Graduate Handbook Department Policies

Below are explanations and clarifications of AEM departmental policies. If you have any questions about any of the policies and how they pertain to you, please speak to someone in the department office in 107 Akerman Hall.

In addition, graduate students are responsible for knowing University policies and procedures and seeking assistance from the appropriate departmental faculty or staff when they need clarification.

Bulletin Boards

The AEM Graduate Student Lounge located in 120 Akerman has a bulletin board that is used for notices relating to graduate students. The bulletin board outside the department office has information on general information, job postings, and internship postings.

Posting Policy: Announcements and other information can also be distributed in student mailboxes located in the main office. These notices, announcements, etc. should not be posted on windows, walls, pillars, doors, glass surfaces, elevators, or easels.

Signs and information not properly posted will be removed. 

Computer & Printer Policies

The University's Office of Information Technology (OIT) will provide each student with an account, which is often referred to as an "x.500 ID" or "Internet ID" or "Internet Account." This account will be used for authenticating to departmental and University resources. The "Internet ID" can be used to access a considerable amount of information, it is important to select a secure password and to follow best practices for safer computing. For information regarding selecting a secure password as well as other security-related information, visit the University's Safe Computing website.

All graduate students are entitled to open a departmental computer account. Application forms are available in the main office. The E-NET staff will set up your account and can assist you with any problems that you may experience. You can email any problems you encounter with the computers to .

Departmental accounts are only needed when accessing certain resources, e.g. Linux computers and cluster resources.  All Windows authentication utilizes your UMN issued credentials.

An AEM computer account is for appropriate educational/research use only. Misuse of this privilege will result in the computer account being closed. This includes, but is not limited to, distributing stolen software and emailing harassing or derogatory remarks to or about others. Users are not allowed to run services that are exposed to outside locations e.g. web servers, ssh servers, etc. If this is needed for research purposes, consult with ENET staff. Users are not allowed to share their account with others. Please keep your password secret. Usage of the AEM computer system is subject to monitoring by departmental staff.

All graduate students are given U-Card access to 120 Akerman Hall. If you are having problems gaining entry to that room, please see staff in the main office, room 107. Use of this printer should be limited to appropriate educational/research use only. It should not be used to print personal items or to print multiple copies of any document. In addition, it should not be used for large jobs such as manuals and other such output. All usage will be monitored and in the case of abuse, the service may be removed. Paper for the printer can be obtained in 107 Akerman Hall; however, one of the ENET staff members will assist you with printer cartridge replacements. Please send them an email at:

Remember that your departmental account is a privilege, not a right. If abused, it will be subject to closure.

For additional information, consult ENET's Main Page. Also, visit the Office of Information Technology which is the University's central IT unit for services that they may provide.

The department maintains a wide range of computer equipment within its buildings, and there are other computing facilities available on campus. Most research laboratories are equipped with computers for equipment operation, data acquisition, data analysis, and/or modeling.

University-owned desktop/laptop computers (compatible with the Active Directory architecture) are required to be set up and administered by departmental IT staff. This can take a significant amount of time so be aware that any newly purchased computer will not be immediately available for your use.

Personally-owned desktop/laptop computers are generally not configured to use wired connections (i.e. the network "Etherjacks" which are available in most rooms and offices.) Any device may use the wireless Internet access which is available in all areas of the Akerman Building, including graduate offices. It is highly recommended that you configure your device, if possible, to connect via "Eduroam." Instructions for doing so may be found here. Any computer using the University network, either via wired or wireless connection, must be configured securely per the guidelines described on the Safe Computing website. If you have specialized devices that need to connect to wireless, please consult with ENET Staff.

The University utilizes Google services for UMN email accounts. For those new to the University, a Google email account will be provided for you as part of the larger suite of U of M Google Apps for Education, which includes Google Mail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar.

With your University Google account you have Google Drive which has  no limitation on storage space (UMN Users should ignore the 1.5 gigabyte limitation referred to in the Linkedin Learning video). Google Drive is a powerful service for working collaboratively and for sharing large files within the University and those with non- University Google accounts. You can find out more about Google Drive.

