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College of Graduate Studies

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Overview

The College of Graduate Studies is responsible for providing leadership and vision for graduate education at the University of Central Florida. Program quality, graduate admissions, recruiting, enrollment management, student services and records, financial support, policies, appeals, program development and review, benchmarking, and completion of graduate degrees are important concerns of the College.

Working in conjunction with the Faculty Senate Committees and the college and graduate program coordinators, the UCF College of Graduate Studies is responsible for developing university-wide graduate plans and policies, coordinating graduate activities, distributing tuition support and fellowships to the colleges, facilitating the adoption of new graduate programs, coordinating the recruitment of graduate applicants, and admitting graduate students to the university. Students apply to the university through the Office of Graduate Admissions and Student Services. Admission decisions are made by the graduate program directors and the College of Graduate Studies. Any policy questions about graduate issues should be directed to the College of Graduate Studies or the Graduate Council. Questions about operational procedures should be directed to individual college or graduate program coordinators or to the College of Graduate Studies.

Mission Statement

The UCF College of Graduate Studies provides leadership and services to create high-quality learning environments for graduate students.

About Our Mission

The UCF College of Graduate Studies is an advocate for graduate education, working to mobilize and manage the resources needed for enrollment and program growth. We track and analyze emerging trends and changes in graduate education, both nationally and with our peer institutions, and provide support and guidance for interdisciplinary and cooperative programs. We are mindful of the need to retain the academic values of the graduate programs while acting as a partner in the social and economic well being of the community and state.

The Graduate College is focused on three long-term goals for our graduate programs: (1) improving the quality of our existing programs, particularly assisting our doctoral programs; (2) developing access to graduate education for a few selected new programs and expanding enrollment in existing graduate programs in a manner that is consistent with maintaining program quality, particularly at the master’s level, and (3) providing excellent student experiences in our graduate programs and building communities of scholars throughout the university community. Student progress, faculty capability, the quality of student experiences, and the quality of graduate programs and their assessment are all important to the university.

We collaborate with the faculty to develop policies and best practices that further the high academic standards and excellence of our graduate programs. We provide information and services that students need to enhance their experience with UCF and that faculty and staff need to effectively carry out their responsibilities to students. Cooperation with colleges, graduate programs, institutes and centers, administrative offices, and support services is emphasized to provide an excellent experience for our graduate students from inquiry to graduation.

Through its primary activities, programs and services, the UCF College of Graduate Studies contributes to program development and growth, enrollment management and recruiting, enhanced infrastructure and technological support for our graduate students and programs, and quality student support services for a diverse and talented graduate student population.

College of Graduate Studies Administration

Vice Provost and Dean Patricia J. Bishop
Senior Associate Dean Max Poole
Associate Dean Michael Stern
Assistant Dean Tracy R. Jones
Director, International Services Center Nataly Chandia
Director, Graduate Financial Assistance and Publications Debra Winter
Associate Director, Graduate Admissions Barbara Rodriguez

Office of Graduate Admissions

The Office of Graduate Admissions guides prospective students through the graduate application and admissions processes for those enrolled in graduate degree and certificate programs and students taking graduate courses in a nondegree status.

Office of Student Services and Records

The Office of Graduate Student Services and Records works with the graduate programs, colleges, and graduate students, and provides academic services to current students from the time they are admitted until they graduate. The mission of our student services office is to enhance the quality of graduate education at UCF and to facilitate the academic success of our graduate students.

In addition the Graduate College conducts special studies to learn more about our graduate programs and our graduate students to identify services and processes that can be improved or offered to enhance graduate student experiences.

Office of Graduate Financial Assistance and Publications

Graduate Financial Assistance assists students in applying for fellowships and in identifying other sources of financial support for graduate study. This office also oversees graduate tuition support, health insurance, and graduate fellowships, and the processing of graduate assistantship agreements and assessments. The Thesis and Dissertation office assists graduate students through format review and final submission of their thesis and dissertation documents. This office also develops and maintains the Graduate Catalog, websites, and other published materials for the College of Graduate Studies and the International Services Center.

