Handbook of Operating Procedures 9-1240

The Graduate School

The University of Texas at Austin
Executive Sponsor: Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies
February 15, 2005

 


 

  1. Administration
  1. The President of The University of Texas at Austin has delegated the responsibility for the graduate program to the Executive Vice President and Provost.
  1. The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies: The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies reports directly to the Executive Vice President and Provost in matters related to the graduate program. The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies shall have primary responsibility for the overall quality and vitality of graduate studies at The University of Texas at Austin, for ensuring that cross-college interdisciplinary graduate programs are well supported and coordinated, and for maintaining the environment of support among graduate programs in general.

     

    The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies shall advise or act on behalf of the Executive Vice President and Provost on matters of planning, policy, development, funding, and administration relating to graduate studies. The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies shall keep the deans of the schools or colleges fully informed on planning and development of graduate studies at The University of Texas at Austin. The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies shall have the authority and responsibility to submit issues of major policy to the Graduate Assembly after consultation with the deans of the colleges and schools.

  1. Graduate Studies Committees
  1. A graduate studies committee will be established for any academic area in which an approved graduate degree program is offered. The committee shall consist of all assistant, associate, and full professors who are, or on initial appointment will be, active participants in the program.

     

    Although members of a graduate studies committee will usually be drawn from a single administrative unit (department, college, or school), committees for established interdisciplinary programs will be composed of members from several administrative units. Each graduate studies committee shall have at least five members and shall elect its own chair. The term of the graduate studies committee chair is normally three years, but may be renewed.

  1. The graduate studies committee shall make recommendations, through its graduate studies committee chair and the department chair(s), concerning the creation of new graduate courses and any changes in the graduate course inventory in that area. These recommendations will be provided to the dean(s) of the college(s) or school(s) who will forward them with accompanying recommendations to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval. Each committee shall designate its course offerings and course instructors each semester. Both require approval of the department chair(s) (or the director(s) of the academic programs if there is no department). In schools or colleges that have no departments, the dean of the school or college approves. See Section B.3. for additional information regarding course instructors.
  1. Each graduate studies committee, in consultation with the dean of their college, shall set goals for the numbers of new students to be enrolled in the programs. Working within these guidelines, each graduate studies committee, through its graduate adviser, shall be responsible for recommending to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies the admission of students to its degree programs. The committee shall have the option of setting admission requirements higher than or supplementary to those of the Graduate School. If the committee desires to admit a student who does not meet the minimum criteria of the Graduate School, a petition must be submitted by the graduate adviser to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval.
  1. Each graduate studies committee shall be responsible, in consultation with the department chair (or the director of the academic program if there is no department), the dean(s) of the college(s) or school(s), and with the approval of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, for setting requirements for degrees within the framework of the published policies and procedures maintained by the Vice Provost and Graduate Dean, and for publishing those requirements and the program's list of courses.
  1. In addition to the requirements for degrees, each graduate studies committee may establish supplementary requirements for continuation in its program. These recommendations will be provided through the graduate studies committee chair to the department chair (or the director of the academic program if there is no department) and to the dean(s) of the college(s) or school(s) who will forward them with accompanying recommendations to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval.

In the case of cross-college interdisciplinary programs, the supplementary requirements will be submitted by the deans with accompanying recommendations to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval.

 

  1. Each graduate studies committee, through its chair and graduate adviser, is responsible for recommending to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies the committee chairs and committee members for supervision of theses, reports, treatises, and dissertations. The graduate studies committee, through its chair and graduate adviser, is also responsible for recommending students for doctoral candidacy to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies must approve all committee and candidacy recommendations. After the supervising committee has approved the thesis, report, treatise, or dissertation and its accompanying defense, if required by the academic program, the graduate studies committee is responsible for certifying that the student has completed all degree requirements, has passed all required examinations, and is entitled to the award of the respective master's or doctoral degree.
  1. It is the responsibility of the graduate studies committee through the graduate adviser, to make available to its students a description of its requirements, the procedures that a student is expected to follow in achieving a degree, and the standards demanded for continuation in the program.
  1. New Graduate Degree Programs: A proposal to establish a new graduate degree program may be developed by an existing graduate studies committee, or, in the case of a new interdisciplinary program, by an ad hoc committee consisting of at least five members of existing graduate studies committees. The proposal should be submitted through the chair(s) of the existing graduate studies committee and, if applicable, the chairs of the proposed graduate studies committees, the department chair(s) (or the director(s) of the academic program(s) if there is no department), and the dean(s) of the college(s) or school(s) to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies for submission to the Graduate Assembly.
  1. Graduate Instruction: Graduate instruction and the supervision of theses, reports, dissertations, and treatises will be provided by members of the graduate studies committees.

