M.S. Program

Integrative Genetics and Genomics Graduate Group M.S. Program

Undergraduate Preparation

While most students entering the GGG program have an undergraduate in a traditional scientific major (e.g., genetics, biology, biochemistry, etc.), demonstrated scholarly achievement and evidence of a strong aptitude for scientific research weigh most heavily in the decision to accept an applicant. For this reason, the GGG does not provide a list of preparatory courses requisite for entry into the group. However, students do find it expeditious to completion of the M.S. to have a background in chemistry, calculus, genetics, and some biochemistry (either through work experience or coursework).

Program - General Information

A wide range of genetics-related courses are offered by faculty members across the campus. In addition, the Integrative Genetics and Genomics Graduate Group teaches a set of core courses that provides a graduate-level education in genetics. Courses are designed to provide a broad understanding of all aspects of modern genetics, including molecular, quantitative, population, and cytogenetics as well as genomics and bioinformatics.

The Master of Science degree in genetics provides an opportunity for students who wish to prepare for a field of study, such as scientific writing, genetic counseling, or to combine genetic studies with studies in related or unrelated fields. The M.S. degree can be gained by exam or by writing a research thesis in addition to coursework.

Advising Guidelines

Each student has two official faculty mentors recognized by the Office of Graduate Studies: (1) an academic adviser and (2) a major professor (also known as the faculty mentor or research adviser). Others can serve as mentors as well. The UC Davis Graduate Council recognizes that the mentoring of graduate students by faculty is an integral part of the graduate experience for both (download Mentoring Guidelines).

Academic adviser - nominated by the Integrative Genetics and Genomics Graduate Group and appointed by Graduate Studies. You are initially assigned an adviser based on research interests and your application. You may change your adviser after consultation with the Master Adviser.

The Master Adviser is a faculty member whose job is to coordinate advising activities. The Master Adviser, as well as advisers not assigned specifically to you, can also advise you if your assigned academic adviser is not available.

You should meet with your academic adviser to plan coursework and to:

  • ensure that any deficiencies are made up
  • ensure that required coursework is taken
  • monitor your progress in finding your research home (major professor)
  • obtain periodic review of progress
  • help navigate University bureaucracy
  • discuss any difficulties or problems affecting your academic progress
  • approve/sign forms and petitions (e.g. late drop/PELP/Advancement to Candidacy/ progress reports)
  • get career advice

Master's Degree Options

The GGG offers two options for MS degrees: Plan I and Plan II. Plan I is the 'Thesis Option' best suited for students that want to perform original research. Plan II is the 'Course Option' and is best suited for students who would like more coursework than research units to gain current knowledge of genetics for positions in education, policy, journalism, etc. Below you will find each plan and the steps/timeframe students are expected to take to complete their degree.

Regardless of what 'Plan' a student might choose to take to achieve their degree, all MS students are highly recommended to identify a major professor to sponsor GGG 299 units in the first quarter and full year of study. MS students can delay the decision of Plan I/II until the end of the first year. If on the thesis (Plan I) track, students should continue pursuing original research until the completion of their thesis, usually by the end of their second year. If on the course (Plan II) track, students should register for GGG 299 units only during the quarters that they are interacting with the major professor's research lab (attending lab meetings, meeting with major professor, etc).

Plan I: Thesis Option

This plan requires at least 30 units of graduate and upper division courses (the 100 and 200 series only). At least 12 of the 30 units must be graduate level courses. In addition, students will submit a thesis based on original research.

Core Requirements: Core and electives (30 units)

Core Courses (19 units)

GGG 201A – Advanced Genetic Analysis (5 units)
GGG 201B – Comparative and Functional Genomics (5 units)
GGG 201D – Transmission, Population, and Quantitative Genetics (5 units)
GGG 296 – Scientific Professionalism & Integrity (2 units, letter grading)
GGG 290A – Graduate Student Conference (1 unit, S/U).

