Appointments as Director of Graduate Studies
Responsible University Officer: Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Policy Owner: Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education
Policy Contact: Belinda Cheung, Vicki Field


  1. Every graduate program must have a director of graduate studies, appointed by the collegiate dean on the Twin Cities campus or chief academic officer (or designee) on a system campus after consultation with program faculty.  For all-University programs, a director of graduate studies must be provided on each campus on which a program is offered.
  2. A tenured or tenure-track faculty member with an earned doctorate or designated equivalent in an appropriate field from an accredited institution is eligible to serve as director of graduate studies.
    1. Collegiate deans or their designated representatives at the collegiate level may, with the approval of the Provost or the Provost’s designated representative, assign the role of director of graduate studies to an individual who is not otherwise eligible under this standard.
  3. Collegiate units may develop additional criteria consistent with this policy.
  4. Each college must have a set of publicly available written statements regarding the position of director of graduate studies, which will include:
    1. a description of the director’s responsibilities and reporting lines;
    2. the standards for selection of the director;
    3. the process for selecting the director and approving his or her appointment, including effective involvement of program faculty; and
    4. the process for removing a director, including consultation with program faculty where appropriate.
  5. All interdisciplinary programs not housed within a single collegiate unit must specify in the program's Memorandum of Understanding which collegiate dean will appoint the director of graduate studies and what process will be used to nominate program faculty for the position.


A faculty director of graduate studies represents the program to faculty governance bodies, takes a leadership role in maintaining program quality and effectiveness, and communicates with collegiate deans and/or the Graduate School about the program's larger concerns. This policy does permit directors of graduate studies in large programs to delegate some or even most of their day-to-day administrative duties to a non-faculty assistant director.

Primary Contact(s)


Interdisciplinary Programs
A curriculum offered by an organizational unit within the University integrating two or more distinct disciplines.  Such programs may involve multiple departmental or collegiate units, and/or campuses.


Collegiate Units
Provide orientation for new Directors of Graduate Studies, where possible.
Collegiate Deans
Appoint director of graduate studies after consultation with program faculty. Appoint an acting DGS, in consultation with program faculty, to cover an absence or temporary vacancy.
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS)
Serves as the administrative supervisor and coordinator of graduate studies within a program; together with the department chair, shares responsibility for guiding and improving graduate education within the program(s) under his or her jurisdiction. The DGS is the liaison among the graduate students, program faculty, and the college and Graduate School administrations.


There is no related information associated with this policy.

April 2012 - Policy now applies University Wide (there is no longer an exclusion for the Duluth campus).
September 2011 - New Policy, Comprehensive Review. Requires every graduate program to have a director of graduate studies (DGS). Continues the requirement that only tenured or tenure-track faculty are eligible to serve as a DGS, unless an exception by the Provost or designate has been granted.

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Date Revised

April 2012

Date Effective

September 2011