Email Accounts

Email communication is critical in our department. You are responsible for all emails sent to these addresses, and should check your email at least once or twice a day. Official communication will be sent to your central UMN email address (also referred to as your "Internet ID" or "X.500 address.") Your central email address ends in "" The full policy can be found on the UMN policy page.


In case of emergency, dial 911 for police and ambulance assistance. After the police have been notified, please inform the Administrative Director or DGS in the department office. If you have other safety concerns, you can contact Yohannes Ketema (; 612-626-7259), the AEM Safety Officer. See the AEM Safety Page for more informatiion.


University equipment should not be taken off campus unless there is a properly authorized equipment checkout form (University form 1677: Capital Equipment Assets Off Campus Use) which will be used for tracking both capital and non-capital equipment checkouts. The form should be completed and turned into the accounting staff in 107 Akerman. It will be signed by the Department Head, Associate Head, or Administrative Director for both capital and non-capital equipment. In addition, Inventory Services will have to also sign for all capital equipment. You can obtain this form on the UMN policy page

Express Mail Service Guidelines (FedEx/UPS)

Graduate students who have University related express mail to be sent out should bring it in to the front office, no later than 3:30 p.m. to be sure that the office staff has time to prepare the appropriate documents.

Make sure complete mailing information is given, including a street address, a phone number to go on the express package, and a EFS number to charge it to. Personal express mail service from the Department is not allowable, unless it is an extenuating circumstance that has been approved by the Department Head, Associate Head, or Administrative Director.

Facilities Management Problems

Any Facilities Management (FM) building issues (plumbing leaks, offices being too cold or hot, door locks are not functioning properly, etc.) requests should be sent to or discussed with the staff in 107 Akerman. The front office staff will contact FM to address the issue.

After Business Hours and On Weekends: After business hours building problems or emergencies should be reported to Facilities Management, 612-624-2900.


The fax machine is to be used by faculty and staff for University business only. Graduate students who need something faxed for University business can bring it up to the front office and request that a staff member fax it for them. If the staff member determines that it is not University business, students will be referred to a nearby fax center. Personal fax service from the department is not allowable, unless it is an extenuating circumstance that has been approved by the Department Head, Associate Head, or Administrative Director.


You should first try to resolve student related grievances with the Director of Graduate Studies. If no resolution is reached at this level, you should notify the Associate Department Head and also the Departmental Grievance Officer. The University of Minnesota Board of Regents adopted a Student Grievance Policy on January 13, 1995. See the One Stop website for relevant information.

Hate Crimes

The University of Minnesota is committed to providing equal educational access and opportunity to all persons without regard to race, religion, color, sex, national origin, handicap, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation.

Acts of harassment based on an individual's race, religion, color, sex, national origin, handicap, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation will not be tolerated at the University of Minnesota.

Students who engage in such harassment may be charged under the Student Conduct Code, the Grievance Policy, or State or Federal Law.

Please report any such harassment to the University Police (612-624-2677), the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (612-624-9547), Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity (612-624-6073), or to the AEM Department Head (612-625-8000).

Keys, U-Card Doors, Building Access & Security

All full-time graduate students will received outdoor access to Akerman Hall and access to 120 Akerman which is the graduate student lounge. Graduate students who hold a research and/or teaching assistantship or graduate fellowship will be assigned desk space in an office. You will use your U-card for access for the outside doors of Akerman. You will need to complete an access request form which is available from Hanna Pahr in the main 107 Akerman office or or online (Access Request Application). Hanna can provide you instructions on how to complete the formIf she is not available, ask one of the other office staff to assist you. Once the form is completed, it will be reviewed, approved, and then access will be granted. Teaching and research labs require additional approvals and also safety training. Safety training needs to be completed prior to room access being granted. When students complete their degrees and/or leave the University they must turn in all their keys and their U-card access will be removed.

