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Addendum to Graduate Student Offer Letters Detailing College of Engineering Policy Concerning Offer Letters

(for students receiving full-time support)

Version dated:  January 27, 2012
For the most recent version, please visit Addendum website

  1. Satisfactory Progress: Financial offers can be terminated at any time if progress is deemed unsatisfactory. Satisfactory progress towards the completion of the Ph.D. degree includes:
    • Cumulative GPA of 3.3 (for courses listed in student’s Ph.D. program of study)
    • Completion of qualifying exam within the first academic year of enrollment
    • Satisfactory progress and evaluations in TA duties, if applicable and participation in department’s teacher training program.
    • Satisfactory progress in research (Chair is to consult with student’s research advisor).  Student must have identified a research advisor by the end of the second semester of enrollment.
    • Satisfactory attendance in Distinguished Speaker Series. Students are to sign the attendance sheet during each Distinguished Speaker presentation. Students are to submit excuses to their department chair for approval. Excuses are provided for conflicts with academic related activities that cannot be rescheduled (e.g. conflicts with a regularly scheduled course, or a conference which is part of the student’s research requirements).  Vacation is not an excuse; office hours are not an excuse; not knowing about the presentations is not an excuse.
    • Additional requirements as specified in the offer letter.
  2. Health Insurance: In order to receive the 80% credit you must purchase the insurance through the University and request payment through payroll deduction. The College of Engineering is not bound by the estimated cost of student health insurance listed in the offer letter.  For the 2014-2015 Academic Year (August 15, 2014 through August 14, 2015) the offer will cover 80% of the actual cost of basic single-student health insurance. The cost of family health insurance is higher and the health insurance credit as part of this offer corresponds to 80% of the basic single student health insurance rate even if family insurance is purchased through the University.
  3. Vacation and Holidays: Students are entitled to 20 days of combined vacation and holidays per year.  Official UM holidays count towards the 20 days.  The University generally has between 10 and 11 holidays per year (e.g. Thanksgiving day, Christmas day, New Year’s Day, etc..).  Please search under “holidays” at the University of Miami website for more details concerning the specific holidays.  Students receiving financial offers must advise faculty advisors and Department Chairs in writing about which 20 days they would like to utilize for combined vacation and holidays.  Which days actually taken/allowed is at the discretion of the faculty advisor and Department Chair, given TA and RA duties.  The 20 vacation/holidays days expire at the end of the academic year (August 14) and will not carry over to subsequent years nor will students be paid for unused vacation/holidays.  The number of vacation/holidays will be pro-rated based upon number of months within the graduate program for students entering or taking a leave from the Ph.D. program part way through the academic year.
  4. Outside Employment: No employment is permitted outside of the Department or University.  Students are expected to work full-time on their research,  especially during times when coursework loads are low.
  5. Tuition Usage: A set amount of tuition credits are allotted to each student when they enter the Ph.D. program.  In order for a student to remain full time they are to enroll in at least 1 credit at the 700 level or in 9 credits at the 500 or 600 level.  Furthermore, students are to enroll in at least 1 credit during the semester they graduate which would require another credit of tuition if the graduation date is scheduled for a summer semester.  In order for the tuition credits to accommodate all of the student’s semesters of enrollment, the 700 level thesis credits should be spread out through the various semesters to assure that there are sufficient credits for full-time enrollment.  Please meet with your Departmental Graduate Advisor to plan the distribution of thesis credits for your program.  Additional tuition credits will not be provided to students for 700 research in residence credit, especially if the thesis credits were not used wisely by the student.
  6. Training: Training is available in various areas.
    • A unique feature of the College of Engineering Ph. D. program is a teacher training program. More details about the program are available through your department chair and yearly updates are usually provided in offer letters.
    • Training in laboratory safety is available through the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. This office can be contacted at 305-243-3400.
    • All new PhD students are to participate in orientation available through the Graduate School. In particular, all new PhD students, regardless of their initial assignment, are to complete the orientation for teaching assistants. TA training is required for all new PhD students because there is an expectation that all PhD students will participate in teaching activities at some point during their academic studies. TA orientation training is to be completed within 4 weeks of the start of the academic semester in which new PhD students begin their degree program. For the 2012 to 2013 academic year, the direct link to register for on-line TA training is available at UM New TA Orientation site.
    • All researchers are required to complete training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR) during the first academic semester of enrollment. Details about RCR training is available at the RCR web site.
    • In addition to RCR training, all researchers are to complete a two part process that addresses possible conflicts of interest. The first part is an on-line training module in conflicts of interest that can be accessed at CITI COI Training site. The second part is completing a disclosure. The disclosure forms can be accessed at DPS site.
    • Teaching Assistants whose native language is not English are to take a Speak Test. International Teaching Assistants are eligible to take a spoken English course to assist in verbal communication. More information is available through the Intensive Language Institute (305-284-2752).
  7. International Students Requiring a New Letter for I20 Renewal: The previously issued offer letter can be used for I20 renewal.  If the date on the letter is beyond the time frame allowed by International Student and Scholar Services, then the same letter can be issued with a more recent date.  Please contact your Department Chair for the updated letter if a re-issue is necessary.
  8. Graduate students are highly encouraged to work with their research mentors in preparing research proposals, especially proposals for fellowship awards through NSF, NIH, and other funding agencies.  Ask your research mentor for advice about writing research proposals and about potential funding agencies for submitting proposals.  A Opportunities for NSF fellowships are available within the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). NIH is composed of many different institutes.  Each institute has its own opportunities.  A good summary of the NIH fellowship opportunities are given at NIDCR site.  Additional opportunities through NIH are described within NIH’s Office of Intramural Training & Education. Other agencies to consider include the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Naval Research, and Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Additional opportunities are also described at the University of Miami Graduate School Web Site.
  9. Conference travel: Students whose abstracts have been accepted for a conference in the area of their research can apply for partial funding through the University’s GAFAC.  You should also discuss sources of funding with your faculty research supervisor.