New Students

Orientation of New Students

New students attend a two-day orientation by the Graduate School, typically scheduled for two days early in the week before classes start.

New students attend a department orientation, typically late in the week before classes start. At the department orientation, students receive an overview of the program, introductions to administrative staff, and introductions to other new graduate students. The Graduate Coordinator will assist students in planning each semester’s schedule until the supervisory committee is formed.

Each fall semester, new students are required to participate in a professional development seminar. This required seminar provides an introduction and overview of graduate education, faculty research specializations, and the profession. A successful graduate career requires that each student take the initiative to meet and discuss her or his interests with individual faculty members; attend research presentations by department faculty, visiting scholars, job candidates, and advanced students; generally take part in the intellectual life of the department; and pursue opportunities to present research at professional conferences.

Supervisory Committee and Chair

New students receive an interim faculty mentor when they accept their offer of admission. The interim faculty mentor and the Graduate Coordinator serve as primary advisors until students have formed their supervisory committees and the committee chair becomes the primary advisor. The Graduate School requires students to establish their supervisory committee before 12 credit hours are completed, or the second semester is completed, whichever comes first. The supervisory committee chair guides students in establishing the supervisory committee, the academic plan of study, and the research plan for the thesis (or non-thesis paper) and dissertation. The supervisory committee is responsible approving a proposed thesis, non-thesis paper, or dissertation project and the plan for accomplishing it, for meeting at the midterm of the project to review progress, and for conducting final examinations for the thesis, non-thesis paper, and dissertation. The supervisory committee is responsible for conducting the written and oral qualifying examinations for the Ph.D.