GGGQEGuidelinesupdate0806 - Genetics Graduate Group...

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Genetics Graduate Group Expanded Guidelines for Qualifying Exam Procedures This is a document for all: students, major professors and Qualifying examination chairs and QE committee members. All please read. EXAM FORMAT AND PHILOSOPHY All focus groups require preparation of a dissertation proposal and its defense at an oral examination. In addition, all focus groups require examination in the four areas of Genetics as represented by the 4 core courses at the same meeting. The Chromosome Biology Focus Group additionally requires preparation and defense of a secondary proposal. During the examinations, the emphasis of the exam should focus on determining whether the student has acquired the intellectual research skills and the genetic knowledge base necessary to successfully conduct independent research in the future. In this context it is important to view the proposals as an intellectual exercise that provides one way to measure these skills. Rather than emphasizing the quantity of work already accomplished or the quality of the data that have been generated, the proposal should be used to measure the potential research skills of the student. By preparing a proposal the student should demonstrate mastery of the following skills: (1) ability to identify and clearly define a research topic that makes a substantial and novel contribution to genetic knowledge; (2) ability to focus the proposed research around one or more testable scientific hypotheses; (3) ability to design and interpret scientifically feasible experiments that will specifically test these hypotheses; (4) ability to review the scientific literature in the proposal field to clearly define the relationship of the proposed research to existing knowledge; (5) ability to integrate, where appropriate and feasible, various genetic approaches (e.g. transmission, cytogenetic, quantitative genetics); and (6) ability to relate proposed experiments to the biology of the organism. It is critical for students, major professors and examining faculty to remember that the proposal evaluation should not be viewed as an evaluation of the work of the major professor, or as a contract for the work that will be ultimately completed for the dissertation. The dissertation committee will be formally constituted after completion of the qualifying exam. Definition of the work that constitutes the dissertation is by joint agreement of the student, the major professor and the other members of the dissertation committee. The major professor may be involved in guiding the student during design of the overall focus of the dissertation research topic, but the student will ultimately have the responsibility for discussing the dissertation topic proposal in the examination and therefore should also have the responsibility for crafting a proposal of the highest possible scientific quality. The content of the proposal should therefore not be unduly influenced by grant or contract constraints of the major professor that would prove detrimental
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GGGQEGuidelinesupdate0806 - Genetics Graduate Group...

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