Upon recommendation of a graduate studies committee, in consultation with the department chair(s) (or the director(s) of the academic program(s) if there is no department), and the dean of the college or school, the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies may approve a person who is not a member of a graduate studies committee to teach a graduate course and/or serve as a member of a thesis, report, dissertation, or treatise committee.

 

Supervision of a thesis, report, dissertation, or treatise is the responsibility of the committee approved by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies (See Section B.1.e. for appointment procedures). The chair or co-chair of the thesis, report, dissertation, or treatise committee serves as the supervisor of the research. In special circumstances, a Research Scientist, Research Engineer, or faculty member who is not a member of the graduate studies committee may be recommended by the graduate studies committee to serve as the co-supervisor for a specific thesis , report, dissertation, or treatise. Any such recommendation is subject to annual review by the graduate studies committee through its chair and approval by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies.

 

  1. Graduate Advisers: The graduate adviser must be a member of the graduate studies committee. The term of the graduate adviser is normally two years, but may be renewed.

The department chair (or the academic program director if there is no department), after consulting with the appropriate graduate studies committee, shall recommend a graduate adviser for the program. This recommendation will be provided to the dean(s) of the college(s) or school(s) who will forward it with accompanying recommendations to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval.

 

If the graduate program is based in two or more departments in a single college or school, the graduate studies committee shall make the recommendation for a graduate adviser to the dean of the college or school, who will forward it with accompanying recommendations to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval.

 

If the graduate program is based in two or more colleges or schools, the graduate studies committee shall make the recommendation for a graduate adviser to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, after consulting with the deans of the appropriate colleges or schools, shall have authority to approve this recommendation.

 

The graduate adviser in an academic area shall:

 

  1. Be responsible for the advising of graduate students taking courses in that area and other such matters as may be assigned.
  1. Approve registration for graduate students, including adds and drops.
  1. Maintain a record of each student's work for previous degrees.
  1. Refer students to the graduate studies chair, department chair (or the director of the academic program if there is no department), dean of the college or school, or Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, as appropriate, with regard to matters requiring their approval.
  1. Inform students and prospective students about graduate work and refer students in appropriate instances to other faculty members for advice.
  1. Certify to the graduate studies committee that the student has completed all of the degree requirements for graduation.
  1. Graduate Coordinators: Each graduate program must make the services of a graduate coordinator available to the students, the graduate studies committee chair, and the graduate adviser.
  1. The department chair (or director of the academic program if there is no department) and the Graduate Adviser will jointly determine the nature of the duties to be performed in accordance with departmental practice.
  1. The graduate coordinator shall assist the Graduate Adviser and graduate studies committee in the execution of their duties.
  1. The graduate coordinator shall administer routine operations of the graduate program.
  1. Evaluation of Graduate Programs: All programs in the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin will be examined and evaluated on a regular basis in a manner to be determined through consultation among graduate studies committee(s), the chair(s) of the department(s) (or the director(s) of the academic program(s) if there is no department), the dean(s) of the college(s) or school(s), and the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies shall have primary responsibility for ensuring that these reviews are carried out in a regular and rigorous manner.
  1. The Graduate Assembly
  1. Responsibilities: Legislative functions, with respect to the graduate program, shall be exercised through a Graduate Assembly composed of members of graduate studies committees and elected graduate student members. The Graduate Assembly has the power to legislate on all matters having to do with the academic character of the graduate program of The University of Texas at Austin. In particular, however, it is charged with the following:
  1. Determining minimum criteria for admission and continuation.
  1. Approving new graduate programs, and evaluating existing graduate programs at the request of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies.
  1. Recommending the abolition or substantial modification of existing graduate programs.
  1. Setting policy concerning graduate student programs and student welfare, including teaching and research appointments.
  1. Setting policy concerning graduate student support.

In addition, the Graduate Assembly may advise the deans of the colleges or schools, the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, and the Vice President for Research on research support policies and other matters it deems appropriate or on which advice is requested by any of the above.

