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GRAD GUIDE

A Guidebook to Georgia Institute of Technology’s


Policies, Requirements, and Resources
Contents
The Value of a Graduate Degree 4
Understanding Georgia Tech’s Organization 4
Colleges and Schools 4
Programs 4
Advising Support 4
Office of Graduate Studies 5

Getting Started 5
Attend Orientation 5
Register for Classes 5
Check Your Email 6
Pay Your Bill 6
Provide Feedback 6
Know the Honor Code 6
Understand Student-Faculty Expectations 7
Understand the Grievance Procedures 8
Get Acquainted with the Division of Student Life 9
Join a Student Organization 9

Financial Resources 10
Graduate Assistantships 10
Fellowships 11
Loans 11
Off-Campus Employment Options 11
Out-of-State Tuition Waivers 11

Policies 11
Curriculum Requirements at the Institute Level 12
RCR Training Under NSF and NIH Grants 12
Enrollment Requirements 12
Academic Performance Requirements 13
Thesis and Dissertation Requirements 13
Guidelines for Ph.D. Dissertation Research 13

Thriving at Tech 14
Dealing with Pressure 14
Contents
Commitment to Diversity 14
Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination 15
Sexual Harassment/Assault 15
Disability Services 15
LGBTQIA Resource Center 15
OMED 15
Veterans Resource Center 15
Title IX Compliance 16
Women’s Resource Center 16
Office of International Education 16

Graduation 16
Georgia Tech Resources 16
Athletics 16
Campus Life 16
Career 17
Child Care 17
Communications 18
Health and Wellness 18
Safety 18
The Value of a Graduate Degree curriculum — that is, the set of courses and
We live in a world that is increasingly other experiences students are required to
knowledge intensive. Graduate education builds complete in order to earn their degrees.
your knowledge base and gives you skills to Each graduate program has been proposed by
earn and perform the best jobs the emerging faculty and approved by the Institute Graduate
global economy has to offer. A professional Curriculum Committee, the Faculty Senate, and
master’s degree gives you specific skills and the Board of Regents of the University System
problem-solving experience for a targeted job of Georgia. The official current version of each
market. A research master’s opens the door to a program’s curriculum is available in the Georgia
wide range of occupations or further study. And Tech Catalog.
a Doctor of Philosophy or Ph.D. prepares you to General rules and regulations regarding
advance knowledge in academe, government, degree completion that apply to all students
industry, or nonprofit organizations. Georgia are also proposed by committees of the
Tech offers top-ranked programs of all these Faculty Senate and approved by that body. For
types. Welcome to your future. example, the rule that, “Students completing
both the bachelor’s and master’s in the same
Understanding discipline at Georgia Tech may use up to six
Georgia Tech’s Organization credit hours of graduate-level coursework in
In some ways Georgia Tech is like other the major discipline for both degrees,” was
universities — and in other ways it differs. Here adopted at the Institute level and applies to
are a few things to know about how things all students. The Georgia Tech Catalog is the
are organized and operate at what we call the official repository for all of these rules. We will
“Institute level” and at the graduate program discuss Institute-level curriculum, enrollment,
level. and academic performance requirements later in
this handbook.
Colleges and Schools
Advising Support
Georgia Tech is organized into six colleges
(Design, Business, Computing, Engineering, Graduate students receive academic advice
Liberal Arts, and Sciences); five of these contain and support from several different channels,
schools (the Scheller College of Business does including professional academic advisors,
not). What would be called a “department” at faculty advisors, and program directors.
other universities is called a “school” at Georgia Academic advisors can provide students with
Tech. Each college is led by a dean and each day-to-day advice on class registration and
school is led by a school chair. degree requirements, negotiating policies,
processes, forms, and different services and
Programs opportunities available to graduate students.
Graduate education at Georgia Tech is The student’s individual faculty advisor
offered in programs, and currently more than provides professional and academic guidance
90 master’s and doctoral-level programs that is discipline-specific, assists with developing
are offered. Many schools offer more than a program of study for the student that matches
one program. Some programs are offered the student’s interests and fulfills the degree
within one school, and some programs are requirements, and helps the student negotiate
offered jointly by more than one school (we professional opportunities. In many cases, the
call these “interdisciplinary” programs). advisor supports the student through graduate
(Because many Georgia Tech schools are research assistantships, oversees their thesis or
also interdisciplinary, this label understates the dissertation hours, chairs the student’s thesis or
extent of interdisciplinary education at Tech.) dissertation committee, and provides mentorship
A few programs are also offered jointly with that can last throughout the student’s career.
other universities. The core of a program is its

