Course and Credit Requirements

The student is responsible for consulting with the adviser before each registration period. Prior to the first registration, the student and adviser will discuss the choice of courses for that semester and subsequent semesters. Subsequent to the Candidacy Exam, and preferably prior to the end of the first semester, the student and adviser shall develop a Graduate Academic Plan for approval by the student’s committee. The Graduate Academic Plan (GAP) may be modified with approval of the committee during any registration or drop/add period. The plan will include alternative courses in case the student is unable to obtain a first choice.

  1. Subject matter deficiencies, if any, must be removed to the satisfaction of the student’s committee. A guidance committee cannot be appointed until the student has passed the Candidacy Exam (see item D below on committee appointment).
  2. The student’s doctoral committee has the responsibility to approve the courses and credits it considers essential for the education and development of the candidate. The committee must ensure that the student is properly trained and prepared to conduct doctoral-quality research in a basic scientific discipline applicable to one of the Department’s subject matter areas – forest science, wildlife and fisheries science, or wood products.
  3. The Graduate Academic Plan for the PhD shall include courses for the major and for the basic scientific disciplines, as appropriate.
  4. Minimum course credits required for the PhD are those defined for the MS degree. If the minimum course requirements have been fulfilled by the student having obtained his/her MS or equivalent degree, only additional courses required by the student’s doctoral committee (along with seminar and supervised teaching credits) will need to be taken. A typical PhD student will have approximately 50 to 60 credits in formal course work beyond the baccalaureate degree.
  5. Colloquium - One colloquium course "Research Integrity and Communications." (1 credit) is required in which presentation techniques are learned by the student. There may also be a student presentation experience as part of this colloquium.
  6. SARI - Penn State requires training related to research integrity.  A portion of this training is incorporated into the course "Research Integrity and Communications."
  7. Seminar - In addition, one seminar presentation is required at the departmental graduate seminar near the end of the student's degree.  In extraordinary cases, the student’s adviser, in consultation with the Graduate Program Coordinator, will determine the acceptability of any alternative to this seminar presentation.
  8. The candidate is expected to routinely attend Seminar each semester of registration at the University Park Campus.
  9. A student holding a half-time assistantship is expected to perform duties that, on average, occupy approximately 20 hours per week and could include service as a teaching assistant in those semesters in which you receive a departmental assistantship. The time required to conduct high-quality research and complete a dissertation that makes a significant contribution to the field, as a requirement for your degree, may take considerable additional hours per week, and will depend upon the nature of your dissertation topic.

  10. All PhD students are required to assist in teaching an undergraduate class and to enroll for at least one SUBJ 602 credit (Supervised Experience in College Teaching) during a student’s program. The student’s adviser and the course instructor will assign teaching duties. The assignment must be a meaningful teaching experience and include some direct interaction with students.
  11. Credits for courses earned in graduate studies at other institutions may be applied toward the degree as follows:

    a.  The student’s committee may approve pertinent courses equivalent to 400- or 500-level formal courses at The Pennsylvania State University.

    b. Special problem courses are excluded.

    c. The courses fall within limitations prescribed by the Graduate School for transferable credits (see Graduate Bulletin for transfer process).
  12. Residence requirements for the PhD are specified in The Pennsylvania State University bulletin "Graduate Degree Programs." Students must maintain continuous registration (summers excluded) after passing the Comprehensive Examination.