The TCBES Handbook: A Guide to Survive as a TCBES Student
On this page:
- Program Description
- Mission Statement
- Program Objectives
- A Guide to Completing Your Master’s Degree in Three Years or Less: Thesis Track
- A Guide to Completing Your Master’s Degree in Two Years or Less: Professional Internship Track
- Timeline for the Completion of the TCBES M.S. Thesis Track
- Timeline for the Completion of the TCBES M.S. Internship Track
- International Students
- Room Reservation for Thesis Defense or Project Presentation
- Salto Card, Keys and Email List
- Laboratory Safety Training
- Program Curriculum
- What Goes Into a Thesis Proposal? (Thesis track)
- TCBES Faculty
- Research and Training Facilities
- Problem-Solving and Accountability
- Professional Behavior and Development
- Student Life
Other links of interest
The primary purpose of the Master of Science in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science is to provide graduate training in conservation biology and environmental science to those with baccalaureate degrees and those currently working in the field. The program will utilize the extraordinary biological, physical, and cultural complexity of the island of Hawaiʻi as a focus of investigation and study. The program will prepare students for technical positions and for entry into Ph.D. programs in related fields.
TCBES Professional Conduct Policy
All participants in the TCBES program must read and adhere to our Code of Conduct
- Foster knowledge of theory and techniques in conservation biology and environmental sciences including basic, applied, and socio-ecological research.
- Promote scholarly activities in marine and terrestrial environments that will enable participants to pursue careers in research, teaching and natural resource management.
Participants of the Program will:
- Perform scientific research in the interdisciplinary field of conservation biology and environmental science;
- Develop skills in natural resource and protected area management;
- Use advanced technological equipment, perform quantitative analyses, and interpret complex data;
- Present scientific results in oral and written publications;
- Interpret and critique professional scientific literature.
Graduates of the program will be able to:
- Perform, interpret, and communicate scientific research in the interdisciplinary field of conservation biology and environmental science;
- Use advanced technological equipment, perform qualitative and quantitative analysis of complex data.
- Develop skills and applications in natural resource management and policy.
A Guide to Completing Your Master’s Degree in Three Years or Less: Thesis Track
Semester 1 (Fall)
Your first semester is about settling into the TCBES program, completing course work, and thinking more about what you want your thesis research to be. You should meet regularly as a lab group, and one-on-one with your advisor. You should spend time reading journal articles to help you focus your research interests. By the end of the semester your advisor and you should have a good idea about what your thesis topic will be. You may even begin some preliminary data collection or analysis.
Semester 2 (Spring)
For your second semester, you will complete your required course work, and one or two electives. You should continue to meet regularly with your advisor as needed. You have two major goals for your second semester: 1) Establishing your thesis committee, and 2) Completing your thesis proposal. The latter can also be completed over the summer, but you should not wait any longer in order to finish your Master's in maximum three years.
Along with your primary supervisor, it is typical to have two additional committee members. However, more than two are allowed. Two committee members must be UH Hilo faculty and a 3rd member can be an affiliate, or another UH Hilo faculty. Affiliate faculty do not have to be based at UH at Hilo, and may be faculty at another institution, or can belong to another organization. For example, researchers from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), USDA Forest Service, or U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) often serve on graduate committees. However, your non-faculty member must have a UH Hilo faculty sponsor and they must also send a CV and a letter explaining their motives to become affiliate faculty at UH at Hilo to firstname.lastname@example.org. A call for new affiliate faculty to apply will come out once a year. The TCBES faculty and graduate council will vote and if accepted, the Dean will appoint the member. When choosing your committee, it is a good idea to aim for a well-rounded team where members are able to offer complementary knowledge and skill sets that relate to your thesis. You should discuss options for committee members with your advisor before making requests.
The Thesis Proposal
Do not underestimate the value of a well-constructed research proposal, or the amount of time and effort it will take to write one. A good thesis proposal will tell a story, and will justify your thesis research. It should start with a big picture concept and follow-up question. It will include a literature review connected to the big picture concept, and a justification as to why your study system is excellent for addressing the follow-up question. It should then identify the specific goals of your thesis, your hypotheses or objectives, and the methodology you will use to test your hypotheses or answer your questions. It will include a timeline for completing the research and writing the thesis, and it could include a detailed budget.
Your proposal is a working document, a plan for executing your thesis research. It is likely that some things will change between your proposal and your actual research – that is the nature of research; things don’t always work the way we expect (if we had all the answers, there would be no need for research). But the point is, you cannot begin research without first having a very good plan for how to proceed.
Also, think about the other things you need to complete your research. For many sites, you might need a permit or some kind of legal agreement. These requirements may be needed to work on federal, state, or even private land. Any work on endangered species requires permits as well. If you are doing work on vertebrate animals, you will need an IACUC permit, and if you are working on human subjects, you will need to do online training and submit an IRB. These latter two permits occur through the University of Hawaiʻi, and your advisor may need to be involved. Talk to your advisor early about permitting requirements, because in some cases it can take a long time to go through the administrative process, and you need to factor in receiving permits into your thesis timeline.
Ideally by the end of Semester 2 (or if not in the Summer), you should have a proposal or a very good draft that you are ready to present to the entire committee. You should expect to submit 2-3 proposal drafts to your advisor for comments/suggestions before submitting it to the rest of the committee. You should give your committee at least a week to review it before they meet as a group for your “Thesis Proposal Committee Meeting”. During this meeting, you will give a short presentation or discuss the general outline of your proposal. Then each committee member will have a chance to ask questions and/or make recommendations. After the meeting, you will likely need to make revisions to your proposal before it can be submitted to the Graduate Division (Form 2, Shelby Wong , email@example.com). Note that your proposal does not have to be submitted by the end of Semester 2, but it MUST be submitted before the end of Semester 3.
