SECTION REFERENCES ARE TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL MANUAL (GSM) AND THE UNIVERSITY MANUAL (UM). THIS GLOSSARY IS MEANT TO PROVIDE SHORT DEFINITIONS FOR SOME COMMONLY USED TERMS, BUT DOES NOT SET POLICY. POLICIES ARE DESCRIBED IN THE BODY OF THE GRADUATE SCHOOL MANUAL, AND IN THE UNIVERSITY MANUAL.
Advanced Standing Credits – Advanced standing refers to credits taken at URI by a non-matriculating student, by a matriculating student while on non-degree status, or by a student in one degree program before acceptance to any other degree program. GSM Section 3.33
Advisor – Upon admission, each entering graduate student will be assigned a temporary advisor by the department Chair or Graduate Program Director. This temporary advisor will help guide the direction of the graduate student’s career until a major professor is selected, usually in a student’s first or second semester of graduate work. GSM Section 8.20
Comprehensive Examination – All doctoral students are required to successfully complete a comprehensive examination. Each doctoral student will take comprehensive examinations at or near but not later than 12 months after completion of the formal courses stipulated in the Program of Study. Comprehensive examinations should be designed to assess a student’s intellectual capacity and the adequacy of training or scholarly research. Comprehensive exams will be written and oral. GSM Section 7.57 Some master’s students are required to successfully complete a master’s examination. Sections 7.44.2 and 7.45.2
Credit by Exam – In master’s and doctoral programs in which the student does not have a master’s degree, a maximum of six credits may be allowed for competency based on experience outside the traditional academic setting and demonstrated by examination or equivalent. GSM Section 7.30
Dean of the Graduate School – The Dean of the Graduate School shall be responsible for the University’s graduate education programs. He/she shall administer and enforce the regulations pertaining to the conduct of graduate work and the granting of graduate degrees, administer the executive office of the Graduate School, coordinate the development and design of new programs, and serve as an advocate for graduate studies. The Dean shall be responsible for promoting diversity in the University’s graduate education and provide a compelling voice for the University’s graduate studies to both internal and external constituencies. UM: 2.27.10
Department Chair – A Department Chair shall have administrative responsibility for the program of the department under the dean of his/her college; cooperate with department members in planning and developing policies and programs; evaluate the instructional, research and administrative processes of the department and make recommendations to the dean; evaluate periodically the department members and report the evaluations as required; recommend appointments, reappointments, promotions and dismissals of department members; ensure that adequate supervision, advice and training are provided to new department members and others who might profit from them; generally promote the welfare of the department and the University by every appropriate means; and carry out such other duties as are set forth elsewhere in the University Manual. UM: 3.21.10
Dissertation Defense Committee – The dissertation defense committee for doctoral students consists of the doctoral committee plus two additional members appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School. GSM Section 8.43.4
Doctoral Committee – The doctoral committee guides and supervises a student’s progress in the Program of Study from the time the major professor is selected until the dissertation is defended. The doctoral committee is composed of the major professor as chair and at least two additional members of the Graduate Faculty. The second member of the committee is usually a member of the same department, in the same discipline, or in one closely related to it. The third member is from an outside area unless specifically approved otherwise by the Dean of the Graduate School. GSM Section 8.43.2
Graduate Assistant – A graduate assistant shall be a person with a bachelor’s degree who has been admitted to the Graduate School as a degree student and who is currently enrolled. The duties shall consist of assisting, under supervision, with instructional and/or research activity of a department. A graduate assistant shall be expected to work up to 20 hours a week, not more than 10 hours of which shall be contact hours. The department Chair and the coordinator or supervisor shall determine his/her responsibilities on the criteria of education, experience and ability. UM: 7.80.10-15, plus see the current Graduate Assistants United contract
Graduate Program Director – The Graduate Program Director assists in the guidance and supervision of graduate students from the inception of their program until completion. In conjunction or in place of the Department Chair, the Graduate Program Director will advise and sign off on the students’ Program of Study, transfer credits, comprehensive examination and other departmental duties.
Graduate Research Assistant – A graduate research assistant shall be a person with a bachelor’s degree who has been admitted to the Graduate School and who is currently enrolled. The duties shall consist of conducting research on individual research projects sponsored either by the University or outside sources. UM: 7.80.10 and 7.80.16-18, plus see the current Graduate Assistants United contract
Graduate Teaching Assistant – A graduate teaching assistant shall be a person with a bachelor’s degree who has been admitted to the Graduate School and who is currently enrolled. The duties shall consist of assisting, under supervision, with the instructional activity of a department. A graduate assistant shall be expected to work up to 20 hours a week, not more than 10 hours of which shall be contact hours. The department Chair and the coordinator or supervisor shall determine his/her responsibilities on the criteria of education, experience and ability. UM: 7.80.10 and 7.80.16-18, plus see the current Graduate Assistants United contract
Institutional Review Board (IRB) – The IRB shall review and approve all biomedical and behavioral research involving human and animal subjects that is conducted or sponsored by the University. The Code of Federal Regulations, 45 CFR 46, revised in 2005, requires the existence of this committee in order to protect the rights and welfare of the human and animal subjects of such research. GSM Appendix D and E , UM: 5.25
Intellectual Opportunity Plan (Pass-Fail Option) – To allow graduate students to venture into new areas of knowledge without fear that their scholastic average will suffer, the Graduate Council has approved the Intellectual Opportunity Plan. GSM Section 4.8
Major Professor – The major professor has overall responsibility for overseeing the student’s training and for ensuring that Programs of Study, thesis/dissertation proposals, and other required documents are submitted by the student at the appropriate time. GSM Section 8.30-40
Oral Comprehensive Exam Committee – The oral comprehensive examination shall be given only upon successful completion of, and normally within four weeks after, the written examination. This examination, usually two hours long, is conducted by the oral comprehensive examination committee, which consists of the doctoral committee and two additional Graduate Faculty members nominated by the major professor in consultation with the student, and appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School. One of the additional members will be from the same department or area while the other member will be from an outside area. GSM Section 22.214.171.124 , 8.43.3.