Graduate Council

The Graduate Council is a standing committee of the Faculty Senate and reports to the Senate on graduate policy and curriculum matters. The Graduate Council deals with policy issues and standards for the university. New graduate program requests, changes to existing graduate programs, additions, deletions and modifications to graduate courses, and new policies or changes to existing graduate policies are initiated and reviewed by the Graduate Council. New graduate degree programs require final approval by the Board of Trustees, and approval for doctoral programs is required from the Florida Board of Governors. The Graduate Council has four committees that examine and formulate policies and procedures, hear petitions for variances from graduate program or university requirements, review new graduate program requests, review changes to existing graduate programs, additions, deletions and modifications to graduate courses, and provide input on graduate program reviews, among other matters. Each committee consists of four senate members and at least three non-senate members. For specific duties of the committees and the Council please see section 3.10.5 of the Faculty Senate Constitution at http://www.facultysenate.ucf.edu/constitution/index.asp.

College Graduate Coordinators

College graduate coordinators are appointed by the respective college deans (or Directors of Schools with graduate academic programs) to work with the College of Graduate Studies. The primary responsibilities of the college graduate coordinators are to identify academic opportunities for graduate education in their colleges, plan for enrollment growth and the use of resources in the graduate programs, communicate the college vision of graduate education to faculty, staff, students, and the university, coordinate and represent college graduate concerns to others, conduct studies that ensure program quality and standards in the college and report this information to the university, assist with program reviews, and prepare an annual report to the College of Graduate Studies on college graduate activities.

  • College of Arts and Humanities—Lynn Hepner
  • College of Business Administration—Dr. Taylor Ellis
  • College of Education—Dr. Rex Culp
  • College of Engineering and Computer Science—Dr. Charles Reilly
  • College of Health and Public Affairs—Dr. Ronnie Korosec
  • College of Medicine—Dr. Steven Ebert
  • College of Nursing—Dr. Susan Chase
  • Rosen College of Hospitality Management—Dr. Paul Rompf
  • College of Optics and Photonics—Dr. David Hagan
  • College of Sciences—Dr. Teresa Dorman
  • Interdisciplinary Studies—Dr. Michael Hampton

Graduate Program Directors

The graduate program directors are appointed by the respective department Chairs (or Directors of other units with graduate academic programs) to work with the college and university personnel in furtherance of graduate education. Under the direction of the department chair, they are responsible for the graduate program’s health and quality. They oversee the recruiting of graduate students and respond to inquiries; provide for student services such as mentoring, career development opportunities, and student orientations; plan for office space for graduate assistants; inform students and faculty of student completion rates; inform students and faculty of financial support available to graduate assistants; and ensure program standards in their department.

Graduate program directors are the main contacts for each of the graduate programs. Prospective students can gain valuable information about the program and the application and admission process. New students should seek out graduate program directors for advisement before registering for courses. Current students should seek out the graduate program director if they experience problems with coursework, financial support, or other matters.

Graduate Faculty and Graduate Faculty Scholars

University-Wide Qualifications for Participation in Graduate Education

Graduate education requires the participation of highly competent faculty who are willing to share their specialized skills and knowledge with graduate students. The following guidelines are intended to outline the credentials necessary for faculty to serve the many different roles they play in graduate education. As the university is committed to encouraging, facilitating, and rewarding interdisciplinary, multi-disciplinary, and cross-disciplinary educational and scholarly activities, service of faculty and staff members in more than one department, school, center/Institute, or college are encouraged as a way to further this objective.

  • Section A establishes the role of the graduate program committees in the process of appointing Graduate Faculty and Graduate Faculty Scholars.
  • Section B establishes the roles and qualifications for appointment as Graduate Faculty and Graduate Faculty Scholars.
  • Section C establishes procedures for review, renewal and termination of appointments to the Graduate Faculty.
  • Section D establishes responsibilities for the various members of dissertation advisory committees.

Programs may set higher qualification standards or additional requirements.

A.1: Graduate Program Committees

Each graduate program will be administered by a graduate program committee consisting of faculty members who participate in the program. An active graduate program committee is required for each graduate program in order to provide program oversight and to ensure that the qualifications of contributing individuals are appropriate for participation in graduate education. Graduate program committee members are appointed in accordance with established department/school procedures and the qualifications established in this document.

