to fulfill teaching needs in the department. The current stipend for teaching assistants is $7,500 per nine-month academic year, plus two semesters of in-state tuition remission for nine credits each semester, for up to 30 credits total.

Graduate research assistantships are available from faculty members with grant support. The number available is variable, with stipends as high as $15,000. Interested students should contact faculty directly in regard to possible research assistantships. Other sources of funds are given in Appendix A.

Teaching assistants serve as instructors in laboratory sections associated with courses offered by the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology. Responsibilities usually involve teaching three laboratory sections per week; duties may also include grading and laboratory preparation. Classes served by teaching assistants may include Environmental Science (ENV 202), Biology of Organisms (ENV 204); and classes as determined by the Graduate Committee in consultation with the Department Chairperson. Graduate teaching assistants are expected to maintain a full-time schedule of classes and research activity.

Teaching assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis; the application procedure and selection criteria are outlined below. Please note that it is the responsibility of the applicant to contact the Graduate Coordinator with a statement of interest.

Application Procedures

PROCEDURE FOR APPLYING FOR A TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIP – APPOINTMENTS BEGINNING DURING THE FALL TERM

  1. The Graduate Coordinator will request applications from currently matriculated students for teaching assistantships for the following academic year by 1 March.
  2. Students applying for an assistantship should notify the graduate coordinator by no later than 15 March. The notification must be in writing and should include any information pertinent to the criteria for selecting teaching assistants (see below).
  3. It is the responsibility of newly admitted students (i.e., those accepted to graduate study, but not yet matriculated) who are interested in being considered for a teaching assistantship to contact the graduate coordinator in writing. The letter should include any information pertinent to the criteria for selecting teaching assistants (see below).
  4. The appointment will be for two semesters with the possibility of renewal for an additional two semesters.

PROCEDURE FOR APPLYING FOR A TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIP – APPOINTMENTS BEGINNING DURING THE SPRING TERM

Because most teaching assistantships are filled for the entire year, relatively few positions become available for the spring term. In the event that an assistantship does become available for the spring term, the following procedure will be used.

  1. The Graduate Coordinator will request that any interested matriculated students contact him/her in writing, as soon as the need becomes known.
  2. The applicants will then be ranked by the committee that recommends students for teaching assistantships, as described below.
  3. The appointment will be for only one semester.

Ranking & Selection Criteria for Teaching Assistantships:

In order to be eligible for a teaching assistantship, a graduate student must:

  1. Be matriculated in the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology at the time the appointment begins;
  2. Be registered for at least one credit during each term of their appointment. Students registered for less than the full-time number of credit hours (nine) must have their graduate advisor certify that they are engaged in full-time thesis research; and
  3. Have submitted a T.A.P. application (see page 19), or an affidavit attesting to their ineligibility.
  4. Be in possession of a NY Driver license and LENS certification by the beginning of the TA appointment. Failure to do so could lead to loss of the assistantship.

Applicants for teaching assistantships will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Graduate grade point average (if applicable).
  2. Undergraduate grade point average.
  3. Experience or training relevant to departmental teaching needs.
  4. Prior teaching experience at SUNY-Brockport. Returning teaching assistants will have priority in awarding of assistantships, if they have received a satisfactory evaluation during their previous term(s) of teaching.
  5. Teaching experiences other than at SUNY-Brockport.
  6. Phone interviews.

The Graduate Committee will rank the applicants and submit the rankings to the Chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology. Students will be offered teaching assistantships in the order that they are ranked, based on the number of open positions for the following academic year. These rankings will be submitted to the Department Chair by April 1.

A graduate student will not hold a teaching assistantship for more than a total of two years. Exceptions to this rule will be made only when it is necessary to meet departmental teaching needs. Any exceptions must be approved by a vote of the Graduate Committee.

Program Schedule & Requirements

A suggested schedule of events can be found in Appendix B.

A. Major Advisor and the Thesis Advisory Committee

Upon admission to the program in Environmental Science and Ecology, the candidate will be assigned a Major Advisor by the Graduate Committee. The Major Advisor will monitor the student’s academic progress and be responsible for direction of the Thesis Proposal, Thesis Proposal Defense, and the Thesis Defense.

