Enrolled Graduate Student Wiki
Disclaimer: The webpage is simply to provide some guidance, but keep in mind that things are always changing at the university, college, and department level and each graduate student has a slightly different path to graduation. You are ultimately solely responsible for making sure you meet all current deadlines and follow all current instructions at all levels.
"Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine." -- Bob Carter, paleontologist, geologist, and marine biologist
Suggestions for Improving this Page? If you find any errors in the below information OR have a suggestion for improvement or addition, please let the Department Graduate Advisor know.
Contact information for our current Gradudate Studies Director, Administrative Advisor, and Financial Advisor.
As per the Graduate Handbook Section 5.6, "Grievances": In general, faculty and staff in the GG Department maintain an open-door policy for students to ask questions and voice concerns. Graduate students may formally appeal any decision relevant to their status or progress in the graduate program by petitioning the chair of their supervisory committee. If satisfaction is not obtained at this level, the student may petition (in turn) the department's Director of Graduate Affairs, the Department Chair, the College Dean, and at any time the University’s Student-Faculty Relations Committee.
Policy 6-409 Graduate Student Parental Leave (effective July 1 2022)
Changing from a doctorate to a master's, want to finish your master's then move immediately onto a doctorate, want to change from Geology and GeoPhysics or GeoEngineering? Prepare the documents below and send them all together to the Department's Graduate Advisor, who will forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If it is BEFORE or DURING your first (admitted) semester: Request that the Department Graduate Advisor send a revised graduate referral to the Admissions Office.
If it is AFTER your first semester:
- Statement describing the request, signed by student, their Faculty Advisor, and the Department's Director of Graduate Studies.
- Recommendation for Change of Graduate Classification - This form is due at the very latest the week before the semester begins in which you want the change to be in effect. You can fill it out as soon as you are ready; the sooner the better just in case there are any issues that pop up; the Graduate Admissions Office will not process until the time is right.
If you are changing from a Ph.D. to a Master's degree or vice versa (without getting a terminal Master's degree), there are 3 additional steps (below).
If you are finishing your Master's degree, then directly moving on to a Ph.D, the only item below that is needed is the updated Committee form).
- Change Courses in Transcript - If you have any Thesis Research (GEO 6970/7970) credits on your transcript, you need to have your courses converted to the course number that corresponds with your degree level (7000-level = Ph.D., 6000-level = Master's). You only need to do this for courses that give you at least 14 hours of 7970 or 10 hours of 6970.
- Submit Grades - For all courses you are changing to, you need to submit grades for those "new" courses (the grades do not transfer over when you change the course level). You have to do this even if the grade is not changing from what it was when it was at a different level (7000-level = Ph.D., 6000-level = Master's). For each "new" course, in a Word document (do a separate document for each course) provide: Student name, UNID, Term, Year, Department Name, Catalog Number, Section Number, Credit Hours, Correct Grade, Date Work Completed, and Reason for Report of Credit/Change in Final Grade.
- Update Committee - Refer to the instructions under "Getting Started" for forming a committee. You may need to add members, drop members, or change members out, depending on what degree you are changing to.
When you conduct your next audit in the Graduate Student Summary Tool (CIS) (but not sooner than the start of the next semester), confirm that it reflects all the above changes.
- Masters Checklist
- PhD Checklist
- Program of Study Form - Due the semester before your FINAL semester (for example: It is due Fall 2022 if you plan to graduate Spring 2023).
Department Update Forms:
- GG Grad Milestones Form - Due every Spring by mid-March. Please save the file so your last name and the year are the first part of the filename. For example: Futral_2023_GG Milestone. Then email it here.
- GG Funding Plans (not accessible for students) - Submitted each year by your Faculty Advisor.
Leave & Extension Forms:
- Petition of Extension - This is a petition for an extension of a Graduate student career beyond the established time limits.
- Leave of Absence
- Request for Graduate Student Parental Leave
Change Request Forms:
- Recommendation for Change of Graduate Classification - Changing from a doctorate to a master's, want to finish your master's then move immediately onto a doctorate, want to change from Geology and GeoPhysics or GeoEngineering? This form is due at the very latest the week before the semester begins in which you want the change to be in effect. You can fill it out as soon as you are ready; the sooner the better just in case there are any issues that pop up; the Graduate Admissions Office will not process until the time is right.
- Exception to University Policy
- Withdraw from Class(es) for a Past Term
- Add Class(es) for a Past Term
- Change Credit Hours for a Paste Term
- Section Change/Cross-Listed Course Charge from a Past Term
- Elect or Revoke CR/NC
- Change Grades: If you have a missing or incorrect grade on your transcript, the instructor needs to send the following information in a Word document attachment to email@example.com: Student name, UNID, Term, Year, Department Name, Catalog Number, Section Number, Credit Hours, Correct Grade, Date Work Completed, and Reason for Report of Credit/Change in Final Grade.
You can check the status of most of the below forms and requirements by going to: cis.utah.edu > Student Homepage > Graduate Student Summary.
Committee Formation Forms:
- Request for Committee Form -
- This should be done by the end of your first year.
- Any time you need to make a change to your Committee, you must fill the form out again. However, only the new member(s) and your Committee Chair need to sign it.
- Once it is signed off on, email it to the department's Graduate Advisor.
- Individual Exception to Supervisory Committee Policy - This if for any committee members who are NOT tenure-line faculty in the student’s department. Once it is signed off on, email it
and the committee member's full CV to the department's Graduate Advisor. Students seeking an exception must submit a letter from the department chair or director
of graduate studies recommending and justifying the individual exception to a supervisory
committee policy, along with an updated CV for all proposed committee member(s) requiring
the exception to policy.
- Address the letter to the dean of the Graduate School
- Include the full proposed supervisory committee listed with faculty titles, departments/colleges and tenure-line status indicated
- Send letter and CV to the Graduate Records Office
Qualifying Exam Form
- PhD Qualifying Exam Form - Once it is signed off on, email it to the department's Graduate Advisor.
- Master's Comprehensive Exam (No form; exam submitted by Instructor from GEO 6950 Reviews in Earth Science.)
- Statement of Thesis Approval
- Permission to Quote Copyrighted Materials
- Co-Author Identification
- FERPA Authorization
- Tuition Benefit Program Forms
- Defense Publicity Form - Due at last 3 weeks before your defense.
- Master's Dissertation Defense Form
- PhD Dissertation Defense Form
- Graduation Application - Due first week of the semester in which you plan to graduate.
- Late/Reapplication for Graduate Degree
- RSVP to Attend Graduation Events - Due mid-February for all who officially graduate the previous fall, the current spring, or the coming summer.
- Forms for students on a F-1 Visa (full-time enrolled students); includes "Last Semester Notification" form
- Forms for students on a J-1 Visa (visiting students)
Use responsibly and appropriately! Logos (and letterheads) are legal property of the University of Utah.
Before you use a letterhead or logo, please be sure you understand and follow U of U branding guidelines. Also, you are only permitted to use these assets for official university business/research/teaching, which may include correspondence, posters, and flyers. You are not allowed to them on anything for which you will charge money, such as t-shirts, without first receiving department and U of U Marketing approval. If you have any questions, please reach out the Department Graduate Advisor.
The Grad Student Committee page displays the members of your supervisory committee.
Individual Exception to Supervisory Committee Policy
- form a supervisory committee and submit to your department for approval
- verify your committee information
- keep your department informed and up to date with any changes
The Grad Student Prog Plan Audit provides a summary of:
- which Graduate School requirements have been met
- where you are in terms of meeting your requirements for graduation
- missing supervisory committee approvals
- all the semesters for which you have been continuously enrolled
- a list of all approved leaves of absence that have been placed on your record
- make sure you are on track for graduation
- keep track of any missing approvals, grades, etc.
- FYI: Non-U of U committee members do not have access to this online system. Therefore, you need to secure their approvals via email and/or in writing.