Oral Defense of Dissertation – The doctoral student shall successfully defend the dissertation in an oral examination that is usually two hours long before the dissertation defense committee. This examination is a defense of the dissertation and is open to all members of the faculty and, generally, to all students. GSM Section 7.58.1
Ph.D. Qualifying Exam – Students without a master’s degree who are accepted into a Ph.D. program are expected to take a qualifying examination. This examination is intended to assess a student’s potential to perform satisfactorily at the doctoral level. The type of examination to be used, whether it is to be written or oral, or both, and the preparation and administration of the examination(s) are the responsibilities of the Graduate Program Director in consultation with 1) a departmental committee designed for this purpose or 2) with the major professor. GSM Section 7.55.1
Program of Study – The purpose of the Program of Study is to ensure that students, at an early stage in their graduate study, organize coherent, individualized plans for their course work and research activities. Students are expected to submit a Program of Study as soon as is practicable, but not later than the end of the second semester of their program. The Program of Study includes courses that are to be taken for program credit, and those that are to be taken without program credit to remedy deficiencies, or for the student’s personal satisfaction. After a program has been approved, changes can be made by submitting a new Program of Study for approval to the Dean of the Graduate School, signed by the major professor, the student, and the Graduate Program Director. The form to be used for submitting a Program of Study is available at the Graduate School website. Sections 7.43 , 7.52
Regional Student Status – As a permanent resident of a New England state, a student is eligible for regional student status when enrolled in an approved degree program offered by a specific public college or university in another New England state. Approved majors for residents of each New England state are listed on the program’s website. The program is only for permanent New England residents attending out-of-state public colleges and universities in the six New England states–Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. www.nebhe.org
S/U Courses – Certain courses do not lend themselves to precise grading (e.g., research, seminar). For these courses, only a Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) shall be given to all students enrolled. To qualify as an S/U course, the course must be approved by the Faculty Senate after recommendation by the Curricular Affairs Committee and/or the Graduate Council. S/U courses shall be so labeled in the University Bulletin. UM: 8.53.30
Thesis Committee, Masters – In master’s degree programs, the thesis committee must consist of at least three members of the Graduate Faculty, including the major professor who serves as chair of the committee. The second member will be in the same discipline and/or department as the major professor, or in a closely related one. The third member will be from an outside area unless specifically approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. The members of the thesis committee are chosen by the major professor in consultation with the student at the time the thesis proposal is prepared. GSM Section 8.33.4
Thesis or Dissertation Proposal – A thesis or dissertation proposal is required of all graduate degree students and is intended to describe a problem to be investigated and provide details regarding how the research will be performed and reported. Approval signifies that it meets the standards of the University of Rhode Island for the intended degree. The proposal should present the required information as concisely and clearly as possible. The ability to describe concisely a research problem and methodology is one of the skills that the thesis/dissertation proposal process is designed to develop. Therefore, thesis/dissertation proposals are limited in length to the signature cover-sheet plus 15 or fewer double-spaced, numbered pages in a font size no smaller than 12 point. Complete details for the appropriate development, preparation, and submission of a thesis proposal can be found on the Graduate School website www.uri.edu/gsadmis/. GSM Section 7.44.3 (Master’s Thesis) , 7.56. (Dissertation)
Transfer Credit – Transfer credit can be requested for graduate work taken at other accredited institutions of higher learning. Transfer credit may be given in those courses in which the student received a grade of “C” or better but no credit shall be given for courses in which a “C-” or lower was earned. However, the transfer credits shall not be used to calculate the student’s grade point average and academic standing shall be based solely upon achievement at the University of Rhode Island. UM: 8.13.13
University Manual – The University manual outlines mandates from the board of Governors, provides information on colleges and schools, identifies rights and responsibilities, academic regulations and administrative procedures. Copies of the University Manual are available in the University Library, in some academic department offices and online (http://web.uri.edu/manual/).
University of Rhode Island Catalog – The University catalog provides information on student life and services, admission and registration, program requirements and courses. http://web.uri.edu/catalog/
University of Rhode Island Handbook – The handbook identifies all University policies pertaining to community standards of behavior, health, safety and the student discipline system. http://www.uri.edu/judicial/Student%20Handbook/htmlStart.html