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Student Advising, Laboratory, and Final Exam

Student Advising

Student looking into a microscope in a lab.

The MS-RSM program supports students from matriculation to graduation. The DGS and Director serve as student advisors throughout the entire program timeline. Thesis and non-thesis track students are required to meet with the DGS every quarter. Quarterly DGS meetings provide a platform for students to discuss successes, challenges, coursework, professional development, and anything related to the program or being a student at Northwestern. Meetings also enable the DGS and student to address program milestones and ensure successful progression to graduation. The DGS has an open door policy and students are encouraged and able to meet with the DGS at anytime.

Non-thesis Track Students

Non-thesis track students obtain research advising through REPR_SCI 442: Reproductive Research I and REPR_SCI 443: Reproductive Research II. Students are encouraged to connect with faculty and research staff as sources of professional and scientific guidance.

Written Final Exam

Earning a Master of Science degree in Reproductive Science and Medicine requires successful completion of a final exam. Non-thesis track students will write a proposal on a question or research situation posed by the final examination committee. This proposal is distinct from course related assignments. MS-RSM leadership will appoint a standing final examination committee consisting of CRS faculty to pose questions and evaluate proposals. The final examination committee makes the recommendation to award the MS degree.

Thesis Track Students

Students should identify research mentors during quarter 1 and join laboratories at the beginning of quarter 2 to prevent research and graduation delays. Research mentors are responsible for advising and providing direction to students on their thesis projects. Students will continue to meet with the DGS each quarter and will meet with the DGS and Director during quarter 4 and quarter 6.

Selecting a Thesis Research Lab and Committee

During the first fall quarter, faculty members with openings in their laboratories will present their research to new students. These presentations allow incoming students to identify laboratories for their research work, build relationships within their cohort, and access advising from the DGS and additional faculty members.

Students confirm research mentor selections by the end of quarter 1 and begin research at the beginning of quarter 2. Upon choosing a research laboratory, the student will form a thesis committee with the assistance of the DGS and research mentor.  The committee will consist of the laboratory head and two additional program members.

Students are required to meet with their committees during quarter 3 and quarter 5. Students may meet with individual committee members as necessary for their projects. Students may also hold additional committee meetings if the student and mentor determine additional meeting are beneficial to the student’s project.

Thesis Preparation and Defense

The final exam for thesis track students is a written thesis. Students will prepare a paper describing their research project to include the research question/hypothesis, rationale and importance, a literature review, experimental approach, data, and future directions. The paper is formatted as a scientific manuscript. The completed thesis will be submitted to the thesis committee who will assign a final grade and recommendation for the Master of Science degree.

Students are also expected to present their research to the reproductive science community through an oral or poster presentation during the Translational Reproductive Science in Medicine Summit or Oncofertility Conference. However, the oral or poster presentation is not considered for the final grade.