General Information for all AOE's
Any UC Davis faculty member of the GGE is eligible for membership in an AOE upon application and with the approval of the Chairperson and Adviser of the AOE. Faculty with interests in a specific AOE are encouraged to apply. Any student whose interests extend beyond those of current faculty are encouraged to establish contact with faculty whose interests parallel the student's. Faculty should choose a primary AOE.
Students will be admitted to the AOE via the admissions process. Students may also petition to change their AOE. Students should check with the Staff Adviser to request a form and an explanation of the process.
All AOE students must fulfill the course requirements of the GGE and the AOE. The intent of the AOE curriculum is to provide students interested in the AOE with guidance and additional structure in their coursework. The AOE recognizes that individual students may have highly diverse interests and needs. Modifications in the requirements of a student's course program may be made subject to the approval of the AOE Adviser and Chair. See specific AOE for additional coursework information.
GGE Required Courses
All courses required by the GGE are also required by the AOE. In particular, Ecology 200 A and B are required, as are a field course and EVE 100. Masters students are required to take one ECL 290 course and PhD students are required to take three ECL 290 courses. All must take the ECL 296 seminar for the first year. Students must also complete the required preliminary coursework before or shortly after admission to the program.
Students in the AOE must be admitted to the GGE in either the Masters or Doctoral programs. Students admitted to the Masters program can be admitted to the PhD program in a number of ways. Students interested in this should see their Graduate Adviser, the AOE Chair or the Staff Adviser of the GGE.
Time to Complete Program
Students in the M.S. degree program will normally complete requirements in two years. Ph.D. students can expect to complete course work in two years and the dissertation within the five year normative time of the GGE. These estimates may be conservative, especially if entrance deficiencies require additional time for coursework or if special circumstances occur. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Adviser to the AOE.
Each student in the AOE must have a Guidance Committee. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that this committee is established and functions within the guidelines of the AOE and the GGE. Guidance committees for Masters students must have two members, but may have three members. Doctoral students' committees have three members. The student's major professor and either the Adviser or the Chairperson of the AOE must serve on each student’s committee.
Guidance committees must be set up by the end of the first quarter of residence. Membership of the Guidance Committee may be changed with the approval of the AOE Adviser. The student must meet with his or her Guidance Committee at least once per year.
Student progress reports are required annually by the Office of Graduate Studies. Progress report forms will be sent to students during the Winter Quarter. They must be prepared by the student, approved by the Guidance Committee, or thesis/dissertation committee, and filed with the Staff Adviser.
Masters students can meet the requirements of the AOE by either writing a thesis (Masters Plan I) or by taking an oral or written examination (Masters Plan II).
If Plan II is selected the student must undertake a well defined project requiring a level of effort of at least four units, and culminating in either a research paper or class project equivalent to a research paper.
The qualifying examination will have an oral component. It may, at the discretion of either the student or the Adviser, have a written component. The examination procedure is to be arranged with the student's Guidance Committee.
Under Plan I neither an oral exam nor defense of the thesis is required. The thesis will be reviewed and approved by a three member Thesis Committee.
Completion of the PhD requires passing a qualifying exam and completing a dissertation. The qualifying exam will have an oral component and may, at the discretion of either the student or the Adviser, have a written component. The examination procedure is to be arranged with the student's Guidance Committee.
The Examination Committee will be composed of five people. One member will be primarily concerned with fundamental principles of ecology, one research methods/quantitative skills, and three with the student’s areas of interest. These topics must correspond with the topics listed on the Guidance Committee report form. The student's major professor does not normally serve on the Examination Committee. The AOE Adviser can recommend exceptions to the GGE Chair when strongly justified. Committee members from off campus may serve, at the discretion of the AOE Chair and subject to University regulations. Off campus members must be pre-approved by the Office of Graduate Studies.
