Guidelines for Graduate Students

COURSEWORK - Ph.D. PROGRAM

Students who have an M.S. degree and have been admitted to the Ph.D. program must normally complete a minimum of 12 credits of coursework applicable to a graduate degree with at least 9 credits at the 600 level or above. Credits to be applied to a student’s Ph.D. program cannot have been used to satisfy any other previously earned degree. Students may take substantially more than 12 credits in coursework depending on their academic preparation and research objectives. A written course of study must be approved by the student’s advisor and by the Director of Graduate Studies during the first semester of the student’s matriculation.

Coursework requirements for students who are admitted to the Ph.D. program and who do not hold an M.S. degree will be established by the Director of Graduate Studies after discussion with the student’s advisor but normally will be 30 credits of coursework applicable to a graduate degree, 21 of which must be at the 600 level or above, and normally 24 credits must be from the Department of Geology, or in the case of an interdisciplinary study, an appropriate program approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Credits to be applied to a student’s program cannot have been used to satisfy any other previously earned degree. A written course of study must be approved by the student’s advisor and by the Director of Graduate Studies before the end of the first year of the student’s matriculation.

COURSEWORK - M.S. PROGRAM

The University requires a minimum of 30 credits in courses acceptable for credit toward a graduate degree for a Master’s Degree. Of these, 24 must be from coursework and at least 12 credits of coursework must be at the 600 level or higher. Normally 18 credits of coursework must be from the Department of Geology, or in the case of an interdisciplinary study, an appropriate program approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. 6 credits of Master’s Thesis Research may be applied to the M.S. degree. Credits to be applied to a student’s program for a M.S. degree cannot have been used to satisfy any other previously earned degree, with the exception of the department’s Combined B.S./M.S. in Geology where up to nine graduate credits at the 600-level or higher may count toward both degrees. A written course of study must be approved by the student’s advisor and by the Director of Graduate Studies before the end of the second semester of the student’s matriculation.

RESIDENCY

All graduate students are expected to participate in departmental activities including formal and informal seminars and presentations, departmental field trips, and departmental meetings. Reasons for regular absences from such functions should be discussed with the Director of Graduate Studies. Every year, all graduate students must give a seminar to the Department (to be scheduled by the Seminar Coordinator) in order to maintain satisfactory progress in the graduate program.

M.S. COMMITTEE

  1. Membership
    1. The committee must consist of at least three members.
    2. All members must be members of UMCP Graduate Faculty.
    3. The Chair will normally be a member of the Graduate Faculty of the Geology Department and is normally the advisor.
    4. Membership must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies prior to the defense of the thesis proposal and again prior to the defense of the thesis.
  2. Functions
    1. Meets with student to discuss coursework, research proposals and research progress as necessary.
    2. Approves M.S. thesis proposal.
    3. Conducts the public oral presentation of the thesis research and examines the M.S. thesis for approval.
    4. Approval of a thesis proposal or thesis must be unanimous.

CHECKLIST FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS AND ADVISORS - MASTER'S PROGRAM

  1. All students must normally register for at least 1 credit/semester to maintain the university required continuous registration (summer and winter sessions excluded).
  2. A student is no longer considered in good standing with the program if the advisor gives a grade of “C” or worse for 799 Research more than one time in the degree program. More than one unsatisfactory grade is grounds for removal from program.
  3. By May 1 every year, all students must submit to the Director of Graduate Studies a program summary approved by the advisor, which is the basis for the annual student review for satisfactory progress.
  4. By the start of the fall semester, and in the event of a change of address, all students must submit a completed Graduate Student Information Form for department’s records.
  5. All graduate students are required to present a seminar to the Department each year in order to maintain satisfactory progress. The department will schedule the date and time of the seminar. All graduate students will have their seminars videotaped and a copy of this videotape will be provide to the student and her/his advisor only.
  6. Normally, M.S. students are expected to successfully defend a thesis proposal before the beginning of the third semester of enrollment. In all cases, the advisor, in consultation with the student, must submit a completed Committee for Proposal Defense Form to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval prior to the end of the student’s second semester in residence. For part-time students the deadline may be extended by the Director of Graduate Studies. Two negative votes by members of the Committee will constitute a failure of the proposal defense.
  7. In the event of failure, the Committee may recommend re-examination. Normally, this examination can be retaken only once. The scheduling of the second proposal defense must occur within four months of the first attempt. In cases of the student failing the second attempt, the student’s M.S. degree program is terminated.
  8. Normally, M.S. students are expected to complete all requirements for the M.S. Degree no later than the fifth semester of enrollment. For part-time students, the deadline may be extended by the Director of Graduate Studies. The advisor in consultation with the student should submit a completed Committee for Thesis Defense Form to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval at least two months prior to the anticipated date of defense. The student must submit the completed Form to the Graduate School two months prior to defense.
  9. The student must apply for graduation.
  10. After consultation with the advisor and Director of Graduate Studies, the student should schedule the date and time of defense and schedule a conference room and a room for the public seminar. A copy of the thesis in final form will be distributed to the Committee members no less than one week before the date of the exam.
  11. The student must provide the abstract, title page, number of figures, tables and page numbers from the thesis to the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department’s records.
  12. The student must submit to the Director of Graduate Studies a bound copy of the thesis. The binding should be black with gold letters. Please consult the Director of Graduate Studies for other specifications.