The candidate, with the advice of the Major Advisor, will select two or three other members who, together with the Major Advisor, will constitute the candidate’s Thesis Advisory Committee. Two of the committee members must be tenured or tenure-track faculty members from the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology. Committee members should have some expertise related to the candidate’s area of interest. Appendix G summarizes faculty research interests; more detailed information can be found at:
/academics/environmental_science/directory/

One member of the Thesis Advisory Committee may be a scientist not from SUNY-Brockport campus. In this situation, the major advisor should place a note in the candidate’s file indicating that an individual from outside SUNY-Brockport has been appointed to the Thesis Advisory Committee. The Thesis Advisory Committee will:

  1. Develop a Plan of Graduate Study with the candidate (see below).
  2. Act in an advisory capacity concerning thesis research and the development of a Thesis Proposal.
  3. Evaluate the candidate’s written Thesis Proposal.
  4. Administer and evaluate the candidate’s Thesis Proposal Defense.
  5. Evaluate the candidate’s written thesis (ENV 704) and administer the Thesis Defense.
  6. Confirm that three hard copies and a digital of the thesis is delivered to the Graduate Coordinator.
  7. Terminate the student’s participation in the graduate program if the student does not make reasonable progress towards completion of the M.S. degree, or does not maintain a 3.0 GPA. Reasonable progress is defined by the following:
    1. Maintenance of 3.0 GPA in courses listed in the Plan of Graduate Study;
    2. Development of a Plan of Graduate Study by the end of the first semester after matriculation;
    3. Development of a thesis proposal and defense of that proposal by the end of the second matriculated semester.

B. Plan of Graduate Study and The Curriculum

Plan of Study: Thirty credits or more are required for the M.S. in Environmental Science and Ecology. Of these 30 credits, 15 credits or more are to be at the 600/700 level. The remainder may be at the 700, 600 or 500 level as determined by the Thesis Advisory Committee in consultation with the candidate prior to the end of the first semester of matriculation. The minimum grade for course credit at the graduate level is a C-. Eight credits of core courses are required as follows: Graduate Research Seminars (ENV 705, ENV 706, ENV 707, ENV 708 – one in each of the first four semesters of enrollment), Thesis (ENV 704, a minimum of one and a maximum of six credits), and a minimum of one graduate-level statistics course (Biostatistics ENV 537, Multivariate Statistics ENV 616 or Ecological Data Analysis in R ENV 538). Courses selected will reflect the expertise required for their thesis. See Appendix C for potential courses.

The Plan of Graduate Study may include supervised independent study (ENV 699, ESC 699), which will not exceed three credits total. Independent study (ENV 699, ESC 699) allows students to explore unique areas of interest not addressed by currently offered courses, or to explore in greater depth a topic covered in an existing course.

Table 1. Tabular illustration of courses required for graduation. “EoFo” indicates a course only offered in fall semesters of odd years (e.g. 2021) and “EoSo” refers to course only offered in spring semesters of odd years.

 

Up to nine credits of graduate course work with a grade of “B” or better may be transferred from other institutions with the approval of the student’s Thesis Advisory Committee.

The Plan of Graduate Study, approved by the Thesis Advisory Committee, must be submitted by the end of the first matriculated semester.

C. Definition of a Full-Time Graduate Student

At the matriculated graduate level, the definition of full-time is a bit complicated. Twelve graduate credits per semester is the college definition of a full-time load. However, graduate students who are registered for nine graduate credits and who have either an assistantship or are enrolled for an internship involving 15 or more contact hours per week are also considered full-time. Finally, enrolled graduate students are defined by the College as full-time if they are engaged in full-time thesis research, if three conditions are met:

  1. Their thesis research is part of an approved Plan of Study;
  2. Their thesis research requires effort which is the equivalent in Carnegie units to 12 credits of work; and,
  3. They have in their departmental file a letter from the department chairperson or graduate program coordinator indicating that they are engaged in full-time thesis research for each semester or comparable summer period.

The Department of Environmental Science and Ecology considers that students enrolled in ENV 704 are full-time students even though they may be enrolled in less than 12 credit hours of courses.

NOTE: The definition of “full-time” used by the Federal governments for financial aid purposes requires that the student must be enrolled for 12 credits. No financial aid will be considered for students enrolled in less than six credits.

