Organization of the Graduate School

Scope:  Who is Covered by this Policy?

Graduate Students and Faculty


The Graduate School is one division in the academic organization of Miami University. Although similar to other academic divisions of the University, the Graduate School has some fundamental differences because of the unique relationship of its members to the other divisions: the Graduate Faculty is composed of members who also serve as faculty members of the other divisions. The following sections describe the organization of the Graduate School, starting with the executive officers.

There are two (2) executive officers of the Graduate School:

  • Dean of the Graduate School, who is responsible to the President through the Provost. The Dean of the Graduate School is appointed by the President with the approval of the Board of Trustees.
  • Associate Dean of the Graduate School, who is responsible to the Dean of the Graduate School.

After the executive officers, there are two (2) main decision-making bodies in the Graduate School: The University Senate and the Graduate Council. The University Senate is composed of administrative, faculty, and student representatives, whereas the Graduate Council is composed of Graduate Faculty and graduate student representatives. Their composition and responsibilities are detailed below.

The University Senate

The University Senate is composed of administrative personnel, faculty, undergraduate students, as well as two (2) graduate student representatives. The two graduate students are chosen through the Graduate Student Association. The Dean of the Graduate School may be chosen to serve on University Senate as a Presidential Appointee.

The University Senate has legislative authority over graduate programs. The Senate reviews all policy recommendations that are made by Graduate Council.

These recommendations include those that have the force of legislation in graduate programs including the following:

  1. New graduate programs and new graduate degrees.
  2. Minimum requirements for earning candidacy in graduate degree programs and for completing graduate programs and graduate degrees.
  3. Minimum requirements for the admission of students to graduate study.
  4. Minimum requirements for the continuation of students in the Graduate School.
  5. Academic regulations governing graduate students.
  6. Regulations governing the making of graduate awards.
  7. Standards for graduate curriculum and instruction.
  8. Regulations governing the appointment of instructional personnel to offer graduate instruction.

Graduate Faculty and Graduate Council

The Directors of Graduate Programs meet at least once during each academic year. These meetings provide a forum for consultation and exchange of views about graduate programs. The Dean of the Graduate School serves as chair for the meetings. The Dean also consults with the Graduate Council members of the Graduate Faculty to establish meeting agendas. The members of the Graduate Council are also invited to attend the meeting.

The Graduate Council recommends graduate program policy to the University Senate. The Graduate Council consists of twelve (12) elected faculty representatives and three (3) graduate student representatives. The faculty representatives to the Graduate Council must hold Level A standing on the Graduate Faculty. These faculty representatives are elected for three-year terms through separate, divisional nominations and general elections, which uses the method of the single transferable vote. The following sections describe further the procedures for election to the, the duties of the Graduate Council, and the different committees under the Graduate Council.

Composition of the Graduate Council

Each of the colleges or schools offering graduate degree programs has at least one (1) elected faculty representative on the Graduate Council. The remaining faculty seats are apportioned among these academic divisions based on each unit’s full-time equivalent graduate faculty size determined by the number of Level A and B graduate faculty. Specifically, the method of major fractions is used to determine the faculty seats, taking into account the guaranteed seats. Three (3) graduate student representatives are also chosen by the Graduate Student Association to serve on the Graduate Council.

Election to the Graduate Council 

Faculty representatives to the Graduate Council must be faculty in the colleges and schools that offer graduate degree programs. To be eligible to vote in Graduate Council elections, faculty members must hold regular graduate faculty standing of Level A or B.

Selection of Nominees

Each college or school selects several nominees; the number selected should equal twice the number of faculty representatives to be elected plus one, and cannot be fewer than three (i.e., if only one seat is to be filled). The names of these nominees will appear on the general election ballot.

Terms of Office 

The three-year terms of faculty representatives are staggered so that one-third of the representatives are chosen at each annual election, both for the Graduate Council as a whole and in the separate academic divisions that hold two (2) or more seats. The Dean of the Graduate School serves as chair of the Graduate Council, while the Associate Dean serves as acting chair in the absence of the Dean. The Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the Graduate School serves as secretary.

The three (3) graduate student representatives to the Graduate Council serve for one-year terms, with no limit on eligibility to serve successive terms. They are chosen according to procedures established by the Graduate Student Association. However, no more than two (2) graduate student representatives can serve from the same school or college.

Alternates to the Graduate Council Members

Two (2) graduate student alternates who represent two (2) different colleges or schools will be chosen by the GSA.

Faculty alternates to the Graduate Council are chosen within each division. After determining the elected faculty representatives, each division re-processes the ballots to determine the alternate. Divisions with three (3) or fewer representatives have one alternate, while those with four (4) or more seats have two alternates.