PH.D. COMMITTEES AND EXAMINATIONS

Advancement to candidacy

The student will provide a written proposal of the work planned for the dissertation and take one oral examination prior to the dissertation defense. This written proposal and examination will serve as both the criterion for admission to candidacy and the proposal defense. During the oral examination, the student will be questioned on:

  • the written proposal, and
  • general knowledge with special reference to areas related to the proposed research.

Normally the examination will be taken no later than the beginning of the fourth semester by students who have already completed a Master’s degree in Geology or a related discipline or no later than the beginning of the fifth semester by doctoral students bypassing the Master’s. The student will be examined by a committee that will consist of at least four members, all of whom must be members of the UM Graduate Faculty. Normally, at least two of the members must be full tenure track/tenured members of the Graduate Faculty in Geology. The Chair of the Committee normally must be a full tenure track/tenured member of the Graduate Faculty in Geology. The membership of this committee must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies prior to the examination. Two negative votes by members of the Committee will constitute a failure of the candidacy examination. In the event of failure, the Committee may recommend re-examination. Normally, this examination can be retaken only once.

Dissertation Defense

The defense of a student’s dissertation will be scheduled after the main advisor has seen a draft of the thesis and has determined that the thesis is in a defensible form. A copy of the dissertation in final form will be distributed to the Committee members no less than two weeks before the date of the exam.

The Ph.D. Committee will preside over the dissertation defense and will normally consist of five members, all of whom must be members of the UM Graduate Faculty. The Chair of the Committee will normally be a member of the Graduate Faculty of the Geology Department and is normally the advisor. This Committee must also include a Dean’s representative who is approved by the Dean of the Graduate School and is not a member of the Geology Department. The membership of this Committee must be approved by the Departmental Director of Graduate Studies prior to the examination. The defense of the dissertation will consist of a public presentation with opportunity for questions and a subsequent private meeting between the Dissertation Committee and the candidate. The possible results of this examination are: 1) pass or pass with minor revisions; 2) deferral of decision; or, 3) failure. A minimum of four positive votes is required for a pass. In the event of deferral, re-examination is required, normally by the same committee. In the event of a pass, any final revisions will be given to the successful candidate at this time. The final copy to be presented to the Graduate School must be in proper University form and must be presented for inspection to the main advisor before the final signing of the form. It will be expected that this final copy of the dissertation would then be filed with the Graduate School during the same day.

CHECKLIST FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS AND ADVISORS - Ph.D. Students