D. Thesis Proposal &Thesis Proposal Defense

Thesis Proposal: A thesis proposal must be written by the candidate, approved by the Thesis Advisory Committee, and submitted to the Graduate Coordinator with the signed approval form by the end of the second semester. Specific guidelines are provided by the major advisor but each proposal must include a literature review and development of hypotheses and proposed methods. Proposals often include the following sections:

  • An introduction, including a literature review of relevant topics
  • Statement of objectives & hypotheses
  • Methods, including proposed experimental design, sampling strategy, field/lab/computational procedures, and plan of statistical analyses.
  • A timeline
  • Discussion of potential issues and roadblocks

Thesis proposals may or may not be split into separate ‘chapters’ at the discretion of the major advisor. Contact the major advisor or the Graduate Coordinator for past examples. The candidate should submit the thesis proposal to all members of the Advisory Committee at least two weeks before the proposal defense unless this requirement is modified by the Advisory Committee. A faculty member may refuse to participate in a thesis proposal defense if the thesis is submitted less than fourteen days prior to the scheduled defense. The Graduate Coordinator should be notified of this development.

THESIS PROPOSAL DEFENSE:

The thesis proposal must be defended by the candidate with the signed approval form by the end of the second semester. The defense tests the student’s ability to communicate and defend in oral form the proposed research. The defense may include, but is not limited to, questions related to the background knowledge required for successful completion and publication of the project, a justification of the proposed experimental design, and evidence of preparation for undertaking required field, lab, or computational methods and analyses.

  • The defense consists of three parts
    • A brief (~25-30 minute) presentation of the proposal
    • Questions from the audience
    • Discussion of the proposal with the Advisory Committee and other program faculty
  • The presentation will be open to the Faculty, Staff, and students of the department.
  • The Major Advisor of the Advisory Committee will act as a moderator during the proposal discussion which will occur after the presentation. The proposal discussion will be open to program faculty.
  • Passing or failure of the defense will be determined by a simple majority of the Advisory Committee (two out of three).
  • The Candidate may pass, fail, for his or her performance in the defense. A Candidate failing the original defense may be allowed one re-defense at the discretion of the Committee within two weeks of the start of the next semester. That is, at the Committee’s discretion, a Candidate may be allowed only one additional proposal defense during his or her Master’s Degree Program, regardless of Plan or combination of Plans. Failure of the second proposal defense terminates the Candidate’s graduate program at Brockport. The Graduate Coordinator will then notify the Graduate Admissions Office of the College that the student is no longer considered a matriculated graduate student in the Environmental Science and Ecology Department.
  • The re-defense will be conducted in a similar manner as the original examination and the Candidate will be graded as passed or failed.
  • The Major Advisor must secure the approval of the Graduate Coordinator for the proposed date for the proposal defense or re-defense. It will then be the responsibility of the Advisor to post a public notice of the proposal defense at least 7 days prior to the event.

E. THE THESIS &DEFENSE OF THE THESIS

Thesis:

The candidate should submit a draft of the thesis to all members of the Advisory Committee at least six weeks before the defense unless this requirement is modified by the Advisory Committee. The thesis must be submitted in its proposed final form to each Advisory Committee member at least seven days before the final examination (hereafter the Defense). A faculty member may refuse to participate in a Defense if the thesis is submitted less than seven days prior to the scheduled defense. The Graduate Coordinator should be notified of this development. See Appendix D for formatting and technical details related to thesis preparation.
The draft thesis submitted to the Advisory Committee at least seven days before the Defense may be modified as a result of the Defense, but at the time of the Defense, it must be complete in all respects and editorially acceptable for final approval. The candidate then has sixty days after the Defense in which to have a final copy of the thesis word-processed and reproduced in an acceptable form, incorporating possible suggestions made by the Advisory Committee at the Defense.

Semester-hour credit, on a Pass/Fail basis, will be awarded for ENV 704 pending approval of the Thesis by the Thesis Advisory Committee. The Major Advisor is responsible for submitting the final grade for the Thesis to the Office of Registration and Records.

Thesis Defense:

Only after successful defense of the Thesis Proposal will the candidate be permitted to defend the Thesis before the Advisory Committee. No student with less than a 3.0 Cumulative Average, according to the official Brockport transcript, will be permitted a Defense of Thesis. The written thesis (ENV 704 – up to six credits) is reviewed by the Thesis Advisory Committee and revised by the candidate until deemed acceptable for the Thesis Defense by the Committee. The Defense will only occur after the Advisory Committee has unanimously certified to the Graduate Coordinator that the Thesis is in a suitable form for defense. The written thesis will be then be formally defended before the Thesis Advisory Committee.

