Graduate Student Handbook Fall 2021

Table of Contents

Welcome to the Field of Animal Science................................................................. 1

Program Overview....................................................................................................................... 1

Degrees......................................................................................................................................... 2

The Graduate Student’s Special Committee........................................................................... 2

Concentrations within the Field of Animal Science................................................................. 3

Faculty/Student Mutual Expectations for Advising/Mentoring..................................... 4

Courses.......................................................................................................................................... 5

Course Enrollment....................................................................................................................... 6

Teaching Requirement................................................................................................................ 7

Field Exams................................................................................................................................... 7

Required University Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research....................... 9

Funding.......................................................................................................................................... 9

Financial Information................................................................................................................... 9

International Students............................................................................................................... 11

Social Security Numbers........................................................................................................... 11

Teaching Assistant Responsibilities........................................................................................ 11

Resources................................................................................................................................... 12

Contact Information................................................................................................................... 12

Appendix...................................................................................................................................... 12

 

 

Welcome to the Field of Animal Science

 

This document provides information that we hope will help with your transition to Cornell and throughout your training in your degree program. If you have any questions, please contact your faculty advisor (the professor with whom you will be working), or Dr. Susan Quirk, Director of the Graduate Field of Animal Science, at smq1 [at] cornell.edu,%20">smq1 [at] cornell.edu, or Donna Wakeman, Graduate Field Assistant, at dlb8 [at] cornell.edu.">dlb8 [at] cornell.edu.

 

 

Program Overview

 

The Graduate Field of Animal Science is the administrative home for faculty and students interested in contributing to new discoveries in animal biology and to the application of science and technology to address efficiency in animal production systems, economic and environmental sustainability, and maintaining health and well-being of animals.

 

The graduate field offers considerable flexibility designed to accommodate individual interests and goals. Approximately 40 graduate students from a variety of disciplines study within the field and are affiliated with programs in multiple departments and colleges in the University.  Students are trained by graduate faculty who are members of the Field of Animal Science including faculty with appointments in administrative units such as the Department of Animal Science, Department of Food Science, Division of Nutritional Sciences, and departments within the College of Veterinary Medicine.

 

There are many advantages to being a graduate student at Cornell including access to Cornell’s wealth of intellectual (and other) resources and cooperation among students and faculty with common and complementary interests.

 

 

Degrees

 

Students pursue advanced study leading to three different degrees.

  • Master of Science (MS)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Agriculture and Life Sciences

 https://cals.cornell.edu/education/degrees-programs/graduate-field-animal-science

 

 

The Graduate Student’s Special Committee

 

Forming the Special Committee:

Early in a student’s program, they organize a Special Committee that guides their training.  The committee consists of a member of the faculty in the Field of Animal Science who serves as the major advisor of the student’s research and several other members who represent minor subjects.  The Special Committee advises the student on courses and research and participates in evaluation of the student’s progress during regular meetings and in structured exams required as part of the degree program.   Members of the committee are chosen by the student in consultation with the major advisor and formation of the committee must be completed within a defined time period as outlined below.  The graduate school has established a minimum frequency for meetings of students with their Special Committees and a system of Student Program Review (SPR) that is outlined in this handbook.  Interactions between students and members of their committee provides valuable insight that helps students excel in their programs.

 

Per the Code of Legislation, the Graduate Faculty requires both research master’s and doctoral students to have identified (or been assigned) a Special Committee Chair or a temporary advisor who represents their concentration within the field no later than three weeks after the first registration in the Graduate School.  Concentrations in the Field of Animal Science are listed below.  Updates to the Special Committee are submitted to the Graduate School via Student Center. Per the Code, the Graduate Faculty requires research master’s students to have a full Special Committee no later than the end of the second semester and no later than the end of the third semester for doctoral students.  The Code includes specific exceptions for graduate students in Economics and Physics (Code VI.B.6.)

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Special Committee for the PhD degree will include four members of the graduate faculty of the University, one of which must have a primary appointment outside of the academic unit of the chair of the committee. The chair of the committee will be a member of the Field of Animal Science representing a major concentration in the Field. Two members will represent minor subjects in any field of the Graduate School.  The additional member is chosen by the student to complement their interests and goals.

Master of Science (MS)

The Special Committee for the MS degree will include three members of the graduate faculty of the University, one of which must have a primary appointment in an academic unit outside of the unit represented by the chair of the committee. The chair of the committee will be a member of the Field of Animal Science representing a concentration in the Field. One member will represent a minor subject in any field of the Graduate School.  The third member is chosen by the student to complement their interests and goals.