In addition to the two major goals described above, Semester 2 offers a great opportunity to present at the annual TCBES symposium, which usually happens in early April. Depending on your progress, you may choose to present a 5-minute proposal talk or a 15-minute research presentation. In Semester 2, a 5-minute presentation may be most appropriate for this particular symposium. See the TCBES Symposium website for more detail.
One way that graduate programs usually differ from undergraduate programs is that you don’t get the entire summer off. Semester 3 is important for conducting research and/or data analysis for your thesis. If for some reason you were unable to complete/present your thesis proposal in the previous semester then you should do so before August so that you are able to register for thesis credits in Semester 3. There are some local conferences that happen during the summer that you may wish to attend or present at. You should also plan to take some time off; although an MS degree is a lot of work, it is also crucial to maintain a good work-life balance.
Semester 3 (Fall)
You should have presented your thesis proposal to your committee, and hopefully they have signed off on it and you have been able to submit it to the Graduate Division. You should continue to meet with your lab and one-on-one with your advisor as needed. You should plan to spend most of your time on thesis-related research and course work as necessary, data analysis, and writing. By the end of the semester you should be able to congratulate yourself on a job well done, and take a nice long holiday break to come back refreshed for your fourth semester.
Semester 4 (Spring)
In Semester 4 you will continue to meet as a group for lab meetings, and one-on-one as needed. You should plan to spend most of your time on thesis-related research and coursework as necessary, data analysis, and writing. You should plan to present a 15-minute research talk at the annual TCBES symposium in April. If you are well ahead in your research you can apply to fill and submit the Thesis/Project/Dissertation Defense Schedule form by the annual deadline to defend your Master’s thesis in time (see defense deadlines at same link).
The 2nd summer is all about your thesis. You should plan to spend most of your time on thesis-related research, data analysis, and writing. If you defend your thesis in Spring, you should finish your thesis dissertation and submit Form 3 by the annual deadline.
It is not unusual for a Master’s program to take longer than two years. However, by thinking about and planning your thesis research early in the program, hopefully we will not require many more semesters for a finished thesis. We should work hard to ensure that you are able to complete your degree requirements within eight semesters.
A Guide to Completing Your Master’s Degree in Two Years or Less: Professional Internship Track
Semester 1 (Fall)
Your first semester is about settling into the TCBES program, completing coursework, pondering your career aspirations, and determining the focal area of your professional internship. As part of the professional internship coursework you examine your personal drivers and professional goals to move toward an ideal professional internship - one that moves you forward in achieving your professional goals while also being of benefit for the host organization. You should spend time reading journal articles to help you focus your scientific wonderings, research agencies and non-governmental organizations that are conducting work that resonates with your values and professional aspirations, and meet with the coordinator of the TCBES professional internships (Lisa Canale ) to discuss professional internship possibilities. By the end of the semester, it is ideal to have secured a professional internship placement and begun developing a scope of activities and deliverables. You may even begin some preliminary professional internship responsibilities.
Semester 2 (Spring)
For your second semester, you will continue with your required coursework, the series of professional internship credits, and perhaps one elective. You should meet with your advisor as needed and be in communication with your mentor. You have one major goal for your second semester — completing your professional internship proposal.
Form 2 - Project Approval
Your mentor and your advisor needs to approve of your professional internship proposal before you can begin your professional internship in earnest. This approval process is captured through completing Form 2: Thesis/Project/Dissertation Proposal. In SECTION II: Obtain Committee Member Signatures, your advisor signs as the ‘Primary Advisor’ and your mentor signs as the first committee member. UH Hilo Affiliate Faculty status is not required of the mentor. If Affiliate Faculty status is desired by the mentor, the mentor sends a CV and a letter explaining their motives to become adjunct or affiliate faculty at UH Hilo to firstname.lastname@example.org. The TCBES faculty and graduate council will vote and if accepted, the Dean will appoint the member. If you wish to have additional members of the host organization approve your proposal, please discuss options for committee members with your advisor, the internship coordinator, and mentor before making requests.
The Professional Internship Proposal
Do not underestimate the value of a well-constructed professional internship proposal, or the amount of time and effort it will take to write one. A good proposal will tell a story, and will justify your professional internship. It will include a literature review connected to the big picture concept, and a justification as to how the work will contribute to the greater good. It will identify the specific of your professional internship, both in terms of the scope and the deliverables. It will include a timeline for completing each milestone, and it will include a detailed budget. Your proposal is a working document, a plan for executing your professional internship. It is very likely that some things will change between your proposal and the completion of your professional internship, but you cannot begin your professional internship without first having a very good plan for how to proceed.
By the middle of Semester 2, you should have a complete proposal that you will share with your mentor and your advisor for recommendations. You should give your mentor at least three weeks to review it and return comments to you. If desired by the mentor, you can also give a short presentation of the general outline of your proposal. After the mid-semester mentor and advisor reviews, you will make revisions. You seek approval of the final version of the proposal by the semester’s end. The signed Form 2 along with the Professional Internship Proposal is not submitted to the Graduate Division office, rather it is submitted to the coordinator of the TCBES professional internships.
In addition to the goals described above, Semester 2 offers a great opportunity to present at the annual TCBES symposium, which usually happens in early April. Depending on your progress, you may choose to present a 5-minute proposal talk or a 15-minute project presentation. In Semester 2, a 5-minute presentation may be most appropriate for this particular symposium. See the TCBES Symposium website for more detail.