All faculty, staff and students should carry their U Card at all times when on campus, to ensure access as they move about. The Akerman (building hours) building doors are locked early evening after normal business hours and on weekends and holidays. Graduate students, staff, and faculty are granted U-card access that allow them access to the building at any time. No one without a key should be admitted into the building after hours. When entering or leaving the building after closing hours and on the weekends, doors should be shut and locked behind you. Offices and lab areas that students have access to should be locked at all times instead of being propped open. No one else should be allowed to use your key to gain entrance to the building, office, or lab areas. If your building, office, or lab keys are lost, it should be reported immediately to the department office. Lost keys pose a security risk. Having key and/or U-card door access is a privilege, not a right, and any violations could result in the loss of key/and or U-card door access privileges.

We are occasionally subjected to thieves who roam the halls looking for easy pickings. Do not leave your office unattended and unlocked. You are encouraged to ask politely for the identity and purpose of any stranger you encounter in the building after regular office or evening class hours.

The Security Monitor Program offers a free walking/biking escort service to and from campus locations and nearby adjacent neighborhoods. To request an escort from a trained student security monitor, please call 624-WALK shortly before your desired departure time and walk safe. Visit the Security Monitory Website for additional information.


Student mailboxes located in 107 Akerman Hall have been provided as a courtesy to you and student organizations. Student mailboxes are identified by the first letter of the student's last name so there will undoubtedly be several students assigned to one box. Please be sure that you check your mailbox frequently and remove your mail. Expense and travel reimbursement documents will be put in your mailbox for your signature once the accounting staff has prepared them. You are responsible for getting these forms signed and returned to the accounting office staff in a timely manner. Late documents can be denied by the department approvers if they are signed and processed in a timely manner.

Students should not have personal mail such as home utility bills, bank statements, credit card statements or the like, sent to this address. Rather, personal mail should be sent to a home address including packages. Continued disregard of this policy will result in mail being marked "return to sender."

Office Space

Office space is at a premium. The AEM Department, unlike many other departments on campus, strives to provide "sitting" space for full-time graduate students who hold research or teaching assistantships or graduate fellowships. As such, all students must realize that the rooms they have been assigned to may reach capacity levels. Students who may not have an office assignment can use the 120 Akerman Graduate Lounge.

Students must remember to respect the space of others and not infringe upon that space by bringing in unnecessary items to store in the room. One microwave and small refrigerator are allowed if there is room in the office suite and it is agreeable with the other students in the room. Students in the office suite will be responsible for maintenance and cleaning of the refrigerator and microwave. Students are encouraged to use the microwave and refrigerator in the Graduate Student Lounge in 120 Akerman Hall instead of having these items in the individual office suite. Please note that if you do bring in a personal microwave or refrigerator and it quits working, you will need to remove it and take it to the appropriate disposal facility. The University Facilities Management staff does not dispose of these. They only clean and do building repairs and maintenance. At your desk location, please display the "Departmental Space Assignment Card" so we know that the desk has been assigned to you. It is also useful when a new person is assigned to an office suite, so they know if the space is available for use.

Furniture and other personal items should not be stored in the student offices or labs.

Moving Office Space Locations: If you move from one office location to another in the department, please make sure you clean your desk before you move to the next location.

Office Supplies

Office supplies should be used for departmental purposes only. They are not for personal use. Please contact the department office for supplies you may need.


The University of Minnesota pays employees on a biweekly pay period basis, with each pay period starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday. Employees are paid every other Wednesday, 10 days after the end of the pay period. You will receive your paychecks one of two ways: a paper paycheck or Direct Deposit. Individuals are strongly encouraged to do direct deposit.

Direct Deposit Paper Paycheck International Students & Payroll
Direct Deposit is a free service that electronically deposits your paychecks directly into your bank account on paydays. Sign up today for direct deposit to your bank account from the My Pay tab in MyU. It's the fastest and safest way to have your pay and reimbursements deposited to you.

If you receive a paper paychecks, it will be mailed to your home address on paydays. If you have a question about where your paycheck will be mailed, visit the MyU website and click on “MyInfo” to view or change your home address.