- Thesis Office email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Registration Office: email@example.com, 801-581-8969
- Graduation Office: firstname.lastname@example.org, 801-581-7852
- Petitions: email@example.com
- Grades: firstname.lastname@example.org
- International Student & Scholars Services: email@example.com, 801-581-8876
- Center for Disabilty & Access: firstname.lastname@example.org, 801-581-5020, https://disability.utah.edu
Request that your Faculty advisor annually update their multi-year funding plan for you and send them to the Department Graduate Advisor, Department Graduate Director, and Department Payroll & Payables Coordinator along with your Annual Milestones report. Note: Although funding sources and plans may change, this document will facilitate timely appointments and balancing budgets.
More info to come.
Search these resources and feel free to apply for any that you think you might quailify for!
U of U Graduate School Scholarships, Fellowships, & Awards Office
College of Science Scholarships
Williamson Fellows (Science Communication): The Williamson Fellowship is aimed at increasing geoscience communications and encouraging diversity in the geosciences. The Williamson Fellows will develop relationships with 7-12 public school programs, engage youth in geoscience, increase public science literacy, and provide opportunities for U of U geoscience students to gain outreach and science communication experience.
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)
Association of Women Geologists - There are funding opportunities at both the national level and Utah chapter level!
A great place to find scholarships and fellowships is through professional organizations!
Others? Let the Grad Advisor know of any scholarships or fellowships that you feel are worth listing here.
Details about how to apply for Student Travel Grants.
Travel and Virtual Conference Travel Assistance through the Graduate School.
Please work with the Department Travel Facilitator if you apply and/or are funded. For details, please see our Department Travel Resource section of the website.
Any tuition covered through Tuition Benefit is automatically at resident rates. This applies up to 84 credit hours.
Tuition benefits for each term starts posting to students’ tuition bills about a week before the start of the semester. A couple notes about disbursements:
- Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 credits and have signed their TBP agreements for TBP to post; additionally, if a student is supported by an assistantship, their job record needs to be active;
- If coordinators make any changes to a TBP entry (for example, adding GSHIP or changing from a GR to an RA), the student will need to sign again) – if the edit happens after benefits have posted, the student may have tuition benefit pulled back until they sign again;
- If your student is enrolled full-time now and TBP has posted, but drop a class in the coming days, their benefits will be pulled back – if students drop a course and are awaiting permission codes or such at the same time, they may have a temporary removal of TBP until their enrollment is back up to 9 credits;
- Tuition benefits can take up to two business days to post completely – please remember that TBP (and financial aid) disbursements to tuition bills is not automatic but on a scheduled daily process with the tuition office (ie, if a student is enrolls full-time and signs at 10:30am, their benefits will not post on the same day); with this, please also keep in mind that tuition for the term is due on the stated due date for all students, at 4:45pm, regardless of how that tuition bill is being paid.
Starting Fall 2023, the U of U has eliminated the 20% graduate student health insurance fee for all graduate students. YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE IS NOW FREE!
More details TBA.
The U's Student Success Coaches have put together a great list of resources related to funding, scholarships, finacial aid, emergency funds, job searching, etc.
Financial Wellness Center - The University of Utah The Financial Wellness Center (FWC) is a resource for students to assist them in making smart, informed decisions about their money. Whether students are struggling to make ends meet or whether their finances are in pretty good shape, there is always room to improve one’s financial situation. The FWC was created to help students in a safe, competent and confidential atmosphere with one-hour consultations to address their financial concerns. They are located in the Olpin Student Union Building Room 317.
Got funding? Time to do taxes and not sure what to do? Check out Publication 970 (2021), Tax Benefits for Education | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov).
Another good resource is the University's Tax Service Office.
For a groups or resource centers that may be able to provide specific needs or support for you, check out our list of "Other Helpful Resources" on our department resource page.
Graduate students have free access to Grammarly via their Umail!
Grammarly Premium is a premiere AI writing assistant that helps develop writing skills as a well as edit text documents, emails, Facebook, Twitter, or any web-based application. The Graduate School has purchased a subscription which provides Grammarly Premium software to all University of Utah graduate/professional students at no cost to the individual.
Use responsibly and appropriately! Logos (and letterheads) are legal property of the University of Utah.
Before you use a letterhead or logo, please be sure you understand and follow U of U branding guidelines. Also, you are only permitted to use these assets for official university business/research/teaching, which may include correspondence, posters, and flyers. You are not allowed to them on anything for which you will charge money, such as t-shirts, without first receiving department and U of U Marketing approval. If you have any questions, please reach out the Department Graduate Advisor.
Getting Started & Annual Tasks
Congratulations! After a thorough review of your application, I am pleased to inform
you of your admission to the
University of Utah. You should have recieved an official notification from the University of Utah containting the below information and tasks. Please start working on these right away. Please note that our department office is not invovled in these processes; if you need assistance, reach out to the administrative departments listed in the text below.
Request an official transcript and proof of conferred degree(s) be sent from all colleges/universities you have previously attended, except the University of Utah. If you have already had official transcripts sent to the Office of Admissions, please disregard this request. You may track the receipt of your official transcripts by going to admissions.utah.edu/track/.
In your acceptance letter from the U, make sure your residency status and academic program are correct. If not,reach out to the Office of Admissions.
In your acceptance letter from the U, you will be told your official University ID or "uNID". Your default password is your birthdate in MMDDYY format. Your uNID and password give you access to your Campus Information Services (CIS) account, where you can register for classes, pay tuition, check UMail, and more. Try logging in now at Campus Information Systems.
The Graduate Catalog is available online at gradschool.utah.edu. Please familiarize yourself with institutional policies related to graduate studies, including the minimum continuous registration and immunization requirements.
Our department will reach out in early summer with specific tasks related to you joining us!
- Campus Life Guidebook
- Finding a place to live:
- @TheU (April 2023): U of U offers flexibility, more affordable options for graduate student and family housing
- “Starting this summer (2023), eligible single graduate students will be offered lower-priced units in the newly constructed Spruce building—an option not offered before. If they request a studio apartment, they will be able to take advantage of a 20% discount on rent their first year in new housing, and 10% the second year—totaling 24 months of discounted rent.”
- Graduate Housing Options
- U of U Apartments (on and off campus)
- U of U Housing & Residential Education
- Outdoor Adventures
- Free Public Transit
- UCard Discounts
- University Union
- Basic Needs Collective @ U of U
Good to know:
- Salt Lake City has a law that a car cannot be parked on the street in the spot for more than 2 days.
- You can apply for state residency after you take 40 credit hours.
Starting Summer Semester? Please work with our Payroll Coordinator to make sure you know how many credits you need to take for summer semester and how much you may need to pay. Your VISA and tuition benefit requirements vary and you may end up needing to pay out of pocket for a few credit hours.
I-20 Deadlines for International Applicants: f you require an F1 Student Visa to study in the United States, please submit a copy of your passport and other immigration documents to our office by emailing email@example.com. For Fall term, international applicants who are outside of the U.S. must submit all immigration documents by June 1. International applicants currently in the U.S. must submit all immigration documents by August 1. You can find more information about immigration documents on our international admissions website. If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social Security Number (SSN): Reach out to the U of U International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) about their Atlas program and your visa. They will also give you information on how to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). One you apply, you will recive a letter from the Social Security Office. Once you have that letter, set up an appointment with our Department Payroll Coordinator to get a temporary SSN; to that meeting you will need to bring the SSN letter and your passport, visa, I-94 and I-20.
