Policies for Graduate Students

Master’s Student Expectations
and Responsibilities

This page outlines the principles governing graduate education in Arts, Sciences and Engineering at the University of Rochester.

Graduate Student Policies and Procedures

Policies and procedures governing graduate students at the University of Rochester can be found in the Graduate Bulletin. Additional policies for graduate students in Arts, Sciences and Engineering (AS&E) can be found on the AS&E Graduate Studies website. Students should discuss departmental or program-specific policies with their program Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). Students should be aware of and comply with all university, AS&E and departmental policies governing their program.

Master’s Student Expectations

As with most worthwhile endeavors, success in graduate study cannot be guaranteed and often depends on the mutual efforts of faculty and student. Master’s students may reasonably expect the following support in their program. The exact way in which these goals may be met can vary, depending on the program and the department.

  • Resources: to receive appropriate resources, including reasonable access to appropriate course offerings to meet the student’s approved program of study and facilities to allow the student to complete the program.
  • Guidance: to receive advice and direction regarding the student’s academic program.
  • Expectations: to be informed of the expectations, including timelines, for the successful completion of any potential non-course duties, such as research projects, teaching assignments, and thesis work.
  • Evaluation: to receive timely and fair assessment of the student’s work, including course work, program exams and (potentially) research and teaching assignments.
  • Support services: to be provided with professional and personal development support services if requested, such as those offered by the Career Center, Disability Services, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and access to English as a Second Language Instruction (for a fee), that enhance the student’s professional and academic experience.
  • Professional development: to be provided with opportunities to attend colloquia and seminars and, in appropriate cases, to publish the student’s research.
  • Non-discrimination and non-harassment: to be treated in a fair, impartial, and professional manner in all dealings in accordance with university policies governing discrimination and harassment (as per the University of Rochester Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment).
  • Collegiality: to have a collegial, welcoming environment in which to pursue the student’s graduate studies, where students are respected as valuable members of the community.
  • Fair treatment: to be given appropriate credit for the student’s work and provided clear guidelines on authorship, data ownership and research practices when engaged in joint research projects.
  • Conflict of interest: to receive appropriate instruction about conflicts of interest so the student can avoid being placed in a situation that creates a conflict of interest (see the UR Guidelines on Research Integrity and Conflict of Interest for Graduate Students Policy).
  • Policies: to receive guidelines on academic policies and procedures, as found in the Graduate Bulletin, on the AS&E Graduate Studies website and provided by the student’s program.
  • Feedback: to be provided feedback on performance and given clear guidelines on the required areas of improvement when performance is deemed poor and the student is in jeopardy of being removed from the program.
  • Appeal: in ways prescribed by University policies, to have the opportunity to petition for an exemption to an existing policy, to appeal decisions related to policies and procedures, and to issue a complaint when standards of fairness may have been violated.

Master’s Student Responsibilities

Master’s students are responsible for working towards completion of their degree programs in a timely manner. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure continued progress of his or her academic program. Students have a responsibility for the following aspects of their program.

  • Timeframes: to work effectively towards completion of the degree in a timely manner.
  • Academics: to successfully complete a program of study consisting of either 30 or 32 credit hours, as specified by the departmental requirements.
  • Thesis (for Plan A students only): to discover and pursue a unique topic of research in order to construct new knowledge.
  • Integrity and ethics: to assume the highest integrity and maintain ethical standards in all aspects of the student’s work, including course work and research, especially in the tasks of collecting, analyzing, and presenting research data and in writing reports or essays. Special care should be taken to follow guidelines established by the University's independent review boards for research, such as the Research Subjects Review Board (RSRB).
  • Laboratory notebooks: where applicable, to maintain detailed, organized and accurate laboratory notebooks and records. When a student leaves the lab, the notebook and all research data remain the property of the laboratory.
  • Teaching: where applicable, to take teaching duties seriously and to use all teaching experiences to enhance the student’s effectiveness as an instructor.
  • Work environment: to help maintain a clean and safe work environment, including, but not limited to classroom spaces, laboratory spaces and common spaces.
  • Collegiality: to promote collegiality and a welcoming environment in all aspects of the student’s program, ensuring that all students, faculty and staff are treated with respect.
  • Familiarity with policies: to take responsibility for keeping informed of and complying with regulations and policies and to complete all required paperwork and other degree obligations in a timely fashion (policies and important deadlines). Note that individual programs may have additional policies, and it is the student’s responsibility to understand and comply with these policies as well.
  • Effort: to devote full time and effort towards completing degree requirements (for full-time students). Students are expected to be on campus and completing degree requirements during the academic semester. Students away from campus for an extended period during any academic semester (e.g., for field research) must register in Absentia for the semester.
  • Employment: not to simultaneously be employed full-time while maintaining full-time student status, unless it is an internship related to the student’s academic program and supported by the student’s advisor, the program Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of Graduate Studies. International students must discuss with the International Services Office (ISO) any special rules and regulations for internships and part-time employment.

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