Master’s Degree Requirements

Advisory Committee

The appointment of Advisory and Certification Committees should occur within the first year following admission, consisting of the major professor, one faculty selected in consultation with the major professor, and the third appointed / approved by the Program Director.  The student must earn a minimum of 30 credits as a graduate student.  Twelve of these credits must be 300 level  course work or above including the following courses or their equivalents:

Core Course Requirements

Select one course from each section of A, B and C. The remaining courses should be selected from the list of suggested courses in consultation with your major professor and committee.

Core courses –

A. 3-4 credits of Statistics
Statistics 571 (4 cr.) or Statistics 541 (3 cr.)
B. 3 credits of Endocrinology
Endocrine Physiology, Animal Sciences 875 (3 cr.)
C. 3 credits in Biochemistry
Biomolecular Chemistry 503 (3 cr.) or Biochemistry 501 (3 cr.) or Biochemistry 507 & 508 (6 cr.) or Biomolecular Chemistry 704 (6 cr.)
D. Professional Development
Obstetrics and Gynecology 955 (2 cr.) or Surgical Sciences 812 (2 cr.)
E. ERP Program Seminar
Animal Sciences 954 / OBGYN 954 / or Zoology 954) semester (fall and spring)

Additional Degree Requirements –

F. Advanced Topics Courses- Select one course (Courses listed as Animal Science / Dairy Science 875) (2 cr.)
— Reproductive Patterns
— Pregnancy, Parturition, and Lactation
— Selected Topics in Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology
G. Other – per Certification Committee

Research and Thesis

The conduct of original research resulting in a written thesis is required for graduate degrees in Endocrinology & Reproductive Physiology. Identification of an appropriate research topic and faculty mentor are critical steps in the development of a graduate program.

Students are expected to enroll for 990 Research Credits each semester until they have completed their degree. Students should contact their primary faculty member’s department administrator for authorization to register. Students will receive a grade each semester.

Preliminary Exam

While a prelim exam for Masters students is not traditionally required it would be remembered that the current Prelim format for PhD goes a long way to safeguarding the student against any unpleasant surprises during the final seminar or Thesis defense. By writing in the style of the grant the student is forced to consider the possible adverse outcomes and discuss alternate strategies that may well be necessary BEFORE they occur. In addition by having a detailed ‘grant’ proposal and study design the committee gets every opportunity to state BEFORE time runs out what problems they may have with the basic techniques, analysis, and design of the project in its closing stages. As such there is considerable merit in a Prelim for Masters students and on balance it should be seriously considered to be in the students best interests. If the exam is required by the committee, use the format on the following pages.

The written portion of the preliminary exam will be the submission of a short grant proposal formatted document of the student’s thesis/dissertation topic to the committee members. The specific agency format will be determined by the student and committee members. The student will submit the written proposal to the committee members at least one month before the oral exam is scheduled. The committee has at least two weeks from the receipt of the proposal to respond to the student with questions in writing. Upon receipt of the questions, the student will then have two weeks to respond to the committee and schedule the oral exam.

Preliminary Exam Guidelines

Your thesis is the culmination of your research work during your time at UW-Madison. The Graduate School has prepared the “Procedures” page that contains information on page format, paper quality, and depositing the thesis at Memorial Library as well as deadlines and other procedures.

Seminar Requirement

All students enrolled in the Program are required to participate in the Endocrine Physiology Seminar (Animal Sciences 954, Obstetrics / Gynecology 954 or Zoology 954). Policies for registration are as follows:

  1. All second year and beyond students are required to give one seminar presentation each year (fall or spring semester) on their current research project. Presentation dates will be coordinated through the Program Coordinator and Seminar Committee.
  2. Students who will make a final seminar presentation in a given semester must register for 1 credit and will be graded on their presentation. Minimum passing grade for the seminar presentation shall be “B”. If a grade of less than “B” is earned, the seminar presentation must be repeated.  Students must register for 1 credit of Seminar and make a full length (60 minute) presentation for that credit at least once for each degree.

Degree Warrants and Defense

As soon as you have a complete draft of your thesis, you will need to get your advisor approval and provide the ERP Office with both the signed form and a PDF copy of your document for our file. Completion of this step will tell us that you and your advisor believe your defense is ready to take place after the four week period of time for your committee members to review your thesis and your final oral exam warrant will be requested from the Graduate School.

See also Thesis Defense information in Program Documents.

Final defense of the thesis is arranged by the student, major professor and committee after all degree requirements have been met (including final seminar). The student is responsible for the logistics of reserving a meeting room and equipment usage.

The thesis document must be given to the committee members at least four full weeks prior to the defense and in final submission format. Minor changes can be made during the four week period, however significant revisions will be cause to reschedule the exam.

The student will present his/her research to the panel as well as answer questions from them. Typically the exam is at least two hours in length. It is not unusual for corrections to be made to the thesis prior to submission. Each committee will be required to complete the Thesis Committee Review Form at the time of defense indicating which corrections are required and which corrections are advisory.

Masters thesis are required to be deposited in Memorial Library

Resources for preparing your thesis

Expecting your Master’s Degree? Procedures to Help


Information about fall and spring graduation ceremonies is available from the Secretary of the Faculty. Students are responsible for notifying the Program of their intent to graduate by the posted deadlines.