International Teaching Asssitant Program (ITAP): International students whose first language is not North American English and who have been awarded financial assistance in the form of teaching assistantships by their academic department must be cleared by the ITAP Program prior to beginning their TA assignment. Students who are not cleared before the semester begins are not eligible to receive a tuition benefit as a teaching assistant. To be cleared, you must must first complete the required ITAP training. This training takes place BEFORE the start of Fall Semester and must be done in-person; plan to arrive to Salt Lake City at least 2 weeks before the first day of the semester. Request that our Department Payroll Coordinator register you and make sure to take the training date into consideration when scheduling your travel to come to Salt Lake City to start school. For information, visit:https://gradschool.utah.edu/ita/ or http://www.utah.edu/ita
- Familiar yourself with Graduate School's Thesis Office website and resources.
- Familiarize with the amazing list of resources curated by the Graduate School. These include items related to academics, social life, financial aid, mental health, and so much more!
- Review Navigating Graduate School at the U of U:
- Review this website, the Grad Wiki, so you are aware of what all it contains.
Office assignments are made by the Director of Graduate Studies. As much as possible, we try to keep research teams together. Once you know which room you will be in, you are welcome to select any of the unoccupied desks; it may be best to talk to your office mates to find out which desks are available. Full-time students have priority for office space over part-time students. Students who fail to make satisfactory degree progress and/or students who are found to be using their offices improperly (i.e., for non-university activities) will not be assigned departmental office space.
If at any time you would like to change offices, please discuss it with the Director of Graduate Studies. If a change is approved, please make sure the Graduate Advisor is aware of the change.
Faculty members who control individual research labs may decide which students will occupy space in their lab.
If any of these situations apply to you, make sure the Deparmtment Graduate Advisor submits the required petitions during your first matriculated semester: Transfer credit, Bachelor's/Master's of Science, Undergraduate to Graduate credit, non-matriculated, and Language (when applicable). If these are not processed correctly and on time, it could jeopardize your ability to graduate.
All prospective Master’s candidates and Ph.D. candidates who do not yet have a Master's degree must pass a written Master’s Qualifying Examination, which is not to be confused with the thesis defense. If you already have a Master's degree, you still enroll in GEO 6950, but will not need to take the Qualifying Examination.
The format of this exam in the GG Department consists of a compulsory seminar, called “Reviews in Earth Science” (GEO 6950), which is offered in the fall semester and is followed immediately by the comprehensive M.S. Qualifying Exam. GEO 6950 addresses broad Earth science themes about which all graduate students are expected to be knowledgeable. Specific emphasis is placed on integrating knowledge from multiple subdisciplines in the geosciences. The qualifying exam consists of questions that are broad in nature, open-ended in style, and designed to reward students who are able to integrate material from multiple subdisciplines within geology and geophysics, and also to advance detailed arguments from a specific perspective.
Administration and grading of the M.S. Qualifying Exam is done under the supervision of the Graduate Affairs Committee. The consequence of an unsatisfactory performance on the M.S. Qualifying Exam is at the discretion of the Graduate Affairs Committee; possible actions include an opportunity for the student to re-take the “Reviews” course and/or Qualifying Exam, or immediate dismissal from the graduate program. Results are submitted by the faculty instructor on your behalf to the Department Graduate Advisor. If your passing date does not show up in your Graduate Student Summary Tool (CIS) when you do your spring audit, let the Department Graduate Advisor know.
Students who do not take the Qualifying Exam as normally scheduled will not be eligible to enroll in future graduate courses and will be dropped from the Graduate Program. Students with a bachelor’s degree outside the Earth sciences may petition the Graduate Affairs Committee to take the “Reviews” course and M.S. Qualifying Exam in a later semester.
The supervisory committee needs to be formed before the end of your first year. This is needed so your profile in Graduate Student Summary Tool (within CIS) can be activiated. However, you do not need to select all members of your committee by the end of the first year; until all members are identified and approved, your committee will be considered a "mentor" committee. You should finalize your committee at least 2 full semesters before the semester in which you defend and, if you are PhD candidiate, before you take you PhD Qualifying Exam. Also, keep in mind that you can make changes to the membership if needed.
Form: Request for Committee Form - Once this form is signed off on by all committee members, email it to the Department's Graduate Advisor and Department Director of Graduate Affairs. The Department Graduate Committee will review the committee as a whole and, if it meets the requirements, the Department Director of Graduate Affairs will sign off on it and it will be moved to the University Graduate School for final reivew and approval. It is the student's responsibilty to make sure their committee has been fully approved; approval will show up in the Graduate Student Summary Tool (in CIS) when you do an audit (see instructions above).
COMMITTEE CHAIR: The Graduate School Dean wants thesis students to have a faculty chair that is tenure-line
(tenured/tenure-track)when they are completing thesis or dissertation.
OUTSIDE MEMBERS (employed outside of the U of U):
- Current and full/complete Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- They must hold an academic or professional doctorate, a terminal degree in the relevant field, and/or must have demonstrated competence to do research and scholarly work in the general field of your graduate research.
- Needs month/year that the CV was updated; it must be a version that is less than 3 years old.
- Needs to include any activities, papers, grants, within the last three years.
- Needs to have current employment title & institution.
- Needs to have date of the graduate degree and institution.
- Needs to have recent papers and grants.
- Should not be an abbreviated version.
- Justification Letter
- Customize this template. It needs summary the outside member's background and expertise and have a clear explanation as to how their experience is relevant to your program/research. You also need to include their current employment title and institution and the name of the institution that conferred their graduate degree and the year they graduated.
- See examples. Write this letter as if you were our Department Director of Graduate Affairs. Then, email it, the CV, and the Request for Committee Form to the Department Director of Graduate Affairs. Once they have finalized and signed the letter, they will send it back to you. It is your responsibility to then send all 3 documents to the Department Graduate Advisor.
U OF U STAFF: On rare occasions, a University research staff member (with a Phd) may qualify for inclusion in a committee. However, they should be uniquely qualified based on the student's research focus. Additionally, they should not be supervised in their staff position by the chair of the student's committee as this presents a conflict of interest. If you feel a staff member is appropriate to include on your committee and your Faculty Advisor agrees, follow the steps above for "Outside Members" in order to provide the required documentation.
POST DOCS: Post Docs are not allowed on committees.
OVERALL COMMITTEE: If a committee's overall makeup does not exactly meet the below U of U minimum requirements, an exception to policy must be requested (instructions below). Please feel free to reach out the the Department Graduate Advisor for guidance.
U of U Policy (Mininum Requirements) & Information:
- Master’s supervisory committees consist of three faculty members. The committee chair and the majority of the committee must be tenure-line faculty in the student’s department. One of the three may be from outside dept or be adjunct or careerline from the dept. All members must have at least a Master's degree (no exceptions). The Department Director of Graduate Studies is added as an automatic fourth member.
- Doctoral supervisory committees consist of five faculty members. The committee chair and the majority of the committee must be tenure-line faculty in the student’s department. One member of the supervisory committee must be from outside the department. One member can be anyone from within or outside of the department. All members must have at least a PhD (no exceptions). The Department Director of Graduate Studies is added as an automatic sixth member.
- Immediate family members are not eligible to serve on a student’s supervisory committee.
Department Requirements (from Handbook):
- 4.1.2 M.S. (& M.E.)Supervisory Committee (“Thesis Committee”): An Master's. supervisory committee consists of three members, the majority of whom must be regular (tenured or tenure-track) faculty in the GG Department (“department representatives”). The supervisory committee chair must be a regular faculty member in the GG Department. Exceptions allowing a research or lecturer faculty member to serve as either department representative or committee chair require recommendation and justification by the Director of Graduate Studies or Department Chair and approval by the Dean of the Graduate School. An adjunct faculty member or other highly qualified individual may serve as a committee member if their expertise is especially pertinent to the student’s thesis research topic. In no case can a supervisory committee include less than one regular (tenureline) faculty member primarily appointed in the GG Department.