One way that graduate programs usually differ from undergraduate programs is that you don’t get the entire summer off. The summer is important for conducting your professional internship. If for some reason you were unable to complete your proposal in the previous semester, but your professional internship is scheduled for the summer, please seek approval to proceed from the coordinator of the TCBES professional internships. You are also required to enroll in CBES 690 Professional Internship (1) where you will have regular check-ins with the instructor about your professional internship. You will keep a work log of your professional internship activities and a photo journal. In the summer, there are some local conferences that you may also wish to attend. You should also plan to take some time off; although an MS degree is a lot of work, it is crucial to maintain a good work-life balance.
Semester 3 (Fall)
In your third semester you will continue with your professional internship as you strive to reach the required goal of 600 hours. You will continue with the professional internship course series and take two electives. You will meet one-on-one with your advisor as needed. You should plan to spend time updating your proposal to include any pivots from the original project trajectory, and finalizing any outstanding deliverables.
Semester 4 (Spring)
The fourth semester is focused on completing your requirements for graduation; you will take the final course of the professional internship series, any necessary electives, and synthesize your professional internship experience. You should plan to spend most of your time on writing your professional internship report and developing your public presentation. If you wish, you should plan to present a 15-minute project talk at the annual TCBES symposium in April. If you are on schedule, you will fill and submit the Graduation Application form and request a room for your project presentation by the deadlines. You will have your project presentation and report reviewed and approved by your mentor and advisor. You will give a public presentation. You will also need to fill and submit Form 3: Thesis/Project/Dissertation Completion and The Non-Exclusive Distribution License for UH at Hilo Graduate Works form. If all of the requirements are completed successfully you will graduate. Congratulations!
It is not unusual for a Master’s program to take longer than two years, especially during times of disruption caused by a global pandemic. However, by thinking about and planning your professional internship early in the program, you will be well prepared to complete your Master of Science in a timely manner.
Timeline for the Completion of the TCBES M.S. Thesis Track
|2 years track||3 years track||Goals|
|Fall 1||Fall 1||1. Discuss plan of thesis projects with advisor and sign compact (administered in CBES 602 Research Seminar in TCBES (1) ); 2. Core courses and electives credits taken (min 7 credits); 3. Thesis Committee Selection|
|Spring 1||Spring 1 and Summer 1||1. Fill and Submit Form 1: Graduate Committee Formation; 2. Discuss thesis projects with committee; 3.Thesis Proposal Writing; 4. Core courses finished, more electives credits taken |and sign compact (administered in CBES 602 Research Seminar in TCBES (1) )|
|Summer 1||Fall 2||1. Thesis Proposal Approval by committee; 2. Fill and Submit Form 2: Thesis/Project/Dissertation Proposal; 3. Fill and Submit Thesis/Dissertation Form for Graduate Level Degrees (700) by the end of the first week of Fall semester in order to take Thesis credits|
|Fall 2||Spring 2||1. Discuss thesis projects with committee; 2. Thesis and Electives credits taken|
|Spring 2||Summer 2/ Fall 3/Spring 3||1. Fill out Graduation Application form early (even if you are not a 100% this Spring or Fall). See deadlines; 2. Course work complete and confirmed with committee; 3. Thesis completed; 4. Fill and Submit Thesis/Project/Dissertation Defense Schedule by the deadlines to defend on time. 5. Fill and Submit Room reservation form.|
|Spring2/Summer 2||Spring 3/Summer 3||1. Master’s thesis defense/approval; 2. Fill and Submit Form 3: Thesis/Project/Dissertation Completion by deadlines|
Timeline for the Completion of the TCBES M.S. Internship Track
|2 years track||Goals|
|Fall 1||1. Discuss plan of study and professional internship ideas with advisor and sign compact (administered in CBES 602 Research Seminar in TCBES (1) ); 2. Core courses taken; 3.Begin the series of internship credits; 4. Secure professional internship; 5. Fill and Submit Form 1: Graduate Committee Formation|
|Spring 1||1. Design professional internship with mentor agency and internship coordinator; 2. Core courses finished, elective credits taken; 3. Continue series of internship credits and write project proposal; Fill and Submit Form 2: Thesis/Project/Dissertation Proposal|
|Summer 1||1. Internship credits taken and professional internship conducted|
|Fall 2||1. Electives credits taken; 2. Continue series of internship credits; 3. Internship completed|
|Spring 2||1. Fill out Graduation Application form early. See deadlines; 2. Course work completed and confirmed with advisor; 3. Complete the series of internship credits and write professional internship project report; 4. Fill and Submit Room reservation form for Project presentation by the deadlines to defend on time; 5. Master's project presentation and report approved by mentor agency; 6. Public presentation given; 7. Fill and Submit Form 3: Thesis/Project/Dissertation Completion by the deadlines; 8. The Non-Exclusive Distribution License for UH at Hilo Graduate Works form; 9. Graduate.|
As an international student, you will have some additional caveats in terms of enrollment, employment, and finances. In this document, You can read more about policies for international graduate students at UH Hilo.
Most Graduate forms are available from the Graduate Division as online forms. Click on the link above and navigate your way to start the electronic signing process. As a reminder, Form 1 is to form your committee, Form 2 is your proposal defense, and Form 3 is signed when all graduation requirements are completed. You will not graduate until Form 3 is submitted and approved!
Thesis track graduate students need Form 1, 2, and 3. Thesis students also need the Thesis/Project/Dissertation Defense Schedule form.
Professional Internship track graduate students need Form 1 and 3 (but may be asked to do Form 2 by the Internship Coordinator). Professional Internship students also need to complete the Non-Exclusive Distribution License for UH Hilo Graduate Works form for HŌKŪ submission.
