Carolyn R. Hodges, BA, MA, PhD, Vice Provost and Dean
Joy T. DeSensi, BA, MEd, EdD, Associate Dean
S. Kay Reed, BS, MS, MA, PhD, Assistant Dean
Yvonne M. Kilpatrick, Director, Graduate and International Admissions
Kris Bronstad, BA, MFA, MA, Thesis/Dissertation Consultant
The University of Tennessee is the land-grant institution of the State of Tennessee with its main campus in Knoxville. UT is the state’s largest and most comprehensive institution and is a Carnegie One Research Extensive Institution. The University of Tennessee is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097; telephone 404-679-4501) to award the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
A wide range of graduate programs leading to master’s and doctoral degrees is available. The university offers 54 doctoral degrees, 79 master’s degrees, 5 educational specialists degrees, two professional programs, and 29 graduate certificate programs. More than 6,000 graduate and professional students are enrolled on and off campus under the tutelage of 1,500 faculty members.
Graduate programs bring together faculty and graduate students as a community of scholars with a common interest in creative work and advanced study. Programs are available to individuals desiring work toward the master’s and doctoral degrees or professional certification, those interested in continuing education for updating and broadening their knowledge, and those pursuing postdoctoral research. Serving the needs of students engaged full-time in intensive study and pursuit of a degree continues to be a major emphasis of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s, graduate effort. Increasingly the university employs a variety of modes, traditional and nontraditional, in offering quality programs designed to serve a diverse student clientele.
Graduate programs are administered by the Graduate Council; the Graduate School; administrators of the various graduate programs; the faculty; and the graduate student body.
The Graduate Council is composed of elected faculty representatives from each college, the Space Institute, and the Graduate Student Association. Ex-officio members include the Dean of the Graduate School, the Chair of the Research Council, the Dean of Libraries, the Dean of Continuing Education, the Director of the Center for International Education, and the administrative officer having primary responsibility for the graduate curriculum in each college or school.
The Graduate Council is responsible for standards of admission, retention and graduation, and for curricular matters in graduate programs; the development of interdisciplinary programs; approval of new graduate programs; approval of individuals to direct doctoral dissertation research; financial support of graduate students; and all other matters of educational policy pertaining to graduate programs. Standing committees include academic policy, appeals, credentials, curriculum, professional development, and the Graduate Dean’s Group.
The Graduate School develops procedures to implement policies formulated by the council. Much of the day-to-day administration of graduate study is conducted by department heads or faculty advisors and committees responsible for particular programs. In addition to departmental units, numerous interdisciplinary programs, institutes and centers have been developed on campus and in locations throughout the state.
The graduate student body is composed of those persons admitted to graduate study upon recommendation of the academic unit, and who are currently enrolled in graduate programs. Graduate education has been conducted at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, since 1821. The first master’s degree was awarded in 1827. Although a PhD degree was awarded in 1886 and in 1887, formal doctoral programs were not instituted until 1929 for biological sciences at Memphis and 1943 for chemistry on the Knoxville campus. A Committee on Graduate Study was appointed in 1904 and coordinated the graduate program until the Graduate Council was formed in 1949.
Admission to graduate study requires a bachelor’s degree with a satisfactory grade point average from a college or university accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting agency or foreign equivalent.
The Graduate Council requires a minimum grade point average of 2.7 out of a possible 4.0, or a 3.0 during the senior year of undergraduate study. Applicants with previous graduate work must have a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or equivalent on all graduate work. Many programs require a higher average. Applicants with work experience or who are entering graduate study after a number of years away from an educational institution, usually five years, will be given consideration with greater flexibility relative to GPA. An international student graduating from a United States institution must meet the same requirements as those for domestic students.
An applicant whose GPA falls between 2.5 and 2.7 may be admitted on probation, upon recommendation of an academic unit. The probationary status will be removed after completion of 9 or more hours of graduate credit with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Failure to maintain a 3.0 while in this status will result in dismissal. An international student may not be admitted on probation.
The stated criteria are the minimums. The actual averages required for admission may be higher, depending on the number and the qualifications of applicants.
When a student is admitted to graduate study prior to having received the baccalaureate degree, that degree must be awarded before the date of first registration in graduate courses.
The Office of Graduate and International Admissions must be notified of any change in the entering date after admission has been granted. Individual departments and colleges may have further restrictions on admission dates. For this information, students should contact the department they wish to enter. If a student does not enroll within one year after the requested admission, the application process must be repeated.
Enrollment in graduate programs is a privilege which may be withdrawn by the university, or any area of graduate study, if it is deemed necessary by the Dean of the Graduate School to safeguard the university’s standards.
Anyone with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution or foreign equivalent who wishes to take courses for graduate credit, whether or not the person desires to become a candidate for a degree, must submit a formal application for admission to graduate study or apply for transient status. No action is taken until a file is complete. The applicant will be notified by mail of the action taken.
To apply for admission, the following materials must be sent to Graduate and International Admissions.
- The completed Graduate Application for Admission (http://admissions.utk.edu/graduate).
- A $35 non-refundable application fee.
- One official transcript from all colleges and universities attended.
- Scores from Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) if native language is not English (refer to section on English Certification).
Additional departmental/program requirements may include
- Departmental application. Contact the program office for forms.
- Reference letters or rating forms. All departmental forms should be sent to the college or department.
- Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
To register for the IELTS, please contact IELTS at http://www.ielts.org.
To register for the GRE, GMAT and TOEFL please contact
Educational Testing Service
Princeton, New Jersey 08450
The UT code is 1843. Test results reach the university in approximately three weeks.
All documents submitted become the property of the university and will not be returned. For international graduate student application procedures, see Admission of International Students.
Admission to a degree program requires that a person meet the minimum admission requirements and any additional program requirements (see Admission Requirements). Refer to the appropriate department for specific requirements for admission to the degree program.
In addition to meeting the minimum requirements, applicants at the doctoral level must have demonstrated a potential for superior academic performance. Criteria considered are performance in prior undergraduate and/or graduate studies, achievement on graduate admission tests, letters of recommendation from professors familiar with the applicant’s capabilities, and other evidence of scholarly achievement.
A student must maintain a 3.0 grade point average to continue enrollment in a degree program (see Academic Standards).
An applicant may not be admitted simultaneously to more than one degree program. Two or more applications cannot be considered concurrently. For admission to dual programs, applications are processed consecutively.
Applicants may apply for non-degree status who, for example
- Need additional time to fulfill application requirements for a degree program.
- Do not wish to pursue a degree program.
Minimum requirements (see Admission Requirements) must be met for admission to non-degree status. Some departments do not permit non-degree students to register for graduate courses.
A major must be declared if the intent is to seek an advanced degree. If no degree is desired, a major need not be declared. Students anticipating long-term enrollment as non-degree students are advised to apply as undergraduate students in non-degree status. Students holding a degree who are taking additional work as undergraduate non-degree students may be allowed to take 600-level courses for undergraduate credit with the approval of the instructor.
Before accumulating 15 hours of course work in graduate non-degree status, the student must apply and be admitted to a specific degree program (see Revision of Admission Classification for procedures) to continue enrollment.
A maximum of 15 graduate hours may be taken in graduate non-degree status. If admitted into a degree program, no more than 15 graduate hours may be applied toward a graduate degree, if approved by the student’s committee. Courses applied toward any graduate degree must fall within the time limit specified for the degree.
Every graduate student must meet with an academic advisor at least once each semester to discuss his/her program. For non-degree students with a declared major, the advisor must be from the appropriate academic unit. If no advisor has been assigned, the department head or designee is the advisor. For a non-degree student who has no declared major, the Dean of the Graduate School or designee is the advisor.
A student must maintain a 3.0 grade point average to continue enrollment in non-degree status (see Academic Standards).
Admission to non-degree status does not constitute admission to a degree program. The student who seeks to enter a degree program will be directed to the appropriate department.
An international student on a student visa may not enroll in the non-degree status.
Admission to a graduate certificate program requires that a person meet the minimum admission requirements and any additional program requirements (see Admission Requirements). Refer to the appropriate department for specific requirements for admission to the certificate program.
Admission to a graduate certificate program does not constitute admission to a degree program. To receive a graduate certificate, students must be admitted to a certificate program or a degree program.
A student who is enrolled in good standing in a graduate degree program at another institution and who wishes to take courses for transfer to that institution may be admitted after submitting a completed Graduate Application for Admission, the $35 application fee, and a Transient Student Certification form 10 days prior to registration. Only one semester, or a maximum of 12 hours, of course work can be taken in transient status. Necessary forms may be obtained from the Office of Graduate and International Admissions.
Persons who hold an earned doctoral degree and desire to take graduate courses may be admitted in the postdoctoral status. A completed Graduate Application for Admission, the application fee, and confirmation of the doctorate are required for admission.
Admission in the postdoctoral status does not constitute admission to a degree program. The student who seeks to enter a degree program must meet all admission requirements and be recommended by the program.
Admission of International Students
For admission to a graduate program, an international student must have an equivalent 4-year bachelor’s degree with at least a B average on all previous course work and a B+ on all previous graduate work. On various grading scales, this corresponds to
- 14 on a 20-point scale.
- 80.0 from Taiwanese institutions.
- 1st Class or Division from Indian institutions.
- Upper 2nd Class Honors on various British systems.
If graduating from a U.S. institution, the minimum is the same as that for domestic students (see Admission Requirements). Other grading systems are evaluated, upon receipt of transcripts, in accordance with standard recommendations. Many departments require a higher average than the minimum.
International students may apply for admission any semester, but normally enter the fall semester. The deadlines for submission of applications to the Office of Graduate and International Admissions are:
The Office of Graduate and International Admissions must be notified of any change in entering date after admission has been granted.
Individuals applying online must pay the application fee by credit card.
The following items must be received before admission will be considered.
- A completed Graduate Application for Admission.
- A $35 non-refundable processing fee. Payment should be made in United States dollars by a cashier’s check, money order, or personal check payable to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. If payment is by personal check, it must be drawn on a United States bank to be honored in United States currency. Checks drawn on overseas banks are not accepted. International money orders are suggested.
- Official or attested university records, with certified translations if the records are not in English (notarized copies are not accepted).
- Confirmation of degree(s). Confirmation must be received by the Office of Graduate and International Admissions at least 2 months prior to term of first enrollment.
- Certification of English proficiency. Refer to section on English Certification.
- Documented evidence of financial resources sufficient to support the student, as stated on the financial statement form supplied to the applicant. This form is available at the Graduate and International Admissions website: http://admissions.utk.edu/graduate or will be sent to the applicant after receipt of application.
- Additional departmental/program requirements.
- Departmental application. Contact the program for forms.
- Reference letters or rating forms. All program forms should be sent to the college or department.
- Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
Admission must be granted, and financial documentation and degree confirmation must be received prior to issuance of an I-20 or DS-2019 form needed to obtain a visa. The university will not issue these forms after the following dates.
An international student may not enroll as a non-degree student nor be on probation.
Any person whose native language is not English must submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A minimum score of 213 on the computer-based test, 550 on the paper test, or 80 on the Internet-based test typically with a score of 20 on each of the sections of the test (reading, listening, writing, and speaking) is required for admission consideration. Some programs require higher scores. The score must be no more than two years old from the requested date of entry. Applicants who have received a degree from an accredited U.S. institution within the past two years are exempt from the TOEFL requirement.