The Defense will be open to the Faculty (and to students at the discretion of the Candidate). Other faculty members may, at the discretion of the Candidate’s Advisory Committee, ask a reasonable number of questions after the Advisory Committee has examined the Candidate. The Defense will normally not exceed three hours. In the defense, the student must be able to satisfactorily answer questions dealing with experimental design, methodology, hypotheses, conclusions, etc. developed in the thesis. It will be the responsibility of the Major Advisor to post a public notice of the Defense at least seven days prior to the event.

The Defense will be preceded by a public seminar covering the thesis research. This seminar may be presented independently of the thesis defense, or immediately preceding it. The seminar should be presented within three months of the defense examination, but may be presented immediately preceding the examination. The Candidate will review the thesis in a detailed manner, thus demonstrating the Candidate’s ability to present scientific material in public. The seminar should be scheduled when the entire Thesis Advisory Committee can attend. The title of the seminar and a date, time, and place, should be submitted to the Advisor for public notice. The seminar should be prepared and presented at an advanced undergraduate level, and should be a minimum of 30 minutes long, not including time for questions.

Final approval of the Thesis is contingent upon a successful defense and requires a majority vote of the Advisory Committee. At the end of the Thesis Defense, the Candidate will be passed or failed. Failure may result from any deficiency that the Committee feels is present in the thesis work. If failed, it is the responsibility of the Candidate to correct the deficiency and to schedule a second Thesis Defense with the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee is to be notified of the date of the second meeting. Candidates will not be granted a third defense. That is, failure to successfully defend the thesis the second time terminates the Candidate’s graduate program at Brockport.

The College retains the proprietary rights to all data or innovations generated by the candidate.

F. TIME LIMIT, LEAVES OF ABSENCE, EXTENSIONS, DISMISSALS

Degree requirements should be completed within three years of the date of matriculation. With written approval of Major Advisor and the Graduate Coordinator, extensions of up to two years (i.e., five consecutive calendar years total in the program) may be granted.
Students whose progress toward degree completion is interrupted by circumstances beyond their control may apply for up to a year’s leave of absence. Application for such a leave is made to the student’s department. Leaves of absences approved by the department will not be charged against the time for degree completion, as stipulated by SUNY-Brockport. If circumstances warrant, students may apply for extensions of such leaves, up to a maximum of three years in total leave time. Application for extensions beyond the five-year time limit require approval by the Graduate Director, Chair, Dean of the School, and Office of Graduate Studies. Forms for Leaves of Absence and Time Extensions can be found at /graduate/forms.html
Student appeals on any issue dealing with the graduation program may be filed with the Graduate Coordinator. See /support/policies/category.php?id=15 for information on specific appeals policies.

Graduate Dismissal Policy
  • “Students who are deemed as not making reasonable progress toward the degree, as defined by published departmental policy, may be dismissed from the program.” (Faculty Senate, 3 February 1992).
  • A student in the Environmental Science and Ecology program must maintain a minimal 3.0 cumulative GPA, according to the official Brockport transcript, by the end of the second semester, or when 24 credits are completed, whichever is later. Failure to meet this standard will result in immediate dismissal from the program.
  • Matriculated graduate students whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 are placed on Academic Probation I. Students receive written notification of their probationary status from the Office of Graduate Studies. A student placed on academic probation is expected to consult with his/her graduate advisor no later than the first week of the semester to discuss his/her plans to address academic deficiencies. After attempting nine credits in probationary status, the student’s file is reviewed by the program’s Graduate Committee. If the student’s cumulative GPA is a minimum of 3.0, the student is automatically removed from probation. If the student does not achieve the minimum 3.0 GPA, the Graduate Committee will either:
    • Dismiss the student from the program immediately; or
    • Continue the student’s probation period for an additional six credits, with the proviso that dismissal is automatic if a minimum of 3.0 is not then achieved.
    • No student with less than a 3.0 cumulative GPA, according to the official Brockport transcript, will be permitted a Defense of Thesis.

Further information on the College’s policy on academic probation can be found at /support/policies/adopted/aa_graduate_academic_standing_prob.html

G. COMPLETION OF PROGRAM AND COMMENCEMENT

The Candidate and her/his Major Advisor will request the Graduate Coordinator to notify the Registrar of the intended completion of all degree requirements at least two months in advance of the awarding of the degree.