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For more details, please review the Mutual your completion of them, while the Registrar’s
Expectations Document. The faculty member Office handles all other degree-completion and
who is the program director provides students enrollment issues. If you change your program
with general academic guidance, provides them (also known as your “major”), the approval
information on the degree program, and helps to process also goes through Graduate Studies.
monitor their academic progress. When you have questions about Institute
Office of Graduate Studies services, the Graduate Studies staff can answer
them or direct you to the right office. For
Georgia Tech does not have a Graduate example, Graduate Studies can connect you to
School, which is something that is common the many offices around campus that provide
at many universities. Instead, we operate on services to graduate students. (More information
a network model with a few central services regarding these services is available in the last
and many responsibilities carried out by the section of the Georgia Tech Resources section
degree programs. The Institute-level Office of at the end of this guide.)
Graduate Studies provides central services that
complement and connect what is provided by The Graduate Studies staff also implements
the programs. the President’s Fellowship Program and
the National Science Foundation Graduate
When you applied to Georgia Tech, you Fellowship Program, along with several other
received services from the Graduate Studies fellowship programs that provide funding across
staff. This office provides information and units. (Most fellowships are awarded within
customer services to applicants and to the schools; school staff handle these directly. More
programs as they make admission decisions. information about fellowships is offered later in
After you were admitted, the Graduate Studies the guide.)
staff made sure your records were complete so
that you could be allowed to enroll. In addition, Getting Started
they checked to make sure you were legally
So, you’ve been accepted and are getting
present in the state of Georgia. This is known
ready to begin your degree at Georgia Tech.
as the “lawful presence” requirement. ( In
What do you do next?
accordance with University System of Georgia
policy, students admitted to Georgia Tech must Attend Orientation
verify their lawful presence in the United States Each school at Georgia Tech holds an
prior to enrollment.) orientation for new graduate students, and
Once your records were complete and you there is an Institute orientation, offered at a
were cleared for lawful presence, Graduate variety of times to match student schedules.
Studies transferred your file to the Registrar’s Also, various service units hold their own
Office, which is responsible for maintaining orientations, including the Library, the Center
the official academic record for students at for Teaching and Learning, and OIE. And every
Georgia Tech. If you are an international August, Graduate Studies hosts a GradExpo
student, you also worked with the Office of to introduce students to on-campus and off-
International Education (OIE) to ensure you campus organizations and businesses. For more
had the appropriate paperwork to obtain a visa. information about orientation and GradExpo,
OIE continues to provide support services to click here.
international students once they are on campus,
as well as others who want to study or work Grad Groups
abroad. Grad Groups is Georgia Tech’s extended
Graduate students have a few Institute-level orientation program for new graduate students.
curricular requirements, including ethics training, Navigating the nuances of graduate school can
qualifying exams, theses and dissertations, and be challenging, so don’t embark on this journey
minors. The Graduate Studies staff monitors alone. Participants are organized into groups

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of about 15 students from a variety of degree for an Online Master of Science in Computer
programs, academic interests, and cultural Science and an interdisciplinary Master’s
backgrounds. Each group is lead by a senior Degree in Analytics. We invest in the teaching
graduate student, which allows participants to skills of our faculty and rely on your feedback
tap into their group leader’s valuable experience to help us reward the best. So that you can
and leverage that for their own success. rate your classroom experience, we provide
a Course Instructor Opinion Survey for each
Register for Classes course at the end of each term. Please plan
One of your first responsibilities as a new to use it for every course you take. In addition,
graduate student is to activate your enrollment rules governing grading and final exams are
and register for classes for your first semester. posted online. Report any violations here.
This must be done by 4 p.m. on the Friday
of the first week of class. The first time you Know the Honor Code
register, you must complete the process In and out of the classroom, you are bound
through Buzzport, but in the future, you can use by the Georgia Tech Honor Code, which was
another online system called “OSCAR.” Official developed by students to maintain the integrity
registration deadlines are available on the of the education process at Tech. We repeat it
Registrar’s website. You will receive instructions here, in full, from the Catalog.
on registering for later semesters at your official
Georgia Tech email address. If you have any Section 1. Statement of Purpose
questions about how to register, you can ask the The members of the Georgia Tech community
staff in your program or in the Registrar’s Office. believe the fundamental objective of the Institute
(You can learn more about what the Registrar’s is to provide the students with a high-quality
Office does in their virtual orientation video.) education while developing in them a sense of
ethics and social responsibility. We believe that
Check Your Email trust is an integral part of the learning process
Most of your official communication from and that self-discipline is necessary in this
Tech comes through your Georgia Tech email pursuit. We also believe that any instance of
address, along with news about campus dishonesty hurts the entire community. It is with
events and services. You will find it essential this in mind that we have set forth a student
as well as useful to check the mailbox for that Honor Code at Georgia Tech.
email address regularly. In general, all of your
professors will also use this email address as Section 2. Objectives
their primary form of communication with you. An Honor Code at Georgia Tech aims to
It is your responsibility to check the mailbox for cultivate a community based on trust, academic
this address. You can manage where this email integrity, and honor. It specifically aims to
address is delivered in PASSPORT. accomplish the following:

Pay Your Bill • Ensure that students, faculty, and


You will pay your bill at the Bursar’s Office. You administrators understand that the
should be getting information from them through responsibility for upholding academic
your official Georgia Tech email about the status honesty at Georgia Tech lies with them.
of your student account. See their video to learn • Prevent any students from gaining an unfair
more about this office. advantage over other students through
academic misconduct.
Provide Feedback
• Ensure that students understand that
Tech aims to provide high-quality education in academic dishonesty is a violation of the
innovative ways ranging from integrated career profound trust of the entire academic
development to make-your-own requirements community.
programs. For example, we offer programs

