Welcome to the University of Minnesota!
Understanding Graduate Education Structure at UMN
- Graduate vs. Professional Education
- Collegiate Structure
- Program Roles
- Decentralized Model for Graduate Education
Graduate vs. Professional Programs
- The University of Minnesota makes a formal administrative distinction between the research masters and PhD programs (graduate programs) and all other post-baccalaureate degree programs (professional programs).
- The Graduate School is responsible for oversight of the research degree (graduate) programs.
- The academic colleges have primary oversight of their own professional programs.
- You can refer to this chart to see which programs are categorized as graduate versus professional.
- The University of Minnesota is organized into 17 colleges and schools and offers more than 130 research-based masters and doctoral degrees.
- Each college has an associate dean for graduate programs who acts as a liaison between the Graduate School and departments at collegiate level and plays a leadership role in graduate education and postdoctoral training within the collegiate unit.
- We recommend that you ask your department chair and director of graduate studies to refer you to specific collegiate policies and requirements you need to be aware of related to graduate education and postdoctoral training.
Every graduate program has dedicated staff members who can help you gain a deeper understanding of the structure and goals of your department’s graduate programs, and graduate students’ needs.
Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC)
- A GPC is a staff member within each graduate or professional program who provides graduate students with information about the program and its requirements, and who works in close partnership with the director of graduate studies and graduate faculty to identify ways to help the program be more successful.
- As an example, you can approach the GPC if you have questions about documentation necessary to finalize preliminary examination or final defense, program requirements or milestones, or other program specific practices related to graduate education.
- Find your program's GPC.
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS)
- A DGS serves as the coordinator of graduate studies within a program. Together with the graduate program faculty and department and collegiate leadership, the DGS shares responsibility for guiding and improving graduate education within the program(s) under the DGS's jurisdiction.
- As an example, you can approach the DGS to discuss how your teaching aligns with the graduate program or ask for guidance on student advising or the expectations and responsibilities of graduate faculty in the department or program.
- Find your program's DGS.
Decentralized Model for Graduate Education
- Graduate education at UMN is decentralized, meaning that the Graduate School’s role is to provide services to programs, faculty, students, and postdoctoral scholars relevant to constituents across all of our research-based graduate programs, to establish priorities for graduate education and postdoctoral training, and to advocate for and support best practices.
- Within the policy parameters set by the institution overall, each college, department or program has the freedom to design and tailor its graduate programs, curriculum, and policies to meet the specific needs and goals of its students and faculty.
- Faculty members should be aware of institutional, collegiate, and departmental policies and requirements, and should consult with their department head/chair and DGS if they have questions about their role and responsibility as graduate faculty.
Taking Advantage of the Graduate School’s Resources
- Student Academic & Professional Development
- Faculty Advising Resources
- Fellowships & Grants
- Grad Data Portal
Student Academic and Professional Development
- GEAR (Graduate Education Resources) is a series of online tools that help your students through every phase of their academic and professional development, whether they aspire for a career in academia or an industry beyond campus.
- Workshops and events: The Graduate School helps connect your students with programs, resources, and events to help them identify potential career paths both inside and outside of academia, compete for in-demand positions, and manage their career.
- The Graduate School Diversity Office (GSDO) supports and enhances graduate education by serving in an advisory capacity, leading initiatives, and collaborating across the University of Minnesota system. Our work encompasses recruitment, funding, retention, advocacy, and education of students from underrepresented communities. The signature programs of the GSDO prioritize domestic graduate students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC), inclusive of their intersectional identities, as they have been historically excluded in graduate education.
- Diversity of Views and Experience (DOVE) Fellowship seeks to assist graduate research programs to promote a diversity of views, experiences, and ideas in the pursuit of research, scholarship, and creative excellence through the recruitment and support of academically excellent students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
- Summer Institute (SI) is a seven-week summer bridge research opportunity for incoming DOVE Fellows and domestic BIPOC graduate students.
- Community of Scholars Program (COSP) provides DOVE Fellows and domestic BIPOC graduate students with opportunities to find community in support of their academic and professional goals.
- First Gen Connect (FGC) is a supportive network for first-generation college students who are in graduate programs at the University of Minnesota.
- Faculty & Staff Diversity Resources & Consultations are available for graduate programs, departments, and colleges seeking to explore strategic approaches to recruitment and retention efforts for underrepresented graduate students.
Resources for Graduate Faculty and Advisors
- Positive advising and mentoring relationships are one of the most important features of leading to the success of graduate and professional students. The Graduate School offers resources to help support your development as a mentor and advisor of graduate students.
Fellowships & Grants
- Fellowships, grants, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and loans provide the most common forms of support for graduate students. Explore and stay up to date on fellowship and grant opportunities available for your prospective, incoming, and current students.
Explore Grad Data Portal to learn more about gradSERU results, view data on applications, admissions, enrollment, demographics, time-to-degree, and completion rates, and find out where your program's Ph.D. alumni are working.