All students whose native language is not English must take an English proficiency examination after arrival at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Refer to section on English Proficiency.
Fees for Sponsored International Students
An administrative management fee will be charged to sponsoring agencies of international students whose programs require special administrative or management services beyond those normally provided. Fees are $250 per semester and $100 per summer session.
Admission of Faculty and Staff Members
If admitted to graduate study, members of the faculty or staff located in Knoxville may take courses as graduate students.
Faculty members of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, or the Institute of Agriculture at the rank of assistant professor or above and members of the administrative staff at the university and the Institute of Agriculture will not normally be admitted to a PhD degree program at UT Knoxville. Exceptions may be granted on an individual basis upon petition to the Dean of the Graduate School. Petitioners must present their request in writing, providing adequate assurance that the residence requirement will be met and that there will be no conflict of academic or administrative interest. Written endorsements must be provided by the respective deans and department heads of the units in which members are employed and in which the doctoral degrees are to be pursued.
A student who has not registered for graduate courses at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for three consecutive terms (including summer) must apply for readmission. A readmission application should be submitted to the Office of Graduate and International Admissions at least two weeks prior to the desired reentry date. A student who has attended another institution since enrollment at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, must submit one official transcript showing all course work and any degrees earned at that institution. The student will be notified when action has been taken by the department/program and the Office of Graduate and International Admissions. A student who is permitted to enroll and is subsequently denied readmission will receive credit for courses completed successfully. Future registration will not be allowed until readmission is granted.
Revision of Admission Classification
A student who wishes to change a major program of study must complete a Request for Change of Graduate Program form, which can be obtained online or from the Office of Graduate and International Admissions. The form requires the signature of the head of the department in which admission was previously granted. No signature is needed if a student requests to change from non-degree status to a degree program or from one degree to another within the same department.
The student must be in good standing for a revision to be processed. Acceptance into a new degree program is contingent upon review and recommendation by that department. If the student is not accepted into the program requested, he/she remains in the former program. The results of each request for program change are communicated to the student by mail.
REGISTRATION AND ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENTS
To earn graduate credit, a student must be admitted by the Dean of the Graduate School and enrolled in an appropriate status as a graduate student. The registration must reflect the desire for graduate credit, and the course must have been approved by the Graduate Council. Course work taken in any other status is unacceptable for graduate credit and cannot be changed retroactively to graduate credit. Special privileges are accorded University of Tennessee seniors and professional students, as stated in the section on Undergraduates and Professional Students.
Courses numbered at the 500 level, as well as those 400-level courses approved for graduate credit, must be taught by faculty members who (1) meet the criteria of an assistant professor or above as defined in the Faculty Handbook and (2) have been designated by the department head as being appropriate. Graduate teaching associates are ineligible to teach courses approved for graduate credit, unless they are in a post-professional degree program where the terminal degree is a Master’s degree and has been approved by the Graduate Council as an exception.
Consistent with the accreditation requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) that graduate curricula must be substantially different from undergraduate curricula, classes at the 400 level in which both graduate and undergraduate students are enrolled must be structured so as to reflect this distinction. That is, course requirements for graduate credit will be more rigorous and will exceed expectations for undergraduates. Graduate and undergraduate completion of the same course will not be considered equivalent. Petitions for retroactive changing of undergraduate to graduate credit will not be accepted.
Courses at the 600 level are taught by faculty who have been approved by the college or by departments, where the college has given them that responsibility. All departments/colleges have a statement of criteria used in eligibility to teach at the 600 level.
Undergraduate and Professional Students
University of Tennessee Seniors
Subject to approval by the Dean of the Graduate School, a senior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who needs fewer than 30 semester hours to complete requirements for a bachelor’s degree and has at least a B average (3.0) may enroll in graduate courses for graduate credit, provided the combined total of undergraduate and graduate course work does not exceed 15 credit hours per semester. Only students working toward a first bachelor’s degree are eligible. Students who have met all requirements for graduation are not eligible. Approval must be obtained each semester at the Graduate School. A maximum of 9 hours of graduate credit at the 400 and 500 level can be obtained in this status. Some departments do not permit seniors to register for graduate courses without prior permission.
Courses taken for graduate credit may not be used for both the baccalaureate and a graduate degree program except in the case of approved dual bachelor’s/master’s programs.
University of Tennessee Veterinary Medicine Students
A student in good standing in the College of Veterinary Medicine may enroll in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, graduate courses under the following conditions.
- The student’s advisor must approve in advance the student’s enrollment in each course.
- The student may take a maximum of 10 semester hours of graduate courses during the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program.
- Approval must be obtained each semester at registration through the Graduate School. The student’s progress is subject to review and approval each semester by the Associate Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine.
Courses taken for graduate credit may not be used toward both the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and a graduate degree.
University of Tennessee Law Students
Subject to approval by the Dean of the Graduate School and the College of Law, a law student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, may enroll in graduate courses for graduate credit. Approval must be obtained each semester from the Graduate School.
Courses taken for graduate credit may not be used toward both the Doctor of Jurisprudence degree and a graduate degree. Use of such courses toward the JD degree is subject to guidelines approved by the law faculty.
A graduate student may take up to 6 hours of law courses and apply them toward a graduate degree, upon approval of the College of Law and the student’s major professor. The graduate student must register for law courses during the registration period at the College of Law and request a Satisfactory/No Credit only grade. If the student earns a 2.0 or better, an S will be recorded on the transcript. Below 2.0, a No Credit will be recorded, and the course cannot be used toward meeting degree requirements. Grades for law courses will not be reflected in the cumulative grade point average, as law courses do not carry graduate credit.
Different rules apply to students enrolled in the Dual JD-MBA and JD-MPA programs. Grades must be earned according to the grading system of the respective colleges, e.g. numerical grades for law courses, letter grades for graduate courses. Refer to sections on business administration, political science, and law under Departments and Courses of Instruction for grades acceptable to meet degree requirements.
A student enrolled in the PhD in Business Administration program may use 8 semester hours or more of law courses for the supporting area via the arrangement described under Business Administration.
Graduate Certificate Programs
A graduate certificate may be earned by successful completion of a series of specific courses. A candidate for a graduate certificate program must be a fully admitted graduate student who has satisfactorily completed (minimum 3.0 grade point average) the minimum requirements for a certificate as described in the Graduate Catalog. The minimum requirements for the certificate programs are listed under the academic department offering the certificate. A candidate must be a graduate student in good standing and comply with all other applicable policies. Graduate certificate programs require a minimum of 12 semester credit hours taken at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Use of credits to fulfill requirements for a graduate degree will be at the discretion of the academic department.
To receive the certificate, students must submit a Completion of Certificate Program Form endorsed by the academic department to the Graduate School. Only those certificate programs that are officially approved by the Graduate Council will be posted on student transcripts. To receive a graduate certificate, students must be admitted to a certificate program or a degree program.
Senior or Disabled Citizens
Legislation gives Tennessee citizens who are 60 years of age or older, 30-year state retirees, or those who are totally disabled, the opportunity to attend credit and non-credit courses at the university at no charge on an audit, space available basis. Legal verification of any of these conditions is required for enrollment. Students who are 65 or over, or who are totally disabled, and who desire to receive university credit for their courses, may pay a reduced rate.
Auditors and Audited Courses
Persons who wish to attend certain classes regularly, without taking examinations or receiving grades or credit, may do so by completing a graduate application as a non-degree student, paying the application fee, registering as an auditor, and paying regular fees. Graduate students paying regular fees also are entitled to audit courses.
The names of all auditors properly registered will appear on the electronic grade rolls, but will be removed from the final grade report. No record of audited course work will appear on the permanent record.
Persons may not attend class without being properly admitted to the university and registered in the class.
Courses in Non-Standard Format
The university offers a wide variety of short courses, workshops, and other courses in non-standard format for graduate credit. Minimum criteria acceptable for such credit are as follows.
- The number of contact hours should never be fewer than the equivalent of one hour per week during the term for each hour of credit awarded, i.e., 15 hours per semester hour.
- For every contact hour, there should be at least 2 hours of student preparation.
- For each hour of graduate credit under the semester system, there should be a minimum elapsed time of one week.
The workload in a short course of several weeks’ duration need not be distributed evenly. However, substantive and meaningful interaction between the faculty member and student should be maintained throughout. Graduate credit should not be awarded for courses considered inappropriate as part of a graduate degree program.
The Curriculum Committee of the Graduate Council monitors the policy. Each new course or change in a current course must be approved in both content and format.
No graduate credit is accepted at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for work done by correspondence study at any university.
A proficiency examination may be given in academic courses offered for graduate credit. Applications for proficiency examinations are available in the Office of the University Registrar, 209 Student Services Building. To be eligible, a student must be admitted to graduate study. The request for examination must be approved by the head of the department offering the course. A student applying for this privilege must present evidence to the department head that he/she has the knowledge and abilities expected of graduate students who have taken the same course. Upon passing the examination with a minimum grade of B, the student will receive graduate credit. A maximum of one-fourth of the total credit hours in a master’s degree program may be earned by this method, subject to approval by the student’s graduate committee. A fee of $7 per credit hour must be paid before each examination. Proficiency examinations may not be used to raise the grade or change the credit in a course previously completed, nor may such an examination be repeated. Proficiency examinations taken at other institutions are not transferable.
Applicants whose native language is not English must pass an English proficiency examination given by the university prior to initial registration. Students whose performance on the examination indicates a need for additional English study must enroll immediately for English 121 English Grammar Review for Non-Native Speakers or another course assigned by the English Department for undergraduate credit and pass with a grade of C or better. A student may not take more than 9 additional hours of course work while enrolled in English 121. Students whose scores indicate that they are not prepared to enter English 121 will be referred to a program of intensive English study prior to enrolling in an academic program.
Applicants whose native language is not English must pass an oral test in English (the SPEAK Test) before they can be assigned to classroom duties in connection with their assistantships. The SPEAK Test is administered on campus as part of the programs offered by the Graduate School. Scores from the Test of Spoken English (TSE) may be accepted in place of the SPEAK Test.
Graduate work in any program must be preceded by sufficient undergraduate work in the major and related areas to satisfy the department that the student can do graduate work successfully in the chosen field. Individual undergraduate records are examined and evaluated by the appropriate department before admission to a degree program is granted. Questions about program prerequisites should be addressed to the advisor.
Every graduate student must have an advisor from the major department. This professor advises the student about courses, supervises the student’s research, and facilitates communication within the major department, to other departments and with the Dean of the Graduate School. The advisor must approve the student’s program each semester. Many departments assign a temporary advisor to direct the entering student’s work during the period in which the student is becoming acquainted with the institution and determining the focus of research interests, and in which the department is forming a judgment concerning the student’s promise as a scholar. As early as appropriate, the student requests a professor in the major department to serve as the advisor. This major professor and the student together select a graduate committee. The student is expected to maintain close consultation with the major professor and other members of the graduate committee with regard to progress in the program. Other responsibilities of the advisor/major professor are explained under individual programs.