- 4.3.2 Ph.D. Supervisory Committee (“Dissertation Committee”): A Ph.D. supervisory committee consists of five members, the majority of whom must be regular (tenured or tenure-track) faculty in the GG Department (“department representatives”). The supervisory committee chair must be a regular faculty member in the GG Department. Exceptions allowing a research or lecturer faculty member to serve as either department representative or committee chair require recommendation and justification by the Director of Graduate Studies or Department Chair and approval by the Dean of the Graduate School. An adjunct faculty member or other highly qualified individual may serve as a committee member if their expertise is especially pertinent to the student’s thesis research topic. One member of the Ph.D. supervisory committee must be a qualified professional from outside the department; usually this is a faculty member from another science or engineering department in the University, but they may be someone from another university, government agency or other appropriate scientific or engineering organization. In no case can a supervisory committee include less than one regular (tenureline) faculty member primarily appointed in the GG Department.
Requesting an Individual Exception to Policy: Please feel free to reach out the the Department Graduate Advisor for guidance.
- Step 1: Students seeking such an exception to the University's minimum policy should send
an email request to the Department Director of Graduate Studies that includes:
- justification for each proposed committee member(s) requiring the exception to policy (this would likely include any members who are not U of U tenureline faculty)
- updated CV of each proposed committee member(s) requiring the exception to policy
- full proposed supervisory committee list with each member's faculty titles, departments/colleges, and tenure-line status
- Step 2: If the Department Director of Graduate Studies approves, they then will need to write a letter addressed to the Dean of the Graduate School. The letter should include all the the above information and adding their recommendation for each proposed committee member(s) requiring the exception to policy
- Step 3: The Department Director of Graduate Studies then sends their letter and the CV(s) to the Department Graduate Advisor, who will send it to the Graduate Records Office.
- Step 4: The Dean of the Graduate School will review the request and take into consideration the qualification of each individual on the proposed committee and the make-up of the overall committee. If the committee and each member are deemed qualified and appropriate, the Dean will grant the final approval.
Minimum, Continuous Registration: All graduate students must maintain minimum registration (see Dept Handbook Section 2.3 or 2.4 for definition of minimum registration) from the time of formal admission through completion of all requirements for the degree they are seeking, unless they are granted an official leave of absence. U of U Policy
- How many semesters?
- Time Limit for a Ph.D. Degree: All work for the M.S. degree must be completed within four consecutive calendar years (not including official leaves of absence). Students who find it impossible to complete all the requirements within the four-year limit must request a Petition of Extension in writing prior to the end of the fourth year.
- Time Limit for a Ph.D. Degree: The Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of three years (six semesters) of continuous course work and research, but the University imposes no maximum time limit for completion of the doctoral degree requirements. In the GG Department, however, Ph.D. candidates normally are expected to complete all requirements for their degree within five years upon admission to the Ph.D. program. In each year that a Ph.D. candidate extends beyond the five years, the candidate should submit a written explanation of their progress to their supervisory committee with a copy to the Graduate Affairs Committee, which includes an outline of how and when the student intends to finish the degree in a timely manner.
- Summer?: Continuous registration refers only to registration during the regular academic
year and is not terminated or interrupted by non-registration during summer semester.
However, students who take courses or exams during summer term must be registered
in the summer semester.
- If a student works at the University of Utah during the summer semester, s/he must be enrolled and registered at the University of Utah as a student fo three credit hours during the summer semester in order to qualify for Student-Employee FICA exclusion.
- What if you don't attend one Semester?: If students do not comply with this continuous registration policy and do not obtain an official leave of absence, your supervisory committee will be terminated and your records will be inactivated. To reactivate a student’s file at a later time, the student is required to reapply for admission to The Graduate School.
- How many credit hours per semester?
- Full-Load: 9 hours is considered to be a full load for masters and doctoral degree candidates. Unless approved by your Committee Chair, you should enroll with a full load every semester (Fall and Spring).
- Minimum: You must enroll in at least least 3 credit hours per semester during the academic year.
- Students in the Tuition Benefit Program (TBP) are advised to refer to the TBP Guidelines to review policies related to maximum and minimum hours. TBP students must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 credits.
- Maximum: No candidate for a graduate degree is permitted to register for more than 16 credit hours in any single semester.
- Last Semester: Refer to "Register for Credit Hours for your FINAL (Defense & Graduation ) Semester(s)" under the "Steps to Graduation" section below for special instructions.
- What courses should I take?
- First Fall Semester: As noted above, your first Fall Semester you should enroll in Reviews in Earth Science (GEO 6950).
- Frontload Content Courses: Try to take all your content-specific courses early on in your program. Try to take at least 2 per each semester. Talk to your Committee Chair about which ones to take. Keep in mind that not all courses are offered every semester or every year. Refer to Department Course Catalog as a guide.
- Distinguished Lecture Series (GEO 6920) The Department sponsors a weekly lecture series that brings in a variety of geoscientists who add new insights and breadth to our curriculum in the Earth sciences. It is expected that all graduate students will attend these lectures regularly as a part of their graduate education (Grad Handbook 5.7). Students may opt to register for one credit hour in the course (Distinguished Lecture Series) on a CR/NC basis. Sign-in attendance of 80% or more is expected in order to gain a CR. Registration for the Distinguished Lecture Series course number counts in determining full-time student status, but it does not count as a course requirement for a graduate degree, since it is a CR/NC course.
- Thesis Research (GEO 6970/7970): Once you are finished with your content courses and/or if you have semesters in
which you need a couple extra credit hours to ensure you have at least the nine required
to be full-time, you should enroll in Thesis Research. You may take as many Thesis
Research credits as you wish; however only up to 10 (for Master's) and up to 14 (for
Phd) may be counted as thesis hours in fulfillment of the degree requirements.
- In order to register for Thesis Research, you need to email Thea.Hatfield@utah.edu for the code.
- Continuing Registration (GEO 6990/7990): Continuing Registration cannot be used for verification of half-time or full-time enrollment in order to qualify for deferment of student loan repayments or to receive student loan funds. The Registrar’s office places a limit of four semesters for use of GEO 6990/7990. These credits do not count toward fulfillment of degree requirements.
- Faculty Consultation (GEO 6980/7980): You may register for three credit hours of Faculty Consultation during any semester in which you are not otherwise enrolled, but these credits do not count toward fulfillment of degree requirements.
- Course Numbers: Courses numbered 6000 or higher are considered to be graduate-level courses, although courses numbered between 5000 and 5999 also may count towards a graduate degree. Enrollment in courses numbered 7000 or higher is restricted to Ph.D. candidates. In courses that have multiple numbers (e.g., 5000-, 6000- and 7000-level for the same course), master’s degree students should register for the 6000-level number, and Ph.D. students should register for the 7000-level number.
U of U Policy: If you need to take a Fall or Spring semester off, you need to file a Leave of Abesence as soon as you can. Leaves of absence are not granted retroactively. If students do not comply with this continuous registration policy and do not obtain an official leave of absence, they will be automatically discontinued from graduate study, their supervisory committee will be terminated, and their records will be inactivated. In this case, students will be required to reapply for admission to the University through Graduate Admissions upon approval of the home department.
The deadline for graduate students applying for a Leave of Absence will be the add/drop deadline of the second half session for the semester their leave is requested.
Below are a few scenarios when a student would or would not need to submit a Leave of Absence request to avoid being discontinued and lose enrollment eligibility:
- A continuing student enrolled in spring semester is not enrolled in summer classes, but will be returning for the upcoming fall term will not be discontinued.
- A continuing student enrolled spring semester (summer excluded) and does not submit a Leave of Absence or enroll by the add/drop deadline of the second half session of the fall semester will be discontinued.
- A continuing student enrolled fall semester and does not submit a Leave of Absence or enroll by the add/drop deadline of the second half session of the spring semester will be discontinued.
- A continuing student enters summer term and does not submit a Leave of Absence or enroll by the add/drop deadline of the second half session of the fall semester will be discontinued.