A.2: Qualifications for Serving on Graduate Program Committees

Faculty members who are tenured or tenure-earning and who are members of the Graduate Faculty may serve on graduate program committees. The graduate program director will be the chair of the graduate program committee. Only graduate program committee members with Full Graduate Faculty status may vote on appointments to the level of full graduate faculty.

B.1: The Graduate Faculty

The Graduate Faculty will comprise Full Graduate Faculty and Associate Graduate Faculty members as identified in the graduate catalog. The Graduate Faculty teach graduate courses, serve as members of thesis and dissertation committees, and serve as faculty advisors for thesis and dissertation students and chairs of student advisory committees. Only tenured, tenure-earning, and ranked faculty on multiyear agreements are eligible for appointment to the Graduate Faculty.

Appointment to the Graduate Faculty begins with a nomination by the graduate program committee that is relevant to the graduate education duties of the individual faculty member. The nomination must then be approved by the department chair/unit director for review and appointment by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Qualified graduate faculty members may be eligible to serve in more than one graduate program. Graduate faculty members who are outside of a student’s program are eligible to serve as external members of a thesis or dissertation advisory committee.

No graduate student at UCF may teach UCF graduate courses although they may assist with a graduate class where a graduate faculty member supervises the graduate student and the graduate faculty member is the instructor of record. However, this should only be done to further the professional development of the student as part of a Preparing Future Faculty program.

For the appointment of individuals in the process of obtaining a terminal degree, the College of Graduate Studies can certify that all requirements for a degree have been met.

B.2: Associate Graduate Faculty

Associate graduate faculty may teach graduate courses, serve as members and co-chairs of thesis and dissertation committees, and serve as chairs of master’s thesis committees. All chairs and co-chairs must be approved by the graduate program committee of the student’s program. The qualifications for appointment as Associate Graduate Faculty are:

  • Possession of the terminal academic degree in the discipline, or a related discipline, in which they are teaching; or in a field related to the topic of the thesis or dissertation, if serving on a student advisory committee. The faculty member must demonstrate a high level of competence in teaching and scholarship. Substitution for the terminal degree may be granted with documented exceptional experience and scholarly or creative activity when recommended by the graduate program committee and approved by the department chair/unit director. The above are the most important qualifications for those who are only teaching graduate level courses.

For those serving on student advisory committees, either as members, co-chairs or chairs, further qualifications are:

  • Evidence of current interest and involvement in scholarly research or creative productivity.
  • Evidence of national or international recognition of scholarly research or creative productivity. Continuing scholarship and creative activity are evidenced and recognized through publications, presentations, performances, exhibits, awards and competitions. Other considerations include a continuing fulfillment of professional obligations through, for example, manuscript review, journal editorship, and national advisory and review panels.
  • No personal or financial (including employment) arrangements that may pose a conflict of interest with a student on whose thesis or dissertation committee they serve.
  • In disciplines where funding is essential to the success of the thesis or dissertation work, evidence of acquiring funds (and appropriate facilities) sufficient to support the research of graduate students is expected when supervising the student’s research as a chair or co-chair of a committee.
  • Graduate program committees may specify additional guidelines for service as chair of master’s thesis advisory committees.

B.3: Full Graduate Faculty

Full graduate faculty may serve in any of the roles of associate graduate faculty, and, in addition, may serve as a chair of a doctoral advisory committee. All chairs and co-chairs must be approved by the graduate program committee of the student’s program. The qualifications are:

  • Possession of the terminal academic degree in the discipline, or a related discipline, in which they are teaching; or in a field related to the topic of the thesis or dissertation if serving on a student advisory committee. The faculty member must demonstrate a high level of competence in teaching and scholarship. Substitution for the terminal degree may be granted with documented exceptional experience and scholarly or creative activity when recommended by the graduate program committee and approved by the department chair/unit director.
  • Evidence of current interest and involvement in scholarly research or creative productivity.
  • Evidence of national or international recognition of scholarly research or creative productivity. Continuing scholarship and creative activity are evidenced and recognized through publications, presentations, performances, exhibits, awards and competitions. Other considerations include a continuing fulfillment of professional obligations through, for example, manuscript review, journal editorship, and national advisory and review panels.
  • Previous experience in serving as a member or co-chair of a thesis or dissertation advisory committee is a prerequisite to serving as a chair of a doctoral dissertation advisory committee.
  • No personal or financial (including employment) arrangements that may pose a conflict of interest with a student on whose thesis or dissertation committee they serve.
  • In disciplines where funding is essential to the success of the thesis or dissertation work, evidence of acquiring funds (and appropriate facilities) sufficient to support the research of graduate students is expected when supervising the student’s research as a chair or co-chair of a committee.
  • Graduate program committees may specify additional guidelines for service as chair of thesis or dissertation advisory committees.