Here's more detailed info about the forms that you may need or encounter as a TCBES student.
- Academic Progress Forms 1, 2, & 3 - Form 1: your advisor/committee members sign; Form 2 is approval of your proposal; Form 3 is when the advisor/committee agree that you have met all your requirements and can graduate.
- Thesis/Dissertation Form for Graduate Level Degrees (700 and 800) - Fill out this form every semester you will register for CBES700 credit(s). You need 6 credits of CBES700 to graduate with the Thesis Track. Be aware that NO grade will be available and NO credit will be counted in your STAR system until you graduate. This is normal, as long as you register for a minimum of 6 credits of CBES700, you will be able to graduate. Grade and credits will appear after graduation. You must have an approved Form 2 to be eligible to register for CBES700.
- Thesis Defense Schedule Form - Thesis track only: After picking your defense date and securing your room, submit your Thesis/Project/Dissertation Defense Schedule form (http://go.hawaii.edu/7mP) electronically in Kuali Build. Your Primary Advisor will approve the form once after you have scheduled your defense, and again after your defense is complete. The will also be electronically signed by the Graduate Division Specialist (Shelby Iwamoto , email@example.com, CoBE 201. An approved form by the Thesis Defense Deadlines of November 15 (Fall) and April 15 (Spring) will allow you to participate in that semester's commencement exercises.
- Graduation Application - You must apply for graduation with the Office of the Registrar for the semester that you intend to complete the program. The final deadline to apply for graduation is September 15 (fall) and March 15 (Spring). Submit forms directly to the Office of the Registrar.
- Non-Exclusive Distribution License for UH Hilo Graduate Works - For Professional Internship students to do to allow the UH Hilo library permission to host and display your final paper.
- Petition to Substitute and/or Waive Courses - Graduate You need to fill out this form to take a 400-level class and get graduate credits for it.
- Permission to Register in (Subject) 500 Course - This form would be used only under special circumstances relating to continuous enrollment. Come talk to us before starting this form.
- Directed Reading or Research Course Form for Graduate Degree Courses (599V, 699V, 799V) - There is no limit to the number of CBES 699 Directed Studies (To Be Arranged) Directed Studies (To Be Arranged) credits a student can take, and CBES 699 Directed Studies (To Be Arranged) Directed Studies (To Be Arranged) can be repeated in different semesters. The student should consult his/her advisor and committee about coursework, including directed studies. Directed Readings or Research Course are designed to allow student to gained experience or skills in their field that they cannot obtain in other graduate or 400 level courses.
*1) Graduate students cannot build a CBES 699 Directed Studies (To Be Arranged) around a 100- or 200-level courses for credit. They may sit in on the class with Instructor’s permission, but they cannot enroll in the course and receive credit applicable towards their graduate degree for that course.
*2) It is okay for a TCBES student to create a CBES 699 Directed Studies (To Be Arranged) , where attending a 300-level course supplements the graduate level work for the directed studies. Student would need permission of the instructor to sit in on their 300-level class, and the level of participation will be determined by the instructor of the 300-level course. Note, the student cannot enroll in the 300-level course for credit applicable towards their graduate degree for that course. When submitting the Directed Studies form for approval, the student will need to describe how the 300-level course supplements the work in the proposed CBES 699 Directed Studies (To Be Arranged) .
*3) The initiation of the CBES 699 Directed Studies (To Be Arranged) , starts with a discussion between the student, the advisor, and when appropriate their committee, when they are discussing coursework to complement their project or internship. If a CBES 699 Directed Studies (To Be Arranged) is suggested, the advisor will suggest potential names from the TCBES faculty list, and possibly others outside of it. It is then the student’s responsibility to make contact with the potential instructor of record for the CBES 699 Directed Studies (To Be Arranged) to see if they would agree to the arrangement. The advisor should be included in the request. If agreed upon, the student will work with the instructor of record to develop proposed coursework for the CBES 699 Directed Studies (To Be Arranged) (assignments and point distribution). Important to include are: purpose or objectives, including expected learning outcomes; procedure for how the course will be taught; resources to be used; expected products from the course; timeline and means of evaluation. Among others, the means of evaluation can be reports or article summaries.
*4) The student then completes the Directed Studies form with the appropriate attachments (course description with assignments and point distributions) and obtains signatures from the Instructor, Advisor, and Director. The Directed Studies form and attachments are submitted to the Graduate Division. The course outline must follow the University of Hawaii at Hilo Credit Hour Policy and Practice: “A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than – One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.”
- Student Overload Approval Form Graduate Program - For use if you need to take more than 15 credits in the fall and spring semester, or more than 12 credits in the summer semester.
- Graduate Repeat Course Notification - If you need to retake a class.
- Petition for Leave of Absence - Sometimes life circumstances affect your progress towards your degree. It's okay! You can take up to a 1-year leave of absence if you fill out this form and get approvals.
- Permission to Enroll in Graduate Coursework as an Unclassified Student - This form is for situations where you want to take a graduate-level class but are not a UH Hilo undergraduate or graduate student. Sometimes people that may have finished their undergraduate degree want to take a class without being enrolled in the TCBES program towards a degree. This form is for that purpose. Note: we generally do not allow unclassified students to take CBES 600 Conservatn Biol & Environ Sci (3) or 601, as those are specific core courses designed for students to be successful in the TCBES program.
- Permission to Enroll in Graduate Coursework as an Undergraduate Student - For advanced undergraduates that want to take a graduate-level class. Note: seek permission from instructor first.