  1. All students must normally register for at least 1 credit/semester to maintain the university required continuous registration (summer and winter sessions excluded).
  2. A student is no longer considered in good standing with the program if the advisor gives a grade of “C” or worse for 898 or 899 research more than one time in the degree program. More than one unsatisfactory grade is grounds for removal from program.
  3. By May 1 every year, all students must submit to the Director of Graduate Studies a program summary approved by the advisor. This summary is the basis for the annual student review for satisfactory progress.
  4. By the start of the fall semester, and in the event of a change of address, students must submit a completed Graduate Student Information Form for the department’s records.
  5. All graduate students are required to present a seminar to the Department each year in order to maintain satisfactory progress. The department will schedule the date and time of the seminar. All graduate students will have their seminars videotaped and a copy of this videotape will be provide to the student and her/his advisor only.
  6. The advisor, after consultation with the student, must submit a completed Committee for Advancement to Candidacy and Proposal Defense Form to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval. Doctoral students who have already completed a Master’s degree in Geology or a related discipline should schedule the candidacy examination before the beginning of the fourth semester whereas doctoral students bypassing the Master’s schedule the candidacy examination before the beginning of the fifth semester. For part-time students, the deadline may be extended by the Director of Graduate Studies.
  7. After successful completion of examination for advancement to candidacy, the student must submit an Application for Advancement to Candidacy Form to the Graduate School. Students must be advanced to candidacy at least one year prior to graduation.
  8. In the event of failure, the Committee may recommend re-examination. Normally, this examination can be retaken only once. The scheduling of the second proposal defense and candidacy exam must occur within six months of the first attempt. In cases of the student failing the second attempt, the student’s Ph.D. degree program is terminated.
  9. Ph.D. students must be advanced to candidacy by the end of the sixth semester to remain in the Ph.D. program. Normally, Ph.D. candidates are expected to complete all requirements for the Ph.D. Degree before the beginning of the eleventh semester of enrollment. The student, after consultation with the advisor, must submit a completed Committee for Dissertation Defense Form to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval at least three months prior to the defense. The student must submit the completed Committee Approval Form to the Graduate School three months prior to defense.
  10. The student must apply for graduation.
  11. After consultation with advisor and Director of Graduate Studies, the student should schedule date and time of defense and schedule a conference room and a room for the public seminar.
  12. The student must provide abstract, title page, # figures, tables and page numbers from the dissertation to the Director of Graduate Studies for the department’s records.
  13. The student must submit to the Director of Graduate Studies one bound copy of the dissertation. The binding should be black with gold letters. Please consult the Director of Graduate Studies for other specifications.

Approval of M.S. Thesis Proposal form
Approval of Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal form
Graduate Committe Approval form (** Updated 6/10/2009 **)
Mid-States Evaluation of Graduate Students form

REGISTRATION AND CREDITS

DESIGNATION OF FULL AND PART-TIME STATUS

The Graduate School uses a unit system in making calculations to determine full- or part-time student status. Please note that graduate units are different from credit hours. The number of graduate units per credit hour is calculated in the following manner:

  • Courses in the series: 000-399 carry 2 units/credit hour.
  • Courses in the series: 400-499 carry 4 units/credit hour.
  • Courses in the series: 500-599 carry 5 units/credit hour.
  • Courses in the series: 600-897 carry 6 units/credit hour.
  • Master’s Research course: 799 carries 12 units/credit hour.
  • Pre-candidacy Doctoral Research courses: 898 carries 18 units/credit hour.
  • Doctoral Dissertation Research: 899 carries 18 units / credit hour. All doctoral candidates must pay candidacy tuition for which hey will be registered for six (6) credit hours of 899.

To be certified as full time, a graduate student must be officially registered for a combination of courses equivalent to 48 units per semester. Graduate assistants holding regular appointments have full-time status if they are registered for at least 24 units in addition to the assistantship; holders of half-time assistantships are considered full-time if registered for 36 units. Audited courses do not generate graduate units and cannot be used in calculating full-time or part-time status.

CONTINUOUS REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS

All graduate students must register for courses and pay associated tuition and fees each semester, not including summer and winter sessions, until the degree is awarded.

A student who fails to register and who has not requested and received a waiver of registration or “Leave of Absence for Childbearing, Adoption, Illness or Dependent Care” will be notified by the Graduate School after the first day of classes that the student must register for the current semester. The Graduate School will also inform the Graduate Director of the graduate program that the student is in jeopardy of termination. If the student does not register, he or she will be dismissed from the Graduate School at the end of the semester for failure to comply with the continuous registration requirement.

A student who is dismissed for non-registration may appeal dismissal during a 30-day period following the end of the semester of non-registration. If the student does not appeal, or if the appeal is denied, and the student wishes to continue in the Graduate School, the student must apply for readmission. In this case, readmission does not alter the initial requirements for time to complete the degree or advance to candidacy.

Last Modified December 2016