See Office of Human Resources Pay and Taxes Section for information on Payday and Pay Period CalendarsUnderstanding your Pay StatementDirect Deposit;Pay and Taxes; Forms and InstructionsInternational Student Scholars and Visitors. If you have questions about your appointment and payroll documents, please see Graduate Program Assistant  in the main 107 AkerH Office. See also: University Holiday Calendar.

Any time a change is made in your visa status, you must contact the University Payroll Services Office to report this information. Failure to notify the payroll office of these changes will result in your paychecks being stopped. If you are a foreign national employee visiting Payroll Services for employment verification, re-verification, or tax treaty matters, please call 4-UOHR (612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363) to make an appointment. They are located in B20 Donhowe Building, Monday-Friday, between 8:30 am to 3:45 pm.


Graduate Assistantship Information

Please contact the accounting office staff for any questions you may have.

  • Graduate Assistant Employment Office - Valuable information on issues such as workload, compensation, benefits, and grievances. Also contains important information for international graduate assistants
  • OneStop - Class Schedules, Course Guides, valuable information on registration, tuition/fees, tuition waivers, health insurance, and more are available.

Phones & Telephone Calls

The department has installed phones in or near all offices used for graduate student study space. These phones are for local use only. Long distance calls can be made only on faculty or main office phones, and you must have approval from your faculty adviser for all long distance calls. Personal long distance calls are not to be made on any University phone unless using a personal long distance calling card.


The departmental copy machine is for University business ONLY. Personal copying can be done on campus or at one of the commercial copy centers located near campus. Teaching Assistants should only be copying material relevant to the course they are assigned to such as tests, handouts, homework, etc.

If a faculty member asks you, as their Research Assistant, to use the copy machine for a particular project, you should ask that they provide the appropriate code since individual faculty members are responsible for the copier code numbers on their research grants.

Thesis copying should be considered personal copying and should not be done on the Department copier. Use of the copier by students for their own personal coursework is not allowed.

Purchasing Guidelines

General Guidelines

The University's policy is to pay for necessary and reasonable travel and reimbursement expenses incurred for authorized University business by employees and approved non-employees.

  • Be aware of the University of Minnesota's Purchasing Policy.
  • Complete the Purchase Request Form thoroughly and in its entirety. 
  • Obtain approval for all purchases. Each Purchase Request Form requires the signature of the faculty advisor.
  • All orders are typically placed within 24 to 48 hours of the completed and signed purchase request being received. Please note that completing the forms correctly and completely will help to expedite the process. Emailed Purchases Requests WILL NOT be accepted. You must turn in the completed and signed purchase request to 107 Akerman Hall.
  • If the order requires a quote, please be sure to attach it. If you are placing a bulk order from one vendor, you may want to do a printout of the cart.
  • Be sure to check UMarket to see if the desired product is available there. If it is available at UMarket, then it must be purchased through UMarket. Please assign the cart you create to Molly Schmitz at or Hanna Pahr at, as well submitting the purchase request to them. The Purchase Request Form is required for UMarket. If you need to be set up as a buyer in UMarket, please contact Molly Schmitz.
  • Look carefully when ordering to ensure the product you want isn't on back order. This may cause a delay in ordering and/or shipping.
  • All orders are shipped ground unless otherwise noted by the requester. Ground shipping typically takes 5-7 business days. Please be mindful if you are ordering from a company outside the U.S. as it will likely take longer than 5-7 business days.
  • You will not receive an email when a package arrives. It is your responsibility to periodically check 107 Akerman for your packages.
  • You must sign your package out on the clipboard. This will help us track any packages if they should go missing or if someone takes the wrong package.
  • Packing slips MUST BE turned into Hanna Pahr or Molly Schmitz in 107 AkerH. Please make sure that you have signed the packing slip to indicate that you received the items you ordered.
  • To check the status of your order please see staff in 107 AkerH or send an e-mail to

ChromeRiver Travel Reimbursement Form General Reimbursement Form

Reimbursement requests are made in ChromeRiver. Forms are also available in the front office for requesting reimbursement for items purchased with personal funds that will be used for departmental use or a grant. Purchases using personal funds are subject to state tax, so use of a purchase order is recommended whenever possible. NOTE: The University does not reimburse sales tax on most purchases.