Hard copy instructions:
Every once in awhile, even though a form is electronic, you may need to have a hard copy version. In those cases, talk to the Graduate Division Specialist (firstname.lastname@example.org, office in CoBE 201) to figure out the correct procedure.
Need help finding funding for your graduate career? Visit the funding page for more information on funding opportunities.
Room Reservation for Thesis Defense or Project Presentation
An important part of the TCBES degree is a public talk to describe and inform others of your work. In order to reserve a room for the Thesis Defense or Project Presentation, please complete the Room Reservation Form to begin the process. If you are a Professional Internship student and presenting with the group on the day of the annual presentations, this detail will be taken care of for you; if you plan to present individually, you may need to reserve a room (talk to the Professional Internship Coordinator). Complete the room reservation form a minimum of 10 business days in advance. The room request form needs to be completed with you and your advisor's information as the "Person Requesting Room", your UH at Hilo ID number, and TCBES listed as department under affiliation.
Thesis track only: After picking your defense date and securing your room, the Thesis/Project/Dissertation Defense Schedule form will also be electronically signed by the Graduate Division Specialist (Shelby Iwamoto , email@example.com) on the date of your defense. The form will then need to be electronically approved again by your Primary Advisor confirming that you had a Successful Defense. An approved form by November 15th or March 15th will allow you to walk for Fall or Spring commencement.
Salto Card, Keys and Email List
Salto Key Cards
One Salto key card will be given to you during orientation week, this will give you access to the Graduate Room. Access renewal are every two years on August 15. If your card does not work, it might need to be re-activated after the two-year period. If you need access to other lab or rooms, you need to ask your supervisor directly.
Save the Planet and give your Salto card back at the end of your studies so it can be re-used!
Fill out the form on the Auxiliary Services website with the appropriate signatures and return it to the Auxiliary Services
To be removed or added onto the TCBES-All and -student email list, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Laboratory Safety Training
Please visit the TCBES Catalog to review the course requirements for all M.S. TCBES students.
What Goes Into a Thesis Proposal? (Thesis track)
Make sure to discuss with your advisor and committee members what they expect in each section. Content and structure varies with projects.
General Structure of a Project Proposal
- Background information
- Chapter’s Objectives
Discuss with your primary advisor and your committee members what are their expectation for the meeting and how you should prepare i.e. presentation slides, timeframe, structure of your presentation, which section to focus on, etc.
Master Thesis/Project Defense
Similarly, to your proposal defense, you should discuss with your primary advisor and your committee members what are their expectation for the meeting and how you should prepare i.e. presentation slides, timeframe, structure of your presentation, which section to focus on, etc. It is important to meet with your committee to discuss those things early in the semester you are expecting to graduate.
Room reservation for Thesis/Project/Dissertation Defense
| All Rooms | Fill form 10 business days in advance minimum
Facility Requests. Questions regarding room reservations should be directed to email@example.com.
Thesis Format Requirements
It is the student’s responsibility to prepare a final manuscript that meets the style requirements of both the UH at Hilo Graduate Division and their graduate program. Please follow the UH Mānoa Style and Policy Guide for Electronic Thesis and Dissertations (Download Style Guide as a PDF) for general guidelines on the physical format of the manuscript with the following exceptions:
- Signature Page - Do not include a signature page. Signatures appear only on Form 3: Thesis/Project/Dissertation and Degree Requirements Completion (PDF) and are not included in the manuscript. By signing this form, committee members indicate approval of the content and the form of the finalized manuscript.
- Abstract – An abstract is required for all theses. For more information about formatting your abstract, please see the ProQuest/UMI guide to preparing your manuscript for submission (PDF).
- Margins – For margin specifications, please see the ProQuest/UMI guide to preparing your manuscript for submission (PDF).
All graduate works must be submitted via ETD Administrator, a web-based service for the submission and publication of student theses and dissertations. In the case where online submission is unfeasible, please contact the Mookini Library or call (808) 932-7296 for assistance.
Students must first create an account to start the submission process. ETD Administrator will then walk you through the next several steps. Please see the guides and other resources on the ETD Administrator website for more information on publishing options and copyright as well as frequently asked questions about online submission. The ETD Administrator submission process must be completed by the required deadline in the University Academic Calendar to submit Form 3: Thesis/Project/Dissertation and Degree Requirements Completion to the Library and the Graduate Division.
View the HŌKŪ Fact sheet (Mookini's institutional repository for UH Hilo)
An updated list of the TCBES Faculty members can be found at on the Faculty page of the TCBES website.
Criteria for Affiliate Faculty Status in TCBES
The primary purpose of obtaining Affiliate status is for serving on TCBES student committees, Professional Internship mentors, and teaching 600-level courses at UH at Hilo. In addition, Affiliate faculty may serve as Principal Investigators (PI) on grants. Reference this page for definitions of Affiliate and Adjunct Faculty.
- Possess a graduate degree (Ph.D. or M.S. with five years of professional experience in a field closely related to the TCBES mandate. [Note: those with a Bachelor’s degree or no degree may be interacting with a TCBES student committee, but are not listed as Affiliate faculty and thus they are not an official signatory on Forms 1, 2, and 3. They may sign Forms 1-3 as a courtesy.]
- Possess and be able to demonstrate a high degree of knowledge and skill in an area related to the TCBES programs equivalent to that possessed by regular faculty.
- Be of good standing in one’s professional and/or academic community and abide by the profession’s ethics.
