MS in Agriculture Information

The following information is for students who are interested in a Master of Science degree in Agriculture with a specialization in Irrigation with Dr. Howes of the BRAE department.  The forms mentioned below can be found at the office of Dr. Mark Shelton in the office of the dean of the College of Agriculture (805-756-2161).  For advisor information and other forms, please click here.

  1. Committee approval of courses before 15 units have been completed.
    1. Select a major professor (should be based upon topic of thesis)
    2. Select two other committee members
    3. Prior to the first meeting, write down the complete class plan
    4. Prepare a calendar, by quarter, showing what classes will be taken when

Page 1 - List the catalog requirements, with the courses you will take to meet each requirement (opposite it)
Page 2 - List of classes by quarter 

Sample class plan (Page 1):

Category Class Quarter Units of class in 500 level Units of class in 400 level
Prerequisites BRAE 340 Any     
   An into to AutoCAD       
  Hydraulics Fall    
  Surveying Any    
Required SS 501 or CRSC 411 Research Methods Winter 3  
  BRAE 405 Spring   1
  BRAE 435 or 437      
  BRAE 438 or 439 Winter   4
  BRAE 414 Spring   4
  BRAE 532   4  
  BRAE 331 + extra (sign up for BRAE 500, not BRAE 331 Winter 3  
  BRAE 533 Winter 4  
  Thesis - BRAE 599 2 or 3 quarters (not summer) 6  
Approved Electives - 400 level        
Approved Electives - 500 level        
      Must equal 23 or greater  

                 Total 500 level units required: 23  

                 Total 500 level units in proposed program: _____________

Sample class plan (Page 2):

Quarter Class Prereq. Units Units of class in 500 level Units of class in 400 level
Fall Yr 1 BRAE 340 or BRAE 236 4    
   BRAE 151 AutoCAD 1    
  BRAE 312 Hydraulics 4    
  Surveying 4    
Winter Yr 1 SS 501 Research Methods   3  
  BRAE 500/331   3  
  BRAE 438     4
  BRAE 533   4  
Spring Yr 1 BRAE 414     4
  BRAE 532   4  
  Elective     4
Fall Yr 2 Elective   4  
  Elective     4
  Thesis - BRAE 599   3  
Winter Yr 2 Thesis - BRAE 599   3  
  Elective     4
  Elective   Must equal 23 or greater 4
  1. If you are planning to use any 400 or 500 level classes that you took during undergraduate work (which did not count for your BS degree), fill out a "Petition for Special Consideration" available at the Res. and Grad. Programs office.
  2. Get approval of the (#1) items from Dr. Howes.
    • Prior to the first meeting, review the proposed schedule with each member.  Provide each member with a neat, typed plan.
    • Prior to the first meeting,
      1. Obtain the "Formal Study Plan" from the Grad. Studies & Research office in the Graduate Studies Office.  Fill out the form.
      2. Obtain the "Masters Committee" or something like that from Graduate Studies Office.
      3. Obtain the class schedule of each committee member, and find a convenient time for the meeting.  Arrange for a room, and provide each member with a written notification (after they agree to the time).
      4. Purpose of the meeting:  To approve the coursework.
  3. Meeting #2.  Selection of the thesis topic.
    • Work with major professor to define a thesis topic.
    • Obtain the university thesis format manual from Grad. Studies & Research office.
    • Prior to meeting, complete the following:
      1. Thesis statement
      2. Introduction
      3. Moderate literature search
      4. Preliminary methods & materials
      5. Summary of expected results.  Actually visualize & write down on paper) what your tables & graphs will be.  At least, define the coordinates or headings. **This is the most important part of the thesis.
    • After approval of the above by the major professor, call the meeting.  Present the written proposal, intro., M&M, etc. to the committee prior to the meeting so everyone can read it.
    • The meeting will approve the thesis topic, formally.
    • If there are to be any statistics, make certain that the procedure is reviewed and approved in advance by a statistics professor.
  4. Meeting #3.  Discuss progress on thesis.
    • At the beginning of the field work, hold a meeting to let committee know what you're doing.  Often some things have changed, and the committee may offer suggestions.
  5. Pass the GWR (Graduate Writing Requirement).  Successful completion of the GWR during undergraduate work will satisfy this.
  6.  Maintain a 3.0 GPA in all MS classes.
  7. 1-2 quarters prior to graduation, submit the Advancement to Candidacy form (available at GDO).
  8. Submit a Request for MS Evaluation - form is available at Evaluations office.  Must have completed items above (perhaps not the GWR?) before this.
  9. Meeting #4 - Arranging for comprehensive exam dates.  General procedure:
    • 6 topics
    • 2 hrs/topic
    • 2 topics/day
    • MWF
    • Closed book
    • Topic questions are provided by and graded by professors of the classes you took with those topics.  Based on 6 classes.
    • Grading = P/F
    • Must pass 5 out of the 6 topics
  10. Meeting #5 - Defense of thesis (can come before Meeting #4)
    • After the thesis has been almost completely accepted by the major professor, each other committee member must be given a copy.
    • Make changes based on their comments.
    • Have the Graduate Studies & Research office make a preliminary check of the format.
    • If there are statistics, they must be approved & checked by statistics faculty member.  The approval must be in writing.
    • Provide each member with a "final" copy
    • Arrange the meeting (usually takes 1.5-2 hrs)
    • Prepare a 20-minute professional presentation of your thesis.
    • Committee members will question you about specific details.  You may have to redo some sections or even do some more work.
  11. Make the final copy.  It must be accepted by Graduate Studies & Research office.  Hire someone to check it over.  Each committee member must sign the very final copy.
  12. Make certain that your advisor writes a letter to Records informing them of the results of the defense and written exams.  The forms that must be filled out for both the thesis defense and the written exams are found here.

Required prerequisites:

  • Introduction to Irrigation (e.g., BRAE 340 or 236)
  • Introduction to Soil Science (e.g., SS 121)
  • Crop Sci Intro
  • Surveying
  • Calculus (1st quarter)
  • Hydraulics (BRAE 312)

Helpful prerequisites:

  • AutoCAD
  • GIS

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