The Graduate School

Handbook of Operating Procedures 9-1240

The Graduate School

University of Texas SealEffective May 22, 2019
Executive Sponsor: Dean of the Graduate School and Senior Vice Provost for Academic AffairsPolicy Owner: Assistant Dean of the Graduate School
I. Policy Statement 

The University of Texas at Austin ("University") is authorized to offer graduate degrees and to have a Graduate School under The University of Texas System ("UT System") Board of Regents' Rule 40311.

 

II. Reason for Policy 

To set out administrative and academic policies that apply to the Graduate School at the University, including the duties of the vice provost and dean of Graduate Studies.

III. Scope & Audience 

This policy applies to all employees and graduate students.

IV. Definitions (specific to this policy) 
None
V. Website (for policy) 
https://policies.utexas.edu/policies/hop/9-1240
VI. Contacts 
Contact Details Web
Office of the Executive Vice President and ProvostPhone:512-471-4363 Website:
VII. Responsibilities & Procedures 
  1. Administration

The dean of the Graduate School and senior vice provost for academic affairs ("dean of the Graduate School") reports directly to the executive vice president and provost ("EVPP") in matters relating to the graduate program. The dean of the Graduate School shall have primary responsibility for the overall quality and vitality of graduate studies, for ensuring cross-college interdisciplinary graduate programs are well supported and coordinated, and for maintaining the environment of support among graduate programs in general.

 

The dean of the Graduate School shall advise and act on behalf of the EVPP for planning, policy development, funding, and administration relating to graduate studies. It is the responsibility of the dean of the Graduate School to keep the deans of the University's schools and colleges fully informed on planning and development.

 

  1. Graduate Studies Committees
  1. A graduate studies committee will be established for any academic area in which an approved graduate degree program is offered. The graduate studies committee shall consist of all assistant, associate, and full professors who are, or on initial appointment will be, active participants in the program. In rare cases, appeals can be made to the dean of the Graduate School to add additional members to a graduate studies committee to serve for a set term.

     

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

  1. The graduate studies committee shall make recommendations, through its graduate studies committee chair and the department chair(s), concerning the creation of new graduate courses and any changes in the graduate course inventory in that area. These recommendations will be provided to the dean(s) of the college(s) or school(s) who will forward them with accompanying recommendations to the dean of the Graduate School for final approval. Each committee shall designate its course offerings and course instructors each semester. Both require approval of the department chair(s) (or the director(s) of the academic programs if there is no department). In schools or colleges that have no departments, the dean of the school or college approves. See Section B.4. for additional information regarding course instructors.
  1. Each graduate studies committee, in consultation with the dean of its college, shall set goals for the numbers of new students to be enrolled in the programs. Working within these guidelines, each graduate studies committee, through its graduate adviser, shall recommend to the dean of the Graduate School the admission of students to its degree programs. The committee shall have the option of setting admission requirements higher than or supplementary to those of the Graduate School. If the committee desires to admit a student who does not meet the minimum criteria of the Graduate School, a petition must be submitted by the graduate adviser to the dean of the Graduate School for final approval.
  1. Each graduate studies committee shall be responsible for setting requirements for degrees within the framework of the published policies and procedures maintained by the dean of the Graduate School, and for publishing those requirements and the program's list of courses. The committee will consult with the department chair (or the director of the academic program if there is no department), the dean(s) of the college(s) or school(s), and seek approval of the dean of the Graduate School when developing these requirements.
  1. In addition to the requirements for degrees, each graduate studies committee may establish supplementary requirements for continuation in its program. These recommendations will be provided through the graduate studies committee chair to the department chair (or the director of the academic program if there is no department) and to the dean(s) of the college(s) or school(s) who will forward them with accompanying recommendations to the dean of the Graduate School for final approval.

In the case of cross-college interdisciplinary programs, the supplementary requirements will be submitted by the deans with accompanying recommendations to the dean of the Graduate School for final approval.

 

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

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

 

Supervision of a thesis, report, dissertation, or treatise is the responsibility of the committee approved by the dean of the Graduate School (see Section B.2.e. for appointment procedures). The chair or co-chair of the thesis, report, dissertation, or treatise committee serves as the supervisor of the research. In special circumstances, a research scientist, research engineer, or faculty member who is not a member of the graduate studies committee may be recommended by the graduate studies committee to serve as the co-supervisor for a specific thesis , report, dissertation, or treatise. Any such recommendation is subject to annual review by the graduate studies committee through its chair and approval by the dean of the Graduate School.

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

The graduate adviser in an academic area shall:

 

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

In addition, the Graduate Assembly may advise the deans of the colleges or schools, the dean of the Graduate School, and the vice president for research on research support policies and other matters it deems appropriate or on which advice is requested by any of the above.

