Policies and Expectations

Graduate Student Agreement

I am committed to being a strong mentor and research adviser to my students.  In turn, students agree to:

  1. Take ownership and responsibility for their graduate educational experience. Students in my research group work diligently towards developing their research goals and achieving them. Students enthusiastically develop the skills to lead their research. Students update me on research successes, progress, and challenges weekly. Students determine the requirements for their degree, inform me of these, and ensure that they are in compliance. Students seek out and balance professional development, networking, service, and fellowship and grant opportunities with their degree requirements. Students recognize that graduate degrees are earned when the work is completed.
  2. Develop strong research skills. Students in my lab agree to work through their research challenges.  Students learn the concepts in the seminal scientific and engineering literature in their field. Students keep up to date on the current literature by reading the papers that I suggest and combing relevant databases for papers that interest them and challenge their thinking. Students work towards becoming excellent critical thinkers with the ability to identify the strengths and limitations in their own work and that of others. Students work towards developing exquisite written and oral communication skills. Students present their work at conferences.
  3. Contribute to the lab and become excellent collaborators. Students recognize and celebrate that our research group is a team. Students voice their thoughts and opinions and listen as their peers do the same. Students accept and utilize constructive criticism and provide it to their peers, collaborators, and me. Students are respectful in their discourse with one another, their collaborators, and me. Students show up on time and prepared for lab meetings, journal clubs, and meetings with collaborators. Senior lab members mentor more junior lab members both technically and professionally. Students celebrate their "wins" and those of their lab mates and collaborators.
  4. Commits to a learning and working environment that emphasizes the dignity and worth of every member. We are a diverse group of researchers. We celebrate our differences and work together to advance science and engineering. We adhere to all policies outlined by MSU.

    Much of this agreement is inspired by and adapted directly from Aaron Meyer.

Requirements for Degree Completion

All students are required to develop and demonstrate expertise in their field of interest. In addition, a student will have:

  1. Completed all degree requirements stipulated by their degree program at Montana State University.
  2. Published a structured literature review or mapping study and used the results to identify the gaps that their research addresses. The student will have addressed these gaps with their research.  The student will have written a thesis or dissertation that contextualizes their work using primary literature; defines their research questions and objectives; describes the methods used to address the research objectives; presents the results clearly and cogently; and provides a thoughtful discussions of their findings.
  3. Published their research findings.  At the time of graduation, M.S. students will be the lead author on a published conference or workshop paper; they must have submitted a second manuscript to a conference or journal. Doctoral students will lead five peer-reviewed papers. At the time of graduation, Ph.D. students will have published a total of four papers and submitted manuscripts for their remaining, unpublished dissertation research. Students are encouraged to utilize the "Manuscript Formatting Option" for their theses and dissertations.
  4. Archived all code, data, models, and/or data pipelines used in thesis and dissertation research.