APPENDIX TO POLICY

Graduate Program Student Handbook: Guidelines

The following are guidelines for items to include in graduate program student handbooks. Not all items may apply to your graduate program, although the items included are considered to be relatively common across disciplines and degree objectives. There may be items specific to your program that are not included here; you are encouraged to include any additional information that will be of assistance to graduate students as they pursue their degrees.

I. Program Overview

Statement of broad goals and objectives of each degree objective (e.g., MS, MA, PhD) offered by the graduate program. Themes could include, for example, attaining depth and breadth of knowledge in certain areas of the discipline; gaining proficiency in scientific inquiry and experience in the research enterprise; gaining teaching experience. Programs may also wish to describe the differences in expectations and workload between the undergraduate and graduate degrees.

II. Program Components

  1. General description of the components (i.e., the informal and/or formal emphases/concentrations/tracks) of each degree objective offered by the graduate program
  2. General description of each degree objective offered by the graduate program (e.g., Ph.D., MS Plan A, Plan B and/or Plan C)

III. Degree Requirements

  1. Maintaining active student status and the consequences of becoming inactive (i.e., fall/spring registration requirement)
  2. Coursework requirements for each degree objective/emphasis, including courses required for the major, related fields/supporting program
  3. Thesis credit requirements
  4. Use of S/N credits
  5. Use of transfer credits
  6. Use of 4000-level courses
  7. Language proficiency requirements
  8. Internship requirements
  9. Other requirements, such as
    • teaching or research experience
    • publication of articles
    • conference presentations
    • summer registration
  10. Deadlines and procedures for milestones (e.g., filing the degree plan and thesis proposal forms, completing core coursework)
  11. Examinations
    1. Master’s Final Examination
      • Describe separately the examination components (e.g., Master’s Plan B final – Written? Oral? Both? Master’s Plan A final – Written in addition to the required oral?)
      • Eligibility requirements
      • Schedule (e.g., are the exams available once per year? twice per year?)
      • Components of the examination (e.g., length; closed-book; sit-down)
      • Material to be covered in the examination
      • Evaluation/grading of the written examination (e.g., what constitutes a passing vote; when students can expect notification of the outcome; whether a retake is allowed, and if so, any conditions placed upon the retake)
      • Associated procedures and forms
    2. Doctoral Preliminary Written Examination
      • Describe separately the written examination(s) for each emphasis/concentration/track
      • Eligibility requirements
      • Schedule (e.g., are the exams available once per year? twice per year?)
      • Components of the examination (e.g., length; closed-book; sit-down)
      • Material to be covered in the examination
      • Evaluation/grading of the written examination (e.g., what constitutes a passing vote; when students can expect notification of the outcome; whether a retake is allowed, and if so, any conditions placed upon the retake)
      • Associated procedures and forms
    3. Doctoral Preliminary Oral Examination
      • Eligibility requirements
      • Scheduling with committee members, the graduate program, and the Graduate School; associated procedures and forms
      • Material to be covered in the examination
    4. Doctoral Final Oral Examination
      • Eligibility requirements
      • Scheduling with committee members, the graduate program, and the Graduate School; associated procedures and forms
    5. Degree completion deadlines
      • 5-year time limit for master’s students
      • 8-year time limit for doctoral students
      • Circumstances under which exceptions to the degree completion deadlines might be considered
      • Instructions and procedures for requesting an exception to the degree completion deadline

IV. Academic Matters

  1. Academic Standards should be outlined for each degree objective offered
    • Minimum GPA
    • Incompletes
    • Expectations for degree progress (e.g., what constitutes “good academic progress” in the program? are there distinct sets of expectations for full-time and part-time students?)
  2. Timelines for Coursework completion
    • Selection of advisor
    • Filing of milestone forms (e.g., the degree plan and thesis proposal forms)
    • Completion of internship
    • Determination of project or dissertation topic
    • Researching topic; analyzing data; writing chapters
    • Completion of major examinations (e.g., the doctoral preliminary written and oral examinations; the master’s or doctoral final examination)
  3. Annual Review of Student Progress
    • Timing of the review
    • Documentation for the review
    • Individual(s) responsible for providing the necessary documentation
    • Who participates in the review
    • Possible outcomes of the review (e.g., student is/is not making satisfactory progress in the view of the graduate program)
    • How and when the student is notified of the review outcome
  4. Writing Standards
    • Quality of writing expected by the graduate program
    • Accepted manuscript writing style(s) (e.g., APA)
  5. Advising
    • Guidelines for faculty/student interactions (what is appropriate and what is not appropriate (e.g., dogsitting, driving to airport)
    • Student guide to mission, definitions, and expectations of advising
    • Faculty guide to mission, definitions, and expectations of advising, types of advising available (e.g., academic, administrative, thesis) and who provides the advising (e.g., program coordinator, career development staff, advisor)
    • Advising deadlines and procedures (e.g., when and how advisers are selected, how to request a change in adviser)
    • Confidentiality
    • Information on Administrative Policy: Managing Nepotism and Personal Relationships
  6. Program and College Degree Clearance Procedures
  7. Records Policies
    • Documents/information kept in the student’s graduate program file
    • Privacy (e.g., faculty and staff have access to the file on a need-to-know basis, per FERPA regulations
    • Access (e.g., the student has access, per written request to the DGS, to contents in the student's file to which the student has not waived viewing rights)
    • Records retention
  8. Responsibilities
  9. Grievances
  10. Conduct
  11. Research Involving Human Subjects
  12. Research Involving Animal Subjects

V. Employment and Funding

  1. Graduate Assistantship Opportunities
    • Teaching Assistantship information
    • Research Assistantship information
    • Fellowships, Awards and Research Support
  2. Work-Related Policies: Questions regarding what information to include on work-related policies should be directed to Graduate Assistant Employee Services in the Office of Human Resources.
  3. Opportunities for Student Involvement
    • Committees within the graduate program that include graduate students
    • COGS
    • GAPSA

VI. Miscellaneous

  1. University technology resources and policies (e.g., University student email account as the University’s official method of communication)
  2. Information on student health insurance benefits and policies
  3. University of Minnesota services and resources (e.g., One Stop, Disability Resource Center, International Student and Scholar Services, Parking and Transportation Services)
  4. Program services and resources (e.g., mailboxes, telephones, copy machines, student lounge)

VII. Appendix

  1. Checklist of relevant graduate program, collegiate, Graduate School, and other forms
  2. Checklist of graduate program and collegiate degree clearance requirements
  3. Copies of forms and/or links to on-line forms
  4. Applicable deadlines (e.g., filing of milestone forms, scheduling examinations, applying for various funding/work opportunities)

VIII. Final Suggestions

You are strongly encouraged to include the following language in your graduate program handbook, which is language similar to what is used in University publications (e.g., the Graduate School Catalog):

The information in this handbook and other University catalogs, publications, or announcements is subject to change without notice. University offices can provide current information about possible changes.

Also, please be aware that you may get requests for the handbook in alternative formats. If you need assistance with such requests, you can view information online about Document Conversion and contact the Disability Resource Center Document Conversion Specialist at (612) 624-6899.

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