The examination should be taken as early as possible in the student's career, normally at the beginning of the third year of residence so as to allow ample time during the summer for studying. All required coursework must be completed before the oral exam can be taken. Only courses which are not required may be taken after the orals.
Ph.D. students are required to give an exit seminar on the topic of their research prior to graduation.
Candidates for the Ph.D. degree will write a doctoral dissertation after completion of coursework. The dissertation will be overseen by a Dissertation Committee consisting of the major professor and at least two other faculty. A committee member from off-campus may be used at the discretion of the AOE Chair and GGE, subject to University regulations. The Dissertation Committee will be appointed by the GGE Master Adviser upon mutual agreement of the candidate and the committee members.
The candidate will write a research plan/prospectus which should be approved by the Dissertation Committee within two quarters after the candidate has been advanced to candidacy. The dissertation will address a subject chosen by the student and meet the following requirements:
- It must be original.
- It must demonstrate creative and independent work of sufficient quality to be published in peer-reviewed journals.
- All aspects must be defensible, including background theory, hypotheses, methods of data acquisition and analysis, and interpretation of results.
- The work must be primarily that of the student. The student should be primary author of all chapters in the dissertation and publications derived from the dissertation.
The dissertation must be tied together by a unifying theme. The
dissertation may take one of two forms. It may follow either the
traditional monograph format or the following:
- Introduction and literature review
- Three chapters, each representing a publishable paper in a peer-reviewed journal
- Summary and conclusions
All students must present their dissertation results in an exit seminar before their Dissertation Committee and open to the campus community.
Detailed instructions on the form of the dissertation and abstract should be obtained from the Office of Graduate Studies or the GGE. The candidate must file with the Dean of Graduate Studies one copy of the approved dissertation and abstract not later than three weeks before the close of the quarter in which the degree is to be conferred. The student is encouraged to sign an agreement with University Microfilms, Inc. to microfilm the dissertation and print the abstract in Dissertation Abstracts.
The AOE is a sub-group within the GGE. The AOE is organized through its own Chairperson and Adviser. The Chair and Adviser shall be elected by mail ballot and serve two year terms. The Chair shall have the authority to appoint committees of faculty and/or students as the need arises.
Chairperson of the AOE
The Chairperson of the AOE has responsibility to ensure that the program of the AOE is coordinated with the GGE. The Chairperson is also Chair of the Admissions Committee with special responsibilities for review of prospective students. The Chairperson also assists the AOE Adviser in student advising.
Duties of the AOE Chair might include the following:
• AOE contact for prospective students and professors seeking to join
• Membership – endorse faculty membership applications to the AOE
• Admissions – faculty matching for tier 1 candidates, overseeing the general admissions process their AOE applicants, assist with any grievance issues with admissions
• Recruitment – meet with prospective students when they’re on campus
• Orientation – generally welcoming new students and assist the Adviser with advising for the AOE
• Social – some AOE’s organize at least one annual gathering of the students and faculty
• ECL 290’s – usually ensures that at least AOE ECL 290 is offered each year
• ECL 296’s – some AOE’s offer their own speaker series, very well attended by students
• Annual Meeting – report AOE activities to the GGE at the meeting
Adviser of the AOE
The AOE Adviser has primary responsibility for advising students within the AOE. Each student must have the Adviser or the Chairperson as the second member of their guidance committee. The Adviser has responsibility for approving each student's program of study.
The AOE Adviser has signature authority over students' curricula as the "Graduate Adviser" in administrative areas including the Guidance Committee Report; MS final oral examination; and PhD pre-qualifying evaluation petitions to the GGE. The AOE Adviser does not have signature authority on any documents required by Graduate Studies.
Ecology Graduate Student Association
Students in the AAOE are automatically members of the Ecology Graduate Student Association (EGSA). This is a social and political organization that undertakes many activities relevant to UCD Ecology graduate student needs. Students are encouraged to participate in EGSA as well as in activities organized by students of the AAOE.