Leave & Extension Forms:
The GG Department sponsors a weekly Distinguished Lecture Series and many other special lectures to bring in a variety of geoscientists who add new insights and breadth to our curriculum in the Earth sciences. It is expected that all graduate students will attend these lectures regularly as a part of their graduate education (Grad Handbook 5.7). Students may opt to register for one credit hour in the course GEO 6920 (Distinguished Lecture Series) on a CR/NC basis. Sign-in attendance of 80% or more is expected in order to gain a CR. Registration for the Distinguished Lecture Series course number counts in determining full-time student status, but it does not count as a course requirement for a graduate degree, since it is a CR/NC course.
Informal brown-bag seminars are offered frequently to promote communication and exchange between faculty and graduate students in different subdisciplines. Student participation in all other Departmental activities is strongly encouraged.
Each fall our department hosts a community open house. We have about 400-500 visitors, many are local families with K-12 students. In order to make this event happens, we need everyone to help (we average about 100 volunteers). Graduate students are encouraged to lead a hands-on activity related to their research or the research of their faculty advisor. If your research is not condusive to such an activity, we have many other ways that you can help.
For details, please talk to the Department's Graduate Advisor.
Most scholarships have open application periods in January-February, which provide funding for the following school year. These are souces of money that are almost always above and beyond what your Faculty Advisor and the Department offer and provide. However, they require you to take action and apply for them directly yourself! Refer to the resources listed above in the Funding section under "Scholarships and Fellowships".
Tutorial on how to run a an Audit.
Make sure your committee members are correct, your exam dates are entered (as appropriate), and you are on target for meeting the credit hour requirements (for course credits and thesis research credits) for graduation. Refer to the Graduate Manual for details.
1st Year Grads: You will not be able to run an Audit until your Committee has been submitted to the Department Graduate Advisor.
As you go about your grad school years, keep the GG Grad Milestones Form in mind. This form should be completed with your Faculty Advisor before the end of each March. By completing it with your Faculty Advisor, it serves as a powerful mechanism to foster communication and provide feedback on progress through your career. Further, the Graduate Affairs Committee reviews these submissions to identify potential challenges faced by individual students and, importantly, to highlight student accomplishments.
- Update your Milestones form and then review it with your Faculty Advisor.
- Do not create a new form each year; just add on to the same form.
- Note: You should finalize your committee at least 2 full semesters before the semester in which you defend. See instructions above under Year 1 tasks (committees are to be formed in Year 1).
- Make sure you are on track to meet your degree's requirements. Refer to the Department Graduate Handbook (see link above) and the Degree Program listing in the University's Catalog.
- Save the file so your last name and the year are the first part of the filename.
- For example: Futral_2023_GG Milestone.
- Once your Faculty Advisor has signed off on it, email it here.
Note: Once you have submitted your Milestones Form, the Graduate Advisor will update your online profile. It will take a couple months for those updates to be reflected in your profile/show up when you run an audit.
Request/remind your Faculty Advisor to update their multi-year funding plan for you every October (for Spring payroll), February (for Summer payroll if applicable), and July (for Fall payroll) and to send it to the department Payroll & Payables Coordinator to ensure your payroll is set up correctly for the the semester. And make sure that you, the student, are aware of the plan to fund you and for which semesters. Note: Although funding sources and plans may change, this document will facilitate timely appointments and balancing budgets.
- GG Funding Plans (Graduate students do not have access to this form, but should confirm with their Faculty Advisor that it is done.)
International Teaching Asssitant Program (ITAP): Before you can work as a Teaching Assistant (TA), you must first complete the required ITAP training. This training takes place BEFORE the start of Fall Semester and must be done in-person. Request that our Department Payroll Coordinator register you and make sure to take the training date into consideration when scheduling your travel to come to Salt Lake City to start school. You can find details about the program here.
Start working on the steps below a year before you plan to graduate! I know it's a long list, but if you keep to the timeline laid out, you will be fine.
One year before you plan to graduate, complete your Qualifying Exam. Then, secure the signatures of your Committee members on the PhD Qualifying Exam Form. Then email the signed form to the Department Graduate Advisor. If your passing date does not show up in your Graduate Student Summary Tool (CIS) when you do your next audit, let the Department Graduate Advisor know.
Note: Make sure your committee is approved in the Graduate Student Summary Tool (is CIS) before you take your Qualifying Exam.
Every quarter (April, July, October, January), certify your Electronic Personal Activity Report(ePARs) in CIS. Look for a reminder email from our Accountant around the 15th of the month following the end of the quarter. You have 45 days from the end of the quarter to certify. If you certify and then realize there is an error, the only way to fix it is to do a time-consuming cost transfer with the department Accountant.
There is a quick training module to access ePAR and instructions within the ePAR program/CIS tile.
- 1st Quarter: Jan-March
- Request to certify sent around April 15th.
- To be in compliance it needs to be certified by May 15th.
- The emails are sent out via the EDR/ePAR system. Here is an example.
Steps to Graduation (including Thesis & Defense)
Keep in mind that the March and May deadlines below related to Graduation Day Events (such as Commencement) apply to all who officially graduate the previous fall, the current spring, or the coming summer.
This list was compiled by department graduate students Courtney Wagner, Jory Lerback, and Elizabeth Berg.
- Find one or two people you can commiserate, celebrate, and check in with.
- Check out your options for group or individual therapy at the University Counseling Center. Student insurance also covers non-university therapists, if you don’t want to do that on-campus. Earlier is better than later, for just in case!
- Professional guidance such as the Dissertation Coach (we have a friend that used this and she found it really helpful) may be worth the money in terms of starting a job a semester earlier than you might otherwise. This is definitely a hard decision but if you need more support than is available in your current situation, you might check that out, and also email them about variable pricing options based on need.
- Ask for help, ask for what you need. The answer is always “no” if you don’t ask; and if you do ask and they say “no,” “no” is not the End of the World!
- Remember it is a yucky time for everyone. Some people handle it better than others, everyone’s experience is different. Be understanding of yourself and others during this tough time. It will all be over soon enough!
- Plan (and TAKE) a vacation! Or staycation. Just plan to relax and let your mind wander/rest. At least one one-week vacation in your last year would be important. You don’t want to burn out, and you need something to look forward to. Graduate school is a special time, and your next job might not have the flexibility for a vacation until ~6 months of working, so make sure to do something good for yourself.
University-wide Commencement exercises are held at the end of each Spring semester. Since Commencement is held once a year, all candidates/graduates from that commencement year and the following Summer are allowed to participate in Commencement (i.e. for May 2022 Commencement candidates/graduates for Summer 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, and Summer 2022 may participate and attend). Regarding attendance at College-specific Convocation, Summer candidates are encouraged to speak with their college to verify which year’s Convocation it is preferred that they attend.
Starting Spring 2023, we are doing a Hooding Ceremony for all graduate students (students will no longer be hooded at the College Convocations). When you RSVP (see step below), we need to know if you will be attending the Hooding Ceremony and who will be hooding you. Normally your Faculty Advisor is the one who does your hooding. If they are unable to attend, you can choose another department faculty member who sits on your committee or the department Graduate Affairs Director.
The department needs to order faculty regalia in early February, so who ever is doing your hooding needs to know they are doing it in time to get their order into the department office.
You need to RSVP as to whether or not you will attend College Commencement and the Hooding Ceremony. RSVP HERE.
- Please complete the form even if you do NOT plan to attend.
Be prepared to provide the below information:
- Will your Faculty Advisor be the one to hood you?
- If no, who will hood you? (The default is Graduate Studies Director. But can be another
member of your committee.)
- Will you be attending the College Commencement?
- Will you be attending the Graduate Hooding Ceremony?
- If attending, how many guests will be joining you? (Estimate.)