Graduate Program Director
Each academic department or program has designated a tenured or tenure-track faculty member who is the director of graduate studies. This individual, with the assistance of the other graduate faculty in the department, is responsible for the administration of the graduate program(s) in the department and also serves as the contact person with the Graduate School.
Registration is required of all graduate students when using university facilities and/or faculty time. The minimum number of hours for registration is one. Registration allows use of services such as library checkout, laboratories, and recreation facilities not open to the public.
Information concerning registration is available at Circle Park Online (http://cpo.utk.edu) or in the Timetable of Classes each term. Registration is accomplished via the web. During priority registration, a bill is mailed to the registrant. Payment is due by the deadline noted on the bill. A graduated late fee is assessed to any student who fails to register during priority registration. Additional information can be obtained from the Office of the University Registrar, (865) 974-2101.
Failure to pay tuition and fees before the deadline, as noted each semester on the bill (VolXpress statement), will result in cancellation of the schedule. Retroactive registration is not allowed.
Non-degree students in unrestricted programs may obtain permission to register from the Graduate School. Non-degree students with no declared major must obtain permission from the department/program head to register for courses in restricted fields.
Applicants who appear to meet the admission requirements for graduate study may be allowed to register for an initial term after submitting the Graduate Application for Admission form and application fee. Time is allowed to obtain transcripts and additional requirements for admission. Students who fail to gain admission within seven weeks after registration will not be permitted to register again until all admission requirements are met. International students may not register conditionally.
Registration for Use of Facilities
Students using university facilities, services or faculty time, including summer term, must be registered. Normally, students are registered for course work or thesis/dissertation credit. Students who are not taking course work and are not yet eligible to register for thesis or dissertation hours, must register for course 502 (Use of Facilities) if they wish to have borrowing privileges in the University Libraries or to use computer labs, other labs, or other university resources.
Change in Registration
The permanent record will show all courses for which the student has registered except those audited and those from which the student has withdrawn on or before the “Drop Course without W” deadline.
Students who fail to attend the first class meeting without prior arrangement with the department may be dropped from the course to make space available to other students. Students have the responsibility to assure that they have been dropped. Otherwise they may receive a grade of F in the course.
|Type of Change for Full Term Classes Fall/Spring
|Add or Drop a Course without a W or Change credit/grading
|Between 11 and 42 days - add course with instructor’s and advisor’s signature; change credit/grading with advisor’s signature
|Drop Course with W
The periods for add, drop, change of credit/grading for sessions within the full term, summer, and mini term are determined based on a percentage of the equivalent deadline within the full term. See Timetable of Classes each term for exact dates on the Circle Park website at http://cpo.utk.edu. Deadline dates will be moved to the next business day if the deadline falls on a holiday, weekend day, or fall/spring recess. Within the change of registration period, a student may change registration at Circle Park Online (http://cpo.utk.edu/). If additional permission is necessary, a student must execute a change of registration at the Office of the University Registrar, with approval of the instructor, advisor, and the Graduate School. Total withdrawal from registration for a semester must be processed through the Office of the University Registrar.
The maximum load for a graduate student is 15 hours and 9 to 12 hours are considered a full load. For the summer term, graduate students may register for a maximum of 12 hours in an entire summer term or for a maximum of 6 hours in a five-week summer session. Students may enroll in only one course during a mini-term session.
Students holding a one-half time assistantship normally should enroll for 6-11 hours. A one-fourth time graduate assistant normally should take 9-13 hours. A student on a one-half time assistantship who takes 6 hours will be considered full time. Refer to the Policy for the Administration of Graduate Assistantships for additional information.
Students receiving financial aid should consult with the department/program head concerning appropriate course loads. Courses audited do not count toward minimum graduate hours required for financial assistance.
Registration for more than 15 hours during any semester, or for more than 12 hours in the summer term, is not permissible without prior approval. The academic advisor may allow registration of up to 18 hours during a semester if the student has achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.6 or better in at least 9 hours of graduate work with no outstanding incompletes. No more than 12 hours are permissible in the summer term without prior approval.
Grade Point Average and Grades
A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is required on all graduate course work taken at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to remain in good standing and to receive any graduate degree or certificate from the university. All course work taken for graduate credit is computed into the GPA.
Grades in graduate study have the following meanings.
||(4 quality points per semester hour) superior performance.
||(3.5 quality points per semester hour) better than satisfactory performance.
||(3 quality points per semester hour) satisfactory performance.
||(2.5 quality points per semester hour) less than satisfactory performance.
||(2 quality points per semester hour) performance well below the standard expected of graduate students.
||(1 quality point per semester hour) clearly unsatisfactory performance and cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements.
||(no quality points) extremely unsatisfactory performance and cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements.
||(no quality points) a temporary grade indicating that the student has performed satisfactorily in the course but, due to unforeseen circumstances, has been unable to finish all requirements. An I is not given to enable a student to do additional work to raise a deficient grade. The instructor, in consultation with the student, decides the terms for the removal of the I, including the time limit for removal. If the I is not removed within one calendar year, the grade will be changed to an F. The course will not be counted in the cumulative grade point average until a final grade is assigned. No student may graduate with an I on the record.
||(carries credit hours, but no quality points) S is equivalent to a grade of B or better, and NC means no credit earned. A grade of Satisfactory/No Credit is allowed only where indicated in the course description in the Graduate Catalog. The number of Satisfactory/No Credit courses in a student’s program is limited to one-fourth of the total credit hours required.
||(carries credit hours, but no quality points) P indicates progress toward completion of a thesis or dissertation. NP indicates no progress or inadequate progress.
||(carries no credit hours or quality points) indicates that the student officially withdrew from the course.
The grading system available for a course is based on the level of the course. Courses numbered 100-499 are graded letter grade or Satisfactory/No Credit, except where noted otherwise in the catalog. Courses numbered 500-699 are graded letter grade only, except where the Graduate Catalog indicates Satisfactory/No Credit only or optional Satisfactory/No Credit or letter grade. Veterinary Medicine courses are letter grade only except where noted Satisfactory/No Credit only. Law courses are numeric except where noted otherwise. There are restrictions regarding the use of Satisfactory/No Credit graded courses, including the number of hours that may be used toward any degree
No graduate student may repeat a course for the purpose of raising a grade already received. A graduate student may not do additional work nor repeat an examination to raise a final grade. A change of grade may occur only in cases of arithmetic or clerical error. An instructor may not initiate a change of grade as a result of a reevaluation of the quality of the student’s performance nor as a result of additional work performed by the student.
Refer to law courses under Registration and Enrollment Requirements and in the College of Law section of this catalog.
Graduate education requires continuous evaluation of the student. This includes not only periodic objective evaluation, such as the cumulative grade point average, performance on comprehensive examinations, and acceptance of the thesis or dissertation, but also judgments by the faculty of the student’s progress and potential. Continuation in a program is determined by consideration of all these elements by the faculty and the head of the academic unit.
The academic records of all graduate students are reviewed at the end of each semester, including the summer term. Graduate students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on all graduate courses taken for a letter grade of A-F. Grades of S/NC, P/NP, and I, which have no numerical equivalent, are excluded from this computation.
Departments and programs may have requirements for continuation or graduation in addition to the minimum requirements set forth in this catalog for all graduate programs. It is the student’s responsibility to be familiar with the special requirements of the department or program.
Upon completion of 9 hours of graduate course work, a graduate student will be placed on academic probation when his/her cumulative GPA falls below 3.0. A student will be allowed to continue graduate study in subsequent semesters if each semester’s grade point average is 3.0 or greater. Upon achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.0, the student will be removed from probationary status.
If a student is on academic probation, the degree or non-degree status will be terminated by the Dean of the Graduate School if the student’s semester GPA falls below 3.0 in a subsequent semester. When the particular circumstances are deemed to justify continuation, and upon recommendation of the appropriate academic unit and approval of the Dean of the Graduate School, a student on probation whose semester GPA is below 3.0 may be allowed to continue on a semester-by-semester basis.
Dismissal of a graduate student by a department or program is accomplished by written notice to the student, with a copy to the Graduate School. In those cases where the department’s requirements for continuation are more stringent than university requirements for graduate programs, the Dean of the Graduate School will evaluate the student’s record to determine whether the student is eligible to apply for a change of status and register in another area of study. Registration for courses in a department from which a student has been dismissed will not be permitted, except by written authorization from that department.
Academic integrity is a responsibility of all members of the academic community. An honor statement is included on the application for admission and readmission. The applicant’s signature acknowledges that adherence is confirmed. The honor statement declares
An essential feature of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is a commitment to maintaining an atmosphere of intellectual integrity and academic honesty. As a student of the university, I pledge that I will neither knowingly give nor receive any inappropriate assistance in academic work, thus affirming my own personal commitment to honor and integrity.
Students shall not plagiarize. Plagiarism is using the intellectual property or product of someone else without giving proper credit. The undocumented use of someone else’s words or ideas in any medium of communication (unless such information is recognized as common knowledge) is a serious offense subject to disciplinary action that may include failure in a course and/or dismissal from the university. Some examples of plagiarism are
- Using without proper documentation (quotation marks and a citation) written or spoken words, phrases, or sentences from any source.
- Summarizing without proper documentation (usually a citation) ideas from another source (unless such information is recognized as common knowledge).
- Borrowing facts, statistics, graphs, pictorial representations, or phrases without acknowledging the source (unless such information is recognized as common knowledge).
- Submitting work, either in whole or in part, created by a professional service and used without attribution (e.g., paper, speech, bibliography, or photograph).
Extreme caution should be exercised by students involved in collaborative research to avoid questions of plagiarism. If in doubt, students should check with the major professor and the Dean of the Graduate School about the project. Plagiarism will be investigated when suspected and prosecuted if established.
The Graduate Council Appeal Procedure can be obtained at the Graduate School or at http://gradschool.utk.edu/GraduateCouncil/AcadPoli/appealprocedure.pdf. Normally, grievances should be handled first at the department level through the student’s academic advisor, the graduate program director, or the department or program head. Further appeal may be made to the dean of the respective college, the Graduate Council through the Assistant Dean of the Graduate School, and ultimately to the Dean of the Graduate School.
Appeals may involve the interpretation of and adherence to university, college, and department policies and procedures as they apply to graduate education and the issuance of grades based on specific allowable reasons stipulated in the Graduate Council Appeal Procedure.
Appeal procedures in regard to allegations of misconduct or academic dishonesty are presented in Hilltopics under “Disciplinary Regulations and Procedures.” Students with grievances related to race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, disability or veteran status should file a formal complaint with the Office of Equity and Diversity.
DEGREE PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
A complete list of programs is found under the Graduate Degrees, Majors, and Certificate Programs Chart. For specific degree requirements, consult individual program descriptions. Department policies and procedures, which are specific to degree programs and exceed those in the Graduate Catalog, are provided in the Graduate Student Handbook available in each academic department.
The following are the Graduate Council’s minimum requirements for degree programs. Refer to the college and academic department for additional program requirements.
For the master’s degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a minor is defined as 6-12 semester hours in one field outside the major. Usually, the minor courses are within a single teaching discipline that also offers a major.
Four interdisciplinary minors are available: computational science, environmental policy, statistics, and gerontology.
The minor area must be approved by the major and minor academic units and a member from the minor unit must serve on the graduate committee.
