Pertinent Graduate School Policies
Students are advised to carefully review the entire section of UTC’s Graduate Catalog for the year in which you start as a student in the program. Some of the most critical policies to note in this section are highlighted below for your easy reference.
Residency Classification for Paying Fees
At the time of admission, each student is assigned a residence classification for fee purposes. Full details on Graduate School policies pertaining to this issue, including appeals processes are found here.
Financial Support for Graduate Students
Graduate students have a variety of opportunities to earn at least partial financial support for their studies at UTC. The primary mechanisms of financial support for which the Graduate School has at least some oversight are summarized in the Graduate Catalog and referred to as:
An important point to note about these various forms of financial support is that they are not all equivalent. Specifically, while scholarships typically function as awards or grants to support your studies, Graduate Assistantships are work arrangements between students and a particular department or office on campus. It is important for students to understand that the financial benefits associated with a Graduate Assistantship come with time and effort commitments. The specifics of these commitments vary somewhat by assignment and area. Students are advised to be mindful of this when making plans regarding how many credit hours to enroll in for a given semester and also how much outside or additional work they are planning on doing in a given semester.
Another important point to note is that not all GA assignments are full-time. Sometimes due to limited funding and sometimes due to work demands, GA positions are split into half-time roles. The financial implications of this can be quite confusing, but what it comes down to is in a half-time GA instance, the college in which the GA is situated is responsible for 4.5 hours of Maintenance costs (the in-state tuition charges) and the university covers 6 hours of out-of-state tuition. This is in addition to half of whatever the full-time GA stipend is for a given academic year.
Finally, it is also critical that graduate students understand the tax-related implications of their GA assignments, as not all forms of GA are fully tax-exempt. The best way to get a full picture of your GA situation is to speak with the administrator responsible for managing your payment in whatever department or area you happen to be assigned.
A related financial support issue that is important to note, is that for graduate students, 5 hours minimum is required to qualify as a half-time student and 9 hours is the minimum to qualify as full-time. This is important to any student who may be receiving student loans, HOPE and other federal aid, as many of these forms of aid require students to have at least "half-time status." More details about all of this can be found through UTC's Financial Aid office.
Graduate Student Association (GSA)
The GSA represents graduate students across all programs on campus. Although its specific programming and activities vary from year to year, one of its primary functions as an organization is to award and distribute funds to support graduate students participating in professional development activities. Details can be found through the GSA website.
Program of Study
Each degree seeking graduate student must complete and file a Program of Study form by the end of the first semester of enrollment in graduate coursework. This form serves as a roadmap for successful completion of the program’s curricular requirements. More details on this form can be found here. Students in the MSIO psychology program do not have to file this form because we manage our program of study information through the university's MyMocsDegree system (details are shared during new student orientation).
Withdrawing from courses once registered can be easily done before the formal drop period for a given semester. After this period ends, a backdated withdrawal may be needed. Details on this process can be found here.
For students who opt to complete a thesis as their culminating curricular experience, there are important guidelines regarding the thesis process and composition of a thesis committee. Details on these and other thesis-related requirements (including necessary forms, style templates, and timelines) are summarized by the Graduate School here.
Within the UTC I-O program, thesis students without strong undergraduate research methods training and experience are encouraged to complete an advanced research methods course (PSY 5140) in the spring semester of their first year. At about this same time, students interested in pursuing a thesis should identify and work with their thesis committee chair to ensure that their project is successfully proposed no later than September 30th of their second and/or final year in the program. Students must complete all thesis-related work by early March of their second and/or final year in the program to comply with Graduate School deadlines.
Following the completion of this thesis course, students then shift to working full-time under the supervision of their thesis committee chair. A student’s thesis committee shall consist of a chairperson and at least two other persons. The chairperson must be a full-time faculty member in the thesis student’s department in a tenure-track position and should have at a minimum full master’s graduate faculty status. One other member of the committee must be a full-time faculty member in the thesis student’s department. The remaining member(s) of the committee must either be full-time faculty members in the student’s department or must possess qualifications that are deemed suitable for committee membership by the student’s department and by members of the Graduate Faculty. Once a committee is set, the student is responsible for completing a Thesis/Dissertation Committee Appointment form, obtaining signatures of all committee members, and submitting the form to the departmental degree program secretary and a copy to the Graduate School in a timely fashion.
There are many important policies to note and adhere to if pursuing a thesis while in the program. These are all detailed in the Graduate School website linked above, but it is especially important for students to note the following:
- The student must register for departmental thesis/dissertation courses for each semester the thesis/dissertation is in progress and for each semester or term in which the student receives faculty assistance and/or uses University facilities and resources. In our program this means that students must continue to register for PSY 5999r Thesis each fall and spring semester after the initial registration until the thesis is accepted for submission to UTC Scholar. The student must be enrolled for at least two semester hours of thesis during the semester the thesis is submitted. (Students graduating in August must register for thesis hours in at least one summer term.)
- The thesis and dissertation format and other technical matters shall conform to the University’s Theses and Dissertations Standards (available through the Graduate School website link above).
- Following acceptance of the thesis/dissertation by the student’s committee, the student will conduct a presentation open to the public and an oral defense of the work before the committee. After the defense, the student’s graduate committee shall approve or reject the thesis/dissertation. Students must make all corrections and changes in the thesis/dissertation as agreed upon and recommended by the committee prior to final approval.
- Upon passing the defense and having the thesis/dissertation approved by the committee the student must submit an electronic copy, using UTC Scholar, to the Graduate School to allow for checking that the document adheres to the University established formatting standards. The student will be required to make all formatting corrections using UTC Scholar.
Students heading into their second year in the program will be asked to submit a revised Program of Study and apply for graduating early in their second year. At this time, a full Graduate School audit of the student’s graduate course-progress is conducted. The details and form(s) for this process can be found here.
Petitions and Appeals
Whenever a graduate student feels that their rights and interests have been seriously jeopardized by unfair, arbitrary, or malicious exercise of faculty grading prerogative, the student may appeal a grade within five (5) days of final grade posting for a given semester. The details of this grade appeals process are outlined here in the Graduate Catalog.
Student petitions for readmission, late candidacy, extension of candidacy, course waiver/substitution, request to take excessive hours, and requests for second extensions of IP grades will be heard at the program level. The dean of the Graduate School will act on decisions made at the program level. In cases where a student wishes to appeal a petition decision at the program level or decision by the dean of the Graduate School, the Graduate Appeals Committee will hear the appeal. Residency petitions are submitted directly to the Dean of The Graduate School. Students should note that the burden of proof for petitions and appeals is on the student. Full details for both of these items are provided in the Academic Policies section of the current Graduate Catalog.
Students may be dismissed from a graduate program for failure to meet course and non-course related criteria. Full details on dismissal policies and procedures can be found here in the Graduate Catalog.