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• Clarify what constitutes academic of academic misconduct, other acts of academic
misconduct among students at Georgia Tech misconduct may be defined by the professor.
and what is expected of them by the Institute, Students must sign the Honor Agreement
the faculty, and their peers. affirming their commitment to uphold the Honor
• Cultivate an environment at Georgia Tech Code before becoming a part of the Georgia
where academic dishonesty is not tolerated Tech community. The Honor Agreement may
among the students. reappear on exams and other assignments to
• Secure a centralized system of education remind students of their responsibilities under
and awareness of the Honor Code. the Georgia Institute of Technology Academic
Honor Code.
Section 3. Student Responsibilities
Section 4. Faculty Responsibilities
Students are expected to act according to Faculty members are expected to create an
the highest ethical standards. The immediate environment where honesty flourishes. In
objective of an Honor Code is to prevent any creating this environment, faculty members are
students from gaining an unfair advantage over expected to do the following:
other students through academic misconduct.
Academic misconduct is any act that does or • Make known to their class as specifically
could improperly distort student grades or other as possible what constitutes appropriate
student academic records. Such acts include but academic conduct as well as what comprises
need not be limited to the following: academic misconduct. This includes but is
not limited to the use of previously submitted
• Possessing, using, or exchanging improperly work, collaborative work on homework, etc.
acquired written or verbal information in the
preparation of any essay, laboratory report, • Provide copies of old exams or lists of
examination, or other assignment included in sample questions to the Georgia Tech
an academic course. Library for students to review.
• Substitution for, or unauthorized collaboration • Avoid the re-use of exams.
with, a student in the commission of • Include a paragraph containing information
academic requirements. about the Georgia Tech Academic Honor
• Submission of material that is wholly or Code on the syllabus for each class they
substantially identical to that created or teach.
published by another person or persons, • Report instances of academic dishonesty to
without adequate credit notations indicating the Office of the Dean of Students.
authorship (plagiarism).
In addition to the expectations listed previously,
• False claims of performance or work that has faculty have the authority to superimpose
been submitted by the claimant. their own interpretations on some aspects of
• Alteration or insertion of any academic grade academic conduct including, but not limited to,
or rating so as to obtain unearned academic the following:
credit.
• Deliberate falsification of a written or verbal • Old exams for use during open-book exams.
statement of fact to a member of the faculty • Contents of formula sheets allowed on
so as to obtain unearned academic credit. exams.
• Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any Institute • Use of calculators on exams.
document relating to the academic status of • Collaboration on out-of-class assignments.
the student.
• Use of previously submitted out-of-class
While these acts constitute assured instances assignments.

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Understand Student-Faculty Expectations facilities and equipment in order to complete
Below is the statement of Student-Faculty course assignments and/or objectives.
Expectations from the Catalog. These are 6. To have reasonable time to learn course
different expectations from those outlined for material prior to the administration of an
advisors/advisees in the Mutual Expectations examination.
Document. 7. To receive a clear explanation of the faculty’s
The Georgia Institute of Technology believes definition and interpretation of academic
that it is important to continually strive for an misconduct within the course that extends
atmosphere of mutual respect, acknowledgment, over and beyond those clearly defined in the
and responsibility between faculty members Georgia Tech Honor Code.
and the student body. Therefore, the Georgia 8. To have reasonable access to grading
Tech community strives here to enumerate the instruments and/or grading criteria for
specific expectations of each side. However, individual assignments, projects, or exams,
this document is not intended to be either and to review graded material in a timely
comprehensive or limiting in regard to the fashion.
Institute’s statutes. In the end, simple respect for 9. To consult with each course’s faculty
knowledge, hard work, and cordial interactions regarding the petition process for graded
will help build the environment we seek. coursework.
Therefore, we remain committed to the ideals of
Georgia Tech, agree to abide by these principles 10. Faculty to adhere to formal Institute policies,
in our time here, and will encourage each other rules and regulations, such as the Week
to uphold these responsibilities. Preceding Final Examinations Policy and the
confidentiality policies of FERPA.
Student Expectations
Faculty Expectations
We hold that all students have the right to
expect the following: We hold that all faculty members have the right
to expect the following:
1. A positive, respectful, and engaged 1. A positive, respectful, and engaged
academic environment inside and outside the academic environment inside and outside the
classroom. classroom.
2. To attend classes at regularly scheduled 2. Students to appear regularly for class
times without undue variations and without meetings in a timely fashion.
penalty if the student cannot attend
instructional, lab, or examination hours not 3. To select qualified teaching assistants in
institutionally scheduled. accordance with departmental protocols as
well as the right to delegate grading, studio
3. To receive a syllabus that should include an and laboratory instruction, tutoring, and other
outline of the course objectives, evaluation academic activities to these individuals.
criteria, and any other requirements for
successful completion of each course during 4. Students to appear at office hours or a
the first week of class meetings and to be mutually convenient appointment for official
clearly informed of any changes made to the matters of academic concern.
syllabus during the semester with reasonable 5. Full attendance at examination, midterms,
time to adjust to these changes. presentations, studios, and laboratories,
4. To consult with faculty outside of usual with the exception of formal pre-approved
classroom times through regularly scheduled excused absences or emergency situations.
office hours or a mutually convenient 6. Students to be prepared for class,
appointment. appearing with appropriate materials and
5. To have reasonable access to Institute having completed assigned readings and

