Distance MS Program Research Courses and Instructions for Completing the Research Requirements
RESEARCH COURSES AND INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING THE RESEARCH REQUIREMENTS
P&TX 785: Distance Master’s Research Proposal. 2 credits.
To satisfy the research requirement for the Distance M.S. program in Pharmacology and Toxicology, the aspiring student must define a research project and prepare a written proposal describing the nature and goals of the project. It is suggested that the student in conjunction with their distance research mentor collaborate in the selection and the definition of the proposed research. The proposal states the overall goal of the project, the hypothesis to be tested, 1-3 specific aims, a statement of significance and impact of the research and the research approach.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the Distance M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology and completion of P&TX750 or permission of Director of Distance M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology.
P&TX 885: Distance Master’s Research in Pharmacology and Toxicology. 12 credits (up to 3 credits per semester).
Original, advanced investigations in pharmacology, toxicology or related fields. This research will be performed by students at their research site in collaboration with their on-site and faculty mentor.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the Distance M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology and completion of P&TX750 and P&TX785.
P&TX 889: Distance Master's Thesis. 2 credits. (during final semester thesis is to be completed).
Process of written preparation of the research forming the student’s Master’s Degree thesis.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the Distance M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology and completion of P&TX 750, 751, 752, 753,754, 755, 785 and 12 credits in P&TX885.
A. P&TX785 Distance Master’s Research Proposal Preparation Guidelines
To satisfy the research requirement for the Distance M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology, students must define a research project within the first semester if they aspire to complete the program in 2 years. Students who anticipate completing the program in > 2 yrs must complete PTX785 by their second semester. The student will be expected to prepare a written proposal describing the nature and goals of the project. It is suggested that the student work in conjunction with their on-site research mentor and with their KU Pharmacology and Toxicology Faculty Mentor in the selection and definition of the proposed research. The proposal should consist of the following elements: an overall goal or hypothesis, a statement of significance of the research, and a research plan consisting of several specific aims. The following description serves to define expectations regarding proposal preparation.
General Information- The proposal should be no more than 4 pages (0.5 in margins, 11-12 point Arial, Times Roman or Calibri font) excluding the reference section. The proposal should state the overall goal of the project, the hypothesis to be tested, 1 - 3 specific aims, a statement of significance and impact of the research and a sufficiently detailed outline of the research approach and time line for completion of the studies. Please organize as outlined below.
An appropriate title should be created that describes the overall research topic and be included as part of the specific aims page.
Specific Aims Page
This page should define the broad scope of the project, identify your hypothesis and outline some specific experimental aims toward this goal. It is prudent to limit the proposal to no more than 3 aims though this may be adjusted depending on the type of work. This section should be approximately 1 page.
Background and Significance
The student should familiarize themselves with published work that is related to the chosen research area. A short summary of background information that justifies the scientific premise of the study and indicates how the proposed research will impact the field by either significantly extending existing knowledge or challenging existing dogma.
Approach and Anticipated Results
The overall project should be envisioned as a series of sub-goals, which as they are individually accomplished, contributes to achieving the overall goal. The approach section should include a description of the experiments to be conducted, only salient experimental details need to be included. It should be clearly stated what the anticipated results may be and how these results relate to the achievement of the overall research goal. Briefly discuss any anticipated problems or hurdles that may need to be overcome and alternative directions if applicable. Provide an anticipated timeline to complete the work. The Background and Approach sections should be no more than 3 pages.
There is no limit on the bibliographic section but it is prudent to minimize references to those that are directly pertinent to the goals of the project. Appropriate literature citations should be provided in each section of the proposal as justification for the proposed research. The reference list should be constructed to provide full citations listing all authors, year, journal title, volume and page numbers. For electronic resources, doi are sufficient to replace volume and page numbers.
Approval of the Research Proposal and Assignment of the Thesis Committee
The student should work with their on-site mentor in preparing this document and submit it to their KU faculty mentor for additional comments. Once your mentors agree that a suitable research proposal has been produced, a Thesis committee comprised of your faculty mentor and 2 additional department members will be assigned. Your on-site mentor will serve as an adjunct member of the Thesis committee. Your proposal will be read by the committee members and you will arrange a Skype conference with the committee and your on-site mentor. At this conference, you will briefly present your proposal (20-30 min presentation) and take questions from the committee. This interaction will allow for everyone involved in your training to meet and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your proposal and come to a consensus about your path forward.
B. P&TX 885: Research in Pharmacology and Toxicology. 12 credits (up to 3 per semester).
Students are encouraged to enroll in up to 3 credits per semester in P&TX885 after completing P&TX785 and having their research proposal approved. Students are expected to provide a 1-2 page summary of research progress for each semester in which they are enrolled for research credit. A bi-monthly Skype conference between the student and their mentors should be scheduled so that all parties have a clear consensus on the suitability of the progress, identification of areas of potential problems, possible redirection of the research and expectations for moving the project forward.
After the student has completed 9 hrs of research in P&TX885, they will hold a Skype conference with the Thesis committee and present a 30-40 minute seminar of their research progress to date and future directions to complete the thesis work. The committee will provide feedback on the work and offer suggestions to aid completing the thesis project. After this meeting, the student can finish their final 3 research credits.
C. P&TX 889: Distance Master's Thesis Preparation and Submission (2 credits)
Thesis preparation should begin after the student has completed all didactic course work, 12 hrs of P&TX885 and an agreement has been reached between the student and both mentors that sufficient progress has been achieved that warrants the preparation of a suitable M.S. thesis. The thesis format should follow University guidelines for thesis preparation and in general contains the following elements:
1) Title Page
2) Abstract (generally 250-500 words)
4) Table of Contents
5) List of Figures and Tables
6) Chapter 1- Brief Literature Review
7) Chapter 2
Materials and Methods
8) Additional chapters as warranted (similar format as Chapter 2)
9) Summary and Future Directions
The candidate should write the thesis and provide sufficient time for your mentors to read and provide feedback. Once your mentors give you approval to proceed, you can send your document to the Thesis committee. The Graduate School requires that the thesis be submitted to your committee 3 weeks in advance of the date scheduled for defense of the M.S. thesis. During this period, you should prepare a formal presentation for the defense of your thesis. Final approval of the M.S. thesis will require a formal Skype presentation of the research and the fielding of questions from the Thesis committee by the candidate. Once the committee has agreed that the candidate has successfully defended the thesis, it should be submitted electronically following the directions for thesis submission found on the KU graduate school web site. The graduate will receive his/her official M.S. degree certificate from the University of Kansas via mail.