Program handbooks help students understand their program’s mission, visions, requirements and expectations, as well as offer thoughtful and inclusive resources for being a graduate stuudent at ASU. The Graduate College requires all programs to create handbooks and distribute them to students upon enrollment. Handbooks should be made accessible and readily available to download from the program or department websites. We recommend that program handbooks adopt positive, anti-racist language, and allude to, align with and build on the general Graduate College handbook.
In addition, idividual program handbooks should contain the following elements:
- ASU Charter.
- Concrete justice, equity, diversity and inclusion statement.
- Brief introduction to the program’s vision and mission, including its purpose and unique. characteristics, as well as potential career outlook.
Program General Admissions Information (online and immersion)
- Admission requirements and application processes.
- Tuition costs, fees and residency requirements.
- Contact information for graduate program coordinators and key advisors.
- List or overview of faculty.
- Student statements or testimonials.
- Required coursework and electives.
- Other elements that constitute the degree program, such as internships, practicum, research credits, language requirement, candidacy guidelines, etc.
- Options for specializations and certifications.
- Satisfactory academic progress (e.g., program requirements beyond Graduate College standards).
- Provisional acceptance guidelines.
- GPA and course grade minimums may be stricter than minimums outlined in the Graduate College handbook).
- Time-to-degree requirements if shorter than Graduate College standards.
- Details about exams (deadlines, evaluations, etc.).
- Graduation requirements.
Information About Culminating Events
- Culminating experience guidelines and deadlines.
- Procedures and resources for selecting a faculty advisor and master’s or doctoral committee.
- Roles and responsibilities of graduate students and committee members, including mentoring and evaluations along the way.
Student Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity
- Student Code of Conduct summary and appropriate links.
- Criteria for what constitutes a violation of professional standards.
- Link to the University’s Academic Integrity Policy.
Department and University Procedures and Policies
- Registration and withdrawal from program/class.
- Transferring credits from other programs.
- Continuous enrollment policy (forms).
- Interactive plan of study (iPOS) and other graduation procedures. Policies for leaves of absence from coursework.
- Dismissal criteria.
- Arizona Board of Regent’s Code of Conduct.
Financial Assistance Policies and Procedures
- Graduate fellowships and assistantships (teaching, research).
- Links to appropriate policy guides for assistantships.
- Use of departmental resources.
- Absence and leave policies for assistantships.
- Performance evaluation processes.
Conduct and Conflict Resolution
Clearly describe all grievance and appeal procedures. Note that these must correspond to school and university policies.
Department and University Resources
- Academics and professional development (e.g., libraries, writing centers, career services, professional development workshops and opportunities).
- Student support services (e.g., International Student Services, Housing, Health, Counseling, Disability Resources, Veterans, and Graduate Professional Student Association).
- Business and Finance services (e.g., parking and transit, student accounts, ID cards).
- Campus amenities (e.g., stores, banks, eateries).
- Contact information (e.g., Provost’s Office, Graduate College, GPSA Outreach, IT Help Office, department’s assigned librarian, emergency services).
Archiving and Graduate College Standards
- Graduate College policy requires programs to:
- Date the handbook upon each update, notify students about the update and send a copy to the Graduate College.
- Archive all prior versions of handbooks and make them accessible to students who are under grandfathered clauses.
- Provide students information about access to archived versions of handbooks.
Program Handbook Exemplars
School of Music, Dance and Theatre, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Statement of Student Policies
Computer Science PhD Graduate Handbook
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Graduate Program, Graduate Student Handbook
Doctoral/Specialist Inclusive Program in School Psychology, University of Washington
University of Maryland School of Music Academic Handbook
Download the PDF: Preparing Effective Graduate Program Handbooks