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homework. about a faculty member you should take it to
7. Full engagement in the classroom, including the Office of Graduate Education and Faculty
meaningful focus during lectures, appropriate Development. If it is about a staff member, you
and relevant questions, and class should take it to the Office of Human Resources.
participation. And if the complaint is about another student,
you should take it to the Dean of Students.
8. To cancel class due to emergency situations
and to cover missed material during Get Acquainted with
subsequent class meeting times (at the the Division of Student Life
discretion of the instructor). Georgia Tech has a whole division devoted
9. Students to act with integrity and to adhere to supporting you in your life outside your
to the principles of the Georgia Tech Student program. It’s the Division of Student Life.The
Honor Code. office includes disability, diversity, veteran, and
10. Students to adhere to formal Institute women’s services, plus the Counseling Center
policies, such as the Student Code of (also described below under the “Thriving at
Conduct. Tech” section). You can seek assistance from
the Office of the Dean of Students on any issue,
Understand the Grievance Procedures and they will direct you to the right person on
The Catalog, in its Rules and Regulations campus to help you. If you have complaints
section, describes procedures that are meant to about how you are being treated by other
provide you with a way to set forth grievances students or want to report violations of the Honor
related to academic matters, including Code, this is the office to contact.
intellectual diversity and grade disputes (when Join a Student Organization
you think that an instructor has acted unfairly or
improperly in assignment of grades). Student One way to connect with other students and
concerns may be discussed with the faculty Georgia Tech is to join one of the many student
member and/or reported to the school or unit organizations on campus. Here are a few to
head, the academic deans, or the associate vice consider:
provost in the Office of Graduate Education and • Graduate Student Government
Faculty Development. Association. Students at Tech have
The grievance procedure proceeds through organized their own governing body, the
the following steps: Student Government Association (SGA). One
branch of SGA represents graduate students.
1. Informal resolution attempted at the school, They work to identify graduate student-
department, or unit level. specific issues, needs, or opportunities, and
2. Formal resolution sought at the school, work with Institute administration and other
department, or unit level. partners to improve the graduate experience.
3. Formal resolution sought at the Institute They organize the Graduate Student Picnic
level. Appeal reviewed and, if so determined, and the Career, Research, and Innovation
heard by the Student Grievance and Appeal Development Conference.
Committee. • Student Alumni Association. The Student
Alumni Association (SAA) enables students
See the Catalog for full details.
to connect with some of Georgia Tech’s
Sometimes, students have nonacademic interesting and influential alumni. This is a
grievances regarding other aspects of life special resource for meeting people who
at Georgia Tech including pay or hours; can offer advice and advocacy regarding
respectful treatment from faculty, staff, or other your career plans. SAA organizes dinners
students; ethical research practices; or sexual with alumni in the area (the Dinner Jackets
harassment. In general, if the complaint is program) and links students to mentors.

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Graduate students are a growing and active are pursuing as a thesis or dissertation. In this
segment of this organization’s membership. case, you must spend at least the specified
• The world needs exemplary leaders. You number of hours per week (13-20) on the project
may not fully realize or believe it, but you to fulfill your work obligation. Any hours spent
are fully capable of leading. With a growth beyond these are considered your educational
mindset, you can create the conditions, responsibilities and are under your control.
inside yourself and in the context in which You should talk to your advisor about what is
you live and work, to become a more required to make adequate progress on your
dynamic leader than you are today. Discover dissertation or thesis and earn a satisfactory
ways to challenge yourself to take your grade in your thesis credits. The time spent to
leadership to the next level. accomplish that level of achievement is at your
• Other Student Organizations. There are discretion and can be allocated in any way you
hundreds of professional, social, cultural, want over the space of the semester. If you
and/or political student organizations for you are being asked to work on your GRA or GTA
to join at Tech. These groups can provide assignment more than 20 hours per week by
much-needed breaks and opportunities to your supervisor, you should ask the director of
meet people outside of your department or your graduate program to resolve that problem.
lab. Student Organizatoins are managed If there is still a problem, contact the Office of
through the Office of Student Engagement the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and
and the OrgSync system. For more Faculty Development at vpgefd@gatech.edu.
information, click here. Please review the rates of pay listed here.
If your pay rate is less than this, please report
Financial Resources the violation first to the director of your program.
Finding funds to support yourself can be the If the issue is not resolved within your school,
biggest challenge of graduate study. Georgia then report it to the Office of the Vice Provost for
Tech students generally accomplish this through Graduate Education and Faculty Development.
their savings, assistantships, fellowships, loans, The pay scales for your school should be posted
or off-campus jobs. in a place where both graduate students and
faculty can see them. All GRA and GTA positions
Graduate Assistantships are contingent on the availability of funds in the
About half of Georgia Tech’s graduate students hiring unit.
are employed as graduate research or teaching There is a third category of assistantship,
assistants (GRAs or GTAs), including four out called “Graduate Assistantships” (GAs). This
of five doctoral students. The vast majority of hiring method is available to a faculty member
GRA jobs are funded by grants or contracts that when he or she wants to hire a part-time
come from outside Tech. They provide hands-on student, when the job is limited, or when the
research experience and usually an opportunity student will be working for less than half a
to learn teamwork. Most GTA jobs are paid from semester. A GA position does not provide a
Georgia Tech operating funds (state funds). tuition waiver; the student must be registered
They provide an opportunity for students to and pay his or her tuition.
develop teaching skills in apprenticeship with a All of these assistantships are jobs, not
member of the faculty. financial aid. GRA/GTA work assignments are
In order to be hired as a GRA or GTA, divided into three terms: fall (Aug. 16-Dec. 31),
you must be a full-time student. Some GRA spring (Jan. 1-May 15), and summer (May 16-
assignments (and all GTA assignments) are Aug. 15). If you have any questions about when
easy to distinguish from a student’s dissertation you get paid, you can check the Payroll website,
or thesis research. Many GRA assignments, or send an email to pay.ask@ohr.gatech.edu.
however, consist of the same project that you The only weekdays when GRAs, GTAs, or

