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University of Minnisota  Administrative Policy

Appointments as Director of Graduate Studies

Responsible University Officer(s):
  • Executive Vice President and Provost
Policy Owner(s):
  • Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education
Policy contact(s):
  • Karen Starry
Date Revised:
Feb 10, 2016
Effective Date:
Sep 21, 2011

Policy Statement

  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 or co-Director of Graduate Studies.
    1. Collegiate deans/chief academic officers or their designated representatives at the collegiate level may, with the approval of the Provost, assign the role of Director of Graduate Studies (or co-Director of Graduate Studies) to an individual who is not otherwise eligible under this standard. The Provost may delegate the approval responsibility to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education.
  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 and evaluation of the director;
    3. the process for selecting the director and approving the appointment, including effective involvement of program faculty; and
    4. the process for removing a director, including consultation with program faculty where appropriate.
  5. All 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 (or co-Director of Graduate Studies) and what process will be used to nominate program faculty for the position.


This policy does not apply to the J.D., M.D., Pharm.D., D.V.M., D.D.S., L.L.M., and M.B.A. [Twin Cities] degrees.

Reason for Policy

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.




Frequently Asked Questions


Primary Contact Karen Starry 612-625-2815


All-University Programs
Programs that have been approved by the Board of Regents for joint offering by two or more campuses. Such programs have substantial involvement from all participating campuses in such matters as oversight and administration, recruitment and admission of students, course development and course offering, faculty and student participation, commitment of financial resources, student funding opportunities and related student support, and other aspects of the academic program operation.


Collegiate Units
Provide orientation for new Directors of Graduate Studies, where possible. Develop a set of publicly available written statements regarding the position of the Director of Graduate Studies as outlined in policy item 4. Develop a plan to ensure that the responsibilities of Directors of Graduate Studies are being covered for the entire calendar year.
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 coordinator of graduate studies within a program. Together with the graduate program faculty and department and collegiate leadership, the DGS shares responsibility for guiding and improving graduate education within the program(s) under the DGS's jurisdiction. The DGS is the liaison among the graduate students, program faculty, and the college and Graduate School administrations. DGS is also responsible for understanding and complying with University and collegiate policies that govern or have an impact on the graduate program and its students.

Related Information

There is no related information associated with this policy.


February 2016 - Comprehensive Review, Minor Revision. Specifies that the provost may delegate approval responsibility. Expanded on the responsibilities for the collegiate units. Minor clarifications to the 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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