College of Graduate Studies

 Overview

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

Working in conjunction with the Faculty Senate Committees and the college and graduate program coordinators, the College of Graduate Studies is responsible for developing university-wide graduate plans and policies, coordinating graduate activities, distributing tuition support and fellowships to the colleges, facilitating the adoption of new graduate programs, coordinating the recruitment of graduate applicants, and admitting graduate students to the university. Students apply to the university through the Office of Graduate Admissions. Admission decisions are made by the graduate program directors and the College of Graduate Studies.

The College of Graduate Studies houses several interdisciplinary graduate programs: Geographic Information Systems Graduate Certificate; Interdisciplinary Studies MA and MS; Modeling and Simulation PhD, MS and Graduate Certificate; and Nanotechnology MS and PSM. 

 Mission Statement

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

About Our Mission

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

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

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

 College of Graduate Studies leadership

Vice President for Research and Dean of the College of Graduate Studies      Elizabeth Klonoff
Senior Associate Dean John Weishampel
Associate Dean Devon Jensen
Assistant Dean Tracy Jones

 Graduate Council

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

 College Graduate Coordinators

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

  • College of Arts and Humanities—Lynn Hepner
  • College of Business Administration—Dr. Taylor Ellis
  • College of Education—Dr. Jesse P. Mendez
  • College of Engineering and Computer Science—Dr. Mostafa Bassiouni 
  • College of Health and Public Affairs—Dr. Ross Wolf
  • College of Medicine—Dr. Saleh Naser and Dr. Steve Ebert
  • College of Nursing—Dr. Susan Chase
  • Rosen College of Hospitality Management—Dr. Alan Fyall
  • College of Optics and Photonics—Dr. David Hagan
  • College of Sciences—Dr. Jana Jasinski
  • Modeling and Simulation—Dr. Joseph LaViola, Jr. 

Graduate Program Directors

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

Graduate Faculty and Graduate Faculty Scholars

University-Wide Qualifications for Participation in Graduate Education

Graduate education requires the participation of highly competent faculty who are willing to share their specialized skills and knowledge with graduate students. Graduate faculty teach graduate courses, serve as members of thesis and dissertation committees, and serve as faculty advisers for thesis and dissertation students and chairs of thesis and dissertation committees. The following guidelines outline the minimal credentials necessary for faculty to serve the many different roles they play in graduate education. Programs may set higher qualification standards or additional requirements. As the university is committed to encouraging, facilitating and rewarding interdisciplinary, multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary educational and scholarly activities, service of faculty and staff members in more than one department, school, center/institute, or college is encouraged as a way to further this objective.

Faculty engaged in graduate education must possess either a terminal academic degree in, or closely related to, the discipline in which they are teaching, or expertise in a field related to the topic of the thesis or dissertation, if serving on a thesis or dissertation committee. Substitution for the terminal degree may be granted with documented relevant exceptional experience and scholarly or creative activity when recommended by the graduate program committee and approved by the department chair/unit director. No graduate student at UCF may teach UCF graduate courses as the instructor of record.

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

Members of the Graduate Faculty cannot have personal or financial (including employment) arrangements that may pose a conflict of interest with a student on whose thesis or dissertation committee they serve.

This policy has five major sections:

  • Section A defines the terms describing the roles played by faculty in graduate education.
  • Section B establishes the role of the graduate program committees in the process of appointing Graduate Faculty and Graduate Faculty Scholars.
  • Section C establishes the roles and qualifications for appointment as Graduate Faculty and Graduate Faculty Scholars.
  • Section D establishes procedures for review, renewal and termination of appointments to the Graduate Faculty.
  • Section E establishes the responsibilities for the various members of dissertation committees.
A.1: Faculty Roles in Graduate Education

Faculty involved in graduate education comprise members of the Graduate Faculty (Sections C.1-C.2) and Graduate Faculty Scholars (Section C.3). These faculty may be eligible to assume the following roles as part of their involvement in graduate education at UCF:

  • Instructor of record for graduate-level courses (graduate teaching)
  • Member of a thesis or dissertation committee
  • Chair of a thesis or dissertation committee: In the vast majority of cases, the chair is the adviser of the scholarly activities of the student. A chair of a thesis or dissertation committee also oversees all of the administrative functions of the committee. A Graduate Faculty Scholar is not eligible to serve as a chair of a thesis or dissertation committee.
  • Co-chair of a thesis or dissertation committee:  A co-chair is a member of a thesis or dissertation committee who shares with the chair in the scholarly advisory activities of the student. In cases in which a Graduate Faculty Scholar oversees the day-to-day scholarly activities of the student, the Graduate Faculty Scholar may be appointed as a co-chair of the thesis or dissertation committee.
  • Vice-chair of a thesis or dissertation committee:  A vice-chair serves as a voice of experience in thesis and dissertation committees. A vice-chair must be appointed to committees in which the chair has no prior experience serving on thesis or dissertation committees. To be appointed as a vice-chair, the committee member must have prior experience serving on at least one thesis or dissertation committee that has successfully graduated a student.

Descriptions of the responsibilities of members and chairs of dissertation committees are detailed in Section E.

B.1:  Graduate Program Committees

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

B.2: Qualifications for Serving on Graduate Program Committees

Tenured, tenure-earning or ranked faculty who are members of the Graduate Faculty may serve on graduate program committees. The graduate program director will be the chair of the graduate program committee.

C.1: The Graduate Faculty

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

Special graduate faculty nominations may be made to the Graduate Council at the discretion of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

All graduate faculty are eligible to teach graduate courses, serve as members of thesis and dissertation committees, and serve as chairs or co-chairs of master’s thesis committees.

C.2: Eligibility Criteria for Service as Chairs of Thesis and Dissertation Committees

All chairs and co-chairs must be approved by the graduate program committee of the student’s program. Graduate program committees may specify additional guidelines for service as a chair or co-chair of thesis or dissertation committees.

Scholarly currency requirement to serve as a chair of a dissertation committee:  For graduate faculty members to serve as a chair or co-chair of a dissertation committee, they must demonstrate significant current involvement in scholarly research or creative productivity. Scholarship and creative activity are evidenced and recognized through publications, presentations, performances, exhibits, awards and competitions. Other considerations include a continuing fulfillment of professional obligations through, for example, manuscript review, journal editorship, and national advisory and review panels. The criteria for scholarly currency are to be established by each graduate program and approved by the department chair/unit director. The criteria must be submitted to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies prior to nominations for graduate faculty appointments and updated for the reappointment process.

Required thesis or dissertation committee experience:  Graduate faculty who have not served as a member of a thesis or dissertation committee to completion may serve as the chair of a thesis or dissertation committee, but must have a vice-chair appointed to the committee who has previously served as a member of a thesis or dissertation committee to completion.

C.3: Graduate Faculty Scholars

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

The appointment of graduate faculty scholars begins with a nomination by the graduate program committee that is relevant to the graduate education duties of the individual. The nomination must then be approved by the department chair/unit director for review and appointment by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Graduate faculty scholars may be designated as “Teaching-Only” if their responsibilities will be restricted solely to teaching graduate courses.

Graduate faculty scholars may serve as members of thesis or dissertation committees for the purpose of bringing specific disciplinary knowledge to the committee. In instances deemed appropriate by the graduate program committee, graduate faculty scholars may also serve as co-chairs or vice chairs of thesis and dissertation committees, but may not serve as chairs of these committees. Graduate faculty scholars serving on thesis and dissertation committees, either as members or co-chairs, must have documented evidence of exceptional relevant experience and/or scholarly or creative productivity, as determined by the graduate program committee.

It is expected that graduate faculty scholars will attend the various committee meetings associated with serving as a member of a thesis or dissertation committee.

D.1: Graduate Faculty Reappointments

Individual qualifications for reappointment as a graduate faculty member will be re-evaluated by the Program Review Committee of the Graduate Council. Reappointment evaluations will be conducted at the time of the periodic university program review, or sooner, as deemed appropriate by the graduate program committee or at the request of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. At that time, individuals must re-submit their current credentials to the Program Review Committee of the Graduate Council if they wish to have their appointment renewed. Qualifications will be based upon accomplishments since the last program review and the criteria established by the nominating graduate program.