Master of Professional Studies (MPS) Degree

The Field of Animal Science offers the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences MPS program for students interested in careers in the animal agriculture industry, the pet food industry or veterinary science, but who do not anticipate careers in research. MPS students develop a program of study under the mentorship of a faculty in the field who serves as their major advisor.  Individuals who have already embarked on professional careers, those who plan to continue in their current fields or related ones, or those who will be working primarily as educators often select this program. The MPS program emphasizes breadth of training via coursework rather than research experience. MPS degree candidates in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences complete a minimum of 30 credit hours and a problem-solving or applied project.

 

 

Concentrations within the Field of Animal Science

 

Students can choose from the following concentrations:

  • Animal Nutrition
  • Animal Science
  • Physiology of Reproduction
  • Animal Genetics
  • Animal Genomics

 

 

 

Faculty/Student Mutual Expectations for Advising/Mentoring:

It is recommended that students and their faculty mentors regularly discuss mutual expectations.  The goal is to establish frequent, natural communication between student and mentor which is critical for the professional development of the student and their progress in their degree program as well as the for the success of the research program led by the mentor.  It makes the experience more enjoyable and exciting for everyone.  The Student Progress Review, which is required each year, is a formalized process to document and supplement the frequent interactions between students and mentors:

 

Student Progress Review (SPR)

The Field requires each beginning student to attend a planning meeting with the Special Committee during the first academic year of study at Cornell and preferably before the start of the third semester. However, it is highly recommended that a Special Committee be formed as early as feasible, that an initial meeting with the Special Committee occurs as soon as possible and that there is regular frequent communication between the student and members of the committee.  All graduate students are required to meet at least annually with their Special Committees.

The SPR requirement was implemented in 2017 at the request of students and faculty to support the regular exchange of constructive, written feedback between advisees and advisors.  It codifies a process for research degree students and their Special Committees to have at least one formal conversation per year about academic progress and future plans.  Using the SPR form, students are asked to reflect on their recent accomplishments, identify challenges, and set goals. Advisors then review their students' SPR forms and enter constructive feedback and an overall rating of student progress. Feedback that is documented on the SPR will be made available to the student, all members of the student's Special Committee, and the DGS/GFA of the student's field. 

All graduate students will complete the annual on-line Student Progress Review Form required by the Graduate School.

Please note that 1st year MS and PhD students are not required to complete the SPR, it is for continuing MS and PhD students only.

Student Progress Reviews must be completed by the student by 31 May each year and faculty are asked to submit their portion no later than 31 July each year. The system is designed to retain information from year to year. You will be asked to update your SPR at the end of every academic year, but we suggest that you continuously keep it updated. Check here for additional information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suggested process for completion:

  1. Schedule a meeting with your committee chair to discuss your portion of the Student Progress Review.
  2. Submit the online Student Progress Standard Review Form at least 10 days prior to your advisor meeting. (Once you submit your portion of the SPR, it is automatically sent to your faculty advisor.)
  3. Meet with faculty advisor/committee chair to discuss your progress and planning.
  4. Faculty submit their portion of the online form.

 

 

Important Notes:

  • A deadline extension will be granted ONLY if your committee chair is travelling and you are not able to meet with him/her. Extension requests should be submitted to Donna Wakeman.
  • Graduate students and committee chairs are required to complete the Student Progress Review annually.
  • Not all questions are relevant for all students (e.g., MS students will not have an A-exam date, you may not yet have a publication, etc.). If a question is not applicable, simply enter “NA”.

 

 

Lab policy and manuals:

Students will learn from their faculty mentors about any specific guidelines for activities in the laboratory.

 

Courses

The Field requires no specific courses or number of credits for MS or PhD students. The student’s Special Committee advises the student on coursework that should be completed and on details such as taking a course for a letter grade and whether auditing a particular course is acceptable.  MPS students must follow the guidelines of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The Graduate School requires that all students enroll in a minimum of 12 credits during each academic semester and, if enrolled, during the summer session. All graduate students are expected to enroll in ANSC 6220 (Graduate Student Research Updates, 1 credit, S-U grading) during the academic year. This seminar course is a platform for work-in-progress seminars by graduate students, invited talks by faculty and visitors and provides a venue where graduate students working in multiple administrative units across campus can interact.  The remaining credit requirements can be met by subject-matter courses or an appropriate number of credits in a variable-credit thesis research course:

Course Enrollment

 

Course enrollment occurs several times during the year via Student CenterFor continuing students, enrollment for the upcoming semester opens about halfway through the previous semester.  In addition, changes in class enrollment can be made during an “add/drop” period just before the start of each semester.  For more information, follow this link: https://gradschool.cornell.edu/academic-progress/requirements-milestones/course-enrollment/.

