Academic Procedures

Academic Procedures for Master's Students:

Breadth Requirements

You should be notified at the time of admission if you are required to complete the breath requirements. However, it is always good to check with the Graduate Student Coordinator to determine whether you will have to take courses to meet the breadth requirements. If you do, please talk with your sub area academic counselor to draw up a plan to meet these requirements. Typically, seminars should not be used to fullfil the breadth requirements

Degree Plan

You should work with your thesis advisor or your sub area academic counselor to draw up a plan to meet the requirements for the degree. The plan can be changed over time. However, it has been shown that students who drew up a plan earlier and follow the plan finish their requirements much earlier than those who do not or keep changing the plan. The normal progress timeline should be observed to insure that you complete your degree requirements in a timely fashion.

Thesis Committee

The Thesis Committee for MS students normally consists of a minimum of three Graduate Faculty members. One of those three members can be an individual with a MS Degree or above with expertise related to the work of the MS research. The inclusion of such a committee member must be approved by the student's Thesis Advisor. If the third member does not have a MS Degree or above but has extensive expertise in the area of research the student may obtain approval from the Executive Committee of the Department in order to grant that person voting rights on the Thesis Committee.

Thesis Defense

Set a defense date and time in consultation with your advisor. Notify your committee and the Graduate Student Coordinator. You should plan ahead for the defense. This will give committee members ample time to read your thesis. You must check with the Graduate Student Coordinator at least three weeks before your scheduled defense to be sure that you have all of the official paperwork done (such as requesting the warrant for the defense and obtaining the thesis defense form). See the back of the degree plan form for details.

Most students defend their thesis in the Geography Library's Hartshorne Room. Contact the librarian in the Geography Library to reserve the room as soon as you have a date. Contact the main office (Room 160) to reserve audio/visual equipment.

Warrant

Request a warrant from the Graduate Student Coordinator (Room 144) at least three weeks ahead of time. The Graduate School will generate a warrant if you have completed all requirements and have no "incompletes" on your transcript. The thesis committee following a successful defense must sign the warrant.

Note: During the semester the thesis is defended, you must be registered for 2 graduate credits.

Check the Graduate School website for warrant and degree deadlines: http://www.grad.wisc.edu/education/completedegree/mdegree.html

Master's Degree Final Oral Exam Form:

Prior to the defense, you must obtain a copy of this form from the Departmental Graduate Student Coordinator, and complete the appropriate section. The Graduate Student Coordinator will keep the warrant and exam form until your defense.

Thesis formatting Requirements

See the Graduate School website for information regarding formatting: http://www.grad.wisc.edu/education/completedegree/mguide.html. When "department style requirements" are referred to, consult with your advisor or use the AAG format.

You must include an "Advisor's Approval Page" in your final copy. The Geography Department does not have a standard form for this page. Please use a single sheet with the word "APPROVED," followed by your advisor's signature, title, and the date signed. This page is not counted in pagination.

Library Copies of Your Thesis

You are required to deposit your thesis in the Memorial Library as well as the Geography Library. The Geography Library will require a printed copy as well as a PDF file of your Thesis. The PDF copy will be available online. You have an option to decide the mode of dissemination – public or local. Public is available to anyone online, local is available only to people in the Geography Department.

Deposit in Geography Library: When depositing a thesis with the Geography Library, the student must obtain a Geography Library Deposit Certificate from the Graduate Coordinator. This certificate must be filled out by the student and signed by the Geography Librarian to certify that the student's thesis has been deposited. After this has been done, it must be returned to the Graduate Coordinator. The Graduate Coordinator will not submit a warrant unless this certificate has been returned.

Deposit in Memorial Library: You must submit your unbound thesis in person to the Memorial Library, room B137. You cannot submit by mail. The Memorial Library will notify the Graduate School of deposit, and the Graduate School will notify the Registrar's Office. You must deposit your thesis by the degree deadline in order to get the degree for that semester.

Applying to the Ph.D. Program

Students wishing to go on to the Ph.D. program must apply by January 15 in the second year of their master's in order to request or continue funding. See the Chair of the Graduate Affairs and Research Committee or the Graduate Coordinator for details. Click here to download the Ph.D. Application Form for internal Master's student.

Exit Interview

All graduating MS students are required to have an exit interview with the department Graduate Coordinator. The interview is for us to get some feedbacks from you on the effectiveness of our graduate program. We certainly like to hear what we are doing right and what we need to improve on. This interview is mandatory and takes about 30 minutes. The Graduate Coordinator will not submit a warrant unless this interview has been conducted.

Academic Procedures for Ph.D. Students

Breadth Requirements

You should be notified at the time of admission if you are required to complete the breath requirements. However, it is always good to check with the Graduate Student Coordinator to determine whether you will have to take courses to meet the breadth requirements. If you do, please talk with your sub area academic counselor to draw up a plan to meet these requirements. Typically, seminars should not be used to fullfil the breadth requirements.

Degree Plan

You should work with your dissertation advisor or your sub area academic counselor to draw up a plan to meet the requirements for the degree. The plan can be changed over time. However, it has been shown that students who drew up a plan earlier and follow the plan finish their requirements much earlier than those who do not or keep changing the plan. The normal progress timeline should be observed to insure that you complete your degree requirements in a timely fashion. The Ph.D. program has a very different sets of requirements. Students should consult the Program Requirements section for detailed information on the requirements for the Ph.D. program. The Degree Plan form also contains these requirements.