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GAs are not required to work are Institute Georgia Tech’s Co-op Program, which places
holidays, which appear on the Human students into off-campus employment. If you are
Resources website. The breaks from classes — on a student visa, co-op is the only route to off-
fall, winter, and spring breaks — are not official campus employment for you. You can work with
Institute holidays, and you are required to be your advisor on finding a time in your program
available for work during those times. With your when a work assignment might be appropriate.
supervisor’s permission, your working hours The Co-op Program generally needs a
may be averaged over the semester, and you semester’s advance notice to place you in a job,
may put in more hours in one part of the term in so start the process early. For example, if you
order to spend a few weeks away from campus are looking for a summer co-op, you should start
at a time when classes are not in session. See looking the fall semester before.
the policy on schedule flexibility for GRAs and
GTAs in the Policy Library. Many graduate students work off campus
while they are studying, but note that balancing
Fellowships coursework and a job can be challenging. The
Georgia Tech awards a large number of following guidelines may help you and your
individual fellowships. They vary in value from advisor determine the right course load for you if
a few hundred dollars to $30,000 per year or you are working outside Tech.
more. Most of them are awarded by schools, not
by the Office of Graduate Studies or the Office of
Scholarships & Financial Aid. Even for programs
where several schools are eligible, nominations Work Load/Week Max Semester Load
come from within the programs, not directly from Full time (40 hours) 6 hours
individual students. 3/4 full time (30 hours) 9 hours
2/3 full time (27 hours) 10 hours
The only Institute-level fellowship programs 1/2 full time (20 hours) 12 hours
are President’s Fellowships and Institute 1/3 full time (13 hours) 15 hours
Fellowships. These supplement assistantships 1/4 full time (10 hours) 18 (16 summer) hours
or other fellowships. Programs nominate
incoming students for these programs. The The minimum course load for all students to
Office of Graduate Studies administers the maintain student status is three credit hours (see
programs. the section below on Enrollment Requirements
If you want to pursue other fellowship for exceptions), and this applies to students
opportunities, contact the Fellowships Office for working off campus as well. However, you and
help with locating opportunities and preparing your advisor should plan for you to take as many
applications. courses as you can handle in order to move you
toward your degree as quickly as possible.
Loans
Out-of-State Tuition Waivers
U.S. citizens and permanent residents are
often eligible for special student loans. There are Tech is permitted to reduce tuition to in-state
two federal direct loan programs for graduate levels for a limited number of international and
students: the unsubsidized Direct Student Loan outstanding out-of-state students. But keep in
and the Graduate Plus Loan. To apply for a loan, mind, these waivers are granted only under
students need to submit the “GT Application for extraordinary circumstances. Some special
Scholarships and Financial Aid” and the FAFSA. categories of students are eligible for these
For more information, click here. out-of-state tuition waivers automatically. (See
the Board of Regents Manual Section 7.3.4.1
Off-Campus Employment Options for a list of eligible groups). Requests for these
Graduate students are welcome to join waivers are submitted through schools and
programs on a form distributed once a semester

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by the Office of Financial Aid. • Doctoral students must complete a
dissertation. (See the Graduate Studies
Policies website for details and the Guidelines for
In this section, rather than repeat Georgia Ph.D. Dissertation Research section below.)
Tech’s details rules and policies, we are
Master’s students pursuing a thesis must also
providing you with an overview of where you
complete RCR training before seeking approval
can find information about policies that will
for their thesis topic. See the RCR Academic
affect graduate students. The first thing to
Policy for Master’s Thesis Students for details.
know is that Tech has a central online Policy
Library. When it comes to important academic RCR Training Under NSF and NIH Grants
requirements (along with the general student
Along with the graduate curriculum
rules and regulations), the Georgia Tech Catalog
requirements for RCR training, graduate
is the source. Tech’s financial aid website is
students supported by applicable projects
home to policies on fellowships and loans. And
funded by the National Science Foundation
the best source of information on the rules and
(NSF) or the National Institutes of Health
procedures around theses and dissertations is
(NIH) must also complete RCR training. These
the relevant section of the Graduate Studies
compliance requirements, which may not be
website.
the same as the doctoral or master’s curriculum
When there are special circumstances, in requirements, must be completed in order to
many cases someone at Tech can make an comply with government regulations. See the
exception to a rule. Appeals on academic RCR Compliance Policy for details.
matters go to the Institute Graduate Curriculum
Committee (through a process called Enrollment Requirements
“petitioning”). The appeal process on financial There are many enrollment policies that apply
aid is described on the Financial Aid website. to graduate students; the current versions of
And exceptions to the rules on assistantships, these appear in the Catalog. Here are some
minors, and theses/dissertations can be particularly important points:
considered by the Office of Graduate Studies.
• Full-time status requires that you register
Curriculum Requirements for 12 credit hours on a letter grade or pass-
at the Institute Level fail basis. Audit credits do not count toward
There are very few general curriculum full-time status. Full-time status is particularly
requirements for graduate students at Georgia important for fellowship holders and for
Tech. Most curriculum requirements are set international students, since their visas
within programs. The following Institute-level depend on maintaining it. The Institute allows
curriculum requirements apply to doctoral only three credit hours taken on a pass-fail
students: basis to count toward a graduate degree.
• Once you register, you should plan to
• Doctoral students must complete two forms
maintain continuous registration until you
of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
graduate. If you fail to register for two
training. See the RCR Academic Policy for
consecutive semesters, you lose your
Doctoral Students for details.
student status and must go through the
• Doctoral students must complete a three- readmission process. You will have to pay
course/nine-hour minor, approved by a readmission fee. The minimum number of
their programs and the Office of Graduate credit hours for which you must register in a
Studies. given term in order to maintain your student
• Doctoral students must take qualifying status is three. There is one exception: the
examinations as set by their programs. term in which you graduate, when you may