 

You must be registered each semester until you finish your degree or withdraw from the program.

 

The Office of the University Registrar determines student registration status. To be considered a registered student by the University, you must:

  • Enroll in at least one course, or enroll in a graduate thesis/dissertation research course;
  • Settle all financial accounts, including current semester tuition;
  • Clear any holds, whether these are from the Bursar's Office, Gannett Health Center, the Judicial Administrator, or The Graduate School;
  • Satisfy New York State health requirements.

 

Summer Registration/Courses:

You must register for the summer session if you will receive financial aid, fellowships, loans, assistantships, travel grants, or tuition awards during the summer. You must also register in order to use campus facilities during the summer. If you are not on campus, but meet any of the previous conditions, you must register for the summer.

Summer registration is automatically granted to all students who enroll in a noncredit summer graduate research course through Student Center. Enrollment opens in midApril and students should enroll as soon as possible. There is no tuition charge for summer registration and enrollment in the graduate research course, although students requesting a registration semester for summer study do pay tuition.

To register, enroll in the appropriate section of the Graduate School's Graduate Summer Research courses: GRAD 9016 (class numbers 1508, 1509, 1510, or 1511) via Student Center.

 

Students receiving summer support who do not register for summer by a certain date to be set by the Graduate School (usually midMay) will have FICA (OASDI and Medicare) and income taxes withheld from their paychecks. If you miss the enrollment deadline, you must register at the Office of the Graduate School Registrar (143 Caldwell Hall) immediately. For more information regarding registration requirements, see: http://www.gradschool.cornell.edu/requirements/registration

 

Checking Your Registration Status:

Students should check registration status at the beginning of the semester using Student Center. Look at the “Holds” box on the home page of Student Center. If you have no holds, you are registered with the University. If you have a hold that says “No Registration, Trans, Diploma” or “No Registration” then you are not registered. It is possible for there to be other Holds listed that do not affect registration. Click on “Details,” then click on the “Hold Item” link to find out what is affected and how to clear the hold.

 

If you are not registered after the third week of classes, you will lose access to university services and be charged a $350 late fee in addition to finance charges to register. If you register after the sixth week of classes, you will be charged a $500 late fee in addition to finance charges.

 

 

Teaching Requirement

 

All PhD candidates, regardless of funding source (ie teaching assistantship, grant funding or other source), are expected to obtain teaching experience as a teaching assistant for at least one semester, or equivalent experience assisting in an extension program. There is no requirement for MS candidates, but teaching experience is highly desirable. Extension experience, where appropriate for the student’s degree focus, is highly recommended.  Responsibilities of teaching assistants are described in a section below.  International students for whom English is not their first language are required by the University to be assessed for language proficiency before serving as a teaching assistant and information about this program is described under the Teaching Assistant Responsibilities section below.

 

Field Exams

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD):

All doctoral programs are required by the Graduate Faculty Code of Legislation to have an A Exam (Admissions to Candidacy Examination), which can be completed after two semesters of registration and must be completed before the start of the 7th semester (Code F.1.c.).  Some fields require its completion sooner.  In the Field of Animal Science, the structure of the A Exam is determined by the student’s Special Committee.  Students should meet with their committee well in advance of the exam to discuss expectations and format for the exam.

 

In addition, all doctoral students take a Final Examination, the B Exam, which is the oral defense of the dissertation.  The B Exam is taken upon completion of all requirements for the degree, no earlier than one month before completion of the minimum registration requirement (Code F.1.d.)

 

Exams can only take place if the graduate school has been informed several weeks in advance.

https://gradschool.cornell.edu/academic-progress/requirements-milestones/exams/

https://gradschool.cornell.edu/forms/

 

A Exam (separate from final exam for MS degree):

For students pursuing the PhD after the MS degree, the final examination for the MS degree may not be combined with the A Exam for the PhD.

 

Retaking a failed A Exam:

As specified by the Graduate School, if a student fails an examination, a single re-examination is allowed if approved by the Special Committee of the student. Three months must elapse between the failed exam and re-examination. In preparation for re-examination, a plan must be submitted to the DGS within one month after the failed examination. The chair of the Special Committee and the student will work together to prepare the plan. The preparation plan should include: 1) how knowledge gaps identified by the Special Committee will be filled by the student; 2) how problems the student may have had expressing oral answers to questions will be overcome with practice sessions; 3) a timetable for these steps.

