Graduate Coordinator Handbook

This page is intended to serve as a guide to graduate coordinators’ responsibilities to their program and its graduate students, to the Graduate School, and to the University.

In general, graduate coordinators are responsible for five areas within their programs:


Admissions to the Graduate School

All prospective students to the university must apply to the university and to the program they are interested in online. Students must submit the following to the Graduate School to complete their application:

  • $40 nonrefundable application fee paid via the link in the initial application email or by contacting the Cashier’s Office.
  • Official transcripts from ALL previously attended colleges and universities
    • International students must have their transcripts articulated. Transcripts that have not been articulated can be submitted for the application process; however, before registering for classes, the transcript must be articulated and submitted to the Graduate School.
  • Proof of a grade point average of at least a 2.7 on a 4.0 scale, including post-baccalaureate hours.
  • Official standardized test scores taken within the past five years, if required by the prospective program
  • Proof of two MMR vaccines. Contact your program coordinator if you think you are eligible for a waiver. Students only in the UA Little Rock Online programs are exempt.
  • A copy of a government-issued photo ID

Domestic applicants can apply as an undeclared graduate student and may take a maximum of nine credit before applying to a specific program. Undeclared graduate students are not eligible for financial aid. International students cannot be admitted as undeclared graduate students.

Tracking Applications

After a student completes the online application, Graduate School admissions coordinators collect the required application materials as the student submits them. The original documents are scanned and added to the student’s ImageNow files. ImageNow is organized by T-number. Directions for using ImageNow can be found here.

All graduate coordinators can access WebNow using their FACSTAFF username and password to view an applicant’s submitted materials before the application is complete. If you do not have access to WebNow, please send an email to imagenowsecurity@ualr.edu with your user ID and request campus student query access.

Graduate coordinators can track applications to their programs through the weekly Coordinator’s Report email, which lists all application for which no admission decision has been made. Coordinators should make an effort to contact applicants who have not sent in all of their materials.

Decision Letters

Once a student’s application is complete, the prospective graduate program must decide whether or not to recommend the applicant for admission. Some programs have admissions committees for this process, while others allow the graduate coordinator to make the final decision.

  1. Coordinators will be notified by email that they have an application ready for review.
  2. When a decision has been made, the coordinator must complete the online decision form located on the graduate coordinator webpage. You must log in with your netID for verification.
  3. The Graduate School will then be notified and begin reviewing the form to ensure all program and Graduate School admission requirements have been met.

To avoid setting unfair precedents, an admission decision is turned back to the coordinator if the applicant has not met the Graduate School’s standards for admission as stated in the Graduate Catalog. The Graduate School does not overturn admission decisions that follow the set requirements and guidelines.

Conditional Admission

Graduate Coordinators and programs should only grant conditional admission to students who they believe have the potential to successfully complete a graduate degree, though they do not fulfill every admission requirement. When completing a decision form for conditional admission, please list what conditions the student much fulfill in order to obtain regular admission.

Conditional admission should never be used as an automatic “default” for students who are not qualified under the university’s admission requirements or for students who have not submitted all their application materials. If you question an applicant’s ability to succeed, please recommend that he or she enroll in 3-6 hours in your program as an undeclared graduate student and then reapply to your program.

Provisional Admission

Graduate applicants who have not submitted all of the required materials for admission may be admitted as provisional students, but they will not be eligible for federal financial aid until they have been granted regular status.

Graduate In-Progress Admission

Students who have submitted all the required documents for their applications but have not yet completed their degrees may be admitted as in-progress. The graduate coordinator should complete a decision letter to admit the student as if he or she has already graduated, granting him or her regular or conditional admission. When the admission decision is entered in BANNER, it will be listed as “in-progress” so that the application can be reviewed for financial aid. In-progress students can be reviewed for but not awarded financial aid.

Once the student’s degree has been awarded and an official, final transcript has been received by the Graduate School, the student’s admission status will be changed to the status that the coordinator assigned on the decision letter.

Changing Programs

Graduate students are not allowed to change graduate programs without reapplying to the Graduate School and the new program. The only exceptions to this rule are if a graduate student changes concentrations or degrees within a graduate program or if a graduate program closes or changes, forcing students to move into a new program.

Courses taken by an undeclared student may later be used to satisfy degree requirements at the discretion of the program faculty and Graduate School dean.

If a student manages to fulfill graduation requirements without having applied to a program, the Graduate School and the graduate program may deny the student’s graduation and program applications. In any event, the student’s graduation application will not be processed until the program admits him or her.

Financial Assistance

Financial Aid Qualifications

Students must be regularly admitted to a graduate program to qualify for a graduate assistantship or a private scholarship. Students in graduate certificate programs are not eligible for assistantships.

Graduate students who want to apply for loans through the Office of Financial Aid must have completed a graduate application and be admitted to a graduate program as a regular or conditional student. Provisionally admitted students are not eligible for federal financial aid.

Graduate Assistantships

For the official Graduate Assistant policy, click here.

Full-time GAs receive a tuition scholarship covering nine hours of coursework per semester and a stipend; only graduate coursework in the student’s academic program can be covered. Full-time GAs work 20 hours a week.

Half-time GAs work 10 hours a week and receive a smaller stipend and a tuition scholarship for up to 4.5 hours of graduate coursework in their academic program per semester.

Under no circumstance may an international graduate student under the authority of a student visa work for more than 20 hours a week.

If graduate students receive tuition money and a stipend directly from a source other than the university, they are not considered graduate assistants.

Allocation of Positions

Graduate programs are encouraged to use assistantships as a recruiting tool and may offer available assistantships to qualified applicants. If a position is available, interested students should correspond with the specific department and submit the necessary application materials. The Graduate School does not collect GA applications or information to distribute to the departments.

To encourage graduate students to make satisfactory progress in their program and to offer assistantships to as many students as possible, master’s students can hold an assistantship for a maximum of four semesters and doctoral students for ten semesters.

Student Requirements

Graduate students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and be in good standing with their academic program to retain their assistantship from semester to semester. If a student falls below a 3.0 GPA, take an incomplete grade (I), or withdraws from a course and ends the semester with fewer than the required number of semester hours to hold an assistantship, he will not receive another assistantship until he is in good standing again with the Graduate School.

Advising

When a student enters a graduate program, the graduate coordinator should ensure that the student is advised on the necessary coursework and all other requirements for completing the certificate or degree (e.g., comprehensive exams, oral proposal defense, dissertation defense, graduation application), as well as the order in which the program requirements should be met.

In addition, coordinators should make sure that all students in their programs are advised each semester before the students register for classes. Please remember that the full course load for graduate students is nine hours per semester. Students wishing to take more than nine hours must get permission.

Graduate coordinators can request that BANNER place an advising hold on the accounts of students in their program. The hold requires students to be advised before they can register for the semester. The Graduate School encourages the use of the advising flags and degree plans to keep students on track for a timely graduation and to prevent students from attempting to “back door” their way into a program to which they have not been officially admitted.

Degree Plans

The most effective method for continual advising (especially in programs with more than one academic advisor) is the use of a degree plan checklist for each student. A degree plan allows the advisor to track and check off completed program requirements when the student is advised each semester. A generic Registration and Advisement form is available if needed.

To graduate, students must fulfill the program requirements listed in the Graduate Catalog for the year they enrolled. For example, if a student starts a program in fall 2013, he will graduate under the degree plan listed in the 2013-2014 catalog. When a student begins your program, record his beginning catalog year and T-number of his degree plan to ensure future accuracy.

Registration

Graduate Schools admissions coordinators are NOT allowed to give students advice regarding their program of study. Similarly, faculty and graduate coordinators may not ask admissions coordinators to register their students in classes. The Graduate School will only register graduate students at the students’ request and only when absolutely necessary.

Transfer Credit

If a student wishes to transfer credit from another graduate school, the credit must meet the degree criteria for the UALR program in which the student is enrolled. His or her advisor must fill out the Request for Transfer of Credit form. This form must be signed by the graduate coordinator as well as the advisor before being sent to the Graduate School. Please include an official transcript with the form.

Transfer work will only be accepted within five years of its completion. Consequently, it is important to file transfer paperwork as soon as possible (e.g., when the student begins your program or right after he or she completes a course at another institution) to make sure the coursework will count toward graduation. Coursework older than five years will NOT be accepted by the Graduate School.

Course Substitution

If a student takes a course at either UALR or another institution that substitutes for a required course or elective that is listed in the catalog, a Substitution of a Course for a Required Course or Elective form must be completed and submitted to the Graduate School. This will be required for graduation processing.

Academic Records

Graduate coordinators are responsible for monitoring the academic progress of the students in their program and keeping those students aware of their status.

Change of Status

The Change of Status form should be filled out and submitted to the Graduate School whenever a student’s official status in a program changes. For example, when a conditionally admitted student successfully fulfills those conditions, his or her status should be changed from conditional to regular. If a student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 or if a student has other academic problems, his or her status may be changed from regular to probation. Finally, this form can be used to dismiss students for academic reasons or to withdraw them from a program.

In some cases, the student’s status may change without a form. For instance, if a student takes no classes for two years, his status automatically switches to inactive. If the student wishes to begin taking classes again, he must reapply to the program.

Academic Probation

Every semester, the Graduate School automatically places every student with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 on probation and sends emails to the student and the graduate coordinator informing them of this change.

Generally, a student on probation has 12 semester hours to raise his cumulative GPA to or above a 3.0. There are two exceptions to this time allowance. If the student’s cumulative GPA is so low it is mathematically impossible to raise the GPA to a 3.0 within the remaining hours or if the student has earned below a C in certain courses in the program, the student will be automatically dismissed from the Graduate School. If the Graduate School dismisses a student fro a low GPA, the student cannot be readmitted.

If a student makes steady progress in improving his or her cumulative GPA (i.e. all As and Bs and no Is or Ws), the probationary period may be extended by the Graduate School.

If a student has an I (incomplete) that becomes an F after 12 months, that semester’s GPA and the cumulative GPA will be recalculated. If, as a result, the GPA falls below a 3.0, probation will not appear on the transcript. This occurrence can also shorten a student’s time on probation.

Exam and Defense Paperwork

Many graduate programs require comprehensive examinations, oral proposal defenses, and/or defenses of completed projects, theses, or dissertations. For every applicable student, graduate coordinators must file an Appointment of Supervisory or Examining Committee form with the Graduate School before the examination or defense takes place. This form lists the names of all graduate faculty members who will participate in the student’s examination, as well as the student’s name and information. The Graduate School will check the credentials of all the committee members before the Graduate School dean signs and approves the form; all listed faculty must have graduate faculty status, which can be obtained through the Graduate Council by submitting a Graduate Faculty Nomination form.

After a graduate student successfully passes the oral examination or defense, the graduate coordinator must submit the Supervisory/Examination Committee Report form. To avoid delaying the student’s graduation, please submit the report to the Graduate School immediately following the exam(s) or defense so Graduate School staff can process it in a timely manner.

In order to graduate, the student must submit his or her thesis/dissertation to the Graduate School for a format review by the semester’s deadline. For more information about the Graduate School’s requirements for formatting theses and dissertations, see the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines.

Graduation

Graduation Applications

Records and Registration enforces separate graduation application deadline for fall, spring, and summer. Please encourage your students to apply for graduation as soon as possible in the semester in which they intend to finish. Applying early will give the student, coordinator, and Graduate School time to identify and fix any problems before the deadline. Students who fail to apply by the deadline will NOT be allowed to graduate that semester.

Students apply for graduation through their BOSS accounts, using the student requests menu found under “student services”. After the student applies, his or her application is sent in BOSS to the faculty member responsible for approving graduation applications in the program.

After the graduation application has been approved in BOSS by the proper faculty, it will then be sent to the Graduate School for approval. The Graduate School may request more information on a student to complete his or her application. Please respond to these requests promptly so your student’s graduation is not delayed. Finally, the Graduate School will send the application to Records and Registration, where it will be processed after final grades are posted.

Commencement ceremonies are held in December and May. Students graduating in August may participate in either the May ceremony (before their programs are complete) or the December ceremony (after their programs are complete). Students graduating in August should complete a summer graduation application, even if they participate in the December ceremony.

If students apply for graduation and do not finish all their degree requirements that semester, they must reapply to graduate during the term in which they expect to complete their requirements.