Animal and Range Sciences Graduate Student Policy

Mission Statement

The mission of the Animal and Range Sciences Department is to create, evaluate and communicate science-based knowledge to enhance the management of Montana’ s livestock and rangeland resources in ways that are economically, socially and ecologically sustainable.

Faculty and Staff Resources 

Department of Animal & Range Sciences

PO Box 2900

103 Animal Biosciences Bldg

Bozeman, MT 59717-2900

406‐994‐3721 PHONE / 406‐994‐5589 FAX

Interim Department Head:

Dr. Carl Yeoman, 103 Animal Biosciences, 994-4850, 

The Department Head has final approval of all appointments and is the person to contact if a student/advisor or student/faculty conflict arises.

Animal & Range Sciences Graduate Coordinator:

Dr. Jennifer Thomson, 323 Animal Biosciences, 994‐7434,

The graduate coordinator handles admission and academic requirement questions.

Student Records

Denise Thompson, 203 Animal Biosciences, 994-5582,

The student records administrative assistant can help with paperwork necessary for graduate school.  She also assists the Graduate Coordinator with admissions and academic information.

List of Faculty can be found at

Offices and Desks

The Department of Animal & Range Sciences will provide office space and desks for students as space allows.  Contact Susan Cooper, 103 ABB, 994-3722 for a desk and space assignment.


Your address for outside mailing related to your graduate work will be:

PO Box 2900, Dept. of Animal & Range Sciences

Montana State University Bozeman, MT


Policies and Procedures


The Animal and Range Sciences Department offers a Master of Science degree in ‘Animal & Range Sciences’ and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in ‘Animal & Range Sciences’, and ‘Ecology and Environmental Sciences’.  The M.S. degree requires the student to choose either an Animal Science emphasis, a Range Science emphasis, or a Biological Science emphasis.  This information must be included with all paperwork that is filed.  Students are expected to have completed the equivalent of a B.S. degree in Animal Science, Range Science, or a closely related area for application for the M.S. degree, or an M.S. degree for application for the Ph.D. degree.

Departmental Requirements for Animal & Range Science degrees can be found at

Requirements for the Ecology and Environmental PhD degree can be found at

Graduate School requirements can be found at

Course Descriptions for graduate courses can be found here:

Graduate Appointments

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) are typically grant funded.  Grant‐based funding is at the discretion of the faculty mentor’s research program and is dependent on funding availability.  GRAs may be partially supplemented by Departmentally-administered Graduate Teaching assistantships (GTAs) at the discretion of the Department head. GTAs are associated with a requirement to assist in teaching undergraduate courses within the department. Students with GTA appointments involving 10 or more hours a week of teaching assistance are entitled to 6 or more tuition waivers.

 Upon arrival in Bozeman, students appointed to grant or ARS departmental assistantships (GTA or GRA) should contact the departmental accountant (123 ABB) to complete required forms.  Be sure to bring your Social Security card and driver's license (or birth certificate).  International students will need to present a valid passport and a proper visa; other personal data may be needed to complete the appointment. 

Information from the Graduate School on Graduate Appointments can be found at  This information includes description of a teaching or research assistantship, tuition waivers, and other student employment.

A collective bargaining agreement is in place between the University and the Graduate Employee Organization more information can be found

Information about Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities can be found at  This information includes policy for appeals, academic conduct expectations, research compliance, privacy rights and the policy on sexual harassment.

 Staff Assistance

 Graduate students may request secretarial assistance only in limited situations.  Administrative Assistants will not type personal letters, class reports, or similar materials for students.  Typing of your thesis or dissertation is considered personal work.  You may request assistance with ordering, mailing or shipping packages if they are clearly related to faculty led research or teaching work.  Susan Cooper, 103 ABB, 994-3722 will assist you in meeting room, departmental vehicles, and AV equipment reservations.


 For liability and reimbursement purposes, all students must complete a Travel Authorization Form for any business‐related trip taken that is outside of the state. These forms are available from the accountant (123 ABB). At least 14 working days before a trip, this form must be submitted, and signed by the department chair.  A form indicating emergency contact information should also be filed with the department before leaving.  More information about travel requirements can be found at for student travel and in the Business Policy Handbook.

 You are strongly encouraged to attend professional meetings. However, the department does not pay travel expenses of graduate students. Advisors may use grant or project monies to pay full or partial travel expenses for graduate students attending meetings.  In addition, space may be available in a University vehicle being taken to a meeting, or faculty members may share travel expenses.

 Fees and Holds

The graduate school has outlined information for fees for the graduate programs.  These fees include training as well as application for graduation.  Several types of holds may be administered during the admissions process and also during the course of the student’s graduate career. Two holds are billing and program of study hold.

 The information for these can all be found at  


The major advisor is the thesis or dissertation advisor and is the graduate student's primary contact for all matters related to the program of study and research.  The major advisor assists in selection of the graduate committee and development of a program of study and research proposal.  The major advisor monitors the student's academic and professional growth, reviews program changes, and arranges for graduate student support.


All graduate students will need a committee to help guide them through their program.  The students should meet with their committee at least once per academic year to monitor progress.  The committee aids in developing the course program and provides guidance and expertise for the student’s research.  Forms for committee members and program of study can be found at

 More information on Graduate School committee and program of study requirements for Master’s students can be found at

 For more information on Graduate School committee and program of study requirements for Doctoral students please go to

 Comprehensive Exam

Doctor of philosophy candidates are required to take a comprehensive exam.  The intent of the comprehensive exam is to establish that the candidate has attained sufficient mastery of concepts related to animal and range sciences.  It is not the defense of the dissertation.  The comprehensive will take the form of a written and oral portions.  Passing the comprehensives require a majority vote of the student’s approved graduate committee.  Continuing the process beyond the written portion will be considered passing of the student for the written portion of the exam. For more requirements of the comprehensive see

 Thesis/Dissertation Preparation

 Students are expected to publish thesis or dissertation research in an appropriate scientific journal. Formal guidelines for preparation of the thesis or dissertation are available on the Graduate School website. A clean thesis copy must be given to all committee members and the Department Head a week prior to the thesis defense. 

 For more information on thesis/dissertation preparation go to

 Defense of Thesis/Dissertation

The final exam has two parts: a seminar and a defense. The seminar is presented before the defense and is a public presentation highlighting the research results and major accomplishments, as previously described.  All graduate students are encouraged to attend all final exam seminars.  The defense is an oral exam at which the student defends the approach, methods, conclusions, background, etc., of the research.

 It is the student’s responsibility to schedule a room for the seminar and distribute seminar announcements a week ahead of the presentation.

 For more information about the Master’s defense go to  The information included on this page covers minimum course hours you are required to be registered in the semester of your defense, the timing and advertising required as well as what would happen if the defense is not passed.

 For more information about the Doctoral defense go to  The information included on this page covers minimum course hours you are required to be registered in the semester of your defense, the timing and advertising required as well as what would happen if the defense is not passed.

 Upon completion of the oral exam, two signed forms are required.  The first form is Comprehensive Exam/Thesis Defense (due to the Graduate School within 5 days but not delivered by the student), and the second is the Certificate of Approval which must be presented to the Graduate School along with a final copy of the thesis/dissertation.  This copy should include revisions required by the committee as discussed during the defense.

 When the thesis or dissertation is completed and accepted, the student or the major advisor pays for the hardcover binding of one copy of your thesis for the advisor and one for the departmental library.  It is customary to also present a bound copy to each committee member.  It is the student’s responsibility to pay for any personal copies.


Information about graduation can be found at

 Graduate forms can be found at  These forms include, program of study, electronic thesis and graduation forms