 

  1. Rules and By-laws: The Graduate Assembly of The University of Texas at Austin will operate under rules and by-laws agreed to by the Graduate Assembly and approved by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, the Provost, and the President (see Policy Memorandum 2-1210-PM).
  1. Approval of Legislation
  1. Legislation Pertaining to the Regents' Rules and Regulations (Major Legislation): Legislation which affects the role and scope of The University of Texas at Austin or which pertains to matters beyond the sole control of the President or Provost of The University of Texas at Austin shall become effective upon approval by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, the Provost, the President, the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of The University of Texas System, the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System, and, when necessary, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
  1. Local Institutional Legislation (Minor Legislation): Legislation which pertains to matters of an institutional character or matters which are otherwise under the sole control of the President or Provost of The University of Texas at Austin shall become effective upon approval by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, the Provost, and the President.
  1. Emergency Legislation: Legislation classified as emergency by the Secretary or by two-thirds vote of the Graduate Assembly shall become effective immediately upon the approval of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, subject to appropriate administrative review.
  1. The Graduate Assembly, through the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies and through its Chair, will be given regular notice of the progress and status of legislation which has been passed, but not yet approved at all necessary levels or disapproved.
  1. Graduate Studies

Regulations related to admission, registration, continuation, transfer between programs, requirements for degrees, and the grades of scholarship are contained in the Graduate Catalog and the General Information Catalog.

 

Graduate students at The University of Texas at Austin are represented principally by the Graduate Student Assembly, which is their official means of communication with the administration of the University. The Graduate Student Assembly selects six of its members to serve as voting members of the Graduate Assembly. The Graduate Student Assembly reports administratively to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. The Constitution and Bylaws of the Graduate Student Assembly are maintained in the office of the Graduate Student Assembly

 

  1. Adjudicating Grievances of Graduate Students
  1. A graduate student has the right to seek redress of any grievance related to his or her academic affairs.
  1. Every effort should be made to resolve grievances informally between the student and the faculty member most directly involved or, such efforts failing, by the graduate adviser, the chair of the graduate studies committee of the student's degree program, and/or the chair of the department (or the director of the academic program if there is no department). When serious issues cannot be resolved informally, the graduate student will have recourse to the formal grievance procedure as outlined below in Subsections 2-4. It should be noted that the precise procedure to be followed in adjudicating a given grievance will depend on the particular circumstances surrounding the case.

Grade disputes are handled according to departmental review policies by the department offering the course in question. The order of review for grade disputes is the course instructor, graduate adviser, department chair (or the director of the academic program if there is no department), and dean of the college or school offering the course. The decision of the college or school dean is final.

 

Non-academic grievances submitted to the Graduate School will be referred by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies to the appropriate University administrative office, normally the Office of the Dean of Students, the Office of Human Resources, or the college/school dean in which the incident of grievance occurred. Only in cases of multiple points of grievance will the complaint be reviewed by more than one administrative unit of the University.

 

Grievances related to nonacademic issues and scholastic dishonesty are handled according to the procedures outlined in the General Information Catalog.

 

  1. A graduate student may express a formal grievance through the following procedures with the assurance of timely and thorough consideration. Grievants are assured freedom from reprisals for the filing of their grievances.
  1. All complaints must be submitted in writing to the Office of Graduate Studies, which will notify the chair of the graduate studies committee, the department chair (or the director of the academic program if there is no department), and the dean of the college or school that a grievance has been filed and of the procedures for handling the grievance.
  1. A student must initiate his or her complaint within six months of the incident that is the subject of the grievance.
  1. First Level of Adjudication: Graduate Studies Committee
  1. The first level of consideration is the appropriate graduate studies committee. If the chair of the graduate studies committee, having received formal notification of the grievance from the Office of Graduate Studies, cannot resolve the matter himself or herself, he or she will convene an ad hoc panel normally consisting of three to five members of the graduate studies committee to review the complaint and render a decision to the graduate studies committee. The student will be granted the right to exclude one person from the panel
  1. After consideration of the student's grievance, including a meeting with the student if requested, the ad hoc panel will report its findings to the graduate studies committee, the student, and the faculty member in writing. A copy of the findings will be retained in the files of the chair of the graduate studies committee. The graduate studies committee will ratify, reverse, or change the decision of the ad hoc panel.
  1. Second Level of Adjudication: Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies
  1. If the issues cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties concerned at the level of the graduate studies committee, the grievance and the decisions of the previous review panel and the graduate studies committee will be forwarded to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies in consultation with the college or school dean(s) may decide the case on his or her own review and authority, or if he or she deems it appropriate, convene an ad hoc committee to review the case and provide advice.
  1. The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies will review the facts of the case, including any recommendations received from an ad hoc committee, and render a ruling. This ruling will be sent to the student, the ad hoc panel, the chair of the graduate studies committee, the graduate adviser, the department chair, and the college or school dean(s).
  1. Third Level of Adjudication: Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost: The decision of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies may be appealed in writing to the Executive Vice President and Provost for a final decision.

For Assistance: Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost at 512-471-4363 or to their Web site http://www.utexas.edu/provost/

 

Source: Previous Policy: HOP 1.II; Endorsed by the Graduate Assembly November 19, 2003