Qualifying Examinations

Qualifying examination is the first part of the two part preliminary examinations. There are two qualifying examinations a Ph.D. student must take: general and specific. Each subfield (Human, Physical, People-Environment, and Cartography/GIS) conducts these exams differently. It is the student's responsibility to talk with her/his dissertation adviser to gain a complete understanding of the nature of these exams and the way they are administered. The general exam tests the candidate's broad knowledge in the subfield. Its scope and depth are motivated by the faculty's belief that any student earning a Ph.D. should be able to teach an introductory course in the subfield. It follows, therefore, that students should be able to demonstrate knowledge at the intermediate level in all areas of that subfield. The general is typically administrated and graded by a group of faculty in the student's subfield. Some subfields may require the student to meet the group of faculty in the subfield to verbally clarify the written answers. The specific exam evaluates a candidate's preparation in his or her own research areas. This exam is different from the dissertation defense in that the exam is centered around how well the candidate understand the theories, techniques and issues in his/her own research areas and is administrated and graded by the student's dissertation advisor.

Thesis Committee

The Thesis Committee for PhD students normally consists of a minimum of five Graduate Faculty members; of which at least one but no more than two of which must be from outside of this department. One of those three members can be an individual with a PhD Degree with expertise related to the work of the PhD research. The inclusion of such a committee member must be approved by the student's Thesis Advisor. If the third member does not have a PhD Degree but has extensive expertise in the area of research the student may obtain approval from the Executive Committee of the Department in order to grant that person voting rights on the Thesis Committee.

Proposal Defense

Ph.D. dissertation proposal defense is the second part of the preliminary examination. Ph.D. dissertation proposal is defended in front of the dissertation committee. This committee is not the same group of faculty who graded the general qualitying exam although some members may serve on both. Students should contact the Graduate Student Coordinator well in advance to make sure proper documents are requested (such as preliminary examination warrant, minor completion form).

Preliminary Warrant: Request the warrant from the Graduate Student Coordinator at least three weeks ahead of time. The Graduate School will generate a warrant if you have completed all requirements and have no "incompletes" on your transcript. The thesis committee following a successful defense must sign the warrant.

Proposal Defense Date: Set a defense date and time in consultation with your advisor. Notify your committee and the Graduate Student Coordinator.

Room for Proposal Defense: Most students defend their proposal and dissertation in the Geography Library's Hartshorne Room. Contact the librarian in the Library to reserve the room as soon as you have a date. Contact the main office (Room 160) to reserve audio/visual equipment.

Dissertator Status (Ph.D. Candidacy)

A Ph.D. student reaches dissertator status (or advances to candidacy) once he/she successfully completes preliminary examinations (qualifying exams and dissertation proposal defense). Once the student reaches dissertator status, he/she has five years to complete and defend the dissertation. The student will pay a much lower tuition fee during this period and is not allowed to take any regular courses besides the three dissertator credits (Geography 990) each semester (Fall and Spring).

Thesis Defense

You should plan ahead for the defense to give committee members ample time to read your dissertation. You must check with the Graduate Student Coordinator three weeks before your scheduled defense to be sure that you have all of the official paperwork done (such as requesting the warrant for the defense and obtaining the dissertation defense form). See the back of the degree plan form for details.

Final Defense Warrant: Request the warrant from the Graduate Student Coordinator at least three weeks ahead of time. Check the Graduate School website for warrant and degree deadlines: http://www.grad.wisc.edu/education/completedegree/index.html

Defense Date/Room: (See Proposal Defense Section above)

Thesis formatting Requirements

See the Graduate School website for information regarding formatting: http://www.grad.wisc.edu/education/completedegree/mguide.html. When "department style requirements" are referred to, consult with your advisor or use the AAG format.

You must include an "Advisor's Approval Page" in your final copy. The Geography Department does not have a standard form for this page. Please use a single sheet with the word "APPROVED," followed by your advisor's signature, title, and the date signed. This page is not counted in pagination.

Library Copies of Your Thesis

You are required to deposit your thesis in the Memorial Library as well as the Geography Library. The Geography Library will require a printed copy as well as a PDF file of your Thesis. The PDF copy will be available online. You have an option to decide the mode of dissemination – public or local. Public is available to anyone online, local is available only to people in the Geography Department.

Deposit in Geography Library: When depositing a thesis with the Geography Library, the student must obtain a Geography Library Deposit Certificate from the Graduate Coordinator. This certificate must be filled out by the student and signed by the Geography Librarian to certify that the student's thesis has been deposited. After this has been done, it must be returned to the Graduate Coordinator. The Graduate Coordinator will not submit a warrant unless this certificate has been returned.

Deposit in Memorial Library: You must submit your unbound thesis in person to the Memorial Library, room B137. You cannot submit by mail. The Memorial Library will notify the Graduate School of deposit, and the Graduate School will notify the Registrar's Office. You must deposit your thesis by the degree deadline in order to get the degree for that semester.

Graduate School Final Review:

You must make an appointment with the Graduate School Degree Coordinator for a final check of your dissertation. You should make your appointment as soon as you have a defense date, as the timeslots fill quickly at the end of the semester. For more information, see: http://www.grad.wisc.edu/education/completedegree/ddd.html, Step #3.

Bindery Fee

You are required to pay for microfilming and binding through the Bursar's Office. See http://www.grad.wisc.edu/education/completedegree/ddd.html, Step 5. You must pay the fee by the degree deadline in order to get the degree for that semester.

Exit Interview

All graduating Ph.D. students are required to have an exit interview with the department Graduate Coordinator. The interview is for us to get some feedbacks from you on the effectiveness of our graduate program. We certainly like to hear what we are doing right and what we need to improve on. This interview is mandatory and takes about 30 minutes. The Graduate Coordinator will not submit a warrant unless this interview has been conducted.

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