Courses taken at another institution may be considered for transfer into a master’s or EdS program as determined by the committee and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. At the doctoral level, courses are not officially transferred although they may be used to meet degree requirements. Where a requirement has been met through course work in another program, the student may petition the academic unit for a waiver of the requirement at the doctoral level. Official transcripts must be sent directly to the Graduate School from all institutions previously attended before any credit will be considered.
To be transferred into a master’s or EdS program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a course must
- Be taken for graduate credit.
- Carry a grade of B or better.
- Be a part of a graduate program in which the student had a B average.
- Not have been used for a previous degree.
- Be approved by the student’s graduate committee and the Dean of the Graduate School on the Admission to Candidacy form.
Courses transferred to any graduate program will not affect the minimum residence requirements for the program, nor will they be counted in determining the student’s grade point average. Credits transferred from universities outside the University of Tennessee system cannot be used to meet the thesis or dissertation requirements or 600-level course work requirements. Credit for extension courses taken from other institutions is not transferable, nor is credit for any course taken at an unaccredited institution.
A majority of the total hours required for a master’s degree must be taken at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Transferred courses must have been completed within the six-year period prior to receipt of the degree. The courses must be listed on the Admission to Candidacy form and will be placed on the student’s university transcript only after admission to candidacy.
Specialist in Education Degree
A maximum of 6 semester (9 quarter) hours of course work beyond the master’s degree may be transferred to an EdS program. Transferred courses in the most recent 30 hours taken for the degree must have been completed within the six-year period prior to the receipt of the degree. The courses must be listed on the Admission to Candidacy form and will be placed on the student’s university transcript only after admission to candidacy.
Course work taken prior to admission to a doctoral program may be used toward the degree, as determined by the student’s doctoral committee. Although the courses are used as part of the requirements toward the degree and are listed on the admission to candidacy, they are not officially transfer courses and are not placed on the student’s university transcript.
Theses and Dissertations
All theses and dissertations are submitted in electronic format to the Thesis/Dissertation Consultant in the Graduate School for examination. The consultant will review the material and assure that it is appropriately presented, free of technical errors in format,and reflects credit upon graduate education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. If the thesis or dissertation is not accepted, the student must make corrections and resubmit the material.
The student, major professor and committee share responsibility for the accuracy and professionalism of the final product of the student’s research. The student should confer with the Thesis/Dissertation Consultant regarding problems and questions in advance of preparing the final copy. The Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations (web.utk.edu/~thesis/guide10.pdf) provides the correct format for theses or dissertations. Workshops are held periodically throughout the academic year. The date for each workshop is announced on the Graduate School website (http://gradschool.utk.edu/CurrentStudents.shtml).
The thesis/dissertation normally should be written in English. Under exceptional circumstances, another language may be used if prior approval is obtained from the Dean of the Graduate School. A request to write in a language other than English should be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School by the student’s thesis committee, with endorsement by the department head and dean of the college, prior to Admission to Candidacy for the degree sought. The request should include a proposal and justification for the exception. In all cases, one thesis/dissertation
abstract must be written in English.
A basic principle in graduate education is that theses and dissertations produced by graduate students will be published and made available to other researchers in the field. When a graduate student is involved in classified or proprietary research, and such research is intended to lead toward a thesis or dissertation, prior approval should be secured from the department head and dean, and from the Dean of the Graduate School. Should the research become classified in the course of a project, these same persons should be notified immediately so that proper procedures can be assured. Failure to comply with these requirements may lead to rejection of a thesis or dissertation manuscript.
Dissemination of Final Copies
Copies approved for final submission will be sent to the University Libraries after conferral of the graduate degree. A student must, as a condition of a degree award, grant royalty-free permission to the university to reproduce and publicly distribute, including by electronic and digital technologies now known or developed in the future, on a non-commercial basis, copies of the thesis or dissertation. Copies approved for final submission will be catalogued and placed on the ETD website (http://etd.utk.edu). At this time, the electronic copies will be publicly distributed.
A student planning to graduate must submit an application for graduation no later than the last day of classes of the term prior to the term he/she intends to graduate. The graduation application begins the final checking of degree requirements and is used to order the diploma. If the student does not graduate that term, a new graduation application must be submitted for the appropriate term. The form is submitted to the Graduate School, 111 Student Services Building. Deadlines and steps to graduation are available on the Graduate School website (http://gradschool.utk.edu/CurrentStudents.shtml). Graduate hooding ceremonies are held in fall and spring terms. There is no ceremony in summer term. Summer graduates may participate in the fall graduate hooding ceremony. Students who need 12 hours or fewer to complete a non-thesis program may participate in the spring graduate hooding ceremony.
The master’s degree is evidence of successful completion of a body of course work, advanced understanding, and the ability to apply knowledge within a major field. As part of a master’s degree, and in addition to a final comprehensive examination, a culminating (capstone) experience is expected. Examples of culminating experiences include an advanced seminar, exhibit, independent project, integrated case study or simulation, internship, practicum, recital or thesis. Through this experience, the student will demonstrate skills associated with the particular degree program, such as applied performance, critical analysis, organization and writing.
Master’s degree programs are available with thesis and non-thesis options. These programs require 30 or more graduate hours of course work. In addition to the Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees, other degrees are offered, including the Master of Accountancy, Master of Architecture, Master of Arts in Landscape Architecture, Master of Business Administration, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Landscape Architecture, Master of Mathematics, Master of Music, Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Health, Master of Science in Landscape Architecture, Master of Science in Nursing, and Master of Science in Social Work.
A candidate for a master’s degree must complete a minimum of 30 hours of graduate credit in courses approved by the student’s master’s committee. In thesis programs, 6 semester hours of credit in the major (9-12 in some approved programs) must be earned in course 500 while the student is preparing the thesis. Hours applied to the master’s degree may be entirely from one major subject or may be distributed to include one or two minor areas. In a 30-hour program, the major subject must include at least 12 hours of graduate course work, exclusive of course 500, and a minor must include not fewer than 6, nor more than 12 hours of graduate credit.
At least two-thirds of the minimum required hours in a master’s degree program must be taken in courses numbered at or above the 500 level. Only 6 thesis hours may be counted toward this requirement.
For course work taken at other institutions, refer to section on Transfer Credits.
Second Master’s Degree
For a second master’s degree, the student must have fulfilled all major requirements applicable to the first master’s degree, including the thesis, if appropriate. Course work applied to one master’s degree program may not be applied toward a second.
A committee composed of the major professor and at least two other faculty members, all at the rank of assistant professor or above, should be formed as early as possible in a student’s program, and must be formed by the time a student applies for admission to candidacy (refer to Advisor/Major Professor). The responsibility of this committee is to assist the student in planning a program of study and carrying out research, and to assure fulfillment of the degree requirements. If the student has a minor, one member of the committee must be from the minor department.
Admission to Candidacy
Admission to candidacy indicates agreement that the student has demonstrated ability to do acceptable graduate work and that satisfactory progress has been made toward a degree. This action usually connotes that all prerequisites to admission have been completed and a program of study has been approved.
The application for the master’s degree is made as soon as possible after the student has completed any prerequisite courses and 9 hours of graduate course work with a 3.0 average or higher in all graduate work. The Admission to Candidacy form must be signed by the student’s committee and all courses to be used for the degree must be listed, including transfer course work. The student must submit this form to the Graduate School (111 Student Services Building) no later than the last day of classes of the semester preceding the semester in which he/she plans to graduate.
A student must be registered for course 500 each semester during work on the thesis, including a minimum of 3 hours the semester in which the thesis is accepted by the Graduate School. Six hours of 500 are required for the thesis option. After receiving the master’s degree, a student is no longer permitted to register for Thesis 500.
The thesis represents the culmination of an original research project completed by the student. It must be prepared according to the most recent Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations, available at http://web.utk.edu/~thesis. An electronic copy of the thesis must be accompanied by one approval sheet, signed by the members of the master’s committee. The approval sheet reflects the final format for submission. The approval sheet certifies that the committee members have examined the final copy of the thesis and have found that its form and content are satisfactory.
Final Examination for Thesis and Problems in Lieu of Thesis
A candidate presenting a thesis or problems in lieu of thesis must pass a final comprehensive oral (or oral and written) examination on all work offered for the degree. The examination, which is concerned with course work and the thesis or problems, measures the candidate’s ability to integrate material in the major and related fields, including the work presented in the thesis or problems. The final draft of the thesis must be distributed to all committee members at least two weeks prior to the date of the final examination. Except with prior approval from the Dean of the Graduate School, the examination must be given in university-approved facilities. This examination should be scheduled through the academic department at least two weeks prior to the examination. This examination must be held at least two weeks before the final date for acceptance and approval of thesis by the Graduate School on behalf of the Graduate Council. The major professor must submit the results of the defense by the thesis deadline. In case of failure, the candidate may not apply for reexamination until the following semester. The result of the second examination is final.
Final Examination for Non-Thesis Students
Each non-thesis student must pass a final comprehensive written examination. A department may require an additional oral examination. The examination is not merely a test over course work, but a measure of the student’s ability to integrate material in the major and related fields. Except with prior approval from the Dean of the Graduate School, the examination must be given in university-approved facilities. It should be scheduled through the academic department at least two weeks prior to the examination. Students taking the final examination but not otherwise using university facilities may pay a fee equal to one hour of graduate credit instead of registering. In case of failure, the candidate may not apply for reexamination until the following semester. The result of the second examination is final.
Candidates have six calendar years to complete the degree, starting at the beginning of the semester of the first course counted toward the degree. Students who change degree programs during this six-year period may be granted an extension after review and approval by the Dean of the Graduate School. In any event, courses used toward a master’s degree must have been taken within six calendar years of graduation.
Specialist in Education Degree
The Specialist in Education (EdS) degree is offered with a major in education, educational administration, school counseling, school psychology, and teacher education.
Admission to the Specialist in Education program requires acceptance by the Office of Graduate and International Admissions and review and acceptance by the department or area in which the student is majoring. It is recommended that students who apply for the EdS have at least one year of related work experience. Additional information on admission requirements can be obtained from academic units offering the degree.
The student’s program involves a minimum of four semesters of study totaling not fewer than 60 semester hours of graduate credit beyond the baccalaureate degree. A minimum of 6 hours is required outside the concentration.
A student admitted to the program with a master’s degree, or with acceptable work beyond the master’s degree, may have program requirements modified upon recommendation of the student’s committee. However, no modifications will be permitted in examination and research requirements, or in the minimum 6 graduate hours required outside the concentration.
All prior course work accepted toward the degree must be related to the student’s program objectives. A maximum of 6 hours beyond the master’s degree may be transferred from another institution to a Specialist in Education program (refer to section on Transfer Credits).
Courses numbered at the 400 level required for certification through the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, may not be taken for graduate credit and used as course work in the major. At least one-half of the last 30 semester hours of work, exclusive of thesis courses, must be in 500- or 600-level courses.
Specialist in Education Committee
A committee of at least three faculty members is assigned to each student. A minimum of two members of this committee must represent the unit or major area. Its responsibilities include formulating the student’s program of course work, supervising progress, recommending admission to candidacy, directing research, and coordinating the qualifying and final examinations.