 

Seminar:

All PhD students in the Field of Animal Science are required to present a seminar on their doctoral thesis research prior to, or in conjunction with, their B Exam. This seminar must be scheduled before the form “Scheduling the B Examination” is signed by the DGS and GFA. The seminar may be given in ANSC 6220 (Graduate Student Research Updates) or scheduled at another time. The student must inform the Graduate Field Assistant of the date, location, and title of the seminar so that notices can be sent to all faculty and students in the Field.

 

Master of Science (MS):

Per the Code of Legislation, the Graduate Faculty requires research master’s students writing a thesis to take a final examination upon completion of all degree requirements, no earlier than one month before completion of the minimum registration requirement (Code F.1.a.).

 

Per the Code of Legislation, the Graduate Faculty requires research master’s students doing a research project report (in lieu of thesis) to take a final examination at an appropriate time determined by the degree program. The exam may be oral or written to assess individual accomplishment of degree objectives (Code F.1.b.).

 

Seminar:

All MS students in the Field of Animal Science are required to present a seminar on their masters thesis research prior to, or in conjunction with, their Final Examination. This seminar must be scheduled before the form to schedule the Final Examination is signed by the GFA. The seminar may be given in ANSC 6220 (Graduate Student Research Updates) or scheduled at another time. The student must inform the GFA of the date, location, and title of the seminar so that notices can be sent to all faculty and students in the Field.

 

Required University Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

Per the Code of Legislation, the Graduate Faculty requires all research degree students, both master’s and doctoral, to complete research in responsible conduct of research, including authorship, peer review and avoidance and consequences of research misconduct. This training is through the Cornell Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (ORIA) and must be completed before the end of the second semester (Code E.2.a.).

 

 

Funding

Sources of Funding for Graduate Students at Cornell:

Funding for graduate students at Cornell come from a variety of sources.  For example, some limited funding to fields is provided by the graduate school each year, students may have funding through external fellowships, and faculty advisors may fund students through research grants.  In addition, some administrative units within the University provide assistantships.  In the Field of Animal Science, the sources of funding are outlined in the letter of acceptance from the field to the student.

Assistantships in the Department of Animal Science:

A few assistantships may be available to fund applicants whose faculty advisors’ primary appointments are in the Department of Animal Science.  Assistantship funding may require that students participate as teaching assistants in Animal Science classes. To be eligible for Department of Animal Science assistantships, completed admissions applications to the Graduate School are due on 1 January for matriculation in the fall semester (Oct 15 for spring admits). Maximum time for funding will be:

  • MS: 5 academic semesters and 2 summers (2½ years)
  • PhD for applicants who have already earned MS, MPS, or DVM degrees: 8 academic semesters and 4 summers (4 years)
  • PhD for applicants with no degrees beyond the bachelor’s degree: 10 academic semesters and 5 summers (5 years)
  • MS/PhD applicants: 12 academic semesters and 6 summers (6 years)

 

Financial Information

 

Assistantships include:

1) stipend, 2) tuition, and 3) health insurance. Your letter of admission indicates any assistantships and the source.

 

Stipends:

Appointments are made by semester as follows with the approximate dates:

  • Fall: 14 August through 31 December
  • Spring: 1 January through 15 May
  • Summer: 16 May through 13 August

 

For more information, go to:  http://gradschool.cornell.edu/costs-funding/assistantships

 

Stipend payments are made through the payroll system and are paid semi-monthly. This is considered income and you may be taxed and will most likely file a tax return. Summer stipend payments may be lower than the academic year stipend payments. Please be aware that your paycheck may be lower for the summer period and plan your financial management accordingly.  For questions regarding an assistantship you may have through the Department of Animal Science, contact: Lori Harders llh84 [at] cornell.edu (), Financial Reporting Specialist, 158 Morrison Hall.

 

Fees:

  • Tuition is paid each semester during the academic year; August for Fall and December for Spring. This is paid (by the department or faculty member if you have been awarded an assistantship) directly to your Bursar account.
  • Health insurance (for Grad students on Assistantships) The Student Health Plan (SHP) now does two semester billing.  The SHP premium will be billed in August for coverage for 8/1 to 1/31 and December for 2/1 – 7/31 coverage.  Student Health Benefits 2020-2021.

For more information, go to:   http://www.studentinsurance.cornell.edu/.