B.4: Graduate Faculty Scholars

UCF courtesy appointees and other qualified individuals may serve as graduate faculty scholars in temporary graduate faculty roles confined to specific, well-defined graduate faculty assignments. Graduate faculty scholars play important roles in graduate education at UCF, but their status as graduate faculty scholars is distinct from that of the Graduate Faculty.

  • Possession of the terminal academic degree in the discipline, or a related discipline, in which they are teaching, or in a field related to the topic of the thesis or dissertation if serving on a student advisory committee. They must demonstrate a high level of competence in teaching and scholarship. Substitution for the terminal degree may be granted with documented exceptional experience and scholarly or creative activity when recommended by the graduate program committee and approved by the department chair/unit director. The above are the most important qualifications for those who are only teaching graduate courses.

Graduate faculty scholars may serve as members of thesis or dissertation committees for the purpose of bringing specific disciplinary knowledge to the committee. In instances deemed appropriate by the graduate program committee, graduate faculty scholars may also serve as co-chairs of thesis and dissertation committees, but may not serve as chairs of these committees. For those serving on student advisory committees, either as members or co-chairs, further qualifications are:

  • Exceptional relevant experience and scholarly or creative productivity, as determined by the graduate program committee.
  • No personal or financial (including employment) arrangements that may pose a conflict of interest with a student on whose thesis or dissertation committee they serve.
  • In disciplines where funding is essential to the success of the thesis or dissertation work, evidence of acquiring funds (and appropriate facilities) sufficient to support the research of graduate students is expected when supervising the student’s research as a co-chair of a committee.

It is expected that graduate faculty scholars will attend the various committee meetings associated with serving as a member of a thesis or dissertation committee and will have the means to be present at the final oral defense.

C.1: Re-evaluation of Graduate Faculty Status

Individual qualifications for serving as graduate faculty will be re-evaluated by the graduate program committee at the time of the periodic university program review, or sooner, as deemed appropriate by the graduate program committee or at the request of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. At that time, individuals must re-submit their credentials to the graduate program committee if they wish to have their appointment renewed.

C.2: Guidelines for a Thesis or Dissertation Advisory Committee Member Who Leaves UCF

A dissertation advisory committee member who leaves UCF may be eligible to continue serving on the committee as a graduate faculty scholar with the approval of the graduate program committee.

C.3: Guidelines for a Thesis or Dissertation Advisory Committee Chair Who Leaves UCF

In the event that a chair of a thesis or dissertation advisory committee leaves the employ of the university:

  1. With the approval of the graduate program committee, a chair of a thesis or dissertation advisory committee who leaves UCF may continue to serve as chair and supervise the thesis for one calendar year after leaving.
  2. If one calendar year has passed since the faculty member left UCF and the advisee has not yet completed the degree requirements, the departed faculty member may continue to serve as co-chair of the thesis or dissertation advisory committee as a graduate faculty scholar, with approval of the graduate program committee; however, a new chair from the student’s department (or college, if a college-wide program) shall be designated.

C.4.1: Faculty Emeriti

Emeritus graduate faculty members may continue to participate in graduate education as a Graduate Faculty Scholar, without the necessity of nomination. With the approval of the graduate program committee, they may continue to serve for a specified period of time as faculty advisors and chairs of committees established prior to emeritus status. Emeriti faculty may not chair additional student committees, but may continue to serve on thesis and dissertation committees as a member or co-chair for as long as they remain active with the institution.