These forms will serve to speed up the reimbursement process and will ensure that we have complete information for each payment. If you do purchase something that is needed and want to be reimbursed, you will need to provide a "detailed" receipt. A copy of a general credit card receipt with just the total listed is not allowable or acceptable under University policy. You will also need to submit a justification as to how the purchase was directly related to the account it is being charged to. Purchases should be made on UMarket whenever possible.

Expense Reimbursement Policies

Ideally all orders should be placed through the department. If a last minute emergency or weekend purchase happens, students can submit the receipt for reimbursement. 

  • Out-of-Pocket Purchase Provision: Occasionally circumstances may make it impossible to use one of the approved purchasing processes (U Stores, P card, purchase order, etc.). Employees should attempt to secure preapproval from their approving authority to make an out-of-pocket purchase. Employees will be reimbursed for approved out-of-pocket purchases if the purchase meets all other compliance and policy requirements for reasonableness. See Administrative Procedure: Purchasing Goods and Services.
  • Submitting Reimbursement: Travel and expense reimbursement requests which are not adequately documented in accordance with Administrative Policy: Documenting Financial/Accounting Transactions, or are not submitted within 60 days, should be denied.
  • Business Mileage Business mileage is the travel an employee incurs beyond normal commute mileage (from home to the office and home again) on a normal workday. Employees may request reimbursement for any business mileage incurred. The mileage rate includes gas, vehicle maintenance, insurance, and other personal vehicle-related costs. If seeking mileage reimbursement for traveling to purchase EMERGENCY supplies, this would fall under the Purchasing Policy that states "Employees should attempt to secure preapproval from their approving authority to make an out-of-pocket purchase." 
    Note: The AEM Department only reimburses for mileage while in travel status to either competitions or to do flight testing.  Students are strongly encouraged to order or purchase supplies as outlined earlier in this document. We do not reimburse individuals for driving somewhere to purchase supplies.

Policy Links

Required Research Training

Depending on the sponsored research, scholarship project, and project role, faculty, staff, and students are required to complete ethics and compliance training. Read the University policy here. The Research Compliance Office supports the research community by managing compliance programs across the University.

The NSF, NIFA, and the USDA require appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to everyone who participates in or conducts research supported by funding from these agencies, including undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff. This policy can be read here.

Information regarding the mandatory courses and training can be found here. This resource indicates what training you must receive depending on your role in the research project.

Note: If a student is working on a sponsored project and does not complete this training within 90 days from the date of an initial appointment, he or she will receive an email indicating noncompliance and will be removed from the payroll of the project(s).

Room Scheduling

Requests for scheduling a room for a student-related meeting, activity, or exam, can be made by email to The AEM Library can be scheduled for final Ph.D. orals or when a larger room is needed. If the AEM departmental rooms are not available, you could check with Mechanical Engineering. 


All graduate students, regardless of whether they are working in a lab or shop area, are required to go through safety training. Training is usually given during the first meeting of graduate students early in the Fall semester. The Safety Officer is Yohannes Ketema.

If you were not present at the "first" meeting or have not had this training as yet, please contact the AEM department office to arrange for a time to take the training. Signed forms indicating that you have completed the training are required to be filed with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety here on campus and will also be entered into AEM databases.

Even if you do not work in an experimental lab, you need to be aware of the safety precautions necessary in case you are ever assigned to one. Additional online safety courses are listed on the Department of Environmental Health and Safety website.

Sexual Harassment

The Board of Regents Sexual Harassment Policy prohibits sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, relationship violence and related retaliation. Policies pertaining to sexual harassment are contained in the Regents policy adopted October 13, 2017. If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable about someone's behavior related to a sexual issue, you may be experiencing sexual harassment. If you are uncertain about whether what is happening to you constitutes sexual harassment, talk to someone you trust about the situation.

You have the right to pursue your education and conduct your job in an environment free from sexual harassment. The University's policies are intended to protect you against reprisals. The DGS should be contacted first if you need to talk with someone and then, if necessary, you can discuss the problem with the Department Head. If you have any questions about sexual harassment, please call the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at 612-624-9547. The Office is located in 419 Morrill Hall.