Supporting Students’ Well-Being
- Red Folder
- Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education
- International Student and Scholar Services
- Student Conflict Resolution Center
- Care Team
- Student Counseling Services
- Nutritious U Food Pantry
It can be challenging for faculty members to know how to respond to students who may be having a mental health issue or crisis. The Red Folder is a comprehensive guide designed to help you recognize indicators of student distress, how to respond to students in distress, and where you can refer your students for appropriate support.
The Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education provides crisis intervention, advocacy, information, referral services, emotional support, presentations, and training regarding issues of sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, and harassment for students, faculty, and staff.
The International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) provides information about non-immigrant visa issues, counseling about academic, personal, and family matters, as well as issues of cross-cultural adjustments and professional integration once returning home, and training about cross-cultural and international issues across campus.
- The Care Team provides coordinated care, support, and resources to students and works to foster student development and wellbeing.
- It also oversees the Behavioral Consultation Team (BCT) that provides a coordinated response to incidents arising from students who may represent a threat of harm to themselves or others.
- The Nutritious U Food Pantry provides fresh and healthy food to any student who is struggling to get enough to eat.
- It also maintains a website with information about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and a screening tool to help students determine if they are eligible for the program.
Introducing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into Your Work
Diversity Community of Practice (DCoP)
- The Diversity Community of Practice (DCoP) is a grassroots community of faculty and staff from collegiate and administrative units that started on the Twin Cities Campus. The DCoP meets monthly via Zoom with the goal of helping to develop and leverage personal, professional, and technical expertise of community members, and creating innovative strategies to meet the equity and diversity goals at the University of Minnesota.
Equity and Diversity Certificate
- The Office for Equity and Diversity (OED) Certificate program helps participants develop tools necessary for advancing equity and diversity in all aspects of their personal and professional lives. The program:
- Offers participants a theoretical framework for understanding equity and diversity work.
- Helps participants develop necessary skills for equity and diversity work.
- Gives participants direct experience working and communicating across differences.
UMN Racial Justice Resources
- Created by the Race, Indigeneity, Disability, Gender & Sexuality Studies (RIDGS) Initiative, UMN Racial Justice Resources is for students, staff, faculty, and community partners who are activists and are looking for support for their work, models from similar organizing efforts, and potential collaborators and coalition partners.
- The Disability Resource Center (DRC) partners with faculty and instructors to support both the process of implementing accommodations and creating more inclusive and accessible learning environments.
- Find resources for teaching for access and inclusion through the DRC and Center for Educational Innovation (CEI).
- Take an online course on Fundamentals of disability accommodations and inclusive course design.
Enhancing Your Advising and Mentoring
- Mentoring Best Practices
- Advising Best Practices
- Individual Development Plan (IDP)
- International Graduate Students
Mentoring Best Practices
- In addition to their advisor and committee members, graduate students benefit from mentors who address a variety of needs. The Mentoring Map from the National Center for Faculty development and Diversity (NCFDD) is a great tool for both mentors and mentees to identify what the student needs, and what support individuals mentors can provide. As a faculty member, you have institutional access to NCFDD.
- Optimizing the Practice of Mentoring 101: For Research Mentors of Graduate Students, Fellows, and Early-Career Faculty
- How to Mentor Graduate Students: A Guide for Faculty
- Mutual roles and responsibilities of graduate faculty and graduate students
- Tips for professional conduct in graduate education (for mentors and students)
- Developing an advising statement is a great way to reflect on your personal advising philosophy and share this with prospective and current students.
- Reflect on these advising philosophy prompts as a first step.
- You can review guidelines and common components of advising statements, use an advising statement template, or draw inspiration from examples of other faculty statements.
Individual Development Plan (IDP)
- Graduate students are encouraged to create an IDP, that serves as a skills assessment and career planning tool throughout their graduate education.
- As faculty, you should familiarize yourself with the IDP, so you are able to collaborate with your students.
- Navigating the unique nuances of advising and mentoring international graduate students requires a tailored approach.
- Explore the Advising and Mentoring International Graduate Students guide that offers actions for faculty to better support international graduate students, and the resources available to do so.
- Refer students to the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) if they have questions about their visa status, employment authorization, or need counseling about academic, personal, and family matters.
- Connect students with the Council of International Graduate Students (CIGS) - a place for international graduate and professional students to advocate their voices about their academic, professional, and social development.
- Refer students to the International Teaching Assistant program that focuses on oral communication skills needed in teaching.
Enhancing Your Pedagogy
The Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) advances the University of Minnesota’s teaching and learning mission by providing research-informed, transformative, and inclusive leadership in teaching and learning across the University of Minnesota system. CEI offers excellent resources on designing effective learning experiences, creating inclusive learning environments, assessing student learning, and improving teaching.
- The Senate Committee on Educational Policy has developed a range of ChatGPT syllabus statements.
- CEI offers a curated and regularly updated short list of Artificial Intelligence / ChatGPT Resources in addition to a more comprehensive AI and ChatGPT Context and Strategies guide.
- The University of Minnesota Libraries offers information and guidance for making informed decisions about AI technologies.
- The Minnesota English Language Program (MELP) offers support to a diverse group of international and domestic students who use English in addition to other languages.
- MELP provides professional development opportunities for faculty and staff to develop skills, knowledge, and dispositions for working with multilingual students, as well as services that serve multilingual students and scholars.