Admission To Candidacy
Admission to Candidacy indicates agreement that the student has demonstrated ability to do acceptable graduate work and that satisfactory progress has been made toward a degree. This action usually connotes that all prerequisites to admission have been completed and a program of study has been approved.
The Admission to Candidacy form must be signed by the student’s committee and all courses to be used for the degree must be listed, including transfer course work. This form is submitted to the Graduate School before the student has completed 15 hours of course work in the Specialist in Education program. A qualifying examination may be required for admission to candidacy if the student has a master’s degree earned six years or more prior to admission to the program. This examination may be written and/or oral.
See the program descriptions of individual departments for list of thesis, problems in lieu of thesis, and non-thesis options. Some departments offer only a thesis program.
In the non-thesis program, a candidate will study research methods and findings and will demonstrate skill in adapting them to professional needs as defined by the major department.
In the thesis program, or problems in lieu of thesis, 6 hours of research credit (518 or 503) must be earned in preparation of an acceptable piece of work. The student must continue to register for thesis or problems while working on the project, including the semester it is accepted by the Graduate School on behalf of the Graduate Council. The thesis must be prepared according to the most recent Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations (http://web.utk.edu/~thesis), and approved by the student’s committee prior to submission to the Graduate School for final approval and acceptance.
A candidate presenting a thesis, or problems in lieu of thesis, must pass an oral examination covering the student’s research and program of study. A non-thesis student must pass a final written, or written and oral examination, on all work offered for the degree. The examination is not merely a test over course work, but a demonstration of the candidate’s ability to integrate materials in the major and related fields. Each examination should be scheduled through the academic department at least two weeks prior to the examination and will be conducted in university-approved facilities by the student’s committee. In case of failure, the candidate may not be reexamined until the following semester. The result of the second examination is final.
Candidates have six calendar years from the time of entry into the last 30 hours of their degree programs to complete the Specialist in Education degree.
For a list of doctoral programs available, see the Graduate Degrees, Majors, and Certificate Programs chart. For specific degree requirements, consult individual program descriptions listed in this catalog.
The doctoral degree is evidence of exceptional scholarly attainment and demonstrated capacity in original investigation. Requirements for the degree, therefore, include courses, examinations, and a period of resident study, as well as arrangements which guarantee sustained, systematic study and superior competency in a particular field.
Program of Study
The student’s program of study is subject to Graduate Council policies and individual program requirements. The program of study as listed by the student on the Admission to Candidacy form must be approved by the doctoral committee. Doctoral programs include a major field or area of concentration and, frequently, one or more cognate fields. Cognate fields are defined as a minimum of 6 semester hours of graduate course work in a given area outside the student’s major field.
A candidate for a doctoral degree must complete a minimum of 24 hours of graduate course work beyond the master’s degree, which is a prerequisite for entry into most doctoral programs. If the doctoral program does not require a master’s degree, the candidate must complete a minimum of 48 hours of graduate course work beyond the baccalaureate degree. A minimum of 12 of the 24 hours, or 30 of the 48 hours, must be graded A-F. A minimum of 6 hours of the student’s course work must be taken in University of Tennessee courses at the 600 level, exclusive of dissertation.
In addition, 24 hours of course 600 Doctoral Research and Dissertation are required (see Registration for Course 600 and Continuous Registration).
For course work taken prior to admission to the doctoral program, refer to section on Transfer Credits.
The major professor directs the student’s dissertation research and chairs the dissertation committee. The student and the major professor identify a doctoral committee composed of at least four faculty members holding the rank of assistant professor or above, three of whom, including the chair, must be approved by the Graduate Council to direct doctoral research. At least one member must be from an academic unit other than that of the student’s major field. Students are encouraged where appropriate to seek a fifth member in the field of specialization from outside the university to serve on their dissertation committee. This committee is nominated by the department head or college dean and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.
A doctoral student should begin to form the committee during the first year of study. Subject to Graduate Council policies and individual program requirements, the committee must approve all course work applied toward the degree, certify the student’s mastery of the major field and any cognate fields, assist the student in conducting research, and recommend the dissertation for approval and acceptance by the Graduate School.
Departments may, at their option, administer diagnostic and/or qualifying examinations in the early stages of the student’s doctoral program. Successful completion of a comprehensive examination and a defense of dissertation is required for all doctoral degrees. Registration is required the term in which examinations are taken.
A student on admission to a doctoral program may be given a written and/or oral diagnostic examination to help determine the student’s level of preparation, areas of strengths and weaknesses, and general background. The diagnostic examination is designed to aid in the selection of courses and to determine the student’s preparation to continue doctoral studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
A written and/or oral qualifying examination may be given near the end of the student’s first year in the doctoral program. Qualifying examinations are designed to test the student’s progress, general knowledge of fundamentals of the field, and fitness to continue with the more specialized aspects of the doctoral program.
The comprehensive examination (or the final part of this examination, when parts are given at different times) is normally taken when the doctoral student has completed all or nearly all prescribed courses. Thus, its successful completion indicates that, in the judgment of the faculty, the doctoral student can think analytically and creatively, has a comprehensive knowledge of the field and the specialty, knows how to use academic resources, and is deemed capable of completing the dissertation. The comprehensive examination must be passed prior to admission to candidacy. A written examination is required, and an oral examination is encouraged.
The faculty of the graduate program and/or the student’s doctoral committee will determine the content, nature, and timing of the comprehensive examination and certify its successful completion. The department or committee may at its discretion subdivide the examination, administering portions of the examination at several times during the student’s course of study. Students should review carefully the written statement from each doctoral degree program which details the timing, areas covered, grading procedures, and provisions for repeating a failed examination.
DEFENSE OF DISSERTATION EXAMINATION
A doctoral candidate must pass an oral examination on the dissertation. The dissertation, in the form approved by the major professor, must be distributed to the committee at least two weeks before the examination. The examination must be scheduled through the Graduate School at least one week prior to the examination and must be conducted in university-approved facilities. The examination is announced publicly and is open to all faculty members. The defense of dissertation will be administered by all members of the doctoral committee after completion of the dissertation and all course requirements. This examination must be passed at least two weeks before the date of submission and acceptance of the dissertation by the Graduate School. The major professor must submit the results of the defense by the dissertation deadline.
Candidates for the Doctor of Philosophy may be required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language in which there exists a significant body of literature relevant to the major field of study. Please refer to the descriptions of individual programs. The doctoral committee will determine the specific language (or languages) required. When the student is prepared to take a language examination, he/she should complete an Application for Doctoral Language Examination (http://gradschool.utk.edu/gradforms.shtml) and submit to the Graduate School in accordance with the dates and times for the examinations published online.
Satisfactory completion (grade of B or better) of German 332 or French 302 may be substituted for a language examination.
Some programs may accept a computer language in lieu of a foreign language.
Residence is defined as full-time registration for a given semester on the campus where the program is located. The summer term is included in this period. During residence, it is expected that the student will be engaged in full-time on-campus study toward a graduate degree.
For the doctoral degree, a minimum of two consecutive semesters of residence is required. Individual doctoral programs may have additional residence requirements.
A statement as to how and during what period of time the residence requirement has been met will be presented with the Application for Admission to Candidacy along with signatures of approval from the major professor and the department head/program director. More information about the rationale for the residence requirement may be obtained from the Graduate Council report available on the Graduate School webpage.
Admission to Candidacy
Admission to candidacy indicates agreement that the student has demonstrated the ability to do acceptable graduate work and that satisfactory progress has been made toward a degree. This action usually connotes that all prerequisites to admission have been completed and a program of study has been approved.
A student may be admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree after passing the comprehensive examination, fulfilling any language requirements (for Doctor of Philosophy), and maintaining at least a B average in all graduate course work. Each student is responsible for filing the admission to candidacy form, which lists all courses to be used for the degree, including courses taken at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, or at another institution prior to admission to the doctoral program, and is signed by the doctoral committee. Admission to candidacy must be applied for and approved by the Graduate School at least one full semester prior to the date the degree is to be conferred.
Registration for Course 600 and Continuous Registration
Course 600 is reserved for doctoral research and dissertation hours. Initial registration for 600 should be determined by each department and generally corresponds to the time at which a student begins work actively on dissertation research. From this time on, students are required to register continuously for at least 3 hours of 600 each semester, including summer term. A minimum total of 24 hours of course 600 is required.
A student who will not be using faculty services and/or university facilities for a period of time may request leaves of absence from dissertation research up to a maximum of six terms (including summer terms). The request, approved by the major professor, will be submitted by the student and filed in the Graduate School.
The dissertation represents the culmination of an original major research project completed by the student. The organization, method of presentation, and subject matter of the dissertation are important in conveying to others the results of such research.
A student should be registered for the number of dissertation hours representing the fraction of effort devoted to this phase of the candidate’s program. An electronic copy of the dissertation (prepared according to the regulations in the most recent Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations, available at http://web.utk.edu/~thesis) must be submitted to and accepted by the Graduate School on behalf of the Graduate Council. Each dissertation must be accompanied by one approval sheet, signed by all members of the doctoral committee. The approval sheet reflects the final format for submission. The approval sheet certifies to The Graduate School that the committee members have examined the final copy and found that its form and content demonstrate scholarly excellence. Doctoral Dissertation Agreement Form, Survey of Earned Doctorates, and Abstract form are also submitted at this time. The student should check with the department head concerning additional required copies of the dissertation.
Comprehensive examinations must be taken within five years, and all requirements must be completed within eight years, from the time of a student’s first enrollment in a doctoral degree program.
FEES AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Residency Classification for the Purpose of Paying University Fees and for Admission Purposes
Initial residency classification is determined by an admissions processor from information included on the University of Tennessee Graduate Application for Admission. Notice of classification is sent at the time the applicant is notified of admission. Students who would like their residency classification reconsidered may submit an appeal to the residency classifier listed at http://registrar.tennessee.edu/. The application for reclassification with supporting documentation must be filed no later than the last day of registration in order to have the reclassification effective for the semester. Classification will be determined and the applicant will be notified by mail. Additional information regarding the State of Tennessee regulations for classification may be found at the Office of the University Registrar website http://registrar.tennessee.edu/.
University fees and other charges are determined by the Board of Trustees and are subject to change without notice. All student fees are due in advance.
All charges and refunds will be made to the nearest even dollar. All charges are subject to subsequent audit and verification. The university reserves the right to correct any error by appropriate additional charges or refunds.
All students must confirm their attendance by making the minimum payment; signing a Confirmation of Attendance form; or setting their Confirmation of Attendance on the web at cpo.utk.edu if no fees are due.
If the student does not owe fees due to a waiver (staff, GA, GTA, GRA, etc.), financial aid including scholarships, or if fees are paid by another source, a signed Confirmation of Attendance Form must be received by the Bursar’s Office or the student must set their confirmation on the web at cpo.utk.edu on or before the due date published on the Bursar’s Office website each semester. The schedule will be canceled if one of the above is not accomplished each term on or before the published due date. This includes graduate assistants, teaching assistants, teaching associates, research assistants, staff and others whose fees may be billed, prepaid, or waived. Late registration fees are applicable to students who register during late registration.
The university is authorized by statute to withhold diplomas, grades, transcripts, and registration privileges from any students until their debts and obligations owed to the university are satisfied.
