Graduate Student Handbook (pdf version of the information below)
Faculty and graduate students have contributed in many ways to understanding and managing earth’s diverse cultural and physical environments, ranging from local to global scales across the full range of human history. Current areas of faculty research include Space, Place, and Social Worlds; Environmental Changes and Surface Processes; and Digital Landscapes. The faculty has always had a strong international orientation and is well prepared to guide students in field based research in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the Southwestern and Western regions of the United States. The Department encourages interdisciplinary and collaborative work, taking advantage of the University’s extensive scholarly resources.
The graduate program of the Department of Geography and the Environment prepares highly qualified students for competitive research and teaching positions at academic and other professional institutions.
A Distinguished Trajectory
Geography courses were introduced to the University of Texas by Dr. Lindley Miller Keasbey in 1905. Keasbey’s teaching inspired Walter Prescott Webb to write his masterpiece of historical geography and environmental history, The Great Plains (although subsequently Keasbey critiqued the book's environmental determinism). William J. Reilly developed his Law of Retail Gravitation while at Texas in the 1920s; his discovery was an important precursor of the "quantitative revolution" in geography and planning.
The Department of Geography was formed in 1949 thanks to lobbying by the University’s Latin American Studies program. The original faculty of the department consisted of three outstanding international scholars: Donald D. Brand (1905-1984), Dan Stanislawski (1903-1997), and George W. Hoffman (1914-1990). The department was the first in Texas, and the second in the Southwest, to award doctoral degrees.
Since then, the department has participated fully in the life of the discipline and has maintained a high level of national visibility. The department's faculty has had an outstanding record of research and publication. The National Academy of Sciences has ranked the department among the top 11 programs in the country. Faculty have made contributions to fundamental research in many areas, authored numerous textbooks of national importance, and edited influential overviews of disciplinary and interdisciplinary topics. The department changed its name to the Department of Geography and the Environment in 2004.
Intellectual and Social Environment: Austin and the University of Texas
As the state capital, Austin is home to a number of federal and state agencies with research staff and resources, as well as non-governmental organizations. Many of these agencies and organizations are staffed with current or former Geography students.
Austin's environmental diversity makes it an ideal location for field training and research. Austin is located where the Colorado River slices through the Balcones Escarpment, the major regional physiographic divide. To the west, the spectacular Hill Country dissects the Great Plains of the American West into accessible canyons, granite domes, caves, and limestone sinkholes with a vegetation cover of live oak, juniper, and mesquite. To the east, the Coastal Plain contains intersecting ecosystems of oak forests and grasslands with intrusions of the Piney Woods and Bald Cypress wetlands of the Deep South. The region is rich in natural springs and rivers, and canoeing, tubing, and rafting are some of the many outdoor recreational activities enjoyed by Austinites.
Austin's communities are also diverse. Hispanic/Latino culture is evident throughout the city, and Austin also exhibits influences from Southern Afro-American and Anglo-American folk culture. The area received substantial immigrants from Central Europe, and even today, German, Czech, Scandinavian, and other identifiable ethnic European communities still dot the region. The area's governmental and technological importance continues to attract streams of migrants from throughout the US, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Austin has a major Jewish cultural center, Muslim mosques, Hindu and Buddhist temples, as well as a wide range of Catholic and Protestant religious centers and seminaries.
Annual music festivals including South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits festival, as well as dozens of live music venues anchor Austin’s reputation as the “Live Music Capital of the World”. Annual Arts festivals EAST and WEST provide venues for local artists and crafts-people. Given Austin's attractive physical environment, substantial educational resources, and importance as the capital of Texas, the city stands out as a center of high technology research and development, yet retains the casual, tolerant atmosphere achieved in earlier decades.
The University of Texas at Austin is a major research university. Graduate students in the department benefit from highly ranked graduate programs in complementary disciplines, and from one of the best research library systems in the world. The Environmental Science Institute and Area Studies centers such as Latin American Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and American Studies offer courses, symposia, and research support to Geography students. Language training is available in all the major European languages, as well as in many Middle Eastern, East Asian, and South Asian tongues. Graduate students in the department utilize many other University facilities, including the Center for Space Research, the Plant Resource Center, the Bureau of Economic Geology, the Marine Science Institute, and the Population Research Center.
The University has always been co-educational, and is a welcoming environment for persons of diverse backgrounds. There are over 50,000 students enrolled at UT-Austin, and more than one out of every five are graduate students. As of Fall 2016, the University’s student body is 20% Hispanic/Latino, 17.8% Asian-American, 3.9% Black/African-American, and 10.1% International. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, citizenship status, or sexual orientation. The department is fully supportive of the initiative to create a welcoming and open environment for all.
- Advising and Supervising Committee
All entering students are required to attend the department orientation prior to the beginning of the semester, and to meet with the graduate adviser to discuss their program of study prior to registering for classes in the fall semester. Normally this will be in the penultimate week of August. The graduate adviser will continue to advise the student until the student chooses a faculty supervisor.
The department and the Graduate School assign great responsibility to the student’s supervising committee and its chair, the student’s supervisor. Students should thus take great care in selecting their supervisor and in making sure that this is an informed decision. The supervisor must be a member of the department’s Graduate Studies Committee. Students may elect to also have a co-supervisor. Students are under no obligation to choose any particular faculty member as supervisor even if the faculty member provided support for admission to the program.
In their first two semesters, students should meet with potential supervisors and, if available, take courses from them. By early in the second long semester, students should choose a supervisor and work with that person and the graduate adviser to put together a supervising committee. This committee is typically comprised of faculty members with whom the student will have completed at least one course by the completion of their program. The graduate adviser must approve the student's committee, and has the right to appoint one of its members (this right is normally, but not always, delegated to the supervisor).
The M.A. supervising committee should include three persons; two must be members of a Graduate Studies Committee at the University of Texas at Austin. One person is commonly from outside the department.
Doctoral supervising committees include five or six committee members. At least three need to be members of the department's Graduate Studies Committee. At least one member should be drawn from outside the department, preferably from the student's supporting (minor) field.
The student must petition the graduate adviser for approval of the committee's composition by filing the supervising Committee form. For any committee member who is not a member of a UT GSC, a curriculum vitae must be submitted to the Graduate School degree evaluators. Students should be aware that the department will not pay the expenses of an off campus committee member to attend presentations or defenses.
Prior to submitting the Master’s Graduation Form or their doctoral Application for Candidacy, a student may change the composition of his/her supervising committee, including the supervisor, by circulating a new Supervising Committee form and submitting it to the graduate adviser for approval. Students should inform faculty members who are being deleted from the committee, but do not need their approval. Faculty members also have the right to remove themselves from a student’s committee at any time and for any reason. In either event, all of the parties involved are strongly encouraged to meet individually and collectively to discuss the causes of the change to the student’s committee makeup. Faculty must indicate their intention to leave a committee by signing in the appropriate place on the departmental Supervising Committee form, and by notifying the student.
Once the supervising committee membership has been submitted to the Graduate School as part of the Master's Graduation Form or doctoral Application for Candidacy, changes may be made only by petitioning the Graduate Dean. The Graduate School’s Petition for Change must confirm that all former and proposed committee members agree to the change, and must be approved at least 30 days in advance of the dissertation defense, or two weeks in advance of the master’s thesis or report deadline. Complete information may be found in the Graduate Catalog.
Students are expected, as part of their professional development, to attend departmental colloquia. These are typically scheduled Fridays at 3 p.m. in CLA 0.128.
Attendance and presentation of research results at professional meetings is a vital and rewarding part of professional development, and is expected by both the department and academic employers.
Students are expected to join the Association of American Geographers (AAG) and attend the annual meeting (or an equivalent) to present their research results prior to graduation. The meeting is typically held in March or April. The department and Graduate School provide financial aid for attendance at these meetings. The department also organizes a reception. While at the meeting, students should attend sessions relevant to their specialty and strongly consider attending their Specialty Group business meeting. The graduate adviser, the student's supervisor, and other faculty are happy to provide guidance on how to take full advantage of the meeting's opportunities for professional growth.
Joining the AAG also provides the student with the Association's journals and newsletter, and allows access to the job database on the Association website.
Students should consult with their supervisor about additional professional organizations and meetings that are relevant to their research trajectory. This varies across geographical interests and specialties.
Research Grant Proposals
Students should begin writing research grant proposals as soon as possible, in collaboration with their supervisors. A wide variety of fellowships and grants are available, both within the University and at the national level. Deadlines for national grants are often in the fall semester, sometimes as early as October. Doctoral students interested in Fulbright grants, for example, should plan to attend the University’s Fulbright grant proposal writing workshop early in the fall. Many grants within the University have spring semester deadlines.
Getting Permission for Sensitive Human Subjects Research
Certain kinds of sensitive research involving human subjects require permission from the IRB. Failure to obtain this permission well in advance of research may result in delay or prevention of graduation from the graduate program. Data collected without IRB approval may not be published or otherwise included in research.
During the proposal writing process, the student, in collaboration with the supervisor, should contact the program coordinator assigned to our department at the University’s Office of Research Support and Compliance (ORS). The ORS program coordinator will determine if the proposed research needs to go through review, and can suggest ways that sensitive parts of the research can be restructured to not require review.
In addition to presenting their research results at professional meetings, students should publish their research results. Students should work closely with their supervisors to select appropriate journals or other professional venues. In general, UT Austin grad student research can and should be submitted to top-ranked journals in the discipline.
It is especially important for doctoral students to publish in refereed journals, as this is often taken into consideration in hiring decisions.
The department recognizes student research and publication achievement with its annual Achievement Award.
Students are admitted to the program in part on the basis of potential of excellence in teaching or other forms of public communication. The department is committed to the highest standards of teaching excellence both in its faculty and in its graduate students. Most graduate students have the opportunity to teach during their time in the department, usually as a teaching assistant (TA) and often as an assistant instructor (AI). Some TAs are assigned as graders, but many are in charge of laboratory or discussion sections in large classes.
TAs are mentored and trained by the faculty member in charge of teaching the main lecture section of their course. In addition, the University offers many resources to help graduate students develop teaching skills. Students should familiarize themselves with the University's Faculty Innovation Center and the services they provide for improving teaching.
Prior to teaching as an AI, graduate students must satisfactorily complete GRG 398T, "Supervised Teaching in Geography." All TAs in charge of discussion sections, and all AIs, are required to conduct appropriate department-approved Course-Instructor Surveys conducted by TES. Survey results are made available to the chair and graduate adviser, and are used to provide helpful feedback to students.
The department recognizes the importance of teaching with its annual graduate student Teaching Award.
Graduate Students must receive at least a C on all courses offered towards their program of work (the grade must be at least a B on 390K and 390L). At most, 20 percent of the course hours in the program of work can be taken on a CR/NC basis.
Students must satisfy certain academic conditions in order to be eligible to be appointed to TA positions.
Students must maintain a graduate GPA of at least 3.0 to remain in the program. Students must also have a GPA of at least 3.0 in their program of work.
Students are invited and expected to be citizens of the Department and University, and of the broader community.
Within the Department, graduate students participate in part through their student organization, the Graduate Association of Geography and the Environment (GAGE). GAGE elects a President and other officers, including a representative to attend faculty meetings.
Many faculty committees include a graduate student representative, including most faculty recruitment committees. Graduate students participate in major Departmental self-examinations and external reviews. The Department Chair and Graduate Adviser welcome graduate student input and are available to address concerns at any time. No student will be penalized for bringing a concern to the table.
Many students also have provided service to the broader community, in Austin or in their research locations.
The department recognizes the importance of service with its annual graduate student Leadership Award.
Annual Report on Progress and Updating of Files
Early each fall semester, all graduate students are required to submit a Report on Progress. The forms (master’s and doctoral) are available online or from the department’s graduate coordinator. The form must be signed by the supervisor and (in the case of doctoral students) one other member the supervising committee. Also, this form is to be used to indicate interest in being considered for a teaching assistantship or other financial aid for the next academic year.
All graduate students, including students who are not in residence, are required to provide updates to their files to the graduate coordinator by October 1. All required documentation should be current and complete. Students should provide any published papers, abstracts of research presentations, and proposals submitted for funding during the past year.
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- M.A. Requirements
Students earning a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree from the department attain a level of expertise on an advanced topic situated within a broader foundation of geographic history, theory, and methods. The master’s degree is designed to be completed in two years and usually requires several semesters of coursework and completion of a master’s thesis. The thesis represents original research and commonly includes some combination of field, archival, and/or laboratory analysis. Many master’s recipients have continued on to the doctoral program. Other master’s recipients have found employment related to their graduate training in consulting, business, education, or government.
In order to receive the degree, students must meet the requirements of both the graduate program and the Graduate School. Students need to familiarize themselves with the requirements set forth in the Graduate School Catalog. The responsibility for fulfilling all requirements ultimately rests with the student.
Each student should, during the course of his or her tenure in the master’s program;
- Attain an understanding of how the thesis topic is situated within the broader discipline.
- Be aware of research trajectories within his/her specialty.
- Attain a level of field, archival, and/or technical training as appropriate for the thesis research.
- Be able to effectively communicate ideas orally and in writing.
The master’s degree is awarded upon completion of a thesis or report involving original research that may require some combination of fieldwork and/or primary data sources. The thesis prepares students to pursue Ph.D. research or other professional goals. To that end, it involves original and independent research and demonstrates that the student is (a) able to define a problem in relation to a specific body of literature, and (b) exhibit professional competence and the necessary technical expertise to address a research question. Accordingly, each recent M.A. should:
- Produce a thesis including argument and analyses worthy of publishing in a peer-reviewed journal.
- Be a competitive applicant to doctoral programs or for employment within his/her field in the private and/or public sector.
- Understand how to approach a selected research topic within his/her field of specialization.
Upon acceptance by the Graduate School and graduate program, the incoming student consults with the department graduate adviser, usually during the penultimate week in August. This consultation includes (a) a review and documentation of the student’s academic accomplishment and related experiences, and (b) a discussion of the student’s tentative objectives in graduate study. The graduate adviser may suggest meeting with other faculty members who can be of help to the student in preparing a course of study, and will assign remedial coursework if necessary.
Remedial requirements may be fulfilled through one of three mechanisms: 1) TAing the relevant introductory course (e.g., GRG 301C for physical geography or GRG 305 for human geography); 2) taking an online course that has a test of knowledge and the specific course is improved by the GA ahead of time, or 3) taking an appropriately broad, upper-division undergraduate UT GRG course to be approved ahead of time by the graduate advisor and that may count toward the Program of Work.
Each student needs to select a supervisor by the middle of the second semester, and, in consultation with the supervisor, choose two additional supervising committee members in accordance with graduate program rules and with approval by the graduate adviser.
The supervising committee is responsible for seeing that the candidate satisfies all requirements for the master’s degree. Final approval of the candidate’s program is the responsibility of the Dean of Graduate Studies.
The supervising committee may be changed by circulating the departmental form prior to the time when the student submits the Master’s Graduation Application Form in the final semester.
A master’s degree in Geography can be obtained in one of two ways:
Thesis Option: 30 Semester hours of course work, including 18 hours in Geography, 6 hours in a supporting subject, and 6 hours of thesis (698A and 698B).
Report Option: 36 semester hours of course work, including 27 hours in Geography, 6 hours in a supporting subject and 3 hours of report (398R).
Program of Work
Students should consult with their supervisor to develop their program of work. Students who do not yet have a supervisor should consult with the graduate adviser.
Candidates for the master’s degree are required to submit their Programs of Work with the electronic application to graduate and will also be required to have a GPA of at least 3.00 for courses included on the program of work.
All Geography master’s students are required to enroll in GRG 390K, "Issues in Geography" during the fall semester and GRG 390L, “Research in Geography” in the spring semester. These courses must be passed with a grade no lower than a B.
All master’s students must enroll in at least one organized course in Geography during both the first and second semesters of their program. In order to ensure sufficient familiarity with the broad field of Geography, these courses should involve different subfields of the discipline or deal with different regions, and must be taught by different full time faculty members within the department, as approved by the graduate adviser. At least one of these should be a graduate course. GRG 390K, 390L, and 398T will not be counted as one of these courses.
Thesis Option students need to take 6 additional hours of graduate Geography courses. Report Option students need to take 12 additional hours of graduate Geography courses. Students wishing to substitute courses in another field for Geography courses must demonstrate that these substitutions are appropriate to her/his field of study and must have the approval of the graduate adviser and her/his supervisor for the courses substituted. Students may take a maximum of 6 hours of upper-division undergraduate courses as part of the master’s program. GRG 397 Conference Course in Geography may be taken once as part of the program of work.
All master’s students need to take 6 hours of graduate courses in a supporting subject. These courses do not need to be in a single discipline, and can include courses in geography. The graduate adviser in consultation with the supervisor must approve the supporting subject program. Only one 3-hour upper-division undergraduate course can be counted in the supporting field, and counts against the 6-hour limit for the entire program.
Students may, with approval of the graduate advisor, sit in on an undergraduate course to satisfy an academic deficiency. Permission of the course instructor is also required.
No more than 6 hours of courses offered towards the master’s degree can be CR/NC. The only exceptions are thesis and report courses.
Master’s thesis option students take 6 hours of thesis (698A and 698B). Master’s report option students take 3 hours of report (398R).
All requirements for a master’s degree must be completed within one six-year period. Work over six years old can be reinstated only by special permission of the Graduate Dean.
Continuous Registration Requirement
All graduate students are expected to enroll and pay tuition and fees by the twelfth class day of the fall and spring semesters of each academic year until graduation. Master’s students may enroll in any course to meet this requirement; they do not need to be thesis hours. Students who have financial or nonfinancial bars will not be registered by the Graduate School. The only alternative to continuous registration for master’s students is a leave of absence. If the student fails to register and has not been granted a leave of absence by the twelfth class day, the student must apply to be readmitted to the graduate program and pay a readmission application fee of $65. The application for readmission will be reviewed by the program's Graduate Studies Committee, which may choose to readmit or deny readmission. Readmission applications for students who left the university on warning or dismissal status or who have a Graduate School bar also require the approval of the Graduate Dean. See Readmission for Graduate Students.
Under various circumstances, graduate students must be registered for and must remain registered for a full-time (9 hours long session, 3 hours summer) load, including: holders of Graduate School administered fellowships and scholarships; assistant instructors, teaching assistants, Academic Assistants, Assistants (Graduate), and Graduate Research Assistants; students living in university housing; students receiving certain student loans; and international students.
Language or Methods Requirement
As part of their degree program, all master’s students are required to either fulfill a language or methods option. master’s students must indicate their language and methods option before the end of the second semester of graduate study.
Requirement: Students choosing the language option must demonstrate basic proficiency in one language other than English. Students who are non-native English speaking must demonstrate proficiency in English. In exceptional cases the requirement may be waived, if approved by the graduate adviser.
Purpose: The purpose of the language requirement is for master’s students to gain a minimum level of competence in exploring the literature related to their field of specialty, beyond the English-speaking world.
Procedure: Master’s students fulfill the requirement by petitioning the graduate adviser, through a form signed by their supervisor. Proficiency is normally demonstrated by providing evidence of reading or oral competence, or course work (including at the undergraduate level). The requirement must be met before applying to graduate
Requirement: Students choosing the methods option must demonstrate basic proficiency in a rigorous qualitative and/or quantitative method, as appropriate to their field of study.
Purpose: The purpose of the methods requirement is for students to attain a minimum level of competence in a method that is appropriate to their field of study.
Procedure: Students fulfill the requirement by petitioning the graduate adviser, through a form signed by their supervisor. Proficiency is normally demonstrated through coursework or written materials, including published manuscripts. The requirement must be fulfilled prior to applying for graduation.
Candidacy and Graduation
Early in the final semester of the M.A. program, the student should file the Master’s Graduation Application Form with the Graduate School and check to be sure that all requirements, including the program of work, and language or methods Requirement, have been satisfied. The form includes the final membership of the supervising committee and must be approved by the graduate adviser.
Theses and reports need to be approved and signed by the supervising committee well before the last class day. Copies of the final draft of the thesis, reviewed for technical and grammatical correctness by the supervisor, must be distributed to all members of the supervising committee. This must be done within 4 weeks of the planned date of submission for the thesis so as to allow time for members to read and comment on the thesis, and time for the student to revise the thesis in response to all comments.
Upon approval of the master’s thesis or report, a Master’s Degree Certification form is submitted to the Graduate School, signed by the supervisor and the graduate adviser.
If a master’s student wishes to go on to pursue advanced doctoral research in the department, he/she must make a formal application for admission to the Ph.D. program by December 15. The department’s Graduate Admissions and Awards Committee will evaluate this along with all other applications for admission to the Ph.D. program. Students should be aware that strong evidence of imminent completion of the master’s thesis is required. The student may be requested to delay application to the doctoral program until after the master’s thesis is completed.
Note : The Catalog of the University ( General Information, The Undergraduate Catalog, The Graduate Catalog, and The Law School Catalog) is the document of authority for all students. The requirements given in the catalog supersede information issued by any academic department. The University reserves the right to change the requirements given in the catalog at any time. Please be aware that different admissions procedures apply to foreign applicants, U.S. applicants, and former University of Texas students applying for readmission.
- Doctoral Requirements
The goal of the doctoral program is to nurture intellectual leaders in their respective fields of specialty and within the broader discipline. Doctoral students commonly enroll in courses over a couple of years. The coursework is designed to provide doctoral students with a substantial foundation in the history and philosophy of the discipline, expose them to theoretical and methodological approaches within their areas of specialty, and prepare them to undertake their dissertation research. Students complete the Ph.D. by writing a dissertation that demonstrates command of an area of specialization and the ability to advance knowledge in that area. They conduct several years of intensive research, often in an international setting, that shows intellectual rigor, comprehensiveness, and creativity in expanding the frontiers of their field. Because students often compete at the highest levels for national and international funding in support of their work, they are able to clearly, succinctly, and persuasively elucidate their research objectives, methodologies, and schedules. The department places its graduates in major research and teaching intuitions in North America as well as internationally.
Applicants for the Ph.D. degree in Geography must be admitted to the Graduate School at The University of Texas at Austin. Applicants should hold a master’s degree or its equivalent, or have successfully demonstrated their ability to do graduate work at the doctoral level. In order to receive the degree students must meet the requirements of both the department’s graduate program and the Graduate School. Students need to familiarize themselves with the requirements set forth in the Graduate School Catalogue. The responsibility for fulfilling all requirements ultimately rests with the student.
Each student should:
Be able to relate his/her topic to the historical development of the field, as well as current research trajectories.
- Attain breadth within the discipline and an understanding of how his/her specialty is situated within the broader discipline.
- Attain a level of field, archival, and/or technical training and expertise as appropriate for his/her research topic.
- Attain an understanding of his/her respective sub-discipline as it pertains to a variety of spatial and temporal scales.
The doctoral program maintains high standards. Ph.D.'s from the department are expected to be capable of excelling as independent scholars in their profession, whether at major research institutions or at elite liberal arts colleges. Each new Ph.D. should be able to:
Address a rigorous geographical research topic by deploying the appropriate qualitative, quantitative, and/or digital techniques, with results worthy of publication as a monograph or as peer reviewed journal articles.
- Effectively communicate geographical ideas and content through written, oral, and graphical media.
- Attain a high level of competence in classroom teaching and public speaking.
- Understand a geographical specialty in the context of how it interfaces with commercial and/or governmental sectors.
- Understand the ethical dimensions of a professional career.
- Be competitive for tenure-track academic positions in elite liberal arts colleges and research universities.
Upon acceptance by the Graduate School and graduate program, the incoming student consults with the department’s graduate adviser, usually during the penultimate week in August. This consultation includes (a) a review and documentation of the student’s academic accomplishment and related experiences, and (b) a discussion of the student’s tentative objectives in graduate study. The graduate adviser may suggest meeting with other faculty members who can be of help to the student in preparing a course of study. Remedial coursework may be assigned at this time as appropriate.
Remedial requirements may be fulfilled through one of three mechanisms: 1) TAing the relevant introductory course (e.g., GRG 301C for physical geography or GRG 305 for human geography); 2) taking an online course that has a test of knowledge and the specific course is improved by the GA ahead of time, or 3) taking an appropriately broad, upper-division undergraduate UT GRG course to be approved ahead of time by the GA and that may count toward the Progress of Work.
The student chooses a supervisor and, working with the supervisor, assembles a five-person committee in accordance with graduate program rules and the approval of the graduate adviser.
The supervising committee is responsible for verifying that the candidate satisfies all requirements for the doctoral degree. Final approval of the candidate’s program is the responsibility of the Dean of Graduate Studies.
It is desirable for the student and supervising committee to meet at least once early in the program to discuss the student’s research plans and schedule for Advancement to Candidacy.
The committee can be changed at any time prior to Advancement to Candidacy by circulating a new departmental form. After Advancement to Candidacy, committee changes must be approved by former committee members, the graduate adviser, and the Dean. In the event of any change, open discussion of the situation among past and future committee members is encouraged.
Requirement: All doctoral students must demonstrate basic proficiency in one language other than English. Students who are non-native English speakers must demonstrate proficiency in English. In exceptional cases the requirement may be waived, if approved by the graduate adviser.
Purpose: The purpose of the language requirement is for doctoral students to gain competence in exploring the literature related to their field of specialty, beyond the English-speaking world, and also to be able to engage with another culture as fully as possible.
Procedure: Doctoral students fulfill the requirement by petitioning the graduate adviser, through a form signed by their supervisor. Proficiency is normally demonstrated by providing evidence of reading or oral competence, or course work (including at the undergraduate level). The requirement must be fulfilled prior to being advanced to candidacy.
Requirement: All doctoral students must demonstrate basic proficiency in rigorous qualitative and/or quantitative methods, as appropriate to their field of study.
Purpose: The purpose of the methods requirement is for doctoral students to attain a minimum level of competence in methods that are appropriate to their field of study.
Procedure: Doctoral students fulfill the requirement by petitioning the graduate adviser, through a form signed by their supervisor. Proficiency is normally demonstrated through course work or written materials, including published manuscripts. The requirement must be fulfilled prior to being advanced to candidacy.
Doctoral students must indicate their language and methods option before the end of the second semester of graduate study. A student may not apply for candidacy before completion of both the language and the methods requirements.
Program of Work
The student and supervisor, with the help of the supervising committee, develop and submit to the graduate adviser a program of work in accordance with the student's needs and objectives, and in keeping with the department’s requirements. This should be submitted by the end of the second semester, and be kept up to date until completion. The Program should anticipate completion of all course requirements within 6 semesters of admission to the graduate program.
This Program must include the two required courses for the doctoral degree, GRG 390K – Issues in Geography and GRG 390L – Research in Geography. These courses must be passed with a grade no lower than a B.
Breadth Requirement: All doctoral students must take three organized graduate level courses taught by different full-time faculty members within the department. At least two of these should be graduate courses. GRG 390K, 390L, 398T, and independent study (397) do not count towards this requirement. Course work taken at the University of Texas soon before entry to the doctoral degree program may be applied to the breadth requirement if it meets the conditions stipulated above and if it was recent enough to meet the six-year rule (see below).
Doctoral degree students may repeat GRG 397, Conference Course in Geography, but this course may be counted only twice towards the degree.
Students may resubmit the program of work to reflect modifications as approved by their supervisor.
The chair of the GSC must verify completion of the program of work before the student can advance to candidacy.
At the time of admission to candidacy, all course work required by the department for the doctoral degree must have been taken within the previous six years.
Leave of Absence prior to Advancement to Candidacy
Students may apply for a leave of absence of no more than two semesters prior to advancement to candidacy; the Authorization for a Leave of Absence form must be provided in advance by the graduate adviser to the Graduate Dean and will be approved only in rare and unusual circumstances. A student on an approved leave may reenter the graduate program by filing an Application for Readmission.
As an alternative, students may apply for Independent Study and Research (ISR) status with the Coordinator of the Center for Global Educational Opportunities. Students must submit a proposal signed by their supervisor and the graduate adviser (see more details below).
Written and Oral Exams for Candidacy
A student in the Ph.D. program must complete both the written and oral exams and advance to Ph.D. candidacy within the fourth or fifth semester after admission to the program. The student must be a member in good standing in the program and meet the minimum requirements for residency as outlined in the Graduate Catalog. Changes in the supervising committee after advancement to candidacy require signed acknowledgment by all committee members, the graduate adviser and Graduate Dean. The following procedure for advancement will be observed by all students admitted to the program in 2016 and thereafter. Students admitted earlier may choose to complete the exams under the previous rules or the new rules (see the grad advisor or GSC chair for the old rules).
- By his or her second or third semester, the student meets with the supervising committee to discuss the student’s interests and their program of work, then to select two sub-disciplines within Geography to cover in the comprehensive exam. These topics should provide general knowledge of the discipline of geography, broader in scope than what is typically required for the completion of a dissertation (for example two topical specialties represented as AAG Specialty Groups).
- In the third semester the committee chair and the student jointly develop two preliminary reading lists. These lists are circulated to all committee members who suggest additional readings. Each list includes between 30 and 50 items, emphasizing “classics” as well as recent, cutting-edge research in the primary areas of student interest.
- All members must indicate their assent to the final version of the lists.
- Once the student feels that he or she understands the readings on the lists, the supervisor asks the committee members for exam questions, then includes or modifies these questions to create three or four exam sections (depending on whether the student chooses a 3-day exam or a 4-day exam) which collectively address the two recognized sub-disciplines. Usually students are given options on each day (e.g. “answer two of the following three questions” or “answer one of the following two questions”). There is no expectation that a day is dedicated to a particular sub-discipline, though it can be. The total number of questions a student is required to answer in the entire exam (all days combined) typically ranges between 6 and 12.
- The supervisor circulates the entire exam to all committee members and they have at least five business days to offer any comments they may have. Non-response from a committee member at this point will be taken as acceptance of the exam as-is.
- Exams normally occur during the fall or spring semesters, but exceptions may be made in cases where all parties (student and all members of the committee) are in agreement regarding the timing of the exam and review. Students are warned that exams taken outside of the period when classes are in session will most likely take considerably longer for committee members to review owing to absence from campus and research obligations.
- The student has a total of 24 working hours to complete the exam. The writing of the exam takes place in an approved room on a department computer without Internet access, within a period no longer than five business days, for a maximum of 8 hours per day (e.g. three 8-hour days or four 6-hour days, potentially separated by a break day). Each day the student is given that day's questions to work on and the answer must be submitted at the end of that day. Students are allowed to bring one double-sided page of notes (printed, photocopied or hand-written) which must be turned in along with the exam.
- A copy of the completed exam and the notes page will be kept in the student’s file.
- All committee members must read and respond to the exams within 2 weeks of their completion unless the student has agreed in advance to a longer review period.
- The supervisor polls the committee to assess the caliber of written responses and determine whether the student has demonstrated thorough critical understanding of two broadly-defined areas of the discipline of geography. The committee will offer the following evaluations of the written portion of the exam:
a) no oral clarification needed (high pass)
b) oral clarification necessary (pass/low pass)
c) question must be rewritten (did not pass)
- The terms “high pass,” “pass,” and “low pass” do not need to be used to inform a student of the committee’s judgment, but each student must be informed regarding the need for clarification of any particular question so that they may prepare for the oral exam.
- In the case of evaluation “c” (did not pass) the student will be asked to rewrite the answer to a particular question or questions or else re-sit the entire examination with new questions.
- The committee can also determine not to offer a second exam and effectively deny the student an opportunity to advance to candidacy. In this case the student can appeal the decision to the graduate advisor and the chair of the GSC for review. Review will involve consultation with all of the committee members and the student. Decisions on contested exam outcomes will be made jointly by the chair of the GSC and the graduate advisor.
- Students have, at most, one opportunity to re-take the written component of a comprehensive exam. This rule holds even in cases where there has been a change in the supervising committee.
- The Oral Examination is scheduled within one semester of the successful completion of the written portion of the exam.
- At least two weeks prior to the Oral Examination two things must happen.
a) First the student circulates a written dissertation proposal to the committee chair and, after approval by the chair, to all committee members.
b) Second, the time and place of the meeting must be publicly announced.
- At the Oral Examination the student answers follow-up questions related to the comprehensive exams from committee members. He or she also presents a dissertation proposal to members of the committee and to other Geography & Environment students and faculty who wish to attend.
- If the committee determines that the student needs to re-take the written exam and the student has already responded orally to follow-up questions, there will be another meeting in which the student must again respond orally to follow-up questions related to the second comprehensive exam. (In other words, written and oral questions are considered to comprise two components of a single exam, and students have two chances to pass a complete, two-part exam.)
- In this meeting, following student responses to the oral exam questions and discussion of these responses, and after the presentation and discussion of the dissertation proposal, the student is excused along with any guests. The Ph.D. committee then votes on admitting the student to candidacy.
- The student may be required to revise the proposal at this point. Generally no further presentation of the proposal is required. The committee chair may alternatively, at his or her discretion, re-convene the committee to discuss a revised proposal.
- The outcome of all meetings of a Ph.D. committee will be promptly communicated to the graduate advisor, the graduate coordinator and the chair of the GSC by the supervisor. The supervisor also files the result(s) of written exam(s) with the department in a letter that is kept in a student's file to track the number of times the written exams are taken.
- When the committee agrees to accept both the exam and the proposal then the student can advance to candidacy. For this to happen, no form is currently needed but the student must initiate the process online following a go-ahead from the chair of the student’s Ph.D. committee.
Upon completing the language and methods requirements, program of work, the written and oral exams, and proposal presentations, and within six long semesters (in residence) of entering the Ph.D. program, the student must file their Application for Candidacy online using UT Direct.
The online process includes specifying the student’s final supervising committee. The chair of the GSC must approve the Application online based on the student’s successful completion of the program of work and written and oral exams.
Only in exceptional circumstances will the Graduate Studies Committee consider an extension beyond the six long semesters deadline for advancing to candidacy.
Continual registration for at least three hours in the dissertation course, the equivalent, or Affiliated Studies is required in each long session until graduation. The dissertation course involves a two-semester sequence (-99R followed by -99W). The first or R (for research) course cannot be repeated. The second or W (for writing) must be registered for continuously until the degree is completed. Students must register for at least two semesters of dissertation, and must complete at least 30 total hours of organized courses and dissertation hours prior to graduation.
Students with the graduate adviser’s approval may use the Petition for Leave of Absence (for students in doctoral candidacy) form. However, a student may not receive advice and assistance from a member of the faculty in the preparation of the dissertation without being registered for the dissertation course (either -99R,- or -99W). Students must petition for readmission following a leave of absence.
If the student fails to register and has not been granted a leave of absence by the twelfth class day, the student must apply to be readmitted to the graduate program and pay a readmission application fee of $65. The application for readmission will be reviewed by the program's Graduate Studies Committee, which may choose to readmit or deny readmission.
In order to fulfill the continuous registration requirement, doctoral candidates who are readmitted must retroactively register and pay tuition for all semesters that have elapsed since they were last enrolled.
To assist doctoral candidates in meeting the continuous registration requirement, the Graduate School will automatically register eligible students for the spring and fall semesters. Students who have financial or nonfinancial registration bars will not be registered by the Graduate School. Doctoral candidates who wish to be enrolled during a summer session may register via the Registrar's online.
International Study and Research Status (ISR)
Students may register for international study and research (ISR) if they are conducting research or studying independently abroad. Enrollment requires the approval of the student’s faculty sponsor, graduate adviser, and Center for Global Educational Opportunities. The approval may cover up to four consecutive long-session semesters and contiguous summer sessions. Students enrolled in international study and research are considered full-time students by the University. Students that register in ISR are not guaranteed credit for the work completed abroad. Students must consult with GIAC and their department to determine if credit will be granted.
Registration in ISR cannot be used to circumvent the continuous registration requirement for doctoral candidacy; however, when it is determined that a doctoral candidate meets the requirements for ISR registration, it may serve as an acceptable substitute for registration in dissertation hours.
Students will be registered in ISR 080. There is a one-time fee charged to students who apply for this registration status. Once approved the actual cost of registration per semester is low ($400, for fall 2007). Students must complete all requirements for application prior to the fourth class day of any long semester or the second class day during summer. Students may enroll in ISR for a maximum of four long consecutive semesters.
Students registered in this category are not eligible for federal, state or institutional loans or grants processed by the Office of Student Financial Services, or athletic facilities usage. Students registered in this category will have an active UT id card and are eligible to use UT Austin Libraries, ITS computer support services, University Health Services, and University Housing.
International students MUST speak with an Immigration Advisor inInternational Student and Scholar Servicesin Wooldridge Hall prior to departure from the United States. There are possible immigration implications for those students that fail to meet with an Immigration Advisor.
Graduation Timeline after Advancement to Candidacy
Once the student has been admitted to candidacy for a doctoral degree (and is thus "ABD"), the following timeline should be followed. The student is expected to graduate within three years; exceptions require approval of the graduate adviser and Dean. Students must be continually registered until graduation with certain exceptions (see details above).
- Once a student is admitted to candidacy, he or she will have three years in which to complete and defend the dissertation. Failure to meet this deadline may result in the GSC recommending termination of the student's candidacy to the Graduate School. Extensions to the deadline are not automatic and are rarely granted for more than two semesters at a time.
- Working in close collaboration with the supervisor, the student will release drafts of the dissertation research to supervising committee members, gaining necessary input and advice.
- The student needs to submit a Doctoral Degree Candidate Form from the Graduate School early in the semester (fall, spring, or summer) in which they plan to graduate. The form is valid for one semester only.
- Copies of the final draft of the dissertation, reviewed for technical and grammatical correctness by the supervisor, must be distributed to all members of the supervising committee within 4 weeks of the Final Oral Examination (Dissertation Defense). Also, any changes to the supervising committee need to be approved by all former and current members of the committee and the Graduate School within 30 days of the Examination.
- At least two weeks before the Final Oral Examination, the pink Request for Final Oral Examination must be submitted to the Graduate School, with date, time and location of the examination, signed by committee members and the graduate adviser. The defense must be attended by at least four committee members; all of those who cannot attend must attest that she/he “agrees to read the dissertation and sign the dissertation on approval.” The supervisor or graduate adviser can attest to their agreement if they are not physically available for signing the Request in person.
- Final Oral Examinations (Defenses) may not be held during the summer (mid-May through August) except for compelling reasons as approved by the graduate adviser and all members of the supervising committee.
- The Final Oral Examination is open to the public and is announced on a University website. The decision of the committee on the outcome of the Final Oral Examination must be unanimous. (In the event that a committee cannot agree on a single decision, the matter is referred to the Dean of the Graduate School for review. The Dean's recommendation concerning the dissertation must be approved by a majority of the supervising committee. The results of the review are communicated to the student, the graduate adviser, the chair of the Graduate Studies Committee, the supervising committee members, and the department chair).
- The Report of Dissertation Defense (“Gold Sheet”) is emailed to the supervisor, who should bring it to the defense. It is signed by all present at the defense if they agree that the oral examination is acceptable and that another oral examination will not be required. The supervisor should make a note on the back of the gold sheet indicating the approval of any committee members not physically present. (Note that at least four members must be present). After the supervisor signs it as verification that the final dissertation document has been approved, this form is provided to the chair of the GSC for approval attesting that the student has met all coursework and other departmental requirements. Normally this is sent to the Graduate School within ten days of the defense, although the time may be longer if dissertation revisions are required. (If the committee decides that the dissertation is unsatisfactory but that rewriting may make it acceptable, the gold sheet is returned unsigned with a letter from the Supervisor reporting a “Not Pass.” Another scheduled defense will be required, and new forms will be generated for signatures. If at least one member of the committee has decided that the dissertation is unsatisfactory and may not be rewritten, the gold sheet is returned unsigned with a letter from the supervisor reporting a “Fail.”).
- A Committee Certification of Approved Version (“Signature Page”) needs to be signed by all approved committee members who agree that the dissertation document is acceptable either as it stands, or with revisions subject to verification by the supervisor within three months. The student is advised to bring at least two properly formatted copies of this page to the defense. Members who don’t want to waive their right to personally review changes should not sign this page; in this case the supervisor should notify the degree evaluator in the Graduate School that the decision of the committee is “Reconsideration.” After reviewing the required changes, a committee member who has not signed and is still not satisfied with the revisions may request another oral examination.
- In addition, each committee member should send a completed and signed Report on Doctoral Dissertation form to the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) within two weeks following the defense. These forms are sent by email to all committee members with University electronic ID’s prior to the defense for print out. Although these Reports are not mandatory, it is important that all committee members submit them. They are essential in the event of disagreements about the student's dissertation or performance at the final oral defense. They should include an evaluation of the general quality of the dissertation, its potential for being published, the student performance at the oral defense, and any other comments.
- Students are responsible for promptly sending in all materials required by the Graduate School, including, for example, the Publication by UMI/Proquest, a Copyright Disclaimer, an Abstract and Vita, an Intellectual Property Tutorial Certification, a Statement on Research with Human Subjects, and a Dissertation Publication Agreement. Full details are on the Graduate School website, including a checklist. Students bear sole responsibility for informing themselves of all requirements.
After passing the oral examination, the candidate is recommended by the chair of the Graduate Studies Committee to the Dean of Graduate Studies as having completed the requirements for the Ph.D. degree. Committee members will present their written assessment to the Dean of Graduate Studies as per instructions. The student must submit the dissertation to the Office of Graduate Studies for publication, and provide a bound copy to the department. Most committee supervisors also require a physical copy. The doctorate is conferred at the first subsequent commencement date.
Note: The Catalog of the University (General Information, The Undergraduate Catalog, The Graduate Catalog, and The Law School Catalog) is the document of authority for all students. The requirements given in the catalog supersede information issued by any academic department. The University reserves the right to change the requirements given in the catalog at any time. Please be aware that different admissions procedures apply to foreign applicants, U.S. applicants, and former University of Texas students applying for readmission.
- Application Guidelines
The Geography Graduate Program is selective, but admissions are based on a wide range of factors, with no single factor ensuring or precluding acceptance. Students from a variety of majors and backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
Applying for Admission
The University of Texas at Austin Graduate School has standard requirements. Above and beyond those, departments can set their own requirements.
Students in all disciplines, whose goals are related to faculty interests, are welcome to apply. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact prospective supervisors early in the fall semester prior to applying for admission and ask them if they are accepting new graduate students. Admission is very selective, and is based in part on the statement of purpose, GRE scores (combined quantitative and verbal), grade point averages, recommendations, suitability of previous training and experience for the proposed topic of graduate study, match with faculty research expertise, and other related factors. Although no single factor guarantees or precludes admission, most new graduate students have upper-division grade point averages higher than 3.5 in the case of M.A. applicants, or a completed graduate degree in the case of Ph.D. applicants.
Students should contact relevant faculty members to discuss their goals before applying; all application materials must be submitted by December 15. If you encounter difficulties beyond your control in signing up for the GRE exam and uploading GRE scores prior to December 15, you may still apply for admission and financial aid with the understanding that you will supply us with your GRE score as soon as possible.
However, you should be aware that the late submission of any materials will impede the ability of the admission committee to adequately evaluate your application. This includes letters of recommendation, which are beyond your direct control: so give your letter writers plenty of time.
Because you must meet requirements of both the Graduate School and the department, you must submit materials as follows
For the Graduate School
Anyone who has previously attended the Graduate School at UT Austin: Contact the Office of Admissions for a Readmission Application, and information on deadlines.
U.S. Citizens, Permanent Resident Immigrants, and International Students who have previously attended UT Austin in a non-graduate capacity should contact the Office of Graduate and International Admissions.
International Students who have never attended UT Austin should follow the instructions provided by the Office of Graduate and International Admissions. As detailed on their web page, you will need to send directly to the Office of Graduate and International Admissions
- the completed application, which includes a statement of purpose and three letters of recommendation.
- the fee ($65 for U.S. students, $90 for international)
- an official GRE score report
- an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report (if necessary)
- transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended.
For The Department of Geography and the Environment
Applicants to the department’s master’s program should send nothing directly to the department. All application materials go directly to the Graduate School’s online application.
If you are already in the department’s master’s program and are seeking admission to the department’s doctoral program, submit a formal statement of purpose and at least two letters of recommendation directly to the department by December 15. The department’s Graduate Admissions and Awards Committee will evaluate this along with all other applications for admission to the Ph.D. program. Students should be aware that strong evidence of imminent completion of the master’s thesis is required.
Applicants to the department’s doctoral program must submit a digital copy of the master's thesis as the requisite writing sample. Other research papers, published or unpublished, would be appropriate for the optional writing sample for the master's application.
Note: These Web pages provide general information as a courtesy to viewers. The Catalog of the University (General Information, The Undergraduate Catalog, The Graduate Catalog, and The Law School Catalog) is the document of authority for all students. The requirements given in the catalog supersede information issued by any academic department, program, college, or school. The University reserves the right to change the requirements given in the catalog at any time. Please be aware that different admissions procedures apply to foreign applicants (undergraduate and graduate), U.S. applicants for undergraduate study, U.S. applicants for graduate study, and former University of Texas students applying for readmission.
The department offers financial support in the form of numerous teaching assistantships and a limited number of grants, fellowships, and instructor positions. New students should indicate their interest in receiving financial aid in the application materials due December 15. Continuing students interested in being considered for additional financial aid should notify the department via the Report on Progress form due October 1 and make sure that their files remain up to date.
The department chair notifies students of their aid status as soon as possible. For new students, notifications typically occur in March, but can extend to the end of August. Continuing students are notified of their awards between April and August. After April 15 students who have accepted aid may not accept another department's offer without written permission from the department. Because financial aid awards are competitive, some awards are likely to become available after April 15, and the lack of an offer by that date does not necessarily mean an applicant will not receive an offer.
Graduate Teaching Assistantships
The Graduate Admissions and Awards Committee (GAAC) award teaching assistantships on a competitive basis. The GAAC is chaired by the graduate adviser, and includes several other members of the regular faculty appointed by the chair on a rotating basis.
TAships are normally awarded for the two consecutive semesters of an academic year (fall and spring); occasionally, TAships are awarded for single semesters or for one of the summer sessions.
TAships include medical benefits and rebates of tuition and fees (so little or no net tuition is normally paid). There is no state income tax.
The department chair assigns teaching assistants to specific classes and professors shortly before the beginning of each semester. The requests of faculty and students are taken into consideration in TA assignments, but the instructional needs of the Department are paramount.
Numerous resources and links for TAs and their supervisors are online.
Applying for Additional Teaching Assistantships
All departmental graduate awards are made on a one-semester or one-year basis. Upon admission, some students are assured multiple semesters of Departmental Support* (typically four semesters for master’s students and six semesters for doctoral students). Such assurances are contingent on the student making normal progress in the graduate program, receiving adequate teaching evaluations, and on the department receiving adequate budgetary resources from the University. A student who is unable to teach because of a language deficit or for any other reason is not guaranteed support.
All students wishing an additional year of support, including those who have been assured multiyear support on admission, need to request this support on the Report on Progress form due October 1.
Only under the most exceptional circumstances (such as a truly extraordinary student needing an extra semester in order to complete what the department deems to be a truly significant piece of research) will students in the master’s degree program receive more than the maximum of two years (four long semesters) of Departmental Support, or students in the Ph.D. degree program receive more than the maximum of three years (six long semesters) of Departmental Support.
Students who anticipate needing funds for a longer period should begin their search for other support as early as possible. Obtaining fellowships, scholarships, and research funds from outside sources typically involves several months of lead-time for applications to be processed and reviewed.
12 Semester Review of employment: the student's dissertation or treatise committee reviews the status of the dissertation or treatise at the end of the twelfth semester of University employment (teaching assistant, assistant instructor, Graduate Research Assistant, Academic Assistant, Assistant (Graduate) or Tutor-Grad) and reports that status in writing to the GSC.
14 Semester Limit for employment: graduate students may be appointed as a teaching assistant, assistant instructor, Graduate Research Assistant, Academic Assistant, Assistant (Graduate) or Tutor-Grad for up to a maximum of 14 long semesters while pursuing a graduate degree at The University of Texas at Austin. Petitions for extension of this limit require a presentation by the student to the doctoral degree committee, a review of the previous two years of dissertation activity, and an action plan for completion in two semesters. Petitions need to be approved by the graduate adviser and the Graduate School
* Departmental support is defined as including most teaching assistantships allocated by the Department's Graduate Admissions and Awards Committee, University Fellowships (pre-emptive and continuing) awarded by the Graduate School upon recommendation of the Department, and Write-Up Fellowships awarded by the College of Liberal Arts upon recommendation by the department. When a Master’s student is admitted to the doctoral program, the student becomes eligible for up to six semesters of support, even if they have already received departmental support in the M.A. program.
Awards for New Students Applying to the Graduate Program
New students are considered by the Admissions and Awards Committee for all fellowships for which they qualify. The Department's Graduate Admissions and Awards Committee will recommend candidates for Harrington Doctoral Fellows in November, and Recruiting Fellowships early in the spring semester; awards are usually announced by April 15 by the Graduate School.
These fellowships are awarded to new students entering a graduate program and are nominated by the department’s Graduate Admissions and Awards Committee. Students must be in the top ten per cent nationally; this is demonstrated by GPA, GRE (where available) and other factors, as determined by the Admissions and Awards Committee with the approval of the Graduate School. The number, amount, and duration of the awards are determined by the department, but typically extend for one or two years.
Harrington Doctoral Fellows
Applicants must not be current graduate students at The University of Texas at Austin (undergraduates at The University of Texas at Austin can apply), but in order to be eligible for the Fellowship they must successfully apply for admission to the doctoral degree program. Fellows may earn a master’s degree in the process of completing their doctoral work or be admitted with a master’s degree. The Harrington Doctoral Fellowship may be a one-year, two-year, or three-year award. In the case of a multi-year award, funding after the first year is contingent on the Fellow's making satisfactory academic progress. A multi-year Fellow may hold his/her other fellowship in consecutive years or defer part of the fellowship for later in the degree programs.
Harrington Doctoral Fellows are appointed for 12 months and receive a stipend in addition to full tuition and required fees, student medical insurance, and an allowance for travel, equipment, books, or other professional expenses. Summer enrollment is not required. Fellows may enroll in summer school if desired, and they will have their tuition and required fees paid but will not receive an increase in their stipends.
To be considered for a Harrington fellowship, students must have all materials submitted to the department by December 1.
Individual faculty may apply to the Graduate School for Research Internships, which provide one year of funding for a graduate student to work on a research project, and does not require teaching. As with Research Assistants, the supervising faculty member is responsible for recruiting and choosing recipients of the award.
Awards for Continuing Students
Continuing students do not apply directly for these fellowships, but are nominated by members of departmental faculty. The department's Graduate Admissions and Awards Committee recommends candidates for University Fellowships early in the spring semester; the Graduate School usually announces awards by April 15. University Fellowships for continuing students include One Year Continuing Fellowships, Harrington Dissertation Fellows, and Bruton Fellowships.
One-Year Continuing Fellowship
These fellowships are awarded on the basis of accomplishment, need, and especially the student's description of plans for scholarly endeavors. Continuing students do not apply directly for these fellowships, but rather are nominated by members of departmental faculty.
Continuing students do not apply directly for these fellowships, but rather are nominated by members of departmental faculty.
Harrington Dissertation Fellows
Applicants must be candidates for a doctoral degree. The Harrington Dissertation Fellowship is a one-year award.
Harrington Dissertation Fellows are appointed for 12 months and receive a stipend in addition to full tuition and required fees, student medical insurance, and an allowance for travel, equipment, books, or other professional expenses. Summer enrollment is not required. Fellows may enroll in summer school if desired, and they will have their tuition and required fees paid but will not receive an increase in their stipends.
Department faculty manage a variety of Research Assistantships associated with various ongoing projects. Sole responsibility for choosing students for these positions resides with the respective faculty. Students may serve multiple years subject to faculty discretion.
Assistant Instructor (AI) Positions
The chair may appoint assistant instructors (AIs) to teach lower division courses. Graduate students who perform this task have outstanding teaching qualifications, including excellent prior teaching evaluations as a TA. These appointments meet special, critical teaching needs of the undergraduate program which cannot be addressed by regular faculty, and involve special funding.
An AI must have completed a master’s degree or an equivalent thirty (30) semester hours of graduate coursework, and must formerly have been a TA for at least one semester. Every beginning AI must take a course (398T) in teaching methodology. With permission from the department chair and the Graduate School, an AI may substitute prior teaching experience at a regionally accredited college or school for 398T and the TA experience. Having taken 398T does not ensure that a student will be offered an AI position. Such positions are only intermittently available. Since 398T is only occasionally offered within the department, students interested in teaching should take the course when it is offered.
The Robert E. Veselka Endowed Fellowship for Graduate Research Travel - and in Memory of Stephen T. Moore provides funding for master’s thesis or doctoral fieldwork. The fellowship application procedures are announced early in the spring semester, and recipients are determined by the GAAC.
Professional Development Awards: Attendance at Meetings
The Office of Graduate Studies provides small grants to students for attendance at major professional meetings (normally the Annual Meeting of the AAG). Application forms are available from the graduate coordinator; deadlines vary from year to year, but usually are in January. The department strives to provide additional support for attendance at the AAG and SWAAG annual meetings. Other forms of financial support for attending professional meetings may be obtained from Area Studies programs, other interdisciplinary institutes on campus, and the Graduate School.
Note: The Catalog of the University (General Information, The Undergraduate Catalog, The Graduate Catalog, and The Law School Catalog) is the document of authority for all students. The requirements given in the catalog supersede information issued by any academic department. The University reserves the right to change the requirements given in the catalog at any time. Please be aware that different admissions procedures apply to foreign applicants, U.S. applicants, and former University of Texas students applying for readmission.