- What honors, awards, and other recognitions have you received? Examples include any honors earned (Dean’s List, Honors at Graduation, etc.); stipends, graduate fellowships, research or teaching assistantships; paper awards; scholarships (Honors at entrance, Departmental, etc.); elected offices or memberships in societies and/or organizations; and any other special recognition. NOTE: Honors information sent after the deadline may not be listed in the program.
ALSO, check out the "Graduation!" section below and our graduation website.
The Graduation Fair at the University Campus Store provides a convenient, “one-stop shop” opportunity for all your graduation needs (order your cap, gown, graduation announcements, buy your diploma frame). If you plan to walk in either the University Commencement or College Convocation ceremony (we highly recommend both!), you must get your regalia during this time.
- What to buy?: There are a couple different packages for Masters and Doctorate graduates. You will
want to buy one that has a cap or tam, gown, color tassel, and hood. Adding on one
or more Stools of Gratitude is optional.
- Cap or Tam: Doctorate-level graduates can choose either a traditional style cap or a tam. Tam is an abbrveviated way to refer to atam o’ Shanter, which is a traditional Scottish cap. In academia the tam signifies the wearer as the recipient of a doctoral degree. They cost more money and thus may not be worth the extra expense. However, they do look cool! And they are strongly suggested if you are planning to go into academia for a career.
- Gown: Masters-level gowns are all black. Doctorate-level gowns are adorned with U of U-colored red strips.
- College color tassel: Make sure you get a yellow tassel for science degrees (orange if you are a Geological Engineering major).
- Hood: Even if you are not attending the hooding ceremony, you should wear a hood to all other formal graduation events.
- Optional - Stole of Gratitude: These scarves are worn during the commencement ceremony. After the ceremony, the new graduate presents the Stole of Gratitude to someone who provided extraordinary help or support, i.e., parents, relatives, or mentors who have helped with wisdom, words of support, or with financial assistance. Immediately after graduation, the graduate may take the stole from around his/her neck and place it around the neck of the recipient. More than one stole may be worn during commencement, symbolizing that there are multiple persons destined to receive Stoles of Gratitude.
(We encourage all students to place a pre-order online on the bookstore website, then pick up at the Grad Fair. )
Student regalia will be available to purchase through the Campus Store website beginning March 1st. Regalia will be available to pick up or will ship directly to the students the week of March 20th. In the event that students would like more information or to order in-person, our annual Grad Fair will be held March 30th- April 1st at the Campus Store. (We encourage all students to place a pre-order online on the bookstore website, then pick up at the Grad Fair. ) Student regalia will still be available to purchase in-store or online through the month of May.
At Grad Fair, you will have the opportunity to get professional photos taken, order customized graduation announcements, and visit with a variety of campus vendors.
Graduate School Calendar and Deadlines
FYI about the timing of thesis submission, defenses, and graduating:
- Students do not have to graduate the same semester they do their defense. In other words, a student's "final" semester could be after the semester in which they did their defense. Please keep this in mind when reading the deadlines listed on this website.
- Students must be registered for credit hours (it’s mainly thesis research credits) in the semester they are defending. If it’s their final semester, they can register for a minimum of 1 credit of thesis research if they are paying out of pocket (approved by the department chair). If they still have tuition benefit, they need to follow the full-time policy of a minimum of 9 credits for the semester (can be thesis research hours).
- If a student defends before the thesis submission deadline for a semester (these tend to be fairly early in the semester), they need to defend at least three weeks before the submission deadline so their is enough time to make changes to their thesis and get it approved by their committee and department chair. If they submit their thesis by the semester deadline, they can also apply to graduate within that semester.
- If a student successfully defends during the semester but after the thesis research deadline and before the first day of class for the next semester, the student will apply for graduation for the following semester but does not need to register for credits for the following semester.
Tutorial on how to run a an Audit.
Make sure your committee members are correct, your exam dates are entered, and you have meet the credit hour requirements (in course credits and thesis research credits) needed to graduate. Refer to the Graduate Manual for details.
Instructions: Your Program of Study must be submitted and approved before you schedule your defense. This form is where you declare which of the courses you have taken that you want applied to your degree requirements. In preparaton for filling out your Program of Study, run an audit in the Graduate Student Summary tool in CIS.
One semester prior to graduation AND before you schedule your defense, graduate students are required to meet with their Faculty Advisor to fill out their Program of Study Form. Then send it to your Committee to review. Your Commitee Chair and any *non-U Committee Members must sign the form. Then, email it to the department's Graduate Advisor, who will upload it into the system, where your U of U Committee members will officially approve it.
* When you run an audit, you will noticed that your non-U of U members will not be listed on the POS tab as they do not have access to this online system. Therefore, you need to secure their approvals via email and/or in writing.
What Courses to include? You will possibly end up with more credit hours than required for your degree. That is wonderful! Think of how much you learned! However, on your Program of Study you can only list the minimim courses need to satisfy the degree requirement.
- Thesis Research, GEO 6970/7970: Only up to 10 (for Master's) and up to 14 (for Phd) may be applied to your Program of Study. If you do not have GEO 6970/7970 courses that equal exactly 10 or 14, you can go a above that number but get as close as possible.
- Master's Degree Requirements: Candidates for a Master's degree must complete 30 semester hours in graduate courses and thesis research. At least 24 semester hours must be in resident study at the University of Utah, and a minimum of 20 semester hours must be in formal course work with the balance in thesis research. A majority of the course credit hours must be earned in GEO courses taken in the GG Department. A grade of B- or better is required for all graded courses that are counted for the degree. No more than 25% of courses to be counted towards graduation may be taken CR/NC. All course work to be counted for the degree must be approved by the student’s supervisory committee. All M.S. candidates in the GG Department are required to take GEO 6950 (“Reviews in Earth Science”), and all other courses to be counted for the M.S. degree are specified and approved by the student’s own supervisory committee.
- PhD's Degree Requirements: Candidates for the Ph.D. degree must complete three years (six semesters) or more of approved graduate-level course work and dissertation research. Ph.D. students entering the graduate program without having previously received a master’s degree are required to complete all coursework requirements associated with the Department’s M.S. degree program (Grad Handbook sections 4.1.3 and 4.1.4). Beyond this requirement, no minimum number of credit hours in formal courses is specified for Ph.D. candidates. However, the program of study for a Ph.D. degree must be substantial and must be approved by the candidate’s supervisory committee. Doctoral students are expected to take courses in a broad spectrum of subject areas, which may (or may not) include some courses taken outside the GG Department, but a majority of the course credit hours must be earned in GEO courses taken in the GG Department.
- Do NOT include these Courses:
- Courses in which a letter grade is given solely on the basis of attendance without any requirement of student performance and without any assessment of student learning (e.g., the Distinguished Lecture Series) may not be used to count towards the required minimum of 20 semester hours in formal course work for the M.S. degree.
- Continuing Registration (GEO 6990/7990)
- Faculty Consultation (GEO 6980/7980
Missing or incorrect grades? Make sure that all the grades are posted for all the classes you have included on your Program of Study (minus those for courses you are taking during your final semester). If you have any missing or incorrect gradess from previous semesters, reach out to the instructor(s) to request that they submit/correct your grades as soon as possible (this can hold up your graduation if it is not resolved by the end of your final semester). To submit grades, the instructor needs to send the following information in a Word document attachment to email@example.com: Student name, UNID, Term, Year, Department Name, Catalog Number, Section Number, Credit Hours, Correct Grade, Date Work Completed, and Reason for Report of Credit/Change in Final Grade.
Minimum continuous registration requirements apply to students until they successfully defend their thesis.
International students: You must notify ISSS of your Last Semester; see instructions in the next row.
If you plan to defend AND graduate in the SAME semester: Students must be registered for credit hours (most likely mainly thesis research credits) in the semester they are defending. If it’s their final (graduating) semester, they can register for a minimum of 1 (not 3 as noted in the Dept Handbook) credit of thesis research if they are paying out of pocket (approved by the department chair). Note: You will need to pay all the mandatory graduate student tuition fees plus the cost of the single credit hour. HOWEVER, if the student is on Tuition Benefit, the student must register for 9 credit hours. Also, in some cases, visa and/or student loan or health insurance issues require the student to register for 3 credit hours in order to maintain full-time student status.