Affiliate or Adjunct faculty in TCBES would be expected to
The TCBES program has developed the following expectations for Affiliate or Adjunct faculty:
Contribute to TCBES through active and direct engagement in the following:
a. Teaching at the graduate 600-level or at the 400/600-level (dual listed)
b. Serving on graduate student thesis committees
c. Serving as an gency mentor for a student in the Professional Internship track
d. Providing in-kind resources (e.g., equipment, space, access to field sites)
e. Writing grants through UH at Hilo. Note that any affiliate or adjunct faculty who writes a grant must have a regular UH Hilo faculty listed as personnel within the MyGRANT system, so that incoming extramural funds can be accounted for and returned overhead can be distributed to an academic unit within UH Hilo
f. Publishing and presenting results with TCBES students, staff, and/or faculty
g. Giving seminars and guest lectures.
Demonstrate a personal commitment to education and scholarship by maintaining professional skills and competence.
Commit to the goals and objectives of TCBES, advance its reputation and welfare, and exhibit substantial collegiality.
Ensure that academic activities and contributions are sustained and regular. Status as Affiliate or Adjunct Faculty is renewed annually and involves review with the faculty sponsor and reappointment from the appropriate Dean.
Acknowledge TCBES for all activities that are related to Adjunct or Affiliate Faculty status in the program.
Invitation and Approval Process (based on: Guidelines on the Appointment of Adjunct and Affiliate Faculty Drafted and Approved by UH Hilo Graduate Council 12‐09‐16)
- A request to appoint adjunct or affiliate faculty may be initiated by tenured or tenure‐track faculty TCBES faculty. Requests are submitted to the Chair or Program Director. The TCBES Director or Associate Director may also initiate requests to appoint adjunct or affiliate faculty
- The TCBES Director submits the request to the TCBES faculty for consideration and vote
- If approved by TCBES faculty, based on a majority of votes, a request is forwarded to the Chair of Graduate Council with a list of candidates for adjunct or affiliate appointment, along with curriculum vitae and any other supporting materials. Graduate Council then reviews and votes to recommend approval or rejection of requests for adjunct/affiliate appointments
- The recommendation of the Graduate Council is forwarded back to the TCBES Director, which then forwards the faculty members’ recommendation and any supporting documents to the College Dean, who may approve or deny the request
- If approving the request, the Dean shall extend a formal written invitation to the candidate, outlining the terms and expectations of the position. If approving, the College Dean will also forward acceptance of the position to Human Resources, which will initiate the official hiring process
Emeritus Faculty: If a faculty member holds Emeritus status at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, they are exempt from the Invitation and Approval process described above. Emeritus faculty members do not need to hold a non-compensated appointment. Faculty members holding an Emeritus title from another institution will need to participate in the Invitation and Approval process.
Faculty Members in Federal Cooperative Units: Faculty members in federal, state, local, or agency cooperative units will be treated as UH Hilo faculty for committee and chairing purposes. These faculty members should be reviewed at the graduate council but no recommendation need be sent forward to the Dean’s office.
Appointment Renewal: Renewal of adjunct or affiliate appointment does not require the invitation and approval process outlined above, but is instead handled by the program and their respective Dean.
The title Affiliate faculty is a non-compensated appointment to UH at Hilo, usually to professional personnel in residence in Hawaiʻi County with a particular interest or capability which may contribute to the teaching or research program of the College; except for occasional lectures or consulting with individual students, affiliate faculty do no teaching.
The Dean of the College recommends appointments to this title only after review and approval have taken place within the appropriate UH at Hilo discipline. Appointments to this title carry no implied obligation for future appointment to instructional positions.
Non-compensated faculty appointments shall utilize the appropriate "Adjunct" title in accordance with the following guidelines for employing the adjunct faculty series:
The Adjunct faculty series is intended to encourage the utilization of qualified, experienced persons from the local community in appropriate educational programs and thereby to enhance and improve the integration of practical real world experience with conceptual, theoretical, and vicarious instruction.
The Adjunct faculty series (which does not replace any current category of appointment) will be non-compensated appointments with each appointment appropriately ranked by training and experience analogous to regular faculty.
The ranks in the adjunct faculty series will be:
- Adjunct Instructor
- Adjunct Assistant Professor
- Adjunct Associate Professor
- Adjunct Professor
Appointments to this series will be upon invitation, will not exceed one year, and are to be the specific instructional term or terms for which the appointee has agreed to accept responsibilities.
The appointment and ranking procedure utilized will be identical to that employed in the regular faculty appointment process with the exception that the recruiting and advertising aspects for compensated appointments will not be required.
Reappointments of Adjunct faculty at the same rank or at a different rank must be reviewed in the same manner as other faculty appointments. Changing the rank upward will require full appointment review by peers but will not involve a "promotion" process since each year's appointment is considered essentially as a new appointment.
This series is effective immediately, may be utilized by all units, and appointments may be delegated to the Chancellor or designee.
Research and Training Facilities
Research and training facilites available to the TCBES students can be found on the Support page of the TCBES website
Problem-Solving and Accountability
The following process is in place to address concerns if questions exist about faculty adhering to the Code of Conduct:
A student, staff, or faculty member should first discuss the concern(s) with the TCBES Director;
The TCBES Director will be obligated to bring the concern(s) to the TCBES Executive Committee, to ensure that the issue is not ignored; and
The TCBES Executive Committee will discuss the issue and make a recommendation for action. The recommendation must be agreed upon by a majority of the TCBES Executive Committee members. The recommendation will be forwarded on the Graduate Council and/or the upper University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo administration via proper channels (Dean, VCAA, Chancellor).