Departmental Requirements for Graduation with the MS in Environmental Science and Ecology are as follows:

  1. Completion of the Plan of Graduate Study, as determined by the Thesis Advisory Committee in consultation with the candidate by the end of the first semester.
  2. A Thesis Proposal Defense of a written thesis proposal, administered by the Thesis Advisory Committee.
  3. Completion of required core courses (8 credits):
    1. Graduate Research Seminars (ENV 705-708 – 4 credits; one one-credit course during the first four semesters);
    2. Thesis (ENV 704 – from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 6 credits);
    3. One of ENV 537 (Biostatistics), ENV 616 (Multivariate Statistics), ENV 538 (Ecological Data Analysis in R), each three credits.
  4. Completion of a minimum of 15 semester hours at the 600/700 level.
  5. Completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours of credit with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in all graduate courses taken at The College at Brockport.
  6. A Thesis Defense of a written thesis, administered by the Thesis Advisory Committee, and presentation of a public seminar on results of the thesis research.
  7. Submission of three copies of the defended thesis, including the signature pages, to the department administrative assistant.

College requirements require the following items for graduation. The Candidate’s major advisor is responsible for ensuring that the following items are completed.

  1. Completed thesis archived with keywords and discipline at the College Digital Commons
  2. Submission of change-of-grade forms for any Thesis (ENV 704) or TCC credits
  3. Any waivers or transfer credit (with transcripts).
  4. Any Incomplete contracts (showing completion and grade).
  5. A Graduate Data Card (completed).

H. ADDITIONAL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS – BS/MS

Taking Graduate Classes as a Combined Degree Student

In the fall semester of the senior year, a Plan of Graduate Study must be filed with the Graduate Coordinator (see details on page 9). Once admitted to this Combined Degree program, undergraduate students can take up to 12 graduate credits of coursework in Environmental Science and Ecology at the undergraduate tuition rate. Up to 12 of these credits can fulfill requirements for their Environmental Science and Ecology major, or undergraduate degree requirements. These 12 credits can fulfill requirements for their Masters of Science degree once they matriculate into the program.

When Combined Degree students have fulfilled all requirements for their undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Ecology, they may no longer take graduate courses at undergraduate tuition rate. Furthermore, no more than 12 graduate credits taken as undergraduates at Brockport can transfer into their graduate degree program and fulfill its course requirements.

Program Requirements before the Undergraduate Degree is Awarded (120 Credits)

To remain good academic standing in the combined BS/MS program, students must:

  1. Complete all requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree by the end of their fourth year.
  2. Maintain a GPA of at least 3.0;
  3. File a Program of Graduate Study with Graduate Coordinator by the end of the fall semester in the senior year;
  4. File an approved Thesis Proposal with the Graduate Coordinator by the end of the spring semester of the senior year; and
  5. Meet the academic requirements for the MS program, which includes making satisfactory progress toward completing graduate coursework, the defense of the thesis proposal, and thesis research.

Students who are dismissed or choose to dematriculate from the Combined Degree program can complete outstanding requirements for the undergraduate major and degree. In that case, graduate courses taken as a Combined Degree student do not apply to undergraduate requirements. If that student subsequently applies for the traditional Master of Science in Environmental Science and Ecology program, those credits may be transferred to fulfill graduate degree requirements.

A student who is admitted to the Combined Degree program may revert back to the regular BS program voluntarily, in which case, he/she will receive the BS degree at the completion of 120 credits, provided that all other undergraduate degree requirements are met. Students may begin their graduate course work once they are enrolled in the program and have achieved senior status.
Students in the combined degree program have reduced requirements at the undergraduate level in light of their graduate coursework. These changes are by track:

 

At the completion of 120 credits, if all other undergraduate requirements are met, students in the Combined Degree program will receive their Bachelor of Science degree.

Matriculating into the Graduate Program

When undergraduate students in good academic standing in this Combined Degree program graduate from the undergraduate program at Brockport, they are automatically matriculated into the graduate program in Environmental Science and Ecology. All SUNY-Brockport and Department of Environmental Science and Ecology graduate academic policies will then apply to them. The five-year limit to complete the graduate degree starts at this time.