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enroll for just one credit hour. This exception is http://www.grad.gatech.edu/theses-
may be used only once for each degree. dissertations. This section of the guide provides
• While you are working on your thesis only a summary of the main points. There are
or dissertation, you must register for an Institute-level rules regarding both the faculty
appropriate number of credit hours to reflect committees that evaluate these documents and
the work you are doing in your assignment. the substance and format of the documents. In
This rule applies in all three semesters. Even addition, programs may have their own rules,
if you are not taking classes in the summer, but they do not override the Institute rules. Both
if you are getting advice from your advisor or must be followed.
using our facilities (including distance access Committees for master’s theses must include
to software and information services), you three members, including at least two tenured
must be registered. or tenure-track Georgia Tech faculty members.
• See above for guidelines on enrollment if you Dissertation proposals are approved by a thesis
are working off campus. advisory committee with a majority of tenured
or tenure-track faculty members, and final
• If you have completed all degree dissertations are approved (“examined”) by
requirements and will no longer require any a five-member group that includes the thesis
of the Institute’s facilities or faculty time, advisory committee and must include at least
you may request an enrollment waiver from one tenured or tenure-track Georgia Tech faculty
Office of Graduate Studies. member from outside the student’s school. In
Academic Performance Requirements degree programs that are offered jointly with
another institution, the committee must include
In order to graduate, in addition to satisfying
members from both institutions. The committees
all school academic requirements, master’s
must be approved by the Office of Graduate
students must have an overall GPA of at least
Studies on behalf of the Vice Provost for
2.70, and doctoral students must have an overall
Graduate Education and Faculty Development.
GPA of at least 3.0. Some schools may require
a higher overall GPA for certain segments All theses and dissertations must be submitted
of program requirements. A grade of D is for open publication. The current requirement is
acceptable for course work to be considered to deposit them in the SMARTech Repository at
completed, but individual programs may require Tech’s Library. If you request (and your advisor
grades of C or higher if they choose. All of these agrees), your thesis or dissertation can be
requirements will be enforced when you apply to withheld from appearance online for one year. If
graduate. you are working on research that is proprietary
or classified, you and your advisor should
In addition, all graduate students must have
choose parts of it for your thesis or dissertation
an overall GPA of at least 3.0 to be eligible for
that can be published openly within one year of
financial aid (including fellowships and loans)
completion.
from Georgia Tech. (See the Satisfactory
Academic Progress portion of the Office of Guidelines for Ph.D. Dissertation Research
Financial Aid website.) The maximum time frame Here are a few things to keep in mind as you
for graduate students to receive financial aid conduct your dissertation research.
is six semesters for master’s students and 12
semesters for doctoral students. • Doctoral research should provide a useful
educational experience for the student,
Thesis and Dissertation Requirements emphasizing creativity, independent action
Many master’s students write a thesis as and learning, research methodology, and
part of their degree requirements. All doctoral scholarly approach.
students write a dissertation to complete their • The contributions to knowledge must be
degrees. The best place to go for detailed original and should represent a substantial
instructions on completing both requirements

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addition to the fundamental knowledge of more intense than anything you experienced
the field or a new and better interpretation of as an undergraduate. The stakes are higher
facts already known. with regard to your thesis or dissertation. Your
• The research should possess the major qualifying exams are make-or-break moments.
characteristics of the scientific method, Your relationship with your advisor is crucial, but
namely objectivity and reproducibility. not all advisors and advisees communicate well.
Assumptions should be clearly stated in both Tech can’t design these moments of pressure
experimental and theoretical research. out of your graduate work, but we do provide
• The dissertation should reflect a level some places where you can talk about
of competence indicative of significant issues and get support. Your advisor can be
achievement beyond the master’s level. a tremendous help, so if your relationship is
Thus, the research is expected to draw good, tell him or her about the stress you’re
directly upon advanced learning in the experiencing. Advisors have been through it
student’s major field and demonstrate many times before with other students, and they
mastery of that knowledge. often have helpful advice for you.
• The research should result in at least one You can also talk to the director of your
paper publishable in a suitable refereed graduate program or another person in a
journal of engineering, science, social leadership position in your school. If the faculty
science, humanities, management, or director seems too intimidating, a graduate
architecture, as appropriate. coordinator or academic advisor might be a
good choice for you.
• The scope of the research should be such
that it requires at least the time and effort There are also the following sources of help
equivalent to one year of full-time graduate outside your school or program:
study. • An ombuds specifically for graduate
students. (An ombuds is a neutral person
Thriving at Tech
outside your program who helps resolve
Graduate study requires intensive work. You conflicts.)
will need breaks from the intensity. Be sure to
• The Counseling Center is always available to
make time for your family, and build recreation
help you.
into your schedule. Get to know your fellow
graduate students by taking advantage of the Just as you are experiencing stress in
growing number of opportunities for students to graduate school, others around you are too. If
meet students outside of their research groups, you see someone who needs help, point them
outside of their programs, and outside of their toward these resources, and share your concern
colleges. A great start is the Graduate Student with your graduate director or another trusted
Picnic, which is usually held in September. A staff member. By connecting your colleagues to
third of the students on campus are graduate help, you could be making more of a difference
students like you. You have a lot to share, if than you know.
you take the time to make the connections.
Sometimes what you feel as stress is
Health Promotion is another great resource to
actually caused by inappropriate behavior on
utilize on campus. This department focuses on
the part of a faculty or staff member. Please
empowering students to make healthy decisions
report a situation like this. Usually, reporting
and provides resources and support on a variety
to your school chair can resolve it. But if you
of topics including: smoking cessation, sexual
are not satisfied with the outcome of that
violence victim-survivor advocacy, nutrition,
discussion, you can also report the problem
condom availability, and more.
to academicgrievance.provost.gatech.edu,
Dealing with Pressure vpgefa@gatech.edu, or the Employee Relations
staff in the Office of Human Resources. If you
Some of the pressures of graduate study are