Group Seminar (1 unit) in one of the following:
GGG 290 – Evolutionary, Developmental, & Population Genetics
GGG 292 – Genomics & Epigenetics
GGG 293 – Animal Genetics
GGG 294 – Human Genetics
GGG 295 – Molecular Genetics
GGG 297 – Plant Genetics

Additional electives (11 units): Additional electives to be chosen in consultation with GGG advisor depending on emphasis of study and/or to strengthen any areas that may be deficient. At least 18 of the 30 unit requirement must be fulfilled by regular courses (and not 299/research units); 15 units must be in genetics-related courses, as approved by the Graduate Advisor.

Research units: Although not required, it is STRONGLY recommended that students take GGG 205 their first quarter (or two) in residence. Enrolling in GGG 299 units after finding a Major Professor is also STRONGLY recommended.

SUMMARY:

For Plan I, there are 30 units required: 19 units of core coursework, and at least 11 units of elective coursework. At least 30 quarter units in residence at UC Davis; at least 12 of the 30 units must be in graduate level courses. Per UC regulations students cannot enroll in more than 12 units of graduate level courses (200) or more than 16 units of combined undergraduate and graduate level (100, 200, 300) courses per quarter.

Thesis Requirements:

Thesis committee: The thesis committee is appointed after the student submits an Application for Candidacy to the M.S. degree, Plan I. The student can submit this form whenever more than 50% of course units are completed. Note that Plan I students do NOT take a qualifying exam. It is recommended that Plan I students advance to candidacy at the end of their third quarter. The thesis committee consists of a Chair, who is the major professor (Faculty Mentor) of the candidate, and two additional members, at least one of whom must be a member of the GGG. Suggestions for the membership of the committee may be made by the guiding committee, but the Advising Committee of the GGG will have final responsibility for nominating the committee for appointment by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Thesis: Research for the Master's thesis is to be carried out under the supervision of a faculty member of the program and must represent an original contribution to knowledge in the field. The thesis research must be conducted while the student is enrolled in the program. All committee members must approve the thesis and sign the title page before the thesis is submitted to Graduate Studies for final approval. Should the committee determine that the thesis is unacceptable, even with substantial revisions, the program may recommend the student for disqualification from the program to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The thesis must be filed in a quarter in which the student is registered or on filing fee. Instructions on preparation of the thesis and a schedule of dates for filing the thesis in final form are available from Graduate Studies; the dates are also printed in the UC Davis General Catalog and in the Class Schedule and Registration Guide (all online) each quarter. A student must have a GPA of 3.0 for the M.S. degree to be awarded.

Normative Time to Degree

The normative time for a M.S. degree in Genetics is two years. Students judged by the Advising Committee of the GGG to be making inadequate progress towards the degree will be recommended to the Office of Graduate Studies for disqualification from the program.

Recommended timeline, Plan I:


Year 1

Fall

Winter

Spring

GGG 201A

GGG 201B

GGG 201D

GGG 205 or GGG 299

GGG 205 or GGG 299

GGG Seminar

GGG Seminar

GGG Seminar

Elective

GGG 296

GGG 299

Year 2

Fall

Winter

Spring

GGG Seminar

Elective

Student to go on Filing Fee

GGG 290A

GGG Seminar

if coursework done, will

GGG 299

GGG 299

be on Spring Degree list

Graduate Studies Deadlines/Calendar:

Deadlines to file Applications for Candidacy and to file thesis with Graduate Studies to appear on the September, December, March, or June degree lists can be found here: http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/students/calendar.html.

Plan II: Course Option

For Plan II, there are 36 units required: 19 units of core coursework, at least 11 units of elective coursework, and 6 units of research (with a required paper). At least 36 quarter units in residence at UC Davis; at least 27 of the 36 units must be in regular courses (and not 299/research units). Per UC regulations students cannot enroll in more than 12 units of graduate level courses (200) or more than 16 units of combined undergraduate and graduate level (100, 200, 300) courses per quarter.