Part-time students may elect to pay fees computed by the semester hour credit (or audit) at the rates shown on the above website, with the total charge not to exceed the regular maintenance fee for in-state students or the maintenance fee plus tuition for out-of-state students.
All students both in and out-of-state are required to pay the established maintenance fee. In addition, tuition is required of all students who are classified as non-residents for fee assessment purposes.
Each graduate application for admission must be accompanied by a non-refundable fee of $35 before it will be processed [fee not required if (1) former University of Tennessee graduate student; (2) paid to the University of Tennessee Graduate Admissions within the previous 12 months; or (3) paid and attended graduate school within the University of Tennessee System].
If a student applies but does not enter graduate school within twelve months after date of requested admission, the file will be destroyed, and it will be necessary to resubmit the application fee and a new application. This fee is not refundable.
VOLXpress is the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s, centralized accounting system. Students may pay their fees via the mail, in person, or on the web at cpo.utk.edu. The e-VOLXpress statement includes class schedules, current tuition and fees, fee waiver information, fines and past-due amounts, pending financial aid that can be credited toward fees, any excess funds from scholarships and/or loans, and how to receive them. Students receive an e-mail at their University of Tennessee e-mail address indicating their e-VOLXpress statement is available for viewing.
VOLXpress is a convenient method for students to take care of business from home. Students who register and pay early will receive the greatest benefit if the payment deadlines are observed.
Failure to view the e-statement does not relieve the student of their obligation to pay on or before the due date.
University Program and Services Fee
The purpose of the University Programs and Services Fee (UPSF) is to provide non-instructional facilities and programs of an educational, cultural, social, recreational, and service nature for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students. The fee has three components which include program, health, and capital. The health portion of the fee is included only with the payment of the full UPSF (refer to Student Health Insurance and Student Health Services for additional information). Payment of the full University Program and Services fee is required to be eligible to purchase student athletic tickets.
Students enrolled in 9 or more hours are assessed the fulltime University Programs and Services Fee. Students enrolled for less than 9 hours are assessed a pro-rated fee based on the highest number of hours for which the student is enrolled at any time during the semester. The fee is non-refundable.
Graduate teaching, research assistants, teaching associates, and fellowship students must pay the University Programs and Services Fee even if they have a waiver of fees (tuition and/or maintenance).
Any part-time student (minimum of 3 hours) may elect to pay the health portion of the UPSF in addition to the standard prorated assessment. Part-time students enrolled in 6 or more hours may elect to pay the full-time UPSF instead of the standard prorated assessment.
The purpose of the Technology Fee is to provide all students with improved access to the technological infrastructure, resources, and services at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Graduate teaching, research assistants, teaching associates, and fellowship students, who may have a waiver of fees (tuition and/or maintenance), must pay the appropriate Technology Fee.
The Technology Fee is mandatory and may be refunded on the same percentage scale as maintenance and tuition charges.
The Facilities Fee is used to provide students with upgraded classroom facilities, expand information technology into the classroom, and assist in funding a backlog of campus and classroom projects that will enhance the university’s facilities.
The Transportation Fee is a mandatory fee assessed to all students enrolled in credit and audit courses. The fee is used to provide students with a convenient method of movement around campus. The fee will subsidize the costs associated with the new comprehensive campus transit system.
Special Course Fees
Academic areas, such as art, biology, chemistry, engineering, music, and physical education, charge fees for certain courses. Refunds on these fees are determined by the department or on the same percentage as maintenance and tuition.
Master’s Degree Candidates … … … … … … … … .$30
Doctoral Degree Candidates … … … … … … … … .$75
When a graduate student applies for graduation, a graduation fee is charged for each degree to be awarded. The graduation fee is a one-time, non-refundable fee. There are no additional charges for the diploma. Additional or duplicate diplomas may be ordered through the Office of the University Registrar, Graduation office. Contact the Office of the University Registrar for the application and cost of ordering an additional or duplicate diploma.
Fees for Courses Not Taken for Credit
Fees for courses audited are the same as for courses taken for credit. For fee purposes, courses listed for 0 credit hours are considered as 1-hour courses.
Late Registration Fee
Assessed to students who register during Late Registration (including those who were canceled during Priority Registration). Payment of fees or a Confirmation of Attendance form must be turned in to the Bursar’s Office by the Late Registration payment due date. This due date will be published on the Bursar’s Office website. The Late Registration Fee is non-refundable.
See the Bursar’s Office website for the dates and fees to be assessed during Late Registration.
VOLXpress (fee) accounts which have a balance one month prior to the end of a term will be assessed a late fee. The account balance must be paid in order to access registration services, receive a transcript, grades, or a diploma.
Returned Check Fee
All checks are deposited the day they are received. A $30 service charge will be assessed when checks fail to clear the bank on which they are drawn. Returned checks will not be redeposited. Cash or certified funds are required for payment of the returned check and service charges.
Any student who does not respond within two weeks from the date of the first notice may be assessed an additional $10 Service Charge.
Failure to clear returned checks will result in the forfeiture of all university services, including the receipt of grades, transcripts, schedule of classes and check writing services. Failure to pay may also result in additional late fees, collection costs and reasonable attorney fees.
Deferred Payment Fee
Students in good financial standing will be offered a deferment of up to 50% of the total charges on their VOLXpress statement. All financial aid must be applied toward fees before a deferment will be considered. A deferred payment service fee is assessed when any portion of tuition, fees, and other charges are deferred with the approval of the Bursar’s Office. An additional late payment fee will be assessed on each installment not paid on or before the due date. Failure to view a statement online does not relieve students of their obligation to pay on or before the due date. An additional late fee will be assessed if fees are not paid by one month prior to the end of the term.
Refunds are defined as the portion of maintenance and/or tuition and university housing/meal charges due as a rebate when a student withdraws or drops a portion of class hours. Refunds are also processed as a rebate on some fines/penalties paid such as parking fines, library fines, etc. Once a refund is determined to be appropriate, all amounts will be applied toward other outstanding fees/fines owed to the university at the time the refund is issued, including outstanding fees due on the Deferred Payment Plan. Any remaining refund balance will be refunded to the credit card charged or mailed to the student’s billing address.
Refund/Charge of Fees for Withdrawal (Drop All Classes)
After payment of fees and/or a Confirmation of Attendance Form has been submitted by the student, withdrawal for the semester must be by official notification to the Office of the University Registrar, 209 Student Services Building. Failure to attend class does not automatically withdraw or drop a student from college or class.
The effective date of the withdrawal is the date the appropriate withdrawal office is notified by completion of the official withdrawal request form. The appropriate percentage of fees (maintenance and tuition, facility, transportation, and technology fees only) will be charged unless this action is completed by the close of the day before the first official day of classes for the semester. Failure to notify the appropriate withdrawal office promptly when withdrawing could result in a larger fee assessment. Withdrawal does not cancel fees and charges already incurred. All charges and refunds will be made to the nearest even dollar.
The drop/add procedure cannot be used to withdraw from school for the semester. See the Bursar’s Office website for the dates and percentage charges for the semester in question.
Financial Aid Withdrawals (Repayments)
Repayments are defined as the portion of aid, received by a student after university direct charges have been paid by that aid, which must be repaid when a student withdraws or is dismissed. The amount of repayment is determined by the Refund/Charge percentages stated previously.
Refunds and repayment to the Title IV programs are determined according to the formula published in the current Federal Student Financial Aid Handbook. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships is responsible for calculating the amount of the refund and/or repayment and distributing the correct amount back to the financial aid program(s) according to the Refund/Repayment Allocation Policy.
Refund/Charge of Fees for Dropped Courses (Continue with a Reduced Course Load)
Students who drop courses and continue with a reduced load are eligible for a refund only if the sum of charges computed at the semester-hour rate for the hours continued, plus the percentage assessed for the hours dropped, results in an amount less than that paid. A course on a student’s schedule is officially dropped, and the drop becomes effective, on the date the change of registration form is processed or the date the drop was entered on cpo.utk.edu. Any refund due for dropped courses will be made after the drop deadline. See the Bursar’s Office website for the drop charge/percentage refund for the semester in question.
Waiver of Fees
Graduate assistants, teaching assistants and associates, research assistants, staff and others whose fees are billed, prepaid, waived, or partially waived must confirm their attendance by making payment or signing a Confirmation of Attendance Form by the due date as published on the Bursar’s Office website or their schedule will be canceled. If an appointment terminates during the term, the student owes the appropriate fees from the termination date until the end of the term.
Graduate students are not eligible for the University of Tennessee employee spouse/dependent discounts.
Graduate Student Employee Insurance
All graduate assistants, graduate teaching assistants or associates, and/or graduate research assistants who are employed at least 25% FTE will automatically be enrolled in the Graduate Student Employee Insurance Program. These students will have 100% of the premium paid by the university. The health insurance benefit applies to nine-month and twelve-month appointments. These students may elect to add spouse or dependent coverage at their own expense. If students already have insurance coverage through another insurance carrier, this policy functions as additional coverage.
The Student Health Clinic will manage the Graduate Student Employee Health Insurance Program.
Student Health Insurance
The university makes available, by contract with an insurance company, group health insurance expressly for students who do not have a graduate assistantship. The program is designed to supplement the care provided by the campus Student Health Service and provide basic benefits at low group premium rates. Primary emphasis is placed on hospitalization benefits, since in-patient care is not provided on campus. Students not otherwise covered are urged to avail themselves of this or comparable insurance, since paying for hospital care is the student’s responsibility.
Information about the insurance is mailed by the company to the student’s home, and participation is solicited. Enrollment in the plan (or alternative coverage) is mandatory for international students. Students may obtain applications from the Student Health Service. Except for international students, enrollment for insurance is not part of registration for classes. NOTE: The family health insurance policy should be carefully reviewed, since most family policies do not cover a dependent child after a given age, some as early as nineteen.
The VolCard is issued to a new student after admission at the appropriate university level or anytime during the year to all students. The VolCard is used in nearly all aspects of campus life to obtain services. Many students have established debit accounts which are accessed through use of the VolCard ID.
These cards are non-transferable and may not be duplicated. The VolCard must be carried at all times for purposes of identification. Students are responsible for the safekeeping of this card and must immediately report it lost or stolen if the card is not in their possession. Failure to notify the VolCard office will make the student liable for any unauthorized charges to the debit accounts the student may have.
To obtain a new VolCard or replace a lost or stolen card, report to the VolCard Office, Room 472, South Stadium Hall (between gates 12 and 13 at Neyland Stadium) on Stadium Drive or on the web at http://web.utk.edu/~volcard/. There is a minimum charge of $30.00 for replacement of a VolCard.
The University of Tennessee offers several types of financial assistance for which graduate students may apply.
Graduate assistantships, scholarships, traineeships, and some fellowships are offered through many departments and colleges. Information concerning these types of assistance can be obtained from the department in which the student plans to study. All assistantships are governed by the Policy for the Administration of Graduate Assistantships. A student must be enrolled in at least 9 credit hours to be considered full-time for financial aid purposes, even if the student has an assistantship.
Academic Common Market
The Academic Common Market is an agreement among Southern states for sharing unique programs. Participating states can make arrangements for their residents who are fully admitted to specific programs at the University of Tennessee to enroll on an in-state tuition basis if these programs are not available in the state of residence.