From the Responsibilities and Commitments document:
To be considered part of TCBES you must either serve as primary advisor to Master’s student(s) OR be active in a combination (two or more) of the different types of activities within a 3-yr period. Data will be self-reported annually on a form that will be provided to each faculty member (not yet developed). These activities are:
Teaching at the graduate (600) level) or at the 400/600 level (dual listed).
Serving on graduate student thesis committees.
Providing service to TCBES program (via Executive Committee, Admissions Committee, the TCBES symposium, seminar speaker, etc.).
In addition, TCBES faculty will agree to:
Turn over RTRF to TCBES to help support the EPSCoR Core Labs and the overall program until financial solvency is reached, with an option to opt-out yearly if special circumstances exist;
Conduct oneself in a professional manner toward students, following a code of conduct (see Code of Conduct for TCBES Faculty);
Follow all University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo policies as highlighted in the The Faculty Handbook, and fully documented at UH at Hilo Academic Policies (https://hilo.hawaii.edu/policies/) and UH at Hilo Policies and UH System policies.
UH Hilo Student Conduct Code
Choosing to join the University community obligates each student to abide by this code of conduct. By enrolling in the University, students accept the responsibility to become fully acquainted with the University's regulations and to comply with the University's authority. The University expects students to maintain standards of personal integrity that are in harmony with the educational goals of the institution; to respect the rights, privileges, and property of others; and to observe national, state and local laws, and University regulations.
Find all you need to know about the Student Conduct Code
Policies that Pertain to Student Rights and Responsibilities:
I. Student Protections This policy provides procedures for academic complaints concerning the following three protections:
1) Protection of Freedom of Expression. Student shall be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion. At the same time, they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled.
2) Protection against Improper Academic Evaluation. Students shall have protection against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. Student performance shall be evaluated solely on an academic basis and not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards. At the same time, they are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.
3) Protection against Improper Disclosure. Information about student views, beliefs and political associations, which faculty members acquire in the course of their work as instructors, advisors and counselors shall be considered confidential. Protection against improper disclosure is a serious professional obligation. Judgments of ability and character may be provided under appropriate circumstances, normally with the knowledge or consent of the student.
Academic disputes not covered by A, B and/or C above shall be dealt with at the College level provided that all previous recourse has been exhausted.
II. Procedures for the Resolution of Academic Complaints
Any student who believes that a faculty member has violated one of the above protections may initiate action to achieve a resolution. The actions outlined below must be initiated no later than the second week of the semester following the semester or summer session during which the student became aware of the alleged impropriety or could reasonably have been expected to become aware of it. In cases of a complaint related to improper evaluation, the receipt of the grade will be considered to have taken place during the semester during which the course was in session. At anytime during discussions with the faculty member, department/discipline or division chair, or the dean, when an offer of resolution is made, and that offer is rejected by the student, the student cannot return to that offer of resolution at a later stage of the process. Once the student rejects an offer of resolution, that offer will no longer be considered by the faculty, chair or dean.
Find all the information on policies that pertain to student rights and responsibilities on the Student Conduct website.
III. TCBES procedures for assignment of Advisor/Thesis Committee Chair, changing of Advisors, and changing Thesis Committee Members
Note, the terms Advisor and Thesis Committee Chair are synonymous. From here on, Advisor will be used.
- Procedures for assignment of the Advisor for Thesis-Track students.
In order for a student to be accepted into the TCBES Thesis-Track, the Graduate Division must “Have received confirmation of TCBES Faculty sponsorship.” Link to TCBES Admissions. The UH Hilo faculty member signing off on the student’s application, who is sponsoring the student, is therefore the student’s Advisor. The student’s application with the Advisor’s sponsorship signature resides within the Graduate Division, Admissions Office. Before this commitment between the student and faculty member is finalized, the Admissions Committee Chair (or designee on the committee), verifies the faculty's willingness to serve as the Advisor.
- Procedures to change an Advisor.
A TCBES student who wishes to change their Advisor must submit a Change Advisor Form (PDF) to the TCBES Director . Before the Change Advisor Form can be signed by the TCBES Director, the student must find another faculty member willing to advise them; this may be done in consultation with the TCBES Director and original Advisor, as appropriate. This form must contain signatures from: 1) the student, 2) the new Advisor, and 3) TCBES Director, and be submitted with a new Form 1 to the Graduate Division. Once both forms have been accepted by the Graduate Division, the TCBES Director will send out a confirmation email regarding the change of Advisor to the student, as well as to the new Advisor and the original one.
- Procedures to change Thesis Committee Members, who are not the Advisor.
If after the submission of Form 1 to the Graduate Division, a TCBES student wishes to change the members of their thesis committee, a new Form 1 must be completed. The new Form 1 supersedes the original Form 1. The new Form 1 must be signed by the student, the new committee member, any remaining committee members, the Advisor, and TCBES Director. It is the responsibility of the Advisor to contact the original committee member by email (for documentation) and inform them that they are no longer on the committee.
Professional Behavior and Development
Psychological problems, not intellectual deficiencies, are the most common stumbling block in graduate school. Keep yourself engaged, motivated and on-task. Take advantage of this opportunity to develop colleagues – your fellow graduate students, faculty, and professional biologists in your area of interest. They will help keep you excited about scientific research. Schedule regular meetings with your advisor and keep them up to date with your progress, concerns, and any difficulties you are having. Keep in mind that your advisor (and the rest of your committee) is here to help you. They want to see you succeed almost as much as you do. If you are having problems, let your advisor know early on; they will appreciate your candor and may likely have some good suggestions for helping solve your difficulties.