Core Requirements – Core and electives (36 units)

Core Courses (18 units)

GGG 201A – Advanced Genetic Analysis (5 units)
GGG 201B – Comparative and Functional Genomics (5 units)
GGG 201D – Transmission, Population, and Quantitative Genetics (5 units)
GGG 296 – Scientific Professionalism & Integrity (2 units, letter grading)
GGG 290A – Graduate Student Conference (1 unit, S/U). Students will be required to enroll in this course for one quarter at least once during their degree program.
 
Group Seminar (1 unit) in one of the following:
GGG 290 – Evolutionary, Developmental, & Population Genetics
GGG 292 – Genomics & Epigenetics
GGG 293 – Animal Genetics
GGG 294 – Human Genetics
GGG 295 – Molecular Genetics
GGG 297 – Plant Genetics 

Electives (12 units)
At least 27 of the 36 unit requirement must be fulfilled by regular courses (and not 299/research units); 21 units must be in genetics-related courses, as approved by the Graduate Advisor.

Research (6 units)
At least 6 units of Laboratory Rotations (GGG 205) or Group Study (GGG 298) or research (GGG 299) are required. A written report of 10 pages or longer following the style of either a review or research paper in a scientific journal in the field must be submitted to and approved by the comprehensive exam committee.

Comprehensive Examination:
Comprehensive exam committee: The comprehensive exam committee is appointed after the student submits an application to candidacy to the M.S. degree. It consists of a Chair (the student's faculty mentor) and two additional members, one of whom must also be a member of the GGG. Suggestions for the membership of the examination committee may be made by the guiding committee, but the Advising Committee of the GGG will have final responsibility for selecting the committee.
Timing – The comprehensive examination committee is appointed after the student submits an Application for Candidacy to the M.S. degree, Plan II, no later than the 5th quarter in residence. It is recommended that students advance to candidacy at the end of the third quarter and can submit this form whenever more than 50% of course units are completed.
Outcome – Fulfillment of the Comprehensive Examination is the last requirement of the M.S. Plan II. A student may take the comprehensive exam once they have advanced to candidacy. However, it is important that the capstone requirement be completed at or near the end of the coursework for the Master's degree; for most students, the exam is taken at the end of the 5th quarter.

The comprehensive examination requirement will cover those areas of General Genetics included in the coursework completed by the student. The Chair of the comprehensive examination committee for Plan II students shall report the results of the examination to the GGG office (Program Coordinator) and to the Office of Graduate Studies. In addition to the oral comprehensive examination, Plan II students will submit a 10-page scientific paper for approval by the examination committee. The subject of the paper will be by mutual agreement of the Chair of the examining committee and the student.

The Exam committee's unanimous vote is required to pass a student on the exam. If a student does not pass the exam, the committee may recommend that the student be reexamined one more time, but only if the Graduate Advisor concurs with the committee. The second exam must take place within one quarter of the first exam. The format of the second exam is the same as that of the first exam and may include the submission of an amended version of the report. The examination may not be repeated more than once. A student who does not pass on the second attempt is subject to disqualification from further graduate work in the program.

Once passed, the Master's Report form is signed by the Program Graduate Adviser and then forwarded to the Office of Graduate Studies. The deadlines for completing this requirement are listed each quarter in the campus General Catalog (available online at the website of the Office of Registrar or from the Bookstore). A candidate must be registered student or in Filing Fee status at the time the program submits the form, with the exception of the summer period between the end of the Spring Quarter and the beginning of Fall Quarter. The program must file the report with Graduate Studies within one week of the end of the quarter in which the student's degree will be conferred.

Normative Time to Degree:
The normative time for a M.S. degree in Genetics is two years. Students judged by the Advising Committee of the GGG to be making inadequate progress towards the degree will be recommended to the Office of Graduate Studies for disqualification from the program.