Cooperating states in the Academic Common Market are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
Residents of member states who seek further information on approved programs should contact the Southern Regional Educational Board, 592 Tenth Street, N.W., Atlanta, GA 30318-5790, (404) 875-9211, FAX (404) 872-1477, http://www.sreb.org; or Norma Harrington, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, (865) 974-2184.
The Graduate School administers several fellowship programs, including the J. Wallace and Katie Dean Graduate Fellowships and the Herman E. Spivey Graduate Fellowships. These awards are for full-time study at the University of Tennessee and awardees are selected on the basis of high achievement, broad intellectual ability and potential for significant career contributions. Candidates from any field of study may be nominated by the academic program for the J. Wallace and Katie Dean Fellowships. Candidates for graduate study in the humanities may be nominated by the academic program for the Herman E. Spivey Fellowships. Information is available on the Graduate School website http://gradschool.utk.edu/gradfund.shtml.
The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships coordinates the Federal Work Study Program which provides part-time off- and on-campus jobs for U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have demonstrated financial need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A wide range of jobs is available in academic units, administrative offices, and non-profit agencies.
Graduate Student Travel Award
The University Program and Services Fee (UPSF) Graduate Student Travel Award is administered by the Office of the Dean of Students in cooperation with the Graduate Student Senate and the Dean of the Graduate School. Allocations from this fund are utilized to provide travel awards for University of Tennessee graduate students attending professional meetings. The awards are made on the basis of merit, not need, and allow for partial reimbursement of transportation, lodging and registration expenses.
Travel award requests must be filed using the current UPSF Graduate Student Travel Fund application. Applications can be picked up at the Office of the Dean of Students (413 Student Services Building) or downloaded from the GSS website at http://web.utk.edu/~gss. Applications must be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students by the following deadlines.
Students must apply through the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for all loan programs. Loans are limited to U.S. citizens and certain permanent residents. Additional paperwork is required on subsidized/unsubsidized Stafford Loans, including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students must be admitted into a degree program and be enrolled for a minimum of 6 credit hours each semester to receive student loans.
Four types of loan programs are administered by the Financial Aid office.
- Federal Perkins Loan (FAFSA must be on file).
- Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan (FAFSA must be on file).
- Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan (FAFSA must be on file).
- Graduate PLUS Loan (FAFSA must be on file).
- The University of Tennessee Loan.
Processing time varies from one loan program to another. All students receiving financial aid are expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress standards to remain eligible to receive aid. In addition, all students receiving federal financial aid must have a valid social security number. Information on these standards, applications, and additional information are available from the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, 115 Student Services Building.
Veterans, reservists and widows or children of certain deceased or disabled veterans, who have been admitted to a degree program, may apply for benefits by contacting the Veterans Affairs Office in Room 209, Student Services Building.
SPECIAL FEDERAL AND STATE LAWS AND UNIVERSITY POLICIES
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
This act, also known as the Buckley Amendment, gives four basic rights to students.
- The right to review their education records.
- The right to seek to amend their education records.
- The right to limit disclosure of personally identifiable information (directory information).
- The right to notify the Department of Education concerning an academic institution’s failure to comply with FERPA regulations.
FERPA provides for confidentiality of student records; however, it also provides for basic identification of people at the University of Tennessee without the consent of the individual. Release of information to third parties includes directory information, such as contained in the campus telephone book, in the online web-based people directory, and in sports brochures. Directory information includes, but is not limited to, student name, local and permanent address, Net ID, university e-mail address, telephone number, classification, graduate or undergraduate levels, full time or part-time students, college, major, dates of attendance, degrees and awards, the most recent previously attended educational institution, participation in school activities and sports, and height and weight (for special activities). Students are notified of their FERPA rights and the procedures for limiting disclosure of directory information in Hilltopics, at Orientation for new students, and on the website of the University Registrar http://registrar.tennessee.edu/records/privacy.shtml.
Social Security Number Use
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, requires the assignment of a unique student number for internal identification of each student’s record. In December 2004, the university began assigning individual student identification numbers to newly admitted students; new students will no longer use their SSNs to conduct business or access their records. The university is in the process of converting all currently enrolled student records to generated student identification numbers.
Student identification numbers are used for university business only. The university complies with FERPA guidelines when releasing student identification numbers.
Students requiring a correction or change to their student identification numbers or to their Social Security Numbers should contact Student Data Resources at (865) 974-2108.
EEO/Title IX/AA/Section 504 Statement
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status in provision of education programs and services or employment opportunities and benefits. This policy extends to both employment by and admission to the university.
The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or disability in the education programs and activities pursuant to the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.
Inquiries and charges of violation concerning Title VI, Title IX, Section 504, ADA, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), or any of the other above referenced policies should be directed to the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED); 1840 Melrose Avenue; Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-3560; telephone (865) 974- 2498 (TTY available). Requests for accommodation of a disability should be directed to the ADA Coordinator at the Office of Human Resources; 600 Henley Street; Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4125.
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in its efforts to ensure a welcoming environment for all persons, does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in its campus-based programs, services, and activities. Inquiries and complaints should be directed to the Office of Equity and Diversity.
In accordance with the Tennessee College and University Security Information Act of 1989 and the Student Right-To-Know and Campus Security Act (1999 Clery Act), the University of Tennessee has prepared a report containing campus security policies and procedures, data on campus crimes and other related information. The UT Security Brochure for the Knoxville campus is available on the Office of the Dean of Students webpage at http://dos.utk.edu, where you may print the entire document for your use. In addition, a free printed copy of this report may be obtained by any student, employee, or applicant for admission or employment from the Office of the Dean of Students, 413 Student Services Building or at the UT Police Department, 1101 Cumberland Avenue.
Drug-Free Campus and Workplace
In support of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-690) and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989, the University of Tennessee is notifying all students, faculty, and staff of the following university policy approved by the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees on 21 June 1990.
It is the policy of the University of Tennessee to maintain a safe and healthful environment for its students and employees. Therefore, university policy prohibits the unlawful use, manufacture, possession, distribution, or dispensing of drugs (controlled substances as defined in the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S. C.812) and alcohol on university property or during university activities.
Violation of this policy is grounds for disciplinary action – up to and including immediate discharge for an employee and permanent dismissal for a student. Federal and state laws provide additional penalties for such unlawful activities, including fines and imprisonment (21 U.S. C.841 et seq.; T.C.A. 39-17-401 et seq.). Local ordinances also provide various penalties for drug and alcohol-related offenses. The university is bound to take all appropriate actions against violators, which may include referral for legal prosecution or requiring the individual to participate satisfactorily in an approved drug use/alcohol abuse assistance or rehabilitation program.
Individuals who are paid by the University of Tennessee from federal grants or contracts must notify the university of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace within five days after such conviction. The university is, in turn, required to inform the granting or contracting agency of such violation within ten days of the university’s receipt of notification.
Employees and their families needing treatment information should call their local Human Resources Office, Employee Assistance Program, or the State of Tennessee Employee Assistance Program (1-800-308-4934). Students needing treatment information should contact their campus Student Affairs Office, student health center or counseling center.
Aside from any university policy considerations, the use of illicit drugs and/or the abuse of alcohol may be harmful to your health. Some of the health risks associated with such use/abuse are described below.
Alcohol Abuse Health Risks
- Liver damage – cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis.
- Heart disease – enlarged heart, congestive heart failure.
- Ulcers and gastritis.
- Cancer – of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, liver.
- Brain damage – memory loss, hallucinations, psychosis.
- Damage to fetus if pregnant mother drinks.
- Death – 50% of fatal auto accidents involve alcohol; 31% of suicides are alcoholics.
Drug Use Health Risks
- Overdosing – psychosis, convulsions, coma, death.
- Long-term use – organ damage, mental illness, malnutrition, death.
- Casual use – heart attack, stroke, brain damage, death.
- Needles – infections, hepatitis, AIDS, death.
- If a pregnant mother uses drugs, her baby can be born addicted or dead.
POLICY FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF GRADUATE ASSISTANTSHIPS
Programs of graduate study are designed to transform the individual from student to knowledgeable practitioner or professional scholar. When a graduate assistantship is well conceived and executed, it serves as an ideal instrument to facilitate the desired transformation. The primary goal of an assistantship, then, is to facilitate progress toward the graduate degree. While the student assistant makes progress toward an advanced degree, he or she also receives work experience in a profession under the supervision of a faculty mentor.
The graduate assistant is both student and employee. As a student, the graduate assistant is expected to perform well academically to retain the assistantship. He or she is to be counseled and evaluated regularly by a faculty mentor so as to develop professional skills. As an employee, the graduate assistant is expected to meet teaching, research, and/or administrative obligations. He or she is to work under the supervision of experienced faculty and receive in-service training. In sum, the graduate assistant receives financial support for graduate study by contributing to the teaching and/or research mission of the university. The totality of responsibility may be greater than that required of other students or staff members, but the opportunities for professional development also are greater for the graduate assistant.
– Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools
An assistantship is a financial award to a graduate student for part-time work in teaching, administration or research while pursuing study toward an advanced degree. Appointments are normally on a one-fourth to one-half time basis, and the annual stipend is payable in either nine or twelve monthly installments. In addition to the stipend, Graduate Teaching Assistants, Graduate Teaching Associates, Graduate Assistants, and Graduate Research Assistants are entitled to a waiver of fees for the period of appointment in accordance with university policy. University fees include a maintenance fee (required of all students), tuition (additional for out-of-state students), a program and services fee, and a technology fee. The waiver of fees for assistantships applies to maintenance and tuition fees only; it does not include the program and services fee, the technology fee, the facilities fee, or the transportation fee. For Graduate Research Assistants the maintenance fee is paid by the granting agency and is in addition to the stipend paid.
Maintenance fees and tuition waivers apply to appointments at a one-fourth time basis or higher.
In this document when graduate assistant is not capitalized (except in headings), reference is to all four types of assistantships at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Types of Assistantships
It is imperative that each department adheres to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Faculty Handbook’s four categories of assistantships. All departmental guidelines should reflect the descriptions provided in the Handbook.
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Graduate teaching assistants work under the direct supervision of regular faculty members and may be assigned only to duties related directly to instruction. These include such activities as assisting in the preparation of lectures, leading discussion sections, conducting laboratory exercises, grading papers and keeping class records. Assistants may not be given primary teaching and/or evaluation responsibilities nor should they be given duties to support faculty research or those basically clerical in nature.
In consultation with the supervisor, the teaching assistant works to gain teaching skills and an increased understanding of the discipline.
Graduate Teaching Associate
Graduate Teaching Associates are advanced graduate students who have been given primary responsibility for teaching undergraduate courses, including the assignment of final grades. No other category of graduate assistant may be so charged. Associates may not be assigned primary responsibilities for teaching and student assessment in courses approved for graduate credit. Associates must have met the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) 18-hour requirement.
Graduate Assistants are appointed to perform various types of duties other than those related directly to teaching or research. Most commonly, these duties relate to supervisory or administrative functions of the university.
Graduate Research Assistant
Graduate Research Assistants perform duties in support of university research, which may or may not relate directly to the students’ thesis/dissertation. A student appointed as a GRA works under the direct supervision of his/her major professor. Research assistantships may be financed through funds from gifts, grants, contracts, state appropriations designated for research, or the university’s internally sponsored programs. Department heads are responsible for assuring that GRAs receive ample opportunities to make continuing progress toward their degrees.