Resources for reporting and addressing concerns of sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, relationship violence and related retaliation | Resources for personal support | Additional resources:

Smoking Policy

Minnesota has a Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits smoking inside public buildings except in designated smoking areas. All restaurants are required to have no-smoking sections; bars are not included under the provisions of this act.

As of July 1, 2014, Smoking is prohibited everywhere on the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus except inside your car with the windows up.

For detailed information about the University policy, see the policy website.

Student Conduct

You are responsible for abiding by the Student Conduct Code. The document is also available at the Office of Student Judicial Affairs, 16 Morrill Hall. 


If travelling on University sponsored trips, please review here. On this page, scroll down to Travel on Sponsored Funds for more information. Graduate students need to get verbal pre-approval of the travel by a traveler's supervisor. NOTE: Sponsored projects travel may have more travel restrictions and you should check with the accounting staff prior to traveling if you are not sure. 

Reimbursement requests should be completed in ChromeRiver. 

ChromeRiver Travel Reimbursement Form General Reimbursement Form
If you are submitting the reimbursement beyond the 60 days, please provide a justification for why the request was submitted late.Expense reimbursement requests which are not adequately documented, or are not submitted within 60 days, should be denied unless there are extenuating circumstances. When travel reimbursement requests do not meet the requirements for documentation or timely submission, and there are no extenuating circumstances, but denial of the request would impose a financial hardship to the traveler, the reimbursement request may be approved as a taxable reimbursement to the traveler.  Additionally, these reimbursements may not be charged to sponsored projects, because they do not meet the University's policy requirements for documentation and timely submission. Taxable reimbursements should be rare and infrequent.  Reimbursements that go past the 60 days deadline will be forwarded for review to the CSE Dean’s office and may also need to be approved by the University Controllers’ office.

Departmental Travel Reimbursement Form: The departmental travel reimbursement form needs to be completed and fully processed within 60 days of the trip return date (this includes allowing time for document preparation, auditing, and approvals). Original detailed receipts (not a credit card statement showing hotel or airfare charges) for all expenses of $25 or more (except meals) must be submitted with the University Employee Expense Worksheet.  Occasionally when meals are charged to sponsored funds, the sponsor may have more restrictive policies and the sponsor’s policies must be followed. The time limit for submitting and processing travel expenses is within 60 days of the conclusion of travel. This also applies to general expense reimbursements. Requests for reimbursement must be made within 60 days of your return from a trip or sooner if a sponsored project will be expiring or ending before the 60 day period. 

If you are submitting the reimbursement beyond the 60 days, please provide a justification for why the request was submitted late.Expense reimbursement requests which are not adequately documented, or are not submitted within 60 days, should be denied unless there are extenuating circumstances. When travel reimbursement requests do not meet the requirements for documentation or timely submission, and there are no extenuating circumstances, but denial of the request would impose a financial hardship to the traveler, the reimbursement request may be approved as a taxable reimbursement to the traveler.  Additionally, these reimbursements may not be charged to sponsored projects, because they do not meet the University's policy requirements for documentation and timely submission. Taxable reimbursements should be rare and infrequent.  Reimbursements that go past the 60 days deadline will be forwarded for review to the CSE Dean’s office and may also need to be approved by the University Controllers’ office.

Information on the extra justification and additional approval requirements are addressed here:

Reimbursable vs Non-reimbursable Travel Expenses: The following website contains a chart as to what types of expenses are reimbursable or non-reimbursable when traveling on University business: 

Also, graduate students should check with their faculty sponsor (or project principal investigator) to see what costs will be covered, especially if there is limited funding or multiple individuals are attending a particular conference, workshop, or meeting.

General Expense Reimbursements, including hospitality expenses also have a 60 day submission policy of the incurring expense and follow the same guidelines as the travel for justifications and extenuating circumstances, timely submissions and review process.

See these related University polices on Travel and  Expense reimbursements:

  1. Travel:
  2. University Business Expenses:
  3. Hospitality:

International Travel