14
think something illegal has happened, you may ensure that violations are fully remedied. No
report it directly to Georgia Tech’s Office of member of the of the Georgia Tech community
Internal Audit. will be retaliated against for making a good faith
report of alleged harassment or for participating
Commitment to Diversity in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing.
At Georgia Tech, we are committed to Learn more about the VOICE initiative on
providing a positive experience for all of our campus.
students. According to the Institute’s strategic Discriminatory harassment is unwelcome
plan: verbal or physical conduct directed against
any person or group that is based upon
We will recruit, develop, retain, and engage a
race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age,
diverse cadre of students, faculty, and staff with
disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status,
a wide variety of backgrounds, perspectives,
and that has the purpose or effect of creating
interests, and talents, creating a campus
an offensive, demeaning, or intimidating
community that exemplifies the best in all of
environment for that person or group of persons.
us — in our intellectual pursuits, our diversity of
thought, our personal integrity, and our inclusive Acts of sexual violence, which include sexual
excellence.” harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and
intimate partner violence are forms of sexual
For more about the Institute’s stance on
misconduct and are prohibited by Georgia
diversity, visit the Office of the Vice President for
Tech’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and Anti-
Institute Diversity website.
Harassment Policy. For more information about
Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination sexual violence prevention and survivor support
The Institute does not discriminate against resources at Georgia Tech, please visit the
individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, VOICE website. We believe that all students,
sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual faculty, and staff have the right to live, learn, and
orientation, gender identity, or veteran status work at Georgia Tech, free of violence or the
in the administration of admissions policies, threat of violence.
educational policies, employment policies, or
any other Institute-governed programs and Disability Services
activities. The Institute’s equal opportunity Georgia Tech resources are available to
and nondiscrimination policy applies to every ensure that individuals with disabilities have
member of the Institute community. an equal opportunity to pursue education
or employment and have access to campus
Sexual Harassment/Assault programs, activities, or services. For more
Discriminatory harassment of any person or information, students may visit the Office of
group of persons on the basis of race, color, Disability Services website. Or, if you are
religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, working at the Institute and need assistance with
sexual orientation, or veteran status is your normal job functions, visit
prohibited. Any employee, student, student www.ohr.gatech.edu/ers/disability.
organization, or person privileged to work or to
study at the Georgia Institute of Technology who LGBTQIA Resource Center
violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary Through outreach, education, and advocacy,
action up to and including permanent exclusion this center works to create a safe, inclusive, and
from the Institute. accessible campus community for lesbian, gay,
This policy is intended to facilitate an bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex,
atmosphere in which faculty, staff, and students asexual students, and their allies. For more, visit
have the right to raise the issue of discriminatory http://lgbtqia.gatech.edu.
harassment without fear of retaliation, and to OMED

15
This unit is focused on the retention, with International Student and Scholar Services
development, and performance of the (ISSS), a subgroup in the OIE. Once you are
complete student learner who is traditionally accepted to a Tech graduate program, ISSS
underrepresented including African American, will be available to help you with everything
Hispanic, and Native American students. For from serving as your resource on campus about
more, visit http://omed.gatech.edu/redux. your student immigration status to offering
diverse cultural, educational, and leadership
Veterans Resource Center opportunities in order for you to make a well-
The center promotes student learning and integrated transition to Georgia Tech and the
development, and supports degree completion United States. For more, visit www.oie.gatech.
for students who are veterans, military, reservist, edu.
guard members, and dependents by providing
comprehensive support services that enhance
and complement the academic experience. For
more, visit http://veterans.gatech.edu. Graduation
The most wonderful moment of your
Title IX Compliance graduate career is the graduation ceremony
At Georgia Tech, we want everyone to achieve or commencement, as it signals the beginning
their potential, and this means sustaining an of your life with your new degree. Georgia
environment where there is equal opportunity Tech holds graduation ceremonies in May
for excellence. Title IX is a federal law designed and December. Don’t skip yours! Your family
to ensure women and men are provided equal deserves to celebrate with you (and it’s webcast
access to programs and activities at educational to accommodate family and friends who can’t
institutions that receive federal financial be there). You deserve to walk across the stage,
assistance. Our policies and practices are get lots of pictures, and wear the regalia you
anchored in this law, which fosters a culture of have earned. We’ll see you there!
inclusivity on campus and provides everyone
with a competitive and successful academic or
Georgia Tech Resources
employment experience.
Here’s a list of campus resources that may
Every member of the Tech community —
be helpful. If you have any questions, visit the
students, faculty, staff, and administrators — is
Office of Graduate Studies website or call 404-
expected to comply with Title IX and to practice
385-1940.
respectful, ethical, and equitable treatment of
others regardless of their sex. Examples of Athletics
areas covered under Title IX include, but are
• Intercollegiate Athletics. The Georgia
not limited to academics, admissions, athletics,
Tech Athletic Association sponsors varsity
benefits, employment/compensation, housing,
intercollegiate athletics competition in a
pregnancy/childcare, recruitment, and sexual
number of sports. Men’s sports include
misconduct.
football, basketball, baseball, golf, and
Women’s Resource Center tennis, while women’s sports include
basketball, softball, tennis, and volleyball.
Since 1998, this center has provided
a gathering place for women, offering • Intramural Sports. Intramural Sports offer
programming, crisis intervention, and resource a wide variety of athletic competition. The
information on a variety of topics. For more, Campus Recreation Center is the base for
visit www.womenscenter.gatech.edu. intramural activities. Other facilities include
Alumni Park and the Roe Stamps Turf Field.
Office of International Education
Campus Life
If you are an international student attending
Tech on an F-1 or J-1 visa, you will work closely • Arts@Tech. An initiative to enhance the Tech

