Graduate Student's Rights and Responsibilities

Graduate Students have a right to the following:

  1. A graduate student has a right to be respected as a person of merit and junior colleague upon gaining admission to a graduate program.
  2. Graduate students have a right to an accurate description of the availability and the likelihood of financial and resource support within their program.
    1. Prospective and currently enrolled graduate students should be provided a thorough description of the requirements and qualifications necessary for academic employment, training or financial support at the university.
    2. Assignments of office or lab space to departments and programs should consider the need for adequate graduate student space.
  3. Graduate students have a right to specific requirements for achieving an advanced degree. These requirements should be communicated clearly upon entrance to the graduate program.
    1. Prospective and currently enrolled graduate students have a right to know and should be informed of the "normative time to degree" and the "average time to degree" within a specific graduate program.
    2. Prospective and currently enrolled graduate students have a right to know a program's student attrition rate and, if available, the predominate reasons for lack of program completion.
  4. Graduate students have a right to have their progress towards achieving an advanced degree be evaluated in an objective manner and based on criteria that are understood by the graduate advisor and the student.
    1. Evaluations should be factual, specific, and should be shared with the student within a reasonable period of time. Evaluations which should be in writing and include: annual progress reports, split decisions on qualifying examinations, and unusual or additional program requirements.
    2. The reasons for unsatisfactory performance on programmatic examinations should be clearly stated to the student in a written evaluation.
  5. A graduate student has a right to regular feedback and guidance concerning his or her academic performance.
    1. A graduate student and major professor should arrive at and maintain a mutually agreeable schedule of evaluative/supervisory conferences.
    2. Graduate students should be given a fair opportunity to correct or remediate deficiencies in their academic performance.
    3. Any intent to dismiss a student from a graduate program for academic reasons must be preceded by specific, written performance information well in advance of actual dismissal.
  6. Graduate students have a right not to be discriminated against, such as actions based on a student's gender, race, age, sexual orientation, disability, religious, or political beliefs.
  7. Graduate students have a right to reasonable confidentiality in their communications with professors.
    1. Generally, a student's performance or behavior should not be discussed by a professor with other students.
    2. Discussion of the student's performance among faculty should be of a professional nature, and should be limited to the student's academic performance and fitness as a graduate student; the substance of the communication should be based on a need to know relevant information.
  8. Graduate students have a right to refuse to perform tasks if those tasks are not closely related to their academic or professional development program. The student's vulnerability in having a lesser status and authority in the academic unit or lesser experience in the academic field of study should not be exploited to the personal advantage of a faculty member.
  9. Graduate students have a right to co-authorship in publications involving significant contributions of ideas or research work from the student. The student should receive "first authorship" for publications which are comprised primarily of the creative research and writing of the student. Faculty and graduate students should agree, as early as possible, upon authorship positions commensurate with levels of contribution to the work.

Graduate Students Have the Following Responsibilities:

  1. Graduate students have a responsibility to conduct themselves, in all educational activities in a manner befitting an academic colleague. Graduate students' behavior should be a credit to themselves, the higher academic unit, and the university.
  2. Graduate students have a responsibility to devote an appropriate amount of time and energy toward achieving the advanced degree within "normative time," except when special circumstances apply.
  3. Graduate students have a responsibility to provide accurate and honest reporting of research results and to uphold ethical norms in research methodology and scholarship.
  4. Graduate students have a responsibility to participate in the campus community to the extent that each is able, and should leave the campus enriched in whatever ways possible.
    1. To contribute to the academic development and the social environment of the department or program in which he or she is pursuing the advanced degree.
    2. To contribute to administration of the graduate program, student government and/or the university.
  5. Graduate students have a responsibility to take the initiative in asking questions that promote their understanding of the academic regulations and the financial requirements of their specific graduate program.