C.4.2: Retired Faculty

Graduate faculty who retire will lose graduate faculty status unless they are nominated by a graduate program committee to continue as a Graduate Faculty Scholar. In this capacity they may continue service on advisory committees as a member or co-chair for a designated period of time, as approved by the graduate program committee.

D.1: Responsibilities of Members of Dissertation Advisory Committees

  1. To meet at regular intervals at least once per year to: (i) discuss and approve the proposed dissertation research and the plans for carrying out research; and (ii) to assess progress towards the dissertation and give the student a yearly letter of evaluation in addition to S/U grades awarded for 7980 courses.
  2. To review Turn-It-In.com results from dissertation submittals.
  3. To participate in the candidacy and/or dissertation prospectus examination. The entire committee shall be present for the oral part of the examination and it shall be conducted on campus, unless there is an accepted arrangement that has been approved by the graduate program committee.
  4. To participate in the dissertation defense to assure: (i) that the dissertation is acceptable as original research and a contribution to the discipline; and (ii) that it meets the standards of the University. No fewer than four faculty members, including all members of the advisory committee, shall be present with the student during the examination. Only members of the advisory committee may sign the dissertation, and a majority must approve of the dissertation. The dissertation defense must be conducted on campus, unless there is an accepted joint degree program with another university that specifies a different arrangement that has been approved by the university.

D.2: Responsibilities of the Chair (and co-Chair) of Dissertation Advisory Committees

  1. In cooperation with the program director, to review the program of study, the research, and all other degree requirements by meeting with the student early in the program and immediately after appointment as chair/co-chair.
  2. To suggest to the student possible committee members who could serve on the advisory committee. To establish timelines for the research, set expectations, and evaluate the student progress based upon these.
  3. To meet at regular intervals with the student to discuss the proposed dissertation research and the plans for carrying out research.
  4. To review in a timely manner all written materials submitted by students and offer suggested revisions.
  5. To meet once per year with the student and the dissertation advisory committee to assess progress towards the dissertation and give the student a yearly letter of evaluation in addition to S/U grades awarded for 7980 courses. The chair shall write this letter and send it to the program director and the College of Graduate Studies after consultation with the advisory committee.
  6. To coordinate the ongoing efforts of the committee as its chair, and to participate fully in the responsibilities of the committee members as a member of the advisory committee.
  7. To chair the candidacy and/or dissertation prospectus examinations. The entire committee shall be present for the oral portion of the examination and it shall be conducted on campus, unless there is an accepted arrangement that has been approved by the graduate program committee.
  8. To attend in person and chair the dissertation defense, ensure its proper conduct as described above, and submit to the program director for the student’s records all necessary grades, forms and other materials.

D.3: Responsibilities of the External Committee Member of a Dissertation Advisory Committee

  1. External committee membership will entail the full responsibilities of other committee membership as specified in section E1 above, including being present at the final defense.
  2. External committee members should bring specific disciplinary knowledge or research expertise to the committee.
  3. External committee members may be appointed from outside of the university or outside of the college (if the committee is for a college-wide program). The external committee member may not be affiliated in any way with the department of the committee, such as through joint or secondary joint appointments.
  4. Graduate faculty scholars are external members.

E.1: Exceptions to This Document

Appeal for exception to any part of this document shall be referred to the Vice Provost and Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Special Study—PhD Completion Project

As part of our university-wide effort at continuous improvement, the university is a partner with 80 other universities in the U.S. to study the completion rate of doctoral students enrolled in our doctoral programs. The university has collected data on attrition and completion rates by program, has conducted surveys with graduate students about their perceptions of graduate education at UCF and has conducted focus groups of doctoral students in the various graduate programs. All of this information, including some surveys of graduate faculty, has been collected and analyzed and is being presented to the doctoral programs. As part of the study each doctoral program identifies strategies that may improve retention of graduate students and the Graduate College continues with data collection and surveys to see if the strategies are effective in improving retention.

Special Study—Financial Support of Graduate Students

Our graduate students as part of a class assignment in Sociology are helping to determine the student experience at UCF and to identify how financial support may influence that experience. We would like to know the average level of indebtedness of graduate students who enter graduate school and then leave graduate school. We would like to know how many of our students apply for loans, have spouses working, and are managing their resources effectively, etc.



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