Students who pass their defense after the final examination period of a semester and before the next semester begins are not required to register for the next semester.
If you plan to graduate the semester AFTER you successfully defend:
- Domestic Students: If the student passes their defense, they are no longer required to register for credits; however, those who wish to check out books from the library must register for Continuing Registration (MS: GEO 6990 or PhD: GEO 7990).
- International Students: Your "Last Semester" is when your thesis has been accepted by the University and you officially graduate. During an authorized last semester from International Student & Scholar Services, a student may qualify to drop below full time and must request authorization to register for part time credits to complete their studies. If a student’s last semester is summer semester, they may not be enrolled at 0 credits. A last semester during the summer will be considered a student’s last semester and not a vacation semester.
Department Handbook Requirements:
- Section 2.3 Registration - Masters Degree:
- Students in an M.S. degree program that requires a thesis should maintain minimum registration by either (1) registering and paying applicable tuition and fees for at least three credit hours (Thesis Research, GEO 6970, may be used to fulfill this requirement) per semester during the academic year from the time they are admitted to The Graduate School until they have successfully defended their thesis (up to 10 hours of GEO 6970 may be counted toward the master’s degree); or (2) registering for three credit hours of Faculty Consultation (GEO 6980) during any semester in which they are not otherwise enrolled. Minimum continuous registration requirements apply to M.S. candidates until the thesis is successfully defended. Students who pass their thesis defense after the final examination period of a semester and before the next semester begins are not required to register for the next semester.
- Students in an M.E. degree program that does not require a thesis should maintain minimum registration by either (1) registering and paying applicable tuition and fees for at least three credit hours per semester during the academic year from the time they are admitted to The Graduate School until they have completed all requirements for the degree, including the submission of a final paper or project; or (2) registering for three credit hours of Faculty Consultation (GEO 6980) during any semester in which they are not otherwise enrolled. The requirements apply to non-thesis degree candidates until the final paper or project is submitted and approved by the department.
- Section 2.4 Registration - Doctoral Degrees: Students in a Ph.D. degree program should maintain minimum registration by registering and paying applicable tuition and fees for at least three credit hours per semester during the academic year from the time they are admitted to The Graduate School until they have been formally advanced to candidacy (usually after completion of all course work, the Ph.D. qualifying examination, and the language requirement). Doctoral students who have been admitted to candidacy should maintain minimum registration by either (1) registering and paying the applicable tuition and fees for a minimum of three credit hours if the candidate is in residence, uses University buildings, consults regularly with their supervisory committee, or otherwise uses University facilities. All candidates taking their final oral examination (“dissertation defense”) during the semester in question must be registered for ONE* credit hours; or (2) registering for Continuing Registration (GEO 7990) if the candidate is not using faculty time or University facilities except the library. No students may register for more than four semesters of 7990. Doctoral students who successfully defend their dissertations are no longer required to register; however, those who wish to check out books from the library must register for Continuing Registration (GEO 7990).
Contact ISSS https://isss.utah.edu/ for help as they are the experts.
This process can take a few months, so it is highly recommended you start right at the beginning of your last semester.
Step 1 - Final Semester Notification: Due to visa policies, all international students need to formally declare when they are in their final semester. This process is done via ISSS. The form is here: Forms for students on a F-1 Visa under "Change or End of Program". When you submit it, list the Department Grad Advisor (not the Department's Director of Grad Affairs) as the department contact.
Step 2 - Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) Form: Next, you need to complete OPT with ISSS to make sure you can work in the US after this semester is over. Information can be found here Forms for students on a F-1 Visa under "Employment".
Within first weeks of the semester in which you plan to graduate (Note: You can defend and graduate during different semesters): Apply for graduation. (Keep in mind Graduate School Calendar and Deadlines and notes listed at the top of this list.)
On-Time Applications: To apply on or before the due date simply click on the “Graduation” tile on your Student Homepage in Campus Information Services (CIS) and follow the instructions. Note: This link does not become active until your Supervisory Committee has been entered into Grad School Tracking.
- Late Application/Reapplication: A Late/Reapplication for Graduate Degree may be submitted as an attachment in an email from your Umail account firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professional Thesis Help:
- Tress Academic : https://tressacademic.com/
- The Dissertation Coach: https://www.thedissertationcoach.com/
About 5 weeks before when you want to defend: With your committee, choose a date for your defense.
- The defense should be scheduled early enough for the student to make any changes requested by the committee and submit the departmentally-approved manuscript at least 2 weeks prior to the target date for the semester.
- Lock in a room to do your defense in. Check room availability here. Then send your request to Thea Hatfield.
- Most students use 303 (boardroom) or 295 (lecture hall).
- Set up a Zoom link with passcode (if you plan to have people join remotely). The Zoom link can be set up by either your Faculty Advisor or you.
- Once you have locked in all the details and not less than 3 weeks before your defense, submit the information to the Department Office (see step below for instructions).
Not later than 6 weeks before the last day of the semester AND at least 4 weeks before your defense: Submit a prelimary review
At least 3 weeks before defense: Submit your defense details (and a photo) HERE. (Make sure you have all details locked in before you submit this form.)
The Academic Advisor will send out an email invite to the department-wide listserve, post on social media, and post on building bulletin boards 2 weeks before the defense (which is required by university policy). A reminder email will be send out the day before.
At least 3 weeks before defense date: Prepare for your defense.
Submit the thesis or dissertation to members of your supervisory committee before the final oral examination.
Fill out your defense form prior to your defense date. Take it to your defense and secure all the signatures before your commitee departs. Then, scan the hardcopy and email it to the Graduate Advisor.
Breathe...you are going to do amazing!!
Please not that no alcohol is allowed on campus, so do not plan to do a celebratory toast at your defense.
On the day of your defense (and at least 2 hours before the start time), if you schedule to use the Owl, pick it up in 383 FASB. We strongly recommend that you connect to the Owl to make sure it is working with your laptop.
Once you are done with your defense, it is your responsiblity to leave the room neat, clean, and set up as you found it and to return the Owl (if you used it) to 383 FASB. Please be sure to nicely repackage the Owl and its cords in its container.
After your defense, work with your committee to complete the Defense Form and then emailit to the Graduate Studies Director and Graduate Advisor (please do not drop on a hardcopy; email a scanned copy).
AFTER the members of your thesis/dissertation committee have approved your thesis/dissertation AND when you have your formatted your thesis/dissertation such that it is ready for submission to the Thesis Office in The Graduate School, there is an intermediate step where the department chair needs to read and approve your thesis. Please allow 2 weeks for the department chair to read and approve your thesis/dissertation.
To submit your thesis/dissertation for department chair reading and approval, please upload a pdf of your thesis/dissertation here. https://uofu.app.box.com/f/873ef6b794d64cdfbf8f2e2f2622319b
Then please send an email to department administrative manager, Shanna Futral, email@example.com, letting her know there is a thesis/dissertation from you awaiting the department chair’s reading and approval.
Please make sure that pdf you upload:
- Include a filled out statement of thesis/dissertation approval form, which can found at the graduate school website here, https://gradschool.utah.edu/thesis/forms.php/.
- Has been formatted for the thesis office and follows all of the thesis office formatting guidelines, outlined on the graduate school website here, https://gradschool.utah.edu/thesis/handbook/index.php.
Not later than 3 weeks before the last day of the semester: Submit manuscript. If you miss this deadline, you will need to reapply for graduation.
You should submit your thesis/dissertation to the Thesis Office only after the department chair has read and approved your thesis/dissertation.