16
community by fostering programs and events campus bus.
spanning the arts spectrum. • Policy Library. All official Georgia Tech policies
• Barnes & Noble at Georgia Tech. Tech’s main are listed on this site.
campus bookstore, which is located in Tech • Registrar. Handles anything from course
Square. registration to student records.
• Bursar’s Office. Where you go to pay your • Strategic Plan. What you need to know about
tuition and fees. Tech’s 25-year strategic plan.
• BuzzCard. Your BuzzCard student ID is your • Student Center. Located in the middle of
campus passport, library card, facilities access campus, the Student Center is home to
key, and can even be loaded with money to use everything from places to eat to a bowling
at restaurants/dining halls across campus. alley (Tech Rec).
• Council for GradLife. A group of both • Tech Lingo. A list of common words and
undergraduate and graduate students whose phrases that are unique to Georgia Tech.
mission is to bring the grad community together
through exciting programs throughout the year. • Tobacco-Free Georgia Tech. A resource for
navigating Tech’s tobacco-free campus policy.
• Dean of Students. Provides a number of
services to assist students with medical and • Traditions. Get to know a little bit about
personal emergencies. Georgia Tech’s rich traditions.

• Degree Program Coordinators. Listing of all Career


degree program coordinators. • Campus Closet.Lends appropriate clothing
• E-Swag. Show your Tech spirit by downloading and business attire to students.
everything from wallpaper for your tablet to • Center for Career Discovery and
ringtones for your cell phone — all available for Development. Supports graduate students
free on this site. with career support and finding co-op program
• Financial Aid. Place to go for assistance with options.
applying for student loans. • Center for Teaching and Learning. Provides
• Graduate Student Government Association. training on effective teaching practices for
The governing body for graduate students at graduate teaching assistants.
Georgia Tech. • Communication Center. Provides assistance
• Housing. Takes care of all of your on-campus with papers and presentations.
housing needs. • Fellowships. Assists with finding and applying
• Emergency Housing. Offers temporary housing for fellowship opportunities.
to students who uinexpectedly become • Language Institute. Helps international
displaced or under financial distress. students improve English skills.
• Klemis Kitchen. Serves as a food pantry for
Child Care
students with dietary needs and financial
concerns that limit access to proper • R. Kirk Landon Learning Center. Located at
nourishment. 1015 Tumlin St., off of 10th Street in Midtown
Atlanta, this center offers early education for
• Library. This page provides information
children from 6 weeks to 5 years old. The
specifically for graduate students about Tech’s
center also offers school holiday vacation care
main library.
and summer camps.
• Parking and Transportation Services. All the
need-to-know information about everything
from getting a parking permit to riding the

17
• The Children’s Campus @ Georgia Tech. campus community.
Tech’s newest center is the Children’s • Office of Emergency Preparedness. Focused
Campus @ Georgia Tech, located in Building on helping the Institute reduce the effects of
F of the graduate student housing. This disasters through preparedness, response,
center offers education for children 6 weeks recovery, and mitigation activities.
to 5 years old.
• VOICE. Georgia Tech’s sexual violence
Communications prevention and survivor support initiative in
• Campus Calendar. The central calendar for the Office of Health Promotion. Learn more
all Georgia Tech events. about prevention education, opportunities
to get involved, and resources for support.
• Daily Digest. Daily campuswide e-newsletter Victim-Survivor Advocates are confidential
that includes events and news. and available 24/7 to assist students who
• The Grad Word. A monthly e-newletter with have experienced any form of sexual
info on events, news, and issues that impact violence.
graduate students. • Leadership Education and Development.
• Social Media Directory. List of links to Tech’s Offers a thoughtful and intentional series of
main social media channels. academic, experiential, and co-curricular
• GreenBuzz. A site that highlights everything opportunities to help students prepare
related to sustainability initiatives at Tech. for leadership in a rapidly evolving global
society.
• The Technique. Tech’s student newspaper.
Health and Wellness
• Campus Recreation Center. From a world
class aquatics facility to a state-of-the-art
fitness center, the Campus Recreation
Center (CRC) offers aerobics, martial arts
classes, intramural sports, sport clubs, and
much more.
• Counseling Center. Offers assistance with
stressful situations.
• Dean Griffing Hip Pocket Fund. Offers
interest-free emergency loans to students for
academic or personal matters.
• Health Services. Provides medical and
dental care and services for students.
• SHIP. Student Health Insurance Program.
• Health Promotion. Empowers students
to make healthy decisions and provides
resources and support on a variety of
topics including: smoking cessation, sexual
violence victim-survivor advocacy, nutrition,
condom availability, and more.
Safety
• Georgia Tech Police Department. A fully
operational, state certified law enforcement
agency devoted to the protection of the
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