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Advising & Reviews

16. The Graduate Advisor and the Personal Advisor

For students who are not yet advanced to candidacy, the Graduate Advisor (GA) is the main source of advising regarding academic matters. Students should expect to meet with the GA immediately upon arrival in the program and at least once per semester until advancement to candidacy to discuss choice of courses and planning for completing exams and other requirements. The GA has signature authority for forms and petitions related to graduate students and has the authority to decide (or share in deciding) which courses (including courses in other departments and graduate courses taken elsewhere) are to be counted for particular requirements.

In addition to regular consultation with the Graduate Advisor, each student will have a Personal Advisor, that is, a member of the faculty to whom the student can turn for help and advice concerning the course of study, general reading, development of research interests etc. The student will meet with his/her PA at least once per semester.

New students will be advised initially by the GA, but after the student has had the opportunity to become acquainted with members of the faculty (ideally by the beginning of the second semester in the program, and in any case by the end thereof), he/she will choose a more permanent PA in consultation with the GA.

The GA may serve as PA. A student may change Advisor at any time (this may in any case be necessitated by faculty leaves or induced by the student’s advancement in the program or some change of interest).

The PA will attend (in a non-voting capacity unless already a member of the relevant Committee) any formal review of the student by the M.A. Committee or the Ph.D. Committee. The PA may attend (in a non-voting capacity, unless already a member of the Committee) the student’s Oral Qualifying Examination. The PA will have some obligation to represent the student’s best interests and point of view at these meetings (though the extent and nature of advocacy on behalf of the advisee will naturally vary with the circumstances).

17. Reviews - Students working toward the M.A.

17.1. Mid-year review: Early in the student’s second semester, the GA and the chair of the M.A. Committee will review each student’s grades and course evaluations submitted by instructors and will prepare a brief statement of evaluation to be communicated to the student in writing. The statement should indicate whether the student’s performance has been exceptionally good, fully adequate, or deficient; if deficient, specifics should be given and suggestions made for improvement.

17.2. Third-semester review: The student’s progress in the first full year of study will be evaluated by the GA and the M.A. Committee not later than the seventh week of the student’s third semester. The review will again be based on grades and course evaluations and will include an interview with the reviewing committee and the GA; the Personal Advisor will attend the interview. Minutes of the review will be taken and, after being agreed upon by all those present at the meeting, kept as part of the permanent record in the student’s file.

17.3. Review for advancement to the Ph.D.: Upon completion of all requirements for the M.A., the student is again reviewed: this review will normally take place near the end of the fourth semester. This review is conducted by a committee consisting of the M.A. Committee and the Graduate Advisor. (The Personal Advisor will normally attend this review, as a non-voting member unless already a member of the review committee.) The Committee will determine, on the basis of the student’s performance in the M.A. examinations and course work, and the written evaluations of instructors, whether or not the student should be admitted to the Ph.D. program. In cases of doubt the committee may specify the student’s deficiencies and set a timetable for rectification and further review. The decision of the review committee may be referred to a vote of the full department if (1) the student appeals the decision, or (2) there is a split vote in the committee, or (3) the committee is of the opinion that it needs the guidance of a full department meeting. The Committee may waive the interview with the student if all the following conditions have been met: (1) the student has already met with the Committee earlier in the same semester or in the immediately preceding semester; (2) the Committee at that time indicated that no problems were foreseen in the student’s progress through the program; (3) the student’s performance since that meeting has maintained the foreseen quality.

17.4. Students who take more than four semesters to complete the M.A. continue to be subject to annual review by the M.A. Committee until the completion of the M.A and to a review for advancement to the Ph.D. at the completion of the M.A. exams and requirements. As stated in the M.A. regulations §3.1, failure to complete the M.A. by the end of the third year will be considered evidence of inadequate progress and is likely to lead to academic probation or denial of permission to proceed to the Ph.D.

18. Reviews - Students in the Ph.D. Program

18.1. Prior to Advancement to Candidacy: Every Ph.D. student, both those advanced from the M.A. program and those admitted with an M.A. from another institution, will have a formal review meeting every year (generally every second semester) until Advancement to Candidacy with two members of the Ph.D. Committee (designated by the Ph.D. Committee Chair), for the purpose of discussing the student’s overall progress in the program and giving guidance on the student’s pursuit of his/her interests and long-term career; the student’s PA may also attend these reviews. Minutes of the reviews will be taken and, after being agreed upon by all those present at the meeting, kept as part of the permanent record in the student’s file.

18.2. After Advancement to Candidacy: For students advanced to candidacy, the dissertation committee has the authority and responsibility to review the student’s progress and to advise him/her of its satisfaction. The committee may set reasonable deadlines for the student’s demonstrating adequate written progress in completing the dissertation: if deadlines are not met, the committee may instruct the GA to recommend to the Dean of the Graduate Division that the student’s candidacy be lapsed, which is a probationary status. A reasonable deadline in regard to jeopardy for being lapsed is a period of not less than one academic year. (Students in probationary status may not hold an academic appointment, nor receive a graduate fellowship, nor be eligible to receive an advanced degree.)

The Graduate Council mandates annual review of the progress of students advanced to candidacy. A “Report on Progress” form is to be filled out by each student once per year (during Spring Semester), submitted to the dissertation chair, who will discuss the report with at least one other member of the dissertation committee and record their comments. If possible, the reporting members of the committee should meet in person with the student. The form is retained in the student’s file. In any case, if the dissertation is not completed within four years of advancement to candidacy, the student’s candidacy may be lapsed by the Dean of the Graduate Division (though in special circumstances the dissertation committee, through the GA, may recommend to the Dean continuance of a student whose candidacy has passed four years). A candidate whose candidacy has lapsed may be reinstated upon recommendation of the GA only if a complete draft of the dissertation has been submitted and judged by the committee to be acceptable with no more than minor revisions, and if the GA has advised the Dean that the qualifying examination and course work was not taken so long ago as to be invalid. Failure to achieve reinstatement of candidacy within a reasonable period of time after lapsing may result in the student’s candidacy for the degree being terminated or the student being dismissed from the program. Unless otherwise specified in the Graduate Division’s formal notice of lapsing, termination will normally take place at the end of the regular academic term in effect two years after the date of notification.