Refer to the Thesis Office calendar for target dates. Submit your manuscript as early as possible to ensure graduation in the semester during which you submit. Submit defended manuscripts well before the target date so any issues may be resolved by the end of the semester.
Track signatures from your Committee, Faculty Advisor/Committee Chair, and Department Chair in OnBase to ensure timely review of your manuscript.
To submit, you will need the below. This allows OnBase to collect their signatures. You do not need to secure signatures on the paper (either handwritten signatures or digital signatures).
- For your U of U Committee Members, Faculty Advisor/Committee Chair, and Department Chair, you will enter their UNID. To find their UNID, go into Umail, start an email and type in their email addresses, double click on each email address and you will see their UNID email address(you will replace the "U" at the front of their UNID with a "0"), then delete the email.
- For non-U of U faculty members, you will enter an email address.
You will receive email confirmation as signatures are submitted via OnBase. It is your responsibility to follow up on any missing signatures. The thesis editors are unable to process manuscripts before the majority of approval signatures have been received.
Manuscript moves to working queue.
Approved manuscripts are reviewed by editors within 2 business days and are processed in the order in which they are received.
Specific recommendations regarding major compliance issues will be returned to the student, the committee chair, and the department chair within 5 business days of the original receipt
Work with editor for Format Approval. Be prepared for 4-6 iterations of corrections and feedback.
Upload to ProQuest. The final manuscript should be uploaded as soon as possible, but no later than 2 days before the end of finals week. See Academic Calendar.
If you miss this deadline, it can impact your ability to graduate this semester.
Run on last audit in the Graduate Student Summary Tool to make sure there is no missing information. For example, make sure your Program of Study is complete and showing the correct credits required for your degree. And make sure your Defense details are correct. If anything is missing or incorrect, let the department's Graduate Advisor know immediately.
Please complete the department off-boarding checklist for Graduate Students.
Please also be sure to complete the Department Exit Survey and, if you would like, sign up for a short Exit Interview with the Department Chair.
- Take the Exit Survey.
- Sign up for Department Chair Exit Interviews. If none of the available times work for you, reach out the Department Graduate Advisor to schedule a time that does work.
All processing of the manuscript must be completed by the last day of the semester for graduation in the semester. If a Thesis Release cannot be issued by the closing date of the semester, the student will need to reapply for graduation for the next semester.
Technically, grades for the current semester are not due for a few weeks after finals. But faculty can post your grades right after the last day of class / before finals week starts.
So the Graduate Schools ask that you request that your faculty instructors grade and post early the grades for any courses you are in during your final semester.
- Grades can be posted as early as the day after the Census date for the current semester (find that date on the U of U Academic Calendar), but only submit the week before finals UNLESS you are starting a job before graduation day that requires that you already have your degree awarded.
- Grades for theses (6970) and dissertations (7970) hours for the current semester need to be submitted after the graduate student has passed their defense.
The goal is to clear graduate students for graduation by the degree conferral / graduation event date, when possible.
Whew! You made it! Way to go!
There are 4 different events for graduation. (Also check out our graduation website.)
- University-wide Commencement exercises are held at the end of each Spring semester. Since Commencement is held once a year, all candidates/graduates from that commencement year and the following Summer are allowed to participate in Commencement (i.e. for May 2022 Commencement candidates/graduates for Summer 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, and Summer 2022 may participate and attend).
- Note: Summer candidates who participate in the Commencement before they actually graduate are not recognized in the printed or posted programs until the following Spring semester ceremonies after they graduate (i.e. a Summer 2022 candidate who participates in the Spring 2022 Commencement will not be recognized in the program until the Spring 2023 Commencement ceremonies).
- You do not need to RSVP for commencement. Tickets are not required for you or your guests to attend commencement. Please note that graduates do not walk across the stage or have their names read at the commencement ceremony. All graduates process in together and the President of the University will confer all degrees enmass.
Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Graduation: The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Graduation is a celebration that honors our beautiful and complex histories, experiences, communities, and families. The event takes place in early May; find details on the U of U EDI events calendar.
College of Science/College of Mines and Earth Science Convocations: For all who officially graduated the past fall, this spring, and the coming summer.
- Convocation: Thursday, May 4, 2023 @ 9-10am; Jon M. Huntsman Center. Students will line up outside the west tunnel at 8am; they do not walk in any particular order. Graduate students are encouraged to wear their hoods even though the offical hooding ceremony is not until later in the day.
- Reception: Thursday, May 4, 2023 @ 10:30am-12:30pm; Presidents Circle (large tent set up for 1k+ attendees)
Geology & Geophysics Graduate Student Hooding Ceremony: For all graduate-level students who officially graduated the past fall, this spring, and the coming summer.
- Hooding Ceremony: Thursday, May 4, 2023 @ 3:30pm, Crocker Science Center, 206. Graduate students and their invited guests are invited (Students: please RSVP; see action item previously on this list.) The event is casual and fun! The Dean and Chair will say some introductory words. Hooding is done alphabetically by degree. When it it their time, the student should come to the front with their hood in their hands and give it to the person hooding them. The hooding is done by the student's Faculty Advisor (or the Director of Graduate Studies, if the Faculty Advisor is not doing it); they will have a few minutes to talk about the student and are encouraged to share highlights of their time in the program.
- Reception: May 4, 2023 @ 1pm-4pm; an ongoing reception will be held in the 1st floor atrium of the Crocker Science Center – light apps and beverages for graduates and their families.
Your master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation is expected to be available to other scholars and to the general public. Our department no longer maintains a Thesis/Dissertation Library. However, all final versions are published digitally via the Marriott Library.
Check your grades for the semester. If you have an “EU” grade(s), they need to be
corrected IMMEDIATELY by contacting the
faculty and requesting that they update the grade(see instructions above "Request grades be submitted". The faculty needs to send their request to the Department Chair, who will need to approve the “EU” update, and then the Deptartment Chair send the request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to follow up in a few weeks to make sure the change has been made.
It's offically official! Buy a nice frame and display your diploma where you can be reminded of your amazing accomplishment!
3 months after graduation: Diplomas are mailed to students by the Office of the Registrar approximately 3 months after the closing date of the semester of graduation. Check here for more details.
Once you graduate, you will be added to our Alumni email list. Don't worry! We try to be very considerate as to what we send to our alumni.
Please keep us updated as to the exciting updates in your life: https://earth.utah.edu/alumni/alumni_updates.php
When the time is right for you, please consider donating to our department's scholarship fund for the next generation of students: https://earth.utah.edu/gift_matters.php
We would love to see you again! Don't be a stranger! https://earth.utah.edu/events/ALUMNI_SOCIAL.php
- Department Virtual Alumni Social is held each November.
- Department and College representatives host an alumni social at the IMAGE and GSA annual conferences.
Time to put that smart brain and fancy degree to work! Check out these resources.
GROW Job Board: https://www.grow-geocareers.com/home.html - a collection of career resources for undergraduate and graduate students in the geosciences, intended to help students identify and pursue career paths beyond academia.
GSA (Geological Society of America) Job Board: https://www.geosociety.org/GSA/Publications/GSA_Today/Job_Board/GSA/GSAToday/Job_Board.aspx?src=whats
AGI (American Geological Institution) Job Board: https://www.geosociety.org/GSA/Publications/GSA_Today/Job_Board/GSA/GSAToday/Job_Board.aspx?src=whats
USGS (United States Geological Society) Job Board: https://www.usgs.gov/human-capital/employment-and-information-center
Geosciece Empowerment Network: https://genatjsg.org/gen-jobs-board (includes post doc opportunities)
AIPG (American Institute of Professional Geologists): https://aipg-jobs.careerwebsite.com/
AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists): https://www.aapg.org/career/jobs/job-boards
If you move during the calendar year in which you graduate, you need to make sure your mailing address is up-to-date with U of U Human Resources or you may not recieve your W2 for tax season. To update your address, use this form.