Appendices

Appendix A: Financial Aid - Some Thoughts & Suggestions

How costs are met – sources of aid:

  1. Student’s savings
  2. Parents’ contributions
  3. Loans
  4. Grants/Scholarships
  5. Work opportunities

Financial aid available to students include the following:

  1. Tuition Assistance Program
  2. Guaranteed Student Loans
  3. Federal Program for Financial Assistance
  4. National Direct Student Loans
  5. College Work Study Program
  6. Private Scholarships and Awards
  7. Foreign Student Assistance
  8. Assistantships (teaching and research)

The Programs – where and how to apply

  1. Tuition Assistance Program (T.A.P.)
    1. All full-time students who are legal residents of New York are eligible to apply for assistance under the Tuition Assistance Program. Applications are available from college financial aid offices by June 1st to apply for the next academic year. This application is used to determine the amount of T.A.P. award you will receive based on net taxable state income. Awards range from $100 per year to full cost of tuition. You must apply yearly to receive an award.
  2. Guaranteed Student Loans
    1. These loans are administered by the New York Higher Education Assistance Corporation (NYHEAC) and are available through your local bank. They are low interest loans with up to a ten-year repayment schedule. Applications may be obtained at your nearest participating bank. Apply yearly during the spring to insure funds for September.
  3. Federal Program of Financial Assistance
    1. The following awards can be applied for by submitting a Brockport Financial Aid Application and a Parents’ Confidential Statement (PCS) or a Student Financial Statement (SFS). Brockport’s Financial Aid Application is mailed in the admissions acceptance packet or is available from the Financial Aid Office. Parents’ Confidential Statements and Student Financial Statements can be obtained from college financial aid offices. Applications should be on file by 1 April for consideration of award for the next academic year.
      1. National Direct Student Loans (NDSL)
        These are low interest long-term loans. Designate NDSL on Brockport’s Financial Aid Application and be sure to have a PCS or SFS on file. Apply yearly before 1 April.
      2. College Work Study Program (CWSP)
        This program offers jobs to students demonstrating financial need and desire to work. Positions are available in almost every department and administrative office. Every effort is made to correlate the job with the student’s interest and schedule. Designate CWSP on Brockport’s Financial Aid Application and have on file a PCS or SFS. Apply yearly before April 1st.
  4. Private Scholarship and Awards:
    1. The Financial Aid Office coordinates the processing on Private Scholarships. Students seek these scholarships on their own and awards are made as specified by the agency offering the scholarship.
    2. Locally determined scholarships and awards are publicized and needs as well as academic competence are determining factors for selection. It would be beneficial to have on file in the Financial Aid Office a Parents’ Confidential Statement (PCS) or Student Financial Statement (SFS) if you desire to be considered for a locally determined grant or non- monetary award.
  5. Foreign Student Assistance
    1. Contact the Coordinator of Foreign Student Affairs.
  6. Assistantships:
    1. A limited number of assistantships are available from various sources. Assistantships usually provide $3,600 to $7,250 salary and may include a tuition waiver. Inquiries should be made with your respective department. In addition, faculty occasionally have grants to support graduate student research. There is no formal procedure in applying for these awards. We recommend talking with individual faculty on availability.

Appendix B: Suggested Schedule of Events

The following schedule is a general guide as the approximate time sequence for a program leading to the MS Degree.

First Semester

  1. Meet with Major Advisor to plan first semester courses, prior to classes
  2. File accepted Plan of Graduate Study with the Graduate Coordinator.
  3. Consider Research Proposal options (to be filed and approved during the second semester).

Second

  1. Meet with Advisory Committee to discuss Research Proposal options
  2. Submit draft Thesis Proposal to entire Advisory Committee at least two weeks prior to the defense.
  3. Defend Thesis Proposal
  4. Update Thesis Proposal as necessary

Third

  1. Thesis Proposal Defense
    1. If the Thesis Proposal Defense was not successful,
      1. Submit draft Thesis Proposal to entire Advisory Committee at least two weeks prior to the defense.
      2. Defend Thesis Proposal.
    2. If the second-semester Thesis Proposal Defense was successful,
      1. Meet with Advisory Committee to review progress.

Subsequent Semesters

  1. Meet with Advisory Committee to review progress.
  2. Register for at least one credit each fall and spring term until your degree is completed. If all six thesis credits have been used, register for one Thesis Continuation Credit (TCC 718) each fall and spring term.

Last Semester

  1. Submit draft Thesis to entire Advisory Committee at least two weeks prior to the defense.
  2. Defend Thesis and present a public seminar on your research.
  3. Notify Graduate Coordinator of intended graduation.
  4. Submit an electronic and three (3) paper copies of the final thesis (Plan I) to the administrative assistant.
  5. Fill out change of grade forms for all ENV 704 (Thesis) and TCC credits.
  6. Fill out the online Application to Graduate.

Appendix C: List of Potential Courses

Appendix D: Thesis Formatting

Appendix E: Research Interests of Graduate Faculty

Appendix F: Forms