  • Student activity fee is the responsibility of the student and not covered by assistantships.

 

Late fees/interest:

These fees may accrue on any payment not made on time, including the Student Activity Fee. In the event a late fee is assessed for an item covered by an assistantship, the department will appeal for a waiver or pay the fee.

 

Taxes:

Stipend payments are subject to income tax. Your letter states the gross amount of stipend over a 12month period. Your actual takehome pay will probably be lower due to taxes. The amount of tax you will pay or be refunded when filing a tax return is dependent upon many factors and cannot be predicted by departmental administrators. For more information, go to: http://gradschool.cornell.edu/costs-and-funding/tax-information

 

Student payroll appointments:

For questions regarding student appointments (stipends, fees and taxes), contact Lori Harders llh84 [at] cornell.edu (), Financial Reporting Specialist, 158 Morrison Hall.

 

Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I9):

All graduate students with assistantship appointments are required to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) form. The I9 must be completed within three days of the 1st day of employment, which is usually about mid-August.

Complete your I-9 electronically.   Notification will be given via your Cornell email to log into your Workday account with instructions on acceptable documentation as you complete each section of the form.

 

International students with other than an F1 visa must confirm employment eligibility and complete the I9 form through the International Services - Office of Global Learning.  For more information, go to:  https://international.globallearning.cornell.edu/.

 

For questions regarding I9 requirements, contact: Donna Wakeman, Graduate Field Assistant, 149 Morrison Hall, dlb8 [at] cornell.edu.">dlb8 [at] cornell.edu.

 

 

International Students

Information for International Students can be found via the Office of Global Learning https://international.globallearning.cornell.edu/.

 

 

Social Security Numbers

If you need a Social Security Number (SNN), information on how to obtain a Social Security Number can be found at: https://international.globallearning.cornell.edu/employment-and-taxes/apply-ssn.

 

 

Teaching Assistant Responsibilities

 

All Field of Animal Science graduate students are expected to obtain experience as a teaching assistant. If you have a graduate assistantship paid by the Department of Animal Science, you will be expected to be a TA most semesters, beginning with your first semester on campus. If you have your own funding, you will be expected to help TA occasionally as part of your learning experience. Please discuss your teaching assistant responsibilities with your faculty advisor as soon as possible. If you have any questions regarding teaching assistantships, please contact Susan Quirk smq1 [at] cornell.edu%20">smq1 [at] cornell.edu or Donna Wakeman at dlb8 [at] cornell.edu.">dlb8 [at] cornell.edu.

 

More information regarding Teaching Assistantships can be found at:

https://www.dfa.cornell.edu/policy/policies/graduate-student-assistantships.

 

International graduate student teaching assistants:

International students whose native language is not English may be required to take the International Language Teaching Assessment. More information for international students can be found at:

https://teaching.cornell.edu/graduate-students/ITAPd

https://gradschool.cornell.edu/student-life/student-communities/international-students

 

The International Language Teaching Assessment (ILTA) may be required if the student:

  • Does not speak English as a first language,
  • May be assigned any teaching assistantship,
  • Has not taken the TOEFL iBT or has taken the TOEFL iBT and received a speaking score below a 28.

 

The purpose of the ILTA is to determine if an international student’s level of English proficiency meets the minimum required level of proficiency to be a TA at Cornell and to inform international students and their departments of any required ITAP course work and appropriate teaching assignments.

 

Exemptions from the ITAP (International Teaching Assistant Program):

  • Students who receive a 28 or above on the TOEFL iBT are exempt from assessment. This exemption does not apply to the summer program for incoming international students who will be a TA in their first semester.
  • International students who have received previous education in English institutions are not exempt from the ILA.

 

For more information regarding scheduling language assessments, scheduling an appointment to take the test, and courses available, please see the Center for Teaching Excellence website at: https://teaching.cornell.edu/graduate-students/ITAP.

 

Resources

Field Faculty Member List:

https://gradschool.cornell.edu/academics/fields-of-study/field/animal-science/

 

 

Contact Information

Susan M. Quirk, Director of Graduate Studies

434 Morrison Hall, smq1 [at] cornell.edu ()

 

Donna Wakeman, Graduate Field Assistant

156 Morrison Hall, dlb8 [at] cornell.edu ()

6072552862

 

Lori Harders, Financial Reporting Specialist

158 Morrison Hall, llh84 [at] cornell.edu ()

607-255-2860

 

 

Appendix

Campus resources for graduate academic, professional and career development