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

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

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

In the event that a chair of a thesis or dissertation committee leaves UCF:

  1. With the approval of the graduate program committee, a chair of a thesis or dissertation committee who leaves UCF may continue to serve as chair and supervise the thesis or dissertation for one calendar year after leaving.
  2. If one calendar year has passed since the faculty member left UCF and the advisee has not yet completed the degree requirements, the departed faculty member may continue to serve as co-chair of the thesis or dissertation committee as a graduate faculty scholar, with approval of the graduate program committee; however, a new chair from the student’s department (or college, if a college-wide program) shall be designated.
D.4.1: Faculty Emeriti

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

D.4.2: Retired Faculty

Graduate faculty who retire may continue to play roles in graduate education at UCF if they are nominated by a graduate program committee for appointment as a graduate faculty scholar. In this capacity, they may continue service on thesis or dissertation committees as a member or co-chair for a designated period of time, as approved by the graduate program committee.

E.1: Responsibilities of Members of Dissertation Committees
  1. To meet at regular intervals at least once per year to: (i) discuss and approve the proposed dissertation research and the plans for carrying out the research; and (ii) to assess progress towards the dissertation and give the student a yearly letter of evaluation in addition to S/U grades awarded for 7980 courses.
  2. To review iThenticate results from dissertation submittals.
  3. To participate in the candidacy and/or dissertation prospectus examination.
  4. To participate in the dissertation defense to assure: (i) that the dissertation is acceptable as original research and a contribution to the discipline; and (ii) that it meets the standards of the University.
E.2: Responsibilities of the Chair (and co-Chair) of Dissertation Committees
  1. In cooperation with the program director, to review the program of study, the research, and all other degree requirements by meeting with the student early in the program and immediately after appointment as chair/co-chair.
  2. To suggest to the student possible committee members who could serve on the dissertation committee.
  3. To establish timelines for the research, set expectations, and evaluate the student progress based upon these.
  4. To meet at regular intervals with the student to discuss the proposed dissertation research and the plans for carrying out research.
  5. To review in a timely manner all written materials submitted by the student and offer suggested revisions.
  6. To meet at least once per year with the student and the dissertation committee to assess progress toward the dissertation and give the student an annual review in addition to the S/U grades awarded for 7980 courses. The chair shall send the annual review to the program director after consultation with the dissertation committee.
  7. To coordinate the ongoing efforts of the committee as its chair, and to participate fully in the responsibilities of the committee members as a member of the dissertation committee.
  8. To chair the candidacy and/or dissertation prospectus examinations.
  9. To be physically present and chair the dissertation defense, ensure its proper conduct as described above, and submit to the program director for the student’s records all necessary grades, forms and other materials.
  10. In disciplines where funding is essential to the success of the thesis or dissertation work, to acquire funds (and appropriate facilities) sufficient to support the research of the student.
E.3: Responsibilities of the External Committee Member of a Dissertation Committee
  1. External committee membership will entail the full responsibilities of other committee membership as specified in section E.1 above, including being present at the final defense.
  2. External committee members should bring specific disciplinary knowledge or research expertise to the committee.
  3. External committee members may be appointed from outside of the university or outside of the college (if the committee is for a college-wide program). The external committee member may not be affiliated in any way with the department of the committee, such as through joint or secondary joint appointments.
  4. Graduate faculty scholars are external members.
E.4: Dissertation Committee Procedures
  1. For on-campus defenses, no fewer than four faculty members, including all members of the dissertation committee, shall be in attendance with the student during the dissertation defense, and at least half of the committee must be physically present.
  2. Graduate programs may elect to offer the option of a virtual dissertation defense (student off-campus defense) upon approval of the graduate program director, the department, and the college. If the student defends virtually, at minimum the dissertation committee chair will be present at the campus location of the public defense. No fewer than four faculty members, including all members of the dissertation committee, shall be in attendance during the dissertation defense.
  3. Only members of the dissertation committee may sign the dissertation, and a majority must approve the dissertation.
F.1: Exceptions

Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Vice Provost and Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

 



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