Work Assignments and Related Factors
To utilize the four categories of assistantships, the following provisions should be observed.
- Work assignments for each type of assistantship should be as specific as possible and should be developed to reflect both the needs of the department and each graduate assistant’s obligation to make satisfactory progress in his/her program. Therefore, to the extent possible an assignment should appropriately reflect teaching hours, office hours, hours to be spent performing research or other specified tasks. Such specifications should be provided in writing at the time the offer is made.
In situations where the work assignment cannot be specifically described or must be changed from an initial assignment, the graduate assistant should clearly be informed before agreeing to, or continuing in, the assignment.
An important part of each graduate assistant’s work assignment is the fostering of professional development. Such development plus variations in departmental needs may result in differences in number of hours per week for carrying out assignments.
Thus, weekly work assignments, when specified, are done so in terms of averages. For a one-fourth time appointment, the graduate assistant’s normal work time should not exceed 10 hours per week. For a one-half time appointment, the average number of hours should not exceed 20 hours per week. Appointments exceeding 50% must have prior approval of the Dean of the Graduate School, excluding summer term. The normal number of hours for conducting an assignment should be mutually understood by the graduate assistant and immediate supervisor. For percentage efforts not covered by those appointments above, the normal work time per week will be prorated.
- A one-half time graduate assistant in each of the four categories of assistantships normally should enroll for 6-11 semester hours of course work. A one-fourth time graduate assistant in each of the four categories of assistantships normally should take 9-13 semester hours. Exceptions to the above must have prior approval of the Head of the student’s academic home unit. A student on a one-half time assistantship who takes at least six semester hours will be considered full-time.
The student’s academic home unit is responsible for implementing these policies, regardless of the assignment or responsible account. It is therefore essential that the home unit be notified by any other unit employing the student of any assistantship awarded at the time of its initiation or renewal.
The maximum number of years that a graduate student can be appointed to a 25% or more assistantship is three years as a master’s student, five years as a doctoral student, or eight years in doctoral programs in which students enter with a baccalaureate degree only. Departments or programs may impose stricter limits. Requests for an extension beyond the maximum terms here specified must be made in writing by the academic unit to the Dean of the Graduate School. Established time limits for completion of graduate programs – six years for a master’s program and eight years for a doctoral program – also apply to all graduate assistants.
Qualifications of Graduate Assistants
Graduate assistants must be currently enrolled in graduate study (as fully-admitted degree-seeking students, non-degree students, or transient graduate students). The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) 18-hour requirement must also be met.
Regulations specifically addressing the 18-hour requirement are excerpted from Section 4.8.4 of the SACS publication, Criteria for Accreditation, (Atlanta, 1996, p. 50) and read as follows:
[Graduate teaching associates] who have primary responsibility for teaching a course for credit and/or for assigning final grades for such a course, and whose professional and scholarly preparation does not satisfy the provisions of Section 4.8.2 [which relate to exceptions] must have earned at least 18 graduate semester hours in their teaching discipline, be under the direct supervision of a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, receive regular in-service training, and be evaluated regularly.
The above requirements do not apply to graduate teaching assistants engaged in assignments such as assisting in laboratory sessions, teaching physical education activities, attending or helping prepare lectures, grading papers, keeping class records, and conducting discussion groups.
Implementation of the SACS 18-Hour Requirement at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
The appropriate department head has responsibility for certifying that the 18-hour requirement is met either through course work or by documentation that the graduate assistant meets the requirement as an exception (e.g., experience in the performing arts). The dean and department head must sign the appropriate form (APR FORM 1-89) that is attached to the PIF form. This is forwarded to the Office of Human Resource Management. Exceptions should be noted on this form, but a memo and appropriate documentation should be forwarded to the Graduate School, 111 Student Services Building.
Competency in English
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, requires all who teach to be competent in spoken English. The specific policy, as it relates to graduate students who teach, is as follows: Since a certain level of competency with English as a spoken language is necessary for effective communication and teaching, all Graduate Teaching Assistants and Graduate Teaching Associates whose first language is not English are required to demonstrate an appropriate level of comprehensibility for classroom teaching by taking the SPEAK Test administered through the Graduate School. The Test of Spoken English (TSE) may be taken in lieu of the SPEAK Test. The results of this test will be communicated to the appropriate department to be used in determining the nature and extent of instructional or other duties assigned the Graduate Teaching Assistants or Graduate Teaching Associates. Suggested modes of remediation will be given to the department and graduate student when appropriate.
New international students who have been offered an appointment as Graduate Teaching Assistant or Graduate Teaching Associate will take the SPEAK test after their arrival at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the results of the test will be used to determine the nature of their assignment. The student who has already taken the TSE and received acceptable scores may be excused from the requirement of taking the SPEAK test.
Validation of competence in communicating with students in English is required for all who are responsible for working with students. Deans, department heads, and directors are responsible for validating such competence, using the appropriate university form (APR FORM 1-89).
Rights/Responsibilities of Graduate Assistants
As specified in the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual (Section 100 105-Pr3, p 2), “A student employee is one whose primary function is that of enrollment in an academic program.” Thus, first priority of all graduate assistants must be satisfactory progress in their scholastic program. At the same time, acceptance of an assistantship is predicated on the belief that satisfactory progress can be concurrently achieved in work assignments and scholastic programs. Collaborative efforts between graduate assistants and their supervisors should be focused on the goal of satisfactory performance in both these areas.
In cases where graduate assistants feel that they have a legitimate complaint about any aspect of carrying out their assignments (work hours, duties assigned, pay, work conditions, etc.), they have a right to pursue all established channels to resolve the conflict. In the order that follows, the student should speak to his/her immediate supervisor, the appropriate department head, the appeals committees in the home unit or college, and the dean of the college/school involved. If the student feels that a resolution should be sought beyond the department/college level, the Dean of the Graduate School should be contacted. Established procedures outlined in the Graduate Council Appeals Procedure and/or Hilltopics will be followed.
Graduate assistants’ benefits as employees of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in addition to fee waivers as explained elsewhere, include workers’ compensation as defined in the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual under employees’ status. The specific wording reads, “Employees so designated [as student employees] receive no benefits other than statutorily required payments which include Workers’ Compensation” (Section 100 105-Pr2-3).
Graduate student assistantship appointments (Graduate Assistants, Graduate Teaching Assistants, Graduate Teaching Associates and Graduate Research Assistants) are of two types: academic year and twelve month or other. Students on academic year appointments for the fall and spring terms receive 12 equal monthly payments for the nine months of service and a waiver of fees for three terms (including the summer). Students appointed to an academic year appointment beginning in the spring term have the option of receiving seven equal monthly payments for the January-July period or six equal payments for the February-July period. In both cases a fee waiver is provided for spring and summer terms. Graduate students on academic year appointments have no assistantship responsibilities in the summer term. Students appointed to 12 month or other appointments receive equal monthly payments for the months of the appointments and have assistantship responsibilities for the full period of the appointment. For these appointments a waiver of fees is provided only for those terms included within the appointments (i.e., a waiver of fees for the summer term requires an appointment which encompasses the summer term in its entirety.) In some situations, a graduate assistant may be appointed for a period shorter than a year (e.g., a semester).
Graduate assistants who are performing satisfactorily are normally reappointed up to the maximum time limit as stated below. In situations where the demands of the department do not call for a job to be continued, reappointment may not be made. In cases where a department has a rotational plan for assistantships, graduate assistants likewise may not be reappointed.
In all cases of appointment and reappointment, the supervisor is responsible for notifying the graduate assistant as early as possible. When an assistantship is not to be renewed, the graduate student should be notified in advance. In most cases, this notice must be given no later than one month prior to the end of the appointment. Specific reasons for not renewing the contract should be given (e.g., discontinuation of the program or grant, significant neglect of duty, unsatisfactory academic performance or progress toward a degree, non-compliance with university policies, etc.). In cases where an assistantship is for one year only, the student should be told this at the time of appointment. In some circumstances, graduate assistants may be given a conditional appointment such as an appointment in which funding of a grant is pending.
As students, graduate assistants’ rights and responsibilities are defined in the Faculty Handbook section on Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Student Rights and Responsibilities section of Hilltopics. Additional rights and responsibilities of graduate students are found on the student’s copy of the admission status form.
Evaluation/Supervision of Graduate Assistants
Departments employing graduate assistants will conduct an annual evaluation of each assistant. The results of the evaluation are made available to the assistant and placed in the student’s academic file. Appropriate follow-up also should occur. The evaluation, review with the assistant, and follow-up should focus not only on assistant-related work being done but should be preparatory for future employment, thus providing professional growth. In most cases, a graduate assistant’s supervisor shares results of the evaluation with the assistant and takes appropriate follow-up action.
In cases where corrective measures must be taken to remediate deficiencies, the graduate assistant should be notified in writing of recommended action to solve the problem(s). Situations leading to dismissal for cause must be described in writing to the assistant being dismissed. This letter should be written by the supervisor with a copy to the department head. In cases where the assistant feels that university-related factors (facilities, working conditions, improper supervision, etc.) have had negative effects on specific aspects of job performance, a letter to the supervisor would be appropriate.
The immediate supervisor for each graduate assistant is to be identified as early as possible, usually no later than four weeks prior to the commencement of the assistantship. If there will be more than one supervisor per graduate assistant, the specific tasks to be performed for each and the role each supervisor will play (e.g., which one will initiate the evaluation process) should be identified.
The chain of command within each department should be clearly indicated to graduate assistants. Thus, each graduate assistant should know that the immediate supervisor is the person to whom first contact is to be made in job related questions/directions; followed in turn by a general departmental/school/college supervisor of graduate assistants (where one exists), the appropriate project director, department head, dean of the college, and the Dean of the Graduate School.
Orientation/Training of Graduate Teaching Assistants and Graduate Teaching Associates
There must be a thorough, systematic plan of orientation and training of all graduate teaching assistants and graduate teaching associates. Such orientation and training may be done at either the department, college, or university level. It is the responsibility of each supervisor to see that his/her graduate assistant is provided appropriate orientation/training.
There are several kinds of training that should occur beyond the initial orientation/training. Such training is usually specific to a particular job function. The Graduate School provides a seminar for Graduate Teaching Assistants and Graduate Teaching Associates who will be teaching at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Special programs are offered for international GTAs. Supervisors of GTAs are responsible for notifying them about departmental and college policies on attendance at these programs.
Orientation/Training of Graduate Assistants and Graduate Research Assistants
Graduate Assistants and Graduate Research Assistants must also participate in a thorough, systematic orientation and training program. This training is usually at the department or college level, but the Office of Research at the university level is available to assist with programs designed to help train the Graduate Research Assistant in various aspects of the job to be done.
One type of specialized training is on-the-job. Graduate Assistants who work in laboratories may receive initial orientation, followed by work experiences which constitute training. In such instances, the on-the-job training period should be clearly known by the student assistant.
Accepting/Declining An Assistantship
The University of Tennessee adheres to the following Resolution by the Council of Graduate Schools.
Acceptance of an offer of financial support (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor. In that context, the conditions affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties.
Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this Resolution. In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15, and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer. It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer.