AEM Graduate Handbook
This handbook is designed to help ease your transition into the AEM graduate program. It provides helpful information on programs, policies, and logistics in the AEM Department, the University, and the Graduate School. You should be familiar with the resources listed below.
- When to Register for Thesis Credits as a PhD Student
- How can I determine the last day that I can do my oral preliminary exam and still be able to register for thesis credits for a given semester?
- Maintaining an "Active" Status
- If I have completed all required formal coursework, which courses do I register for in order to complete my degree?
- Requirements if I Hold an Appointment
- Leave of Absences
Important Policies, University Resources, & Assistantships
The program emphasizes coursework in engineering sciences that are basic to this field: fluid mechanics, aerospace systems, and solid mechanics. Options include coursework in aerodynamics and aerospace systems, dynamical systems, material properties, and fluid and solid behavior. It is expected that a student should complete the M.S. degree in 2 years, and in no more than 3. All graduate students are expected to make satisfactory academic progress. In the case of those who are receiving financial support, this is a condition for continuation of support.
- 30 total credits of coursework
- The minimum grade required for each course is: C-. Any grade below C- will not be counted toward your AEM degree
- GPA of >2.8 for graduation
- AEM Colloquium attendance - Students admitted before Fall 2021, must attend at least 2 semesters worth of seminar, you do not necessarily need to enroll in the course both semesters. Students admitted Fall 2021 or later, must register for at least 2 semesters of AEM Seminar (AEM 8000). A maximum of 4 total seminar credits can be applied, as long as the additional 2 credits are not AEM 8000.
|Plan A||Plan B||Plan C|
|Requires 14 major credits, 6 credits outside the major, and 10 thesis credits (AEM 8777). The final exam is oral.||Requires 14 to 24 major credits and 6 to 16 credits outside the major. A capstone project is required. (Capstone Project: AEM 8880; 3 credits must be completed in consultation with the advisor. The project and its results are the topic of the final oral examination.)||Requires 14 to 24 major credits and 6 to 16 credits outside the major. There is no final exam.|
More information on the AEM Graduate degree programs page.
For all plans, take a minimum of 6 credits in a minor or in related fields outside of AEM.
Students are responsibility for satisfying both the program and the Graduate School requirements for degree completion. More information on University Policies.
Master's Degree should be completed in 2 years, and in no more than 3.
|First year||Second Year|
Both Master's Plan A and Plan B require a final oral examination. The final oral examination is a closed examination open only to the final oral examination committee and the student.
Students must provide the reviewers with the copy of the Plan A thesis or project submitted in lieu of a thesis at least 14 days before the scheduled date of the final examination.
Every member of the final examination committee must certify on the master's thesis reviewer's report that the thesis or project submitted in lieu of a thesis is ready for defense before the final examination may take place. A majority vote of an examining committee is required to pass the master's final examination.
All forms required for the Master's Final Exam will be in the student's grad packet.
|Plan A||Plan B||Plan C|
Thesis Reviewers Report Form
Final Examination Form
Students can turn in both the Reviewer's Report and the Final Exam Report at the same time.
|Final Examination Form|
Final Examination Form
Note: Plan C does not have a final oral exam. Students do however need to submit a Plan C final exam form. This form should be brought to the Graduate Program Assistant in 107 AkerH for DGS approval.
The database shows items such as: current adviser(s) and degree, entrance term, approved Graduate School forms, examination dates, WPE sections attempted/taken, seminar attendance, etc.
- Please login with your x500 and review the information and then click on View Department Records.
- To make changes to your Degree Program form, file a petition form to request changes in course work to your program.
- Can I get a MS degree if I am a PhD student?
Yes. It is every student's option to obtain a MS degree along the way. Simply file a degree program form for the MS degree as well as the PhD.
- Do the courses that I take as an MSAEM student count towards the 42 credits for a PhD?
All the credits for an MS may be counted toward the PhD course requirements except for AEM 8777. All credits are subject to approval on the Degree Program form.
- How do I switch from the MSAEM to PhD?
You will need to reapply via the online application.
The Ph.D. program emphasizes coursework and research in engineering sciences that are basic to this field. Options include coursework and research in aerodynamics and aerospace systems, dynamical systems, material properties, and fluid and solid behavior.
The Ph.D. requires about two years of coursework, but the heart of the program is the student's thesis research. The first year of the Ph.D. program is similar to the master's program and most Ph.D. students receive the master's degree. The second year is devoted to more advanced courses and beginning research. Subsequent years include some coursework with increased focus on research.
It is expected that a student should complete the Ph.D. degree in 4-5 years, and in no more than 6 years. All graduate students are expected to make satisfactory academic progress. In the case of those who are receiving financial support, this is a condition of support.
- 42 credits of coursework
- 24 thesis credits (AEM 8888)
- The minimum grade required for each course is: C-. Any grade below C- will not be counted toward your AEM degree
- GPA of >3.0 for graduation
- Minimum of active/registered status for five semesters
- AEM Colloquium attendance - Students admitted before Fall 2021, must attend at least 4 semesters worth of seminar, you do not necessarily need to enroll in the course both semesters. Students admitted Fall 2021 or later, must register for at least 4 semesters of AEM Seminar (AEM 8000). A maximum of 6 total seminar credits can be applied, as long as the additional 2 credits are not AEM 8000.
- 12 to 30 credits are required from within the major (minimum 12 credits of major courses must be at the 5xxx or 8xxx level)
- 12 to 30 credits that pertain to your degree are required outside the major
- 24 thesis credits (AEM 8888) are required
- NO MORE than 8 credits total at the 4xxx level
- NO MORE than 13 credits can be taken S/N
- Master's coursework is included in progress to Ph.D.
- Excluding Plan A Thesis credits (AEM 8777)
- Excluding Plan B Project credits (AEM 8880)
Students are responsible for satisfying both the program and the Graduate School requirements for degree completion. More information on the University Policy page.
Important: You must apply to graduate on or before the first working day of the intended month of graduation. All requirements including coursework must be completed on or before the last working day of the intended month of graduation. Doctoral Degree should be completed in 4-5 years, and in no more than 6 years.
|First Year||Second Year|
|Third Year||Fourth Year|
|Written Preliminary Exam (WPE)||Preliminary Oral Exam (POE)||Final Oral Exam (Defense)|
The WPE is the first examination AEM doctoral students must pass to continue work towards their Ph.D. The WPE is offered once each year during the Spring Semester, typically the first Friday/Saturday in April.
After passing the exam, students MUST have an adviser before they are allowed to move on to their Ph.D. degree.
This exam must be passed before students are allowed to register for Doctoral Thesis credits.
A committee of at least four faculty members administers this oral exam. Three members should be from the AEM department, and one member should be from outside the department. The student, in consultation with his/her adviser, is responsible for forming the committee.
The exam usually includes a presentation of research plans and preliminary results. Students are then questioned about the research and material from graduate courses they have taken.
Students should take this exam as soon as most of their coursework is completed; that is, near the end of the second year or the beginning of the third year.
This exam consists of the student’s presentation and defense of his or her research.
A subcommittee of readers must approve the thesis before the exam is scheduled and at the end of the exam, the full committee must accept the thesis. The committee must contain at least four members, including three from the AEM department and one from outside the Department.
Upon arriving on-campus, please contact the Director of Graduates Studies (DGS), the default adviser for all new students. The exception would be students who are admitted to the graduate program with a research assistantship provided by a particular faculty member; these students will have that faculty member as their academic adviser and thesis/dissertation adviser. After taking courses in various areas, attending seminars and individual discussions, and becoming otherwise acquainted with faculty members, students should begin to narrow down who will be the adviser for his or her program.
All students should have a research adviser chosen by the beginning of their second year. Students are encouraged to talk with different faculty members about their interests and possible research topics. Students interested in taking the Written Preliminary Exam should try to find a regular adviser by the beginning of spring semester.
Senior and Affiliate Senior members of the AEM Graduate Faculty may advise both MS and PhD students. Graduate Faculty may advise MS students and co-advise PhD students in conjunction with a senior member. Remember that the adviser-advisee relationship is mutual; faculty members must agree to become a student's adviser. Visit this link to see all of the faculty who have been assigned roles for the AEM graduate program. This list can be used to help identify eligibility for adviser assignments.
Upon selection of a faculty member and that faculty member's acceptance of advising responsibilities, students should inform the DGS of this by sending an email with a cc' to your adviser. Students must also complete the Declaration/Change of Adviser Form and submit it to the Graduate Program Assistant in 107 AkerH.
Students may change advisers if they wish, and this must be indicated to the DGS by sending another email with a cc' to both the old and new adviser. However in this case both the new and the previous adviser must sign to acknowledge the change.
|New Students||Current Students||International Students|
Graduate student registration occurs at the beginning of the registration period for each semester, and this registration period will change each semester. Students can check their registration queue through their MyU homepage or through OneStop. If a class is closed students may sign up on the waiting list as long as the waitlist remains open.
Registrations must be completed before the first day of class. Registrations that occur any later will be assessed late registration fees that are the responsibility of the student.
If you need to make changes to your registration please know the policies in advance.
Prior to registering, students are encouraged to consult with their advisers regarding which courses they plan to take. First year students are typically advised by the Director of Graduate Studies, unless they have a predetermined adviser.
Under SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System), it is important that all international students maintain full-time enrollment for the duration of each semester. Students who fail to maintain a full course load will be in violation of federal regulations and will be reported to INS. Except under special circumstances, students who violate their visa status will be required to leave the U.S. and make a new entry to regain legal status.
International students enrolled for the FTE course will be reported as maintaining a full-time course of study. Audit courses do not count toward full-time enrollment for international students. International students may audit courses, but must be registered for at least 6 additional course or thesis credits. International students not enrolled full-time need to submit an "Exception from Full Course of Study" form to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). These forms must be submitted before the semester begins to avoid being reported as not enrolled or enrolled part-time.
ISSS is the office dedicated to serving the University of Minnesota's international community and should be consulted regarding any questions concerning student visa status. International students are encouraged to subscribe to the ISSS Weekly Update. Each week an update is sent by email. The updates consist of announcements regarding changes and news about INS regulations, dates of workshops and information sessions, and important deadlines.
You may audit classes while in the Graduate program. You will be billed for audited courses; however they will not count toward your required classes. Audited course credits do not count toward the minimum 6-credits to be considered full time. To maintain your visa or assistantship status, you must be registered for 6 credits in addition to any audited courses.
If you are auditing classes, and your total course load exceeds 14 credits you will be billed for all credits over 14. For example, if you are registered for 12 credits and you audit one 4 credit class you will be billed for 16 credits. If you hold an assistantship, you will be billed and must pay any credits above 14. We advise you to consult your academic adviser when registering for classes.
The Graduate School allows registration for up to 18 credits. However, most offices providing tuition benefits will not pay for more than 14 credits. Students should check with the office providing the tuition benefit to determine the number of credits that will be covered.
If you are unable to register for a course due to enforced prerequisite requirements or other reasons you may request a permission number online on the AEM Intranet.
The transfer of credits is permitted provided the credit comes from another recognized graduate school, or another UMN department.
In order to transfer courses from outside UMN onto a UMN Graduate record, students will need to submit an AEM Graduate Credit Transfer Petition, along with an unofficial transcript from the other institution.
Work to be transferred must be graduate level and have been taught by faculty authorized to teach graduate courses. It is the student’s responsibility to provide appropriate course documentation (e.g., course syllabi, faculty status information) supporting proposed transfer credits to the program.
In the case of a transfer from a non-U.S. institution, the credits must have been earned in a program judged by The Graduate School to be comparable to a graduate degree program in a graduate school of a regionally accredited institution in the United States.
Graduate credits taken before the award of a baccalaureate degree may be counted toward a graduate degree under limited circumstances if approved by the graduate program and collegiate unit.
If you plan to apply to the AEM Masters or PhD programs and would like to take Graduate level courses as an UMN Undergrad, you are able to do so. Please review the UMN Policy on Earning Graduate Credits and speak with an adviser before registering
Doctoral students must register for 24 doctoral thesis credits (AEM 8888) at the University of Minnesota beginning the semester after they have passed the preliminary oral exam. This is a departmental policy. The requirement of 24 doctoral thesis credits cannot be reduced by transfer of master's thesis credits, or thesis credits taken at another institution.
You may register for thesis credits after you pass the Preliminary Oral exam. Once you pass the exam you may take thesis credits the following semester. If you pass the exam within the first two weeks of the semester then you may take thesis credits the same semester.
How can I determine the last day that I can do my oral preliminary exam and still be able to register for thesis credits for a given semester?
If you pass your Preliminary Oral Exam within the first two weeks of the semester (before registration closes), you can register for thesis credits. You must return your signed Preliminary Oral Exam Form to the Graduate School right after your exam for the Graduate School to allow you to register for thesis credits.
Students must maintain an "active" status throughout their graduate career. This includes registration in Fall and Spring terms each year. This requirement can be satisfied with coursework, or registering for one of the graduate student Special Registration Categories listed on the OneStop registration options. Students not registered every semester are considered to have withdrawn and their Graduate School records are deactivated. If a student has not registered, they must apply for readmission and must register before they can resume work on a master or doctoral thesis or master Plan B paper, take written oral examinations, or file for graduate. The Department reserves the right to reject a readmission application based on academic performance and other factors. See class options below:
|GRAD 999||8333 Advanced Master's Status||8444 Advanced Doctoral Status|
GRAD 999 is a zero credit/no fee class that will maintain a student's active status with the Graduate School. However, it will not maintain full time status for anything else such as a paid appointment (RA or TA), visa status, or deferred student loans. International students can get a waiver from ISSS to register for GRAD 999, but must check with ISSS before registering
Once all degree requirements have been completed, but active status needs to be maintained to graduate, GRAD 999 can be registered for. After a student's second registration for GRAD 999 a hold will be placed on their record. If a student is making continuous progress towards their degree a permission number may be granted for additional registrations of GRAD 999. If continuous progress is not being made, a Leave of Absence should be considered.
NOTE: Do not register for Grad 999 if you must be registered to hold an assistantship, be registered to maintain legal visa status, defer loans, or receive financial aid. The Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics department limits the number of terms you can enroll in Grad 999 to 2 semesters.
8333 is a one-credit registration option for eligible master's students who must certify full-time status to be in compliance with requirements of the University and/or external agencies (e.g., employment as a graduate assistant; loan deferment). Students eligible for 8333 can be employed in one of the low-tuition/low-fringe job classes. Eligible students will need to complete a application for 8333 Advanced Master's Status which will need to be reviewed and approved by the DGS prior to registration. Students need to make sure that they allow enough time to process the application.
8444 is a one-credit registration option for eligible doctoral students who must certify full-time status to be in compliance with requirements of the University and/or external agencies (e.g., employment as a graduate assistant; loan deferment). Students eligible for 8444 can be employed in one of the low-tuition/low-fringe job classes. Eligible students will need to complete a application for 8444 Advanced Doctoral Status which will need to be reviewed and approved by the DGS prior to registration. Students need to make sure that they allow enough time to process the application.
For more information on registration requirements, Grad 999, or FTE, please see click here.
If I have completed all required formal coursework, which courses do I register for in order to complete my degree?
|MS AEM Student||Ph.D. Student|
|AEM 8777 - Master’s thesis credits. These credits are for MS Plan A students. You need to take a minimum of 10 thesis credits, but can take more. These credits do not replace the required 20 credits of formal course work. They cannot be used for a Plan B or transferred for the Ph.D.||AEM 8888 - Doctoral thesis credits. These credits are for Ph.D. students. You need to take a minimum of 24 thesis credits, but can take more. These credits do not replace the required 44 credits of formal course work.|
AEM 8333 - MS FTE (Full Time Equivalency) class. This course number is used to maintain your full-time status once you have completed all other course requirements. You only register for one credit, but are considered to be a full time student.
In order to register for AEM 8333 you need to apply to the Graduate School a semester in advance.
|AEM 8444 - Ph.D. FTE (Full Time Equivalency) class. This course number is used to maintain your full-time status. This course number is used to maintain your full-time status once you have completed all other course requirements. You only register for one credit, but are considered to be a full time student.|
AEM 8880 – These credits are for MS Plan B students. You may take up to 3 credits towards your Plan B project. These credits cannot be used towards a Plan A or Ph.D.
|AEM 8666 - Pre-thesis credits. These are credits you take if you have completed all required course work and have not passed your Preliminary Oral Exam. These credits cannot be applied towards your degree.|
The University requires that graduate students holding appointments as teaching assistants, research assistants, and administrative fellows register for at least 6 credits during each term which he or she holds an appointment of greater than 12.5%. (This rule does not apply to summer terms if you were registered the preceding spring quarter). Each student should check to make sure they satisfy other criteria for full-time status (i.e., some student loan deferrals require 7-credit registrations) that may apply to financial aid.
Graduate students are expected to maintain active status through continuous registration from the time they matriculate until their graduation. Students who are not able to maintain active status are strongly encouraged to consult with the DGS, their adviser, and the Graduate Student Services and Progress Office to determine whether requesting a leave of absence is the most appropriate course of action. If applicable, graduate students should also check with the International Student and Scholars Office, the Office of Student Finance, and the Graduate Student Employment Office to see how this impacts their status.
In order to apply for a leave of absence a student must complete the Leave Of Absence Form and have it signed by their adviser. Then, submit the completed form to the Graduate Program Assistant in the AEM main department office, 107 AkerH. She will obtain the signature of the DGS. A student may request a leave for up to 2 academic years.
Graduate students who are ready to return from the LOA need to contact the Graduate Program Assistant in the AEM Main office to see what steps will need to be followed for matriculating back into the Graduate Program. Graduate students will need to submit the Application for Reinstatement for Graduate Students prior to their intended term of return. Graduate students are required to return by the date specified on the LOA form, or earlier. Students are then matriculated back into the program, and resume their studies. Students do not need to apply for readmission or pay a readmission fee.
Graduate students are expected to attend the departmental colloquia on a regular basis as long as they are pursuing any graduate degree in residence. However, students must, at minimum, fulfill their seminar attendance requirements as stated for their degree.
To gain "attendance" credit a student must attend all of the colloquia offered for any particular semester. Students are allowed up to two absences per term. Attendance must be documented by signing the sheet circulated during the lecture.
In extreme circumstances, a student who misses more than two AEM colloquium may substitute up to two seminars per semester with a seminar from another CSE department.
The student must document the substitution with a brief statement giving the department, date, speaker's name and affiliation, title and summary of the lecture. This statement/summary must be emailed to the DGS within one week of the substitute lecture.
A student with a class schedule that conflicts with regular colloquium attendance must present an acceptable option for meeting the requirement. Possible options might include postponement to a later semester, regular attendance at a national meeting of a professional engineering society, alternative involvement with out-of-town colloquia speakers, and/or other activities which will broaden the student's awareness both technically and geographically.
Any such option for a single semester must be prepared in consultation with the student's adviser, approved in written form by the adviser, and presented to the Director of Graduate Studies no later than the second week of the semester. The Director of Graduate Studies may approve the option as is, approve it with modification, or reject it.
The Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in aerospace engineering and mechanics. The graduate programs emphasize engineering sciences that are basic to fluid mechanics, aerospace systems, and solid mechanics. Theoretical, analytical, experimental, and computational aspects of these fields are covered by the courses and research opportunities offered by the department.
|Length of program in credits: 6||Length of program in credits: 12||This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.|
A four-year B.S. degree in an engineering, basic science, or mathematics program is required. Admission depends primarily on the applicant's undergraduate record and letters of recommendation.
- The minimum cumulative GPA for the minor is 3.00.
- Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
- The minor in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics requires 6 credits in AEM courses for the master's minor and 12 credits in AEM courses for the doctoral minor.
- Courses cross listed with AEM courses must be registered for under the AEM course designation to be counted towards a minor.
- Courses must be taken on the A/F grade basis, unless only offered S/N.
For more information visit our courses.
A minor can be added by including the minor and related coursework on the Graduate Degree Plan form. You should fill out the form as completely as possible in consultation with your adviser, who must approve and sign it. The completed form should be given to the Graduate Studies Assistant in 107 AkerH, who will then provide it to the DGS for approval and send it to the Graduate School. Final approval of the Graduate Degree Plan is done by the Graduate School. After approval by the Graduate School, this becomes your official program, and all items listed on the degree plan must be fulfilled before the degree will be awarded. A revised degree plan may be submitted at a later date if a number of changes are required, but only if approved by the adviser(s) and DGS. If only minor changes are necessary, a petition form should be used.
Note: The Minor Graduate Degree Plan form must be approved by the Graduate Program where the minor is being obtained besides getting the approval of the Graduate Program where you are getting your major.
Information on various minors and minor degree requirements can be found online in the University Catalog.
The graduate education policy requires every graduate student to file a graduate degree plan (GDP) for each degree for which he/she is a candidate. On the graduate degree plan the student must list:
- Completed coursework
- Projected coursework (courses the student plans to take to complete their degree)
- Transfer courses
The Graduate Degree Plan Form is available at:
The GDP is filled out in consultation with the adviser, who must then approve it. If a minor is stated on the GDP, the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) of the minor graduate program must also approve it. The GDP is reviewed by the AEM Graduate Program Assistant who will then give it to the DGS for review and approval. Students should bring their Degree plan forms to the main office in 107 AkerH. Once the form is approved by the DGS, it will then be sent to the Graduate Student Services and Progress Office.
- The student has active student status
- The student has met minimum program-specific course requirements
- If applicable, the student has met program-specific second language requirements
- Student has indicated correct plan type
- All coursework completed post-baccalaureate
- Student has not included any ineligible coursework (i.e., audited courses, withdraws, undergraduate-level coursework, and courses graded below C-)
- Coursework requirements
- Transfer limits or credits in common
- S/N limits
- GPA requirements
Note: All transfer international coursework must be reviewed by Graduate Admissions in the Graduate School. First, submit a GDP including international coursework to the AEM Graduate program, who will review and send it to Graduate Admissions in the Graduate School. Upon this review, the GDP is sent back to the AEM program, where it is verified by the College. The completed GDP is sent to Graduate Student Services and Progress.
Once it has been submitted, a student must strictly conform to the graduate degree plan. If there is need to deviate from it, the graduate degree plan can be changed by petition. The petition is a special form available online. The petition should list the courses to be added and/or removed and must again be approved by the adviser, the DGS, the DGS of the minor field (if a minor has been formally declared) and then submitted to the GSSP office.
A student desiring a time extension should complete the form stating a cogent reason why the extension should be granted. Any request for a time extension should be filed before the time limit has expired and is to be signed by the adviser, the DGS of the minor field if a minor is declared and the DGS before being sent to the GSSP office for entry.
Graduate School degrees are awarded monthly, on the last business day of the month you applied to graduate. To graduate at the end of any given month you must:
- You will need to request a Graduation Packet. Submit your Application for Degree on or before the first day of the month. See the Graduate student graduation checklist.
- The Application for Degree is available on-line through the MyU portal: Academics Tab > Degree Progress and click on the Apply to Graduate link.
- Complete all other requirements by the last workday of the month.
Note: Students should not apply to graduate more than one month in advance of your expected completion month. Students may only submit an Application for Degree once. If you need to change your expected graduation term or month after you have applied, you will need to email the Graduate Student Services and Progress.
- Complete the department AEM Checkout Form and return it to the AEM office.
The master's Plan A thesis and doctoral dissertation (herein referred to as thesis) is not only a representation of a student's academic work, but also a reflection of the faculty adviser, the graduate program, and the University of Minnesota. Once a student has submitted his/her thesis to the Graduate Student Services and Progress (GSSP) office, it will be available for scholars worldwide. Professional and consistent presentation of such work is essential.
To search through dissertations and theses available from the UMN Libraries, click here.
All students who complete a thesis must file a digital copy of the thesis with the University in accordance with University standards. Students may request that the University embargo publication of the thesis for a limited period of time.
The thesis must be submitted online and approved by GSSP by 4 p.m. on or before the last business day of the intended month of degree completion. Before beginning the submission process, the student must ensure that:
- The thesis is in its final version. Once submitted, revisions cannot be made unless the student is instructed by GSSP to do so.
- The full text of the thesis is in one file.
- The full text of the thesis is in PDF format.
- If the text is not already in PDF format, a converter is available on ProQuest's submission site.
- If the PDF converter is used, check the document for accuracy before uploading.
- Note: it may take one or more days to receive the converted PDF. Please plan accordingly.
- The complete file size of the document is less than 1000MB (subject to change).
- You must have an active email account to create a ProQuest account (Students must monitor that email on a regular basis).
- Once the above steps have been completed, the thesis is submitted on the ProQuest website.
For many more resources regarding thesis formatting and submission, visit the graduate school website.
Graduate education policies are developed and reviewed under the purview of the vice provost and dean of graduate education, in consultation with faculty, staff and student stakeholders.
Important AEM policies can be found here. (Explanations and clarifications of AEM departmental policies including emergencies, payments, and use of facilities.)
- Graduate Assistant Human Resources Employment Policies
- Graduate Assistant Employment
- Graduate Assistant Benefits
- Paid and Unpaid Leaves Note: Graduate assistants are not benefits eligible for paid vacation leaves
- Any extended absences (3 or more days) from campus during the semester must be agreed upon with the student’s advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies. Students on TA assistantships will also require the approval of the AEM Department Head or Associate Head. This includes delays due to U.S. visa issues that cause a delay in a student's return to campus. Leaves will normally be granted only for one of the following reasons: (i) illness, (ii) family or personal emergency, and (iii) activities that are directly related to research, i.e., attending a scientific conference or making a research visit to another institution. In all cases, permission to be absent will be granted only if the absent TA has been able to arrange for adequate substitutes to cover their assigned duties and have so-informed the instructor for the course. You must also notify the department administration of your leave by sending an e-mail to: Aaron Black, email@example.com.
- Graduate Assistant Work Rules
- Graduate Assistant Health Insurance Plan
- Graduate Assistantship and Financial Aid
- Employment Terms & Conditions for Grad Assistants & Fellows
The Graduate School embraces the position that promoting and supporting diversity among the student body is central to the academic mission of the University of Minnesota.
|New Students||Academics||Employment||Transportation||Professionalism & Ethics Related Links|
- OneStop Student Services is your go to place for all questions/information regarding registration, tuition, and billing.
- This graduation checklist will allow you to check graduation dates and deadlines, verify your degree completion steps, check for any holds on your account, download your graduation packet, get help applying for graduate school, and get information about commencement.
- The Graduate Assistants Employment office allows you to get information and apply for Graduate Assistant Employment opportunities at the University.
- The Graduate School Catalog gives information about graduate school including general material and that specific to the AEM Program.
- The Graduate School Resources for Current Students is a website that allows students to look into career planning, advising, interdisciplinary study, workshops and funding opportunities at the U.
- The Graduate School Degree Completion Steps is a website that allows students to see the necessary steps they need to complete in order to receive their Master's or Ph.D's.
Graduate assistantship appointments are either 50% (an average of 20 hours a week) or 25% (an average of 10 hours a week) and come in the form of research or teaching assistantship. A graduate assistant appointed 50% time (an average of 20 hours per week) for the full-semester payroll period (which begins before the start of classes and extends beyond finals week) typically receives a tuition benefit equivalent to the Graduate School's tuition band level (at resident rates). This benefit would cover 6-14 credits per semester. Graduate assistants appointed for less than 50% time or for less than the full semester payroll period will not receive the maximum tuition benefits. Their benefits are prorated according to the total number of hours worked over the 19.5 week payroll semester. Maximum benefits require appointments of at least 390 hours per semester (20 hours x 19.5 weeks). Appointments for fewer than 97.5 hours per semester (equivalent to a 12.5% appointment for the full term) do not qualify for any tuition benefit. Fees billed by the University are NOT covered by any type of assistantship. Support from the department beyond the first year is contingent upon the availability of funds. Priority for departmental positions is given to students making timely progress towards their degrees. General policy and procedure information about graduate assistant appointments can be found online.
It is possible to hold simultaneous teaching and research assistantships within any academic semester. If simultaneous appointments are made, then each is typically a 25% appointment. Maximum appointments to teaching assistantship and/or research assistantship positions are 50%, except in unusual cases where graduate students who have qualified for doctoral candidacy may receive 75% appointments if a distinct service need exists. F-1 and J-1 visa holders cannot hold appointments greater than 50% time during the Fall and Spring terms.
To be eligible to hold one of these appointments, you must be a graduate student (i.e., you must have been admitted to the Graduate School) and be registered in the Graduate School each term of the appointment (except during Summer sessions providing they were registered for the preceding Spring semester). This applies to appointments of any percentage or any number of hours. For more specific information, refer to the Graduate Assistant Employment Area in the Office of Human Resources (Graduate Assistant Employment or 612-624-7070).
Graduate assistantships follow semester appointment dates, which are available here: Semester appointment dates. TA's who find that they can't be here on their first day of employment will need to discuss this with the Department Head and/or the Department Administrator. RA's will need to discuss this with the faculty member who is sponsoring them.
Teaching Assistants (Primary means of support for first year students): Teaching Assistants work under the supervision of faculty or academic staff, providing assistance to the faculty in teaching or advising students registered for specific courses. The assignments typically require demonstrated expertise in the course subject matter to which the student is assigned. Teaching Assistants may work under direct supervision of the faculty member responsible for a course or may be the instructor of record for an entire course.
Responsibilities (will vary according to the nature of the specific position assigned and according to the department's requirements):
- Grading of examinations, reports, and/or assigning final grades
- Preparation of examinations or class materials
- Assistance provided to faculty in the teaching or advising of students registered in specific courses
- Supervision or instruction of laboratory classes, recitation sections, or intern groups
- Academic administrative duties directly related to administration of a course
- Attend all lectures presented by the instructor responsible for the course unless excused by the instructor
- Grade examinations, conduct discussions, take attendance, maintain at least 3 office hours per week (prorated for less than a 50% position), and fulfill any other teaching-related duties established by the course instructor
- Attend all meetings established by the course instructor to discuss teaching techniques, subject matter, and grading standards
- Attend all meetings mandated by the AEM department for the purpose of preparing teaching assistants for their duties
- Request approval from the instructor for any absence from graduate teaching responsibilities
- Abide by all university, college, and department regulations concerning proper conduct, sexual harassment, academic honesty or misconduct, and other matters
Language requirements for nonnative English-speaking TA's
All nonnative English-speaking teaching assistants (TA's) must demonstrate proficiency in spoken English appropriate for the demands of their teaching assistantship. Details on the University’s requirements for proficiency can be found here: Language Proficiency Requirements for Teaching Assistants.
The Center for Educational Innovation also has an International Teaching Assistant Program that offers courses for nonnative English-speaking graduate students who have either received a teaching assistantship or who are interested in preparing for a future TA position: Grad Courses - International Teaching Assistant (ITA) Program.
English Proficiency for International Assistants: The University of Minnesota requires high standards of English proficiency for nonnative English speaking students who are appointed to teaching assistant and instructor positions. Spoken proficiency is assessed in one of three ways: Internet-based TOEFL (speaking subscore), SETTA (Spoken English Test for Teaching Assistants), or the final exam taken after coursework in the International TA Program. Scores on these assessments are converted into numerical English Language Proficiency (ELP) ratings which correspond to eligibility for various teaching responsibilities (i.e., higher proficiency corresponds with more demanding instructional responsibilities). For ELP ratings lower than 1, one to three semesters of ITA Program coursework is required. An explanation of the ELP ratings is available here.
The AEM department requires all TAs have an ELP of 1 or 2.
Research Assistants: Research Assistants are appointments from faculty members who hold research contracts and grants. Once a student is admitted, a graduate research assistant appointment is possible through direct discussions with individual faculty. Please see individual faculty pages for more information on research topics. The faculty member providing support will serve as your academic adviser. Appointments vary, depending on the availability of funds and the academic progress of the student. Research appointments are made at any time in the calendar year depending on funding and other factors. It is expected that all students move to research appointments after their first year.
Responsibilities: Research assistants perform duties of a specialized nature connected with research assigned by the supporting department or principal research investigator. The research assistantship may provide the base for part or all of the student's thesis; it may provide technical skills specifically required by the degree program. May include collecting research material, performing experiments, doing taxonomic work, taking field notes, preparing bibliographies, abstracting, editing, etc.
Terms and conditions of employment and fringe benefits
According to University policies, all graduate assistants are entitled to written notification of their appointments. These letters address the job classification, job title, percent, time, duration of appointment, average weekly hours, start date, benefits information, general position responsibilities, duties, and expectations. In some cases you will be offered an assistantship without the job assignment specified. For appointments it depends on course enrollment figures, TA funds available from the college, and other factors that may not be known until the start of a semester. When the assignment is determined, you will be sent a follow-up letter or memorandum that spells out all the details, including what course you will assist in or what research you will participate in, who will be your supervisor, and what your particular duties will be. The purpose of this added communication is to clarify your assignment, to avoid misunderstandings, and to resolve any questions you might have. If you have lingering questions, you should discuss these questions with your supervisor.
See the Graduate Assistant website for enclosures on terms and conditions of employment and fringe benefits that can be downloaded. As a graduate assistant, you are responsible for knowing the policies and guidelines applicable to your appointment.
- Graduate Assistant Human Resources Employment Policies
- Graduate Assistant Employment
- Graduate Assistant Benefits:
- Paid and Unpaid Leaves
- Note: Graduate assistants are not benefits
eligible for paid vacation leaves
- Note: Graduate assistants are not benefits
- Graduate Assistant Work Rules
- Graduate Assistant Health Insurance Plan
- Employment Terms and Conditions for UMN Graduate Assistants and Fellows
Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit and are available to new and currently enrolled graduate students.
- The Graduate School Fellowship Office administers a variety of University of Minnesota and external fellowships and grants as well as providing other resources for funding opportunities.
- The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship is awarded by the Graduate School. The department nominates its top Ph.D. candidates for this University-wide competition each spring. The nominees are selected by the GSC. Minimum requirements for consideration include a GPA greater than 3.8 and one or more peer-reviewed journal articles published. Students must have passed their preliminary oral exam and completed all their coursework to be eligible for this academic-year award. These fellowships include stipend, tuition, and health insurance benefits.
- Departmental Fellowships: A select number of students are awarded departmental fellowships which may be combined with other fellowships and assistantships for incoming students on a competitive basis each Fall.
- Diversity of Views and Experiences: (DOVE) Fellowship.
- One Stop: Graduate Fellowship Resources