The Director of Graduate Studies serves as the temporary advisor for all incoming graduate students unless otherwise pre-assigned. Additionally, incoming students are required to meet with the Graduate Director for an orientation meeting at the beginning of the semester. The purpose of this initial meeting is to discuss your goals, help you plan a course of study, and to anticipate the timing of important graduate school and departmental deadlines.
By the end of the first semester, you will be required to select a permanent advisor, with that advisor’s consent. Students’ permanent advisor must be graduate faculty and from the Department of Geography, Environment and Sustainability with expertise in the area of students’ research interest. You may request a change of advisor at any time usually based on a substantial change of topic. This may entail a delay in your graduation. Following any change in committee membership, it is the student’s responsibility to immediately notify affected faculty and request permission to include any contribution of the faculty in their final work. After 12 credit hours, or at the end of their first year of study, a student may constitute a committee. After completion of 18 credit hours, failure to do so may indicate lack of progress toward a degree. Students are free to discuss project ideas with various faculty members. Faculty contribute their time and expertise in the valuable production of graduates, serving in the capacity of committee members as well as primary advisor, which should be respected by all involved in this critical process. In accordance with the investment of substantial time and intellectual property in project development, the advisor-advisee relationship should be formalized by signing the appropriate “Committee Appointment” form. The student needs to have a topic and a written paragraph summarizing their intended research, which is then signed by the intended advisor and committee.
Please note that faculty committees DO NOT normally meet during the summer, periods between semesters, or during the first or last week of any semester. Committee approvals of work/proposals may be significantly delayed if you fail to recognize this in your planning.