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2nd Year Project Guidelines

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Choosing a Topic and Committee

Spring and Summer

Advisor and student begin preliminary discussions to identify possible topics, summer readings, potential committee members, etc. during spring quarter of the first year.


Student names a committee of three department faculty--the advisor plus two other faculty--and obtains approval of the faculty to serve on the committee. Email the final committee names to your Graduate Committee and CC

The Prospectus

Fall Quarter - Monday of 3rd Week at 12:00 p.m.

Four copies of the first draft of the prospectus are due: email the PDF to the department ( and one to each committee member. The draft must be at least one page. You can find examples from years past below.


Fall Quarter - Week 3 to Week 5

Committee individually or collectively meets with the student to discuss prospectus and timetable.


Fall Quarter - Monday of 6th Week at 12:00 p.m.

Four copies of the final prospectus are due: email the PDF to the department ( and one to each committee member. The final prospectus must include an abstract at least one paragraph long. Abstracts will be made available to the entire faculty.

Committee evaluates the prospectus for:

  • design
  • animal and human subject procedures and required approvals
  • statistical techniques
  • feasibility
  • content
  • etc.


A student's committee may or may not request a revision of the prospectus.  If a revision is requested, it must be resubmitted in final form within 21 days.

The Paper and Presentation

Fall, Winter and Spring Quarters

Student should consult regularly with the committee and keep them apprised of progress. It is the student's responsibility to contact faculty regularly.

Spring Quarter - Monday of 7th Week at 12:00 p.m.

Student provides a first draft of the entire paper to each committee member and emails the PDF to the department ( At minimum, this will include a 3-5 page outline of the entire report, including introduction, methods, results and discussion. All sections must be included.

Spring Quarter - 7th Week

Students may expect committee members to provide feedback on drafts of their report if given to them in a timely manner.

Spring Quarter - Monday of 9th Week at 12:00 p.m.

Four copies of the final paper are due for evaluation by faculty, NOT for subsequent revision (one for each committee member and one PDF emailed to the

Spring Quarter - Monday or Tuesday of Finals Week

Student presentations will be scheduled for a day during finals week, usually Monday of finals week.

Evaluation and M.S. Degree

Spring Quarter - 9th Week

Committee members evaluate the final paper. The paper should be of professional quality and will be evaluated on all of the same criteria as the prospectus with the additions of clarity of exposition and review of the relevant literature, and scientific results. The overall grade for the 2nd year project is based primarily on the written paper as submitted, although the oral presentation and question answering thereafter are also important.

Spring Quarter - End of 9th Week

Committee members inform the student's advisor of their grades assigned the paper. Advisor works with the committee to decide on a final grade. Committees report to the student and entire faculty (at time of SPRING evaluation) whether paper is acceptable. Advisor informs Graduate Coordinator whether or not student passed.

The final decision regarding the M.S. degree is based on the student's GPA, the second year project, and yearly faculty evaluations. The committee makes one of the following three recommendations: pass, M.S. only, and non-pass. Pass means that the student may proceed toward the Ph.D. Those given M.S. only evaluations are granted the degree (providing they have met all course requirements), but are not allowed to continue toward the Ph.D. In either case, a student's committee may ask that the written second year project be revised.

Students whose second year paper is not acceptable but whose work in the department is satisfactory in other respects may be given one opportunity to revise the paper, or redo the 2nd year project according to a timetable set by the committee. An unacceptable revision will result in the student being asked to withdraw from the program.

Enrollment and Grades

Student enrolls in 210A-B-C (Second-Year Project) in Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters, respectively. Advisor assigns a grade of IP (in progress) for 210A-B; a letter grade is assigned for 210C which retroactively replaces the IPs in 210A-B.