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College of Graduate Studies

 Overview

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

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

The College of Graduate Studies houses several interdisciplinary graduate programs: Conservation Biology PSM; 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 Administration

Interim Vice Provost and Dean Mubarak Shah
Associate Dean Jana Jasinski
Associate Dean and Director of Interdisciplinary Graduate Education John Weishampel
Assistant Dean Tracy R. Jones
Director, Communications Debra Winter
Director, Graduate Financial Assistance Jennifer Parham

Office of Graduate Admissions 

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

Office of Student Services and Graduation 

The Office of Student Services and Graduation processes all transactions that affect a student after initial admission through final degree completion. In regards to enrollment, the Student Services area reviews student and administrative requests for late adds/drops/withdrawals, medical withdrawals and residency reclassification. In addition, this area is responsible for maintaining the requirements built in the advisement module and for processing all exceptions. Students’ academic records are updated by processing grade changes, changes in student program status, transfer work, course substitutions and waivers. 

At the end of each term, the office reviews students’ academic progress. This review includes moving students forward in good standing, entering Thesis/Dissertation students into candidacy status, as well as processing probation and dismissals. The Student Services area assists with the approval of thesis/ dissertation committee membership. It also helps organize the program review that is led by the Graduate Council, which consists of evaluating each graduate-level program on a rotating basis to help maintain the quality of our graduate programs.

In regards to Graduation, commencement organization and degree certification is also conducted in this office. On average, the graduation team certifies approximately 2,300 master’s degrees, 300 doctoral degrees, and 300 graduate certificates annually. Once all degrees and certificates are conferred and certified, the team is responsible for the direct mailing of all diplomas and certificates each term.

Office of Communications

The Communications team supports the delivery of our graduate services and information to graduate students and programs, prospective students and the broader university community.This office is responsible for College of Graduate Studies websites and publications, event planning and promotion, thesis and dissertation format reviews and final submission, the Graduate Student Center, the Pathways to Success workshops program, and tracking of alumni outcomes and job placements through social media.

Office of Graduate Financial Assistance

Graduate Financial Assistance assists students in applying for fellowships and in identifying other sources of financial support for graduate study. This office also oversees graduate tuition support, health insurance, and graduate fellowships, and the processing of graduate assistantship agreements and assessments.

 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 3.10.5 of the Faculty Senate Constitution at http://www.facultysenate.ucf.edu/constitution/index.asp.

 College Graduate Coordinators

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

  • College of Arts and Humanities—Lynn Hepner
  • College of Business Administration—Dr. Taylor Ellis
  • College of Education—Dr. Rosemarye Taylor
  • College of Engineering and Computer Science—Dr. Mostafa Bassiouni and Dr. Charles Reilly
  • College of Health and Public Affairs—Dr. Ross Wolf
  • College of Medicine—Dr. Saleh Nasser 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. Teresa Dorman
  • Modeling and Simulation—Dr. Peter Kincaid and Dr. Paul Weigand 

 Graduate Program Directors

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

PROFESSIONAL SCIENCE MASTER'S

The Professional Science Master's (PSM) movement in the United States began in 1997, and there are now more than 300 programs at over 125 universities. Professional Science Master’s programs are science-based professional degrees that prepare students for positions outside academia (i.e., private sector, government, and nonprofit agencies). These programs provide both technical  and professional skills (i.e., business, policy, communication, leadership) necessary to be effective employees from the first day on the job.

The degree was developed from the realization that bachelor’s level education is often not enough for a science career in today’s increasingly technical workplace. PSM graduates can become program managers, project scientists, or technology innovators. They are also uniquely qualified to be technology translators – taking new discoveries and moving them to new products, processes, and innovations.

For more information on PSM in the United States, see www.sciencemasters.com.

Benefits to Students:

  • Innovative degree aimed to fit current needs in the job market
  • Internship that provides networking and real-world work experience
  • Opportunity to combine a background in science with other strengths and interests
  • Accommodation available for working professionals

If you are interested in applying to a Professional Science Master’s program, please review the program’s catalog information (see links below) and apply.

Benefits to Employers:

  • Internship provides a cost-effective way to “try out” a potential employee
  • Graduates are educated to be innovative problem solvers and excellent communicators
  • Employees ready to contribute to the company from day one

If you are interested in hosting an intern, being a member of an advisory board, or otherwise being involved with the growth of the UCF PSM programs, please contact us at GradPSM@ucf.edu.

The University of Central Florida has six PSM programs:

Health Care Informatics – a 16-month program, mostly online, designed specifically for working professionals who would like to advance or transition to this new and exciting field. Graduates of this program design the databases and coding that are used in the healthcare industry.

Modeling and Simulation – a two-year program designed for either those who would like to start a career in simulation or who are employed in the simulation industry and would like to advance their skills. This program provides the fundamentals of modeling and simulation and has applications for many fields.

Biotechnology – a two-year, on-campus program that prepares students for work in the growing Biotechnology industry. Students gain skills in techniques used in biotechnology and knowledge of the policy and regulatory information necessary for drug development.

Conservation Biology – a two-year, on-campus program designed for those who are passionate about environmental issues and plan to work in government or nonprofit agencies that support responsible growth and resource management and a sustainable environment. Policy, regulatory, economic and other considerations are included in the professional content of this program.

Professional Engineering Management – a two-year industrial engineering program focused on effective decision-making in engineering and technological organizations. Online courses are available.

Nanotechnology  – a two-year program that provides students with scientific education in nanotechnology and professional training in business and technology entrepreneurship. The program prepares students with necessary skills for seeking employment in nanotechnology-oriented businesses and entities involved in research, product development and commercialization. 

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 advisors 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 advisor 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 the employ of the university:

  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 advisors 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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