Alternates serve terms that coincide with those of the membership categories, and they are seated only to replace an absent member of their representative category.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Graduate Council 

The Graduate Council meets at regular intervals or at the request of the Dean of the Graduate School. The following are the duties and responsibilities of the Graduate Council:

  • Determining the standards of graduate curriculum, graduate instruction, and the standards for selecting instructional personnel at the graduate level.
  • Deciding whether or not course content is appropriate to be offered for graduate credit.
  • Formulating standards, policies, and pro­cedures for admitting students to graduate study. The Council also formulates standards for a student’s continuance in the Graduate School. The Council has the authority to dismiss from the Graduate School those who fail to maintain these standards and to dismiss from the University any student found responsible of academic dishonesty.
  • Formulating academic regulations governing graduate students.
  • Certifying all candidates who are qualified to receive their respective graduate degrees to the University.
  • Considering petitions of graduate students.
  • Promoting the advancement and improvement of graduate study at Miami University in all appropriate ways.
  • Considering the approval of new graduate degrees and new graduate programs, including the following:
  • New majors leading to existing degrees.
  • Structural modifications in and suspension or discontinuation of existing programs that originate from a department, Divisional Graduate Committee, School, or Dean.

Requests for these programs or changes are given to the Dean of the Graduate School for review by Graduate Council. An appropriate Area Subcommittee may also review the proposals, making recommendations to the Graduate Council.

After compiling recommendations for new degrees and new programs, Graduate Council forwards its suggestions to the Council of Academic Deans and then the University Senate.

Committees of the Graduate Council

Committees of the Graduate Council include representatives from all academic divisions that have graduate degree programs. Current standing committees of the Graduate Council are the Graduate Student Petitions Committee, the Graduate Student Financial Assistance Committee, the Graduate Students’ Achievement Fund Committee, and the Graduate School Scholar Assistantship Committee.

Graduate Student Petitions Committee of the Graduate Council 

The Student Petitions Committee has five faculty members. It meets regularly to consider petitions and to make recommendations to the Graduate Council, which has the responsibility for final action.

The following petitions are handled at the divisional level and reported to Graduate Council at the end of each semester:

  • First-time request for an extension of the time limit to finish a degree.
  • Substitution of a course to fulfill degree requirements.
  • Credit for coursework that is more than five (5) years old.
  • Transfer of hours from one (1) degree program to another.
  • Registration with a combination of graduate and undergraduate hours.

All petitions not mentioned above should be sent to the Student Petitions Committee of the Graduate Council. Examples of petitions that will be handled by the Subcommittee are the following:

  • A second request for an extension of the time limit to finish a degree.
  • Any request for a change to the academic record.
  • A request to hold a graduate award without full graduate registration.
  • A request to be reinstated in the Graduate School.

Petitions are available on the Graduate School website under “Forms and Publications.”

Graduate Student Financial Assistance Committee 

The Student Financial Assistance Committee has four (4) faculty members. It considers applications for graduate Grants-in-Aid, Marjorie Post Farrington Scholarship, and Travel Fund, and recommends to the Dean of the Graduate School who should receive these awards. This committee reports all actions that it takes to the Graduate Council as a matter of record.

Graduate Students’ Achievement Fund Committee

The Graduate Students’ Achievement Fund Committee consists of at least eight (8) graduate faculty members. This committee considers applications for Achievement Fund awards and recommends which students should receive the awards. The Graduate Students’ Achievement Fund Committee must report all actions that it takes to the Graduate Council as a matter of record.

Graduate School Scholars Assistantship Committee 

A Graduate School Scholar Assistantship (GSSA) is a recruiting assistantship intended to be used to attract and matriculate the best and brightest prospective graduate students. The GSSA provides two semesters for a doctoral degree and one semester for a thesis-based master’s degree on a Graduate School funded research assistantship dedicated to full-time research related to the student’s dissertation or thesis.

The committee consists of four (4) graduate faculty members and is chaired by the Associate Dean of the Graduate School. The committee will evaluate the nominations and make recommendations for award recipients.

Divisional Graduate Committees

Divisional graduate committees are assembled at the discretion of the divisional deans. Such committees may submit recommendations to the Graduate Council for consideration and action and act on student petitions that are not handled by the Petitions Committee of Graduate Council.

Related Form(s)

Not Applicable.

Additional Resources and Procedures


Graduate School website


Not Applicable.

Policy Administration

Next Review Date


Responsible Officer


Legal Authority

Not Applicable.

Compliance Policy


Revision History


Reference ID

Graduate Handbook 6.1

Reviewing Bodies

Not Applicable.