Many policies affecting graduate students are set by the Graduate College and other branches of the University. These policies generally supercede those of the Geology Department. For information on Graduate College Policy and University-wide rules, consult the University Policies page. Policies specific to the Geology Department are as follows.
Procedures, Policies, & Degree Requirements (specific to the Geology Department)
- M.S. Degree Requirements
- Ph.D. Degree Requirements
- TA's, RA's, Fellowships
- Misc. Policies:
- Academic Policies:
The rules and policies of the Department are designed to give you a clear idea of what is expected of you as a graduate student in the Department, including specific degree requirements.
Each graduate student is assigned an initial advisor at the beginning of her program. By the end of the first year of the program, the student must select a research advisor. Additional information on advising can be found in the "Orientation" section of this Handbook (click here to open that page). Please address any problems in a timely manner so problems don't develop into crises.
Deviations from standard policies may be allowed under appropriate circumstances, upon approval of a student's petition. Depending on the nature of deviations, there are two kinds of petitions: Departmental petitions and Graduate College petitions. See Marilyn Whalen in the Geology Department office to file the correct petition. (The Graduate College has its petition forms on-line, click here to open that page.) If you file a petition, it is strongly advised that you do so before the deviation from standard policy occurs.
If you have a grievance concerning capricious grading, interaction with your advisor or any other faculty member, or your work load, please talk to the Chair of the Graduate Study Committee. There are standard procedures for dealing with such issues. If the problem is serious enough, it will be brought to the attention of the Department Head.
Please see the Handbook for Graduate Students and Advisors (by the Graduate College) for a discussion of policies concerning academic integrity. Be particularly mindful of rules concerning proper referencing, attribution of quotes, and use of other students' work.
- Course credit is measured in hours (One full course is usually 4 hours, typically meeting for 4 to 5 hours each week.)
- A full load is 16 hours
- Students on a halftime TA or RA appointments are expected to carry 12 hours of course and/or research credit; the maximum is 14 units.
- Students on less than halftime appointments should register for at least 12 hours.
- Once a student has started thesis or thesis-related research, she normally registers for coursework plus Geology 593/599 to attain a total of 12 to 16 hours per semester.
- Students may register for 0 hours, if they plan to be in absentia and do not have a TA/RA appointment. See "credit loads" in Handbook for Graduate Students and Advisors for details.
Candidates for both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees must maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (4.0 = A). If a student's GPA falls below this minimum after completion of 12 or more hours of graded course work, the student is put on limited status. The GPA must be raised to or above 3.0 after the completion of 12 additional hours of graded course work and must be maintained at or above the minimum thereafter. Students failing to meet these GPA standards are prohibited from further registration.
Students are required to complete Chemistry 494 before beginning work in a laboratory that involves toxic reagents, equipment for wet chemical analyses, compressed gas, or other potentially hazardous items or conditions. A graduate student working in such a laboratory should take this course in his or her first semester. This requirement may be waived only by approval of the Department safety officer, upon notification and approval of the student's faculty advisor and, if different, the faculty member responsible for the laboratory in question.
Thesis credit is assigned under Geology 599. You may register for 599 only after a faculty member has formally agreed to supervise your work. If you wish to undertake independent study or research for credit before you have an advisor, sign up for Geology 593.
During semesters in which Geology 591 ("Current Research in Geoscience") is offered, each graduate student is required:
- to complete this course, except in the case of an unavoidable scheduling conflict
- to attend the weekly departmental colloquium. Credit in Geol 591 counts toward the total course work requirements for a degree, but not toward the formal course work requirement.
The University has specific regulations concerning ownership to intellectual property (inventions, discoveries, copyrights). Copyrightable works, like theses prepared by students as part of the requirements for a degree, are generally the property of the student, subject to the following provisions:
- The original records of an investigation for a thesis are University property, but may be retained by the student at the discretion of the student's major Department.
- The University has the royalty-free right to retain and use a limited number of copies of the thesis, as well as the right to require its publication for archival use.
Inventions and discoveries generally belong to the University if the invention was conceived of or made usable by the student either as a result of his/her dissertation research or as a result of use of University resources such as equipment, facilities, or funds.
Please contact the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC), if you spot any errors or inconsistencies in the policies.