To gain the respect of your committee, act professionally in the scheduling of and participation in committee meetings. Always follow through on commitments, however small, that you make with your committee members and other colleagues. Never underestimate how difficult it can be to get busy people together at one time for over one hour. Anticipate difficulty in scheduling people for meetings and plan ahead! Set meetings up in advance, giving each committee member sufficient notice so you can find a mutually agreeable time. Reserve a room. Shortly before the meeting, remind each member of the time, date, and room of the meeting. Committee meetings are for you. Know ahead of time exactly what you want to get out of the meeting and get feedback from your advisor. Write an agenda and lead the meeting. Take notes on decisions and recommendations made during each meeting.
All graduate students are expected to attend department-sponsored seminars and other graduate student defense seminars. Be sure to check the schedule for the TCBES Seminar Series and other seminars on campus each semester and plan to attend these.
Tips for Developing Your Professionalism
You are in this program to obtain a degree and make a difference in your field. Taking courses is one part of the big picture. Every single one of these items below is vital to your professionalism. Post them as a list of goals to achieve and work on every semester.
Attend seminars on campus. Every week there are several seminars on campus that have relevance to tropical conservation biology and environmental science. There is no way to attend them all. Be alert and schedule them into your plans when possible. Go to the TCBES seminar every Friday! You will learn many things and become aware of research and conservation issues in your specific area and areas outside of your specific interest (the latter is critical in growing as a professional). There will be other seminars in departments such as Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Marine Science, Geology, Geography, and the College of Agriculture Forestry and Natural K6 Source Management. There are outside UH at Hilo seminars at the USDA Forest Service. You will find your own sources based on your interests.
Attend professional meetings. Every year students attend a number of meetings. Presenting at professional meetings is highly encouraged at the graduate level. The Society for Conservation Biology is a natural meeting to attend, but students attend a diverse selection.
Belong to a professional society (or several). It is important that you develop these ties early. Ask your advisor for guidance. All of these societies produce professional journals and have annual meetings. They have student rates. Why should you join? There are many reasons (e.g., you will become a member of a group who will be your professional peers after graduation; you will keep up to date on research in your field (through the journal); you will begin to learn the politics of your profession). You should decide on a society and become a member by the end of your first semester.
Update your resume/curriculum vitae. This is your professional record and one of the most important “tools” for obtaining funding while in the program or future employment. Some have highly sophisticated CVs; others are not well prepared. Ask your student colleagues for advice and your advisor to review your CV. You should update it at least once/semester.
Establish an office space and use it. Do not hole up at home and deprive yourself of graduate school life. The most important thing you will get from graduate school is your interaction with colleagues, faculty and visiting scholars. Graduate school is not an extension of college; it is a way of life. If you need to study at home, do so, but leave time every day to come and interact through seminars, etc. One of the biggest mistakes new students make is to use graduate school only as a route to taking more courses. If you plan only to come to campus, attend class, and go home, you are in the wrong program and field. You need to understand the culture of science. You need to engage in conversations. You need to develop friendships with your colleagues as they will be critical professional links for you in the future.
Obtain funding for research and graduate training. Students come into the program with a variety of funding support systems. Some of you are almost completely funded. Some have little or no funds other than personal ones. Very few of you have funds to support your research. Everyone can be funded at some level, but it will take work and creativity on your part. Obtaining funds for a living stipend, tuition or research is part of being a professional. You need to be continuously alert to sources of funding, no matter how small, because developing a funding record is also important for your professionalism. View a list of funding opportunities at UH Hilo. Remember, this is not an exhaustive list and you should discuss funding support and options with your advisor.
Publications are important. You will be judged on your publications for any academic or research-oriented positions you seek (this includes MS students who plan to enter a PhD program as well as people seeking positions at the university level). Publications may be required and will definitely provide an advantage for a number of other positions. Interact with your advisor regarding publications.
Seek opportunities for leadership and community involvement: These opportunities can be within the TCBES Program, the broader university system, or at the regional, national or international level. Some of you already have these connections. Evidence of leadership and “community” involvement is often a criterion for outside funding/fellowships and is definitely a plus when you seek employment.
Students in the TCBES program do more than just study; they are active members of the university and Hilo community. As a member of a vibrant group of researchers and professionals committed to scientific scholarship and conservation, TCBES students engage in a challenging and enriching curriculum while participating in a variety of campus activities and groups.
TCBES Kaiameaola Club
Students participant in campus life as a registered club – Tropical Conservation Biology & Environmental Sciences, Marine and Terrestrial Environmental Researchers. As a club, the Kaiameaola club can access campus resources provided by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Student Association (UH HiloSA) included funding for campus events and activities. The club also helps organize service activities and supports environmental sustainability initiatives on campus.
TCBES New Student Orientation
Designed by students for students, the new student orientation program takes place before the fall semester begins. Each year, a committee of second-year TCBES students and program faculty design a mandatory orientation for new TCBES students. The TCBES orientation introduces students to many of the resources the university and community provide, as well as the diverse cultures and ecosystems of the island. Previous TCBES students have commented that orientation is when the class bonded as a group and enduring friendships were forged.
Graduate Student Council
As one of the graduate programs at UH at Hilo, TCBES student representatives meet regularly with students from other program to discuss, share, and strategize ways to improve graduate student life and research opportunities. The Graduate Student Council (GSC) serves as an advisory panel and makes policy recommendations that are forwarded to university administration. As a member of the GSC, TCBES students are the student voice of the program.
Annual TCBES Student Symposium
The Annual TCBES Student Symposium began in 2009 to provide the opportunity for students to present their research in conservation biology and environmental science to people of the UH and local community and others currently working in the field. It also prepares TCBES students for professional conferences outside of Hawaiʻi. Students may present a poster or an presentation, and faculty judges award prizes for the best entries.