Recommended timeline, Plan II:


Year 1

Fall

Winter

Spring

GGG 201A

GGG 201B

GGG 201D

GGG 205 or GGG 299

GGG 299

GGG Seminar

GGG Seminar

GGG Seminar

Elective

GGG 296

GGG Elective

GGG 299/Elective

Year 2

Fall

Winter

Spring**

GGG Seminar

Elective

Student to go on Filing Fee

GGG 290A

GGG 299/Elective

if coursework done, will

GGG 299/Elective

GGG Seminar

be on Spring Degree list

**Comprehensive Exam to be taken end of Winter or Spring Quarter, as well as submission of research paper to be approved by comprehensive exam committee

Graduate Studies Deadlines/Calendar:
Deadlines to file Applications for Candidacy and the final day to take the Comprehensive Exam to appear on the September, December, March, or June degree lists can be found here: http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/students/calendar.html.

Important Notes

A. First Quarter Guidance Committee Meeting (Form)

Meet with your Guidance Committee (your academic adviser and an additional GGG adviser assigned by the Master Adviser). If you have joined a lab, your major professor should be a member of this committee. At this meeting you should:

  • identify any prerequisites/deficiencies
  • discuss Winter/Spring course possibilities
  • discuss electives
  • discuss research interest/rotations

Obtain the signatures of your committee on the First Quarter Report form and submit to the GGG program coordinator no later than December 6 (the last day of instruction).

B. Third Quarter Guidance Committee Meeting (Plan 1 Form) (Plan 2 Form)

Before this meeting, you will reconstitute your committee to include your faculty mentor/research advisor as well as your academic adviser. You will also need to have decided what MS Plan you will be completing. At this meeting you should discuss your progress:

  • completing prerequisites, requirements?
  • maintaining a B average?
  • what elective courses appropriate?
  • preparing for your thesis (Plan I) and/or committee members for either thesis or comp. exam
  • prepare and/or finalize Advancement to Candidacy form

Obtain the signatures of your committee on the Third Quarter Report form and submit to the GGG program coordinator no later than June 6 (the last day of instruction).

C. Fifth Quarter Guidance Committee Meeting (Form)

At this meeting you and your committee should:

  • verify that you have completed/or will complete ALL coursework by the end of the 5th/6th quarter.
  • suggest date to take comp. exam or submit thesis (check Grad Studies website for deadlines).
  • verify that you have a dissertation proposal; submit abstract (Not Applicable for MS students).

Obtain the signatures of your committee on the Fifth Quarter Report form and submit to the GGG program coordinator. The GGG advisers will assign thesis/comp. exam committees using suggestions from students as a guide. Faculty suggestions for thesis and comp. exam committees are considered on a first-come, first-served basis, so the earlier in the quarter you turn in the form, the better your chances.

D. Advancement to Candidacy

Every student must file an official application for Candidacy for the Degree of Master Science in Integrative Genetics and Genomics after completing one-half of their course requirements and at least one quarter before completing all degree requirements; this is typically the 4th quarter. The Candidacy for the Degree of Master form can be found online at:  http://www.gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/forms/.  A completed form includes a list of courses the student will take to complete degree requirements. If changes must be made to the student’s course plan after s/he has advanced to candidacy, the Graduate Adviser must recommend these changes to Graduate Studies. Students must have their Graduate Adviser and committee Chair sign the candidacy form before it can be submitted to Graduate Studies. If the candidacy is approved, the Office of Graduate Studies will send a copy to the appropriate graduate staff person and the student; the Thesis Committee Chair will also receive a copy, if applicable.  If the Office of Graduate Studies determines that a student is not eligible for advancement, the department and the student will be told the reasons for the application’s deferral. Some reasons for deferring an application include: grade point average below 3.0, outstanding “I” grades in required courses, or insufficient units.

E. Graduate Students Annual Progress Reports

These are Graduate Studies forms which must be submitted to the GGG office by the end of Spring Quarter.

Laboratory Rotation Programs

It is strongly encouraged that M.S. students enroll in GGG 205 during their first quarter to help facilitate finding a faculty mentor/research advisor.

TA Requirement

It is strongly encouraged for MS students to also serve as a TA for at least one quarter, but is not required.