 

  1. Rules and By-laws: The Graduate Assembly of the University will operate under rules and by-laws agreed to by the Graduate Assembly and approved by the dean of the Graduate School, the Provost, and the President (see Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) 2-1210-PM, Rules and By-Laws of the Graduate Assembly).
  1. Approval of Legislation
  1. Legislation Pertaining to the Regents' Rules and Regulations (Major Legislation): Legislation which affects the role and scope of the University or which pertains to matters beyond the sole control of the president or provost of the University shall become effective upon approval by the dean of the Graduate School, the provost, the president, the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs of The University of Texas System and, when necessary, the Board of Regents of the UT System and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
  1. Local Institutional Legislation (Minor Legislation): Legislation which pertains to matters of an institutional character or matters which are otherwise under the sole control of the president or provost of the University shall become effective upon approval by the dean of the Graduate School, the provost, and the president.
  1. Emergency Legislation: Legislation classified as emergency by the secretary or by two-thirds vote of the Graduate Assembly shall become effective immediately upon the approval of the dean of the Graduate School, subject to appropriate administrative review.
  1. The Graduate Assembly, through the dean of the Graduate School and through its chair, will be given regular notice of the progress and status of legislation which has been passed, but not yet approved at all necessary levels or disapproved.
  1. The Graduate Student Assembly

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

 

  1. Student Grievances
  1. Adjudicating Grievances of Graduate Students
  1. A graduate student has the right to seek redress of any grievance related to his or her academic issues that are relevant to the student's progress towards a graduate degree.
  1. Every effort should be made to resolve grievances informally between the student and the faculty member most directly involved or, such efforts failing, by the graduate adviser, the chair of the graduate studies committee of the student's degree program, and/or the chair of the department (or the director of the academic program if there is no department). When serious issues cannot be resolved informally, the graduate student will have recourse to the formal grievance procedure as outlined below in Subsections 2-3. It should be noted that the precise procedure to be followed in adjudicating a given grievance will depend on the particular circumstances of the case.

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

 

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

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

 

  1. A graduate student may submit a formal grievance through the procedures referenced in sections d and e below with the assurance of timely and thorough consideration. A graduate student will not be retaliated against for filing a formal grievance. A graduate student who believes he or she has been retaliated against should immediately report his or her concern to an associate or assistant dean of Graduate Studies. Allegations of retaliation will be referred to the appropriate office for review.
  1. All grievances must be submitted in writing to the Graduate School, which will notify the chair of the graduate studies committee, the department chair (or the director of the academic program if there is no department), and the dean of the college or school that a grievance has been filed and of the procedures for handling the grievance. The time limits given below may be extended for good cause.
  1. A student must submit their grievance within 60 days of the incident that is the subject of the grievance; or, when there is written notification to the student of the action that is the subject of the grievance, an intent to grieve must be submitted to the Graduate School within 30 days, and the grievance must be completely submitted within 60 days.

 

  1. First Level of Adjudication: Graduate Studies Committee
  1. The first level of consideration is the appropriate graduate studies committee. The graduate studies committee, having received formal notification of the grievance from the Graduate School, shall review the grievance and meet with the grievant if requested.  The graduate studies committee shall then vote either to uphold or to reconsider the action that is the subject of the grievance.  The chair of the graduate studies committee shall notify the Graduate School of the results of the graduate studies committee review within 30 days of receiving the grievance.
  2. The results of the graduate studies committee review will be provided to the grievant.  The grievant will have 30 days to notify the Graduate School if they are satisfied with those results or if they wish to proceed to the second level of adjudication as provided below.
  1. Second Level of Adjudication: Dean of the Graduate School and Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  1. When the grievance cannot be resolved at the level of the graduate studies committee to the satisfaction of the grievant, the grievance and the decisions of the graduate studies committee will be forwarded to the dean of the Graduate School. The dean of the Graduate School, in consultation with the college or school dean(s), may decide the case on their own review and authority, or if they deem it appropriate, convene a Graduate School ad hoc panel to review the case and provide advice.
  1. The dean of the Graduate School will review the facts of the case, including any recommendations received from a Graduate School ad hoc panel if constituted, and render a decision within 45 days of the grievant's request for review by the dean of the Graduate School. A copy of the decision will be sent to the grievant, any ad hoc panel constituted during the review process, the chair of the graduate studies committee, the graduate adviser, the department chair (or the director of the academic program if there is no department), and the college or school dean(s). The decision of the dean of the Graduate School is final.

For Assistance: Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Dean of the Graduate School and Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at (512) 471-4511 or to the Graduate School Web site at https://gradschool.utexas.edu/.

VIII. Forms & Tools 
None
XI. History 

Last updated 5/22/19

Previous Policy: HOP 1.II and HOP 1.C.2;