Graduate Program Handbook | Computer Science & Engineering

10. Policies

10.1 Academic Status

All graduate students must maintain a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0. If their GPA drops below 3.0, they are either placed on probation or dismissed. Undergraduate courses will not count towards graduate GPA.

10.1.1 Probation

Students whose cumulative graduate GPA is between 2.99 and 2.31 are put on probation. Students are placed on academic probation for one semester. If they fail to raise their cumulative GPA to 3.0 by the end of one semester, they are dismissed from their graduate program. Students placed on probation receive a letter from the Graduate School explaining exactly how many credits of “A” are required to raise their GPA to 3.0. Thesis, dissertation, S/U graded credits and transfer credits have no impact on a student’s GPA.

10.1.2 Dismissal

Students whose cumulative graduate GPA is 2.30 or lower are dismissed from graduate standing. Also, if the graduate GPA remains below 3.0 for two consecutive semesters, the student is dismissed from graduate standing. Dismissed students are no longer in a graduate program but may take graduate-level courses as a grad special. Students wishing to complete their degree must obtain approval to take graduate-level courses, raise their graduate GPA to at least 3.0 and then reapply to a graduate program. Any courses taken to raise their GPA will be included in the graduate special/transfer credit limitation (nine credits for master’s degrees).

10.2 Continuous Enrollment

Graduate students must register for a minimum of three graduate credits each fall and spring semester until graduation or have an Application for Leave of Absence form (also found on the Graduate School forms webpage) approved by the graduate director of the program and the Graduate School. Approved leaves of absence do not abrogate the time limitations on course work (six years for a master’s degree program and eight years for a doctoral program). International students may be required to enroll in nine graduate credits each fall and spring semester, depending on the requirements of their visa. There are no minimum registration requirements during the summer. All students holding assistantships (whether teaching or research assistantships) are required to enroll in a minimum of six graduate credits each semester they hold the assistantship.

10.3 Enrollment Limitations

In each summer session, graduate students may not enroll in more than six graduate credits. In each semester they hold an assistantship, graduate assistants must enroll in at least six and may not enroll in more than 12 graduate credits.

10.4 Leave of Absence

All graduate students are required to maintain continuous enrollment of a minimum of three (3) graduate credits each fall and spring semester. A leave of absence is a temporary cessation of study due to medical reasons or other emergencies during which time the students are not required to maintain continuous registration. Students requesting a leave of absence must be in good academic standing and submit a completed Application for a Leave of Absence form (also found on the Graduate School forms webpage) to the Graduate School before the period of leave begins. Students applying for a leave of absence should not have any “incomplete” grade which could be changed to “F” and have a detrimental impact on their cumulative grade point average. Usually leaves of absence are approved for one to two semesters and may be extended by the student filling an additional leave of absence form. Time spent on an approved leave is included in the time allowed to complete the degree, ie, six calendar years for the master’s degree and eight calendar years for the doctoral degree. That is, the clock doesn’t stop.

10.5 Reinstatement

Students can request reinstatement to their graduate program after an unapproved Leave of Absence by filing a Notice of Reinstatement to Graduate Standing form (also found on the Graduate School forms webpage) with their graduate program. Once, the program will return this completed form to the Graduate School for final approval. This form allows the program the option to recommend the student be readmitted to their graduate program based on their previous admission or require the student to reapply for admission, which would require them to submit a new application for admission and pay the application fee.

10.6 Good Standing

Each graduate course must be completed with a grade of “C” or better for the credit to be acceptable toward an advanced degree. In addition, students must maintain good standing with an overall graduate credit GPA of at least 3.0 on a scale of 4.0.

10.7 Getting an MS While Pursuing a Ph.D.

If a student who is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program wants to earn an MS en route, then the student needs to complete a master’s degree program of study. The graduate director then will send a memo to the Graduate School informing them of this request and the student then can apply for graduation. For either option (thesis, non-thesis), students only will be able to use 24 credits towards the Ph.D. If they take the theses option, the six theses credits cannot be used towards dissertation credits.

10.8 Completing Two Degrees Simultaneously

Students may choose to complete two master’s degrees at the same time or complete a master’s degree while working on a doctoral program in a different discipline. Students may not complete two doctoral programs simultaneously. When the two master’s degrees at the same time, the student must apply and be accepted to each graduate program; must submit a separate program of study for each degree; must form two separate advisory committees with no more than one member in common; and have no more than nine credits in common with each program of study.

10.9 Changing Advisors

It can happen that your research interests change over time or that the relationship with your current advisor has changed for the worse. Any student is free to change advisors, but changing earlier in your career generally is easier than later. If you are thinking about switching advisors, you can accomplish this the best if you adopt an attitude of respect for the person who initially advised you or recruited you to come to UNR.

The following are general guidelines for switching advisors:

  1. Talk to the graduate director. The graduate director represents the interests of the graduate students and they can help you make a better decision whether switching advisors would be good for you. The graduate director also can try to mediate between you and your advisor and help you better understand the pros and cons of changing advisors. This advice is especially important if you are attempting to change advisors toward the final phase of your graduate program.
  2. Decide whether you want to switch advisors (do not approach other faculty before deciding).
  3. Decide whether you could work with two advisors.
  4. Try to work through any differences with your current advisor. Express to your advisor why you are considering a change, discussing whether their expectations of you are realistic, and whether they are open to adjusting.
  5. Carefully consider the pros and cons of switching advisors as this may involve:
    1. You can lose your RA or TA position (if your existing advisor provided you with a 10-hour RA-ship). Switching advisors is not a guarantee that you can maintain your TA-ship.
    2. You need to find a new research topic, as your existing research with a new advisor is only acceptable with permission of your old advisor.
    3. You may receive an unsatisfactory on thesis/dissertation credits that you are currently taking or a failing grade on an independent study with your current advisor if you do not complete your advisor’s expectation for that semester.
    4. If you are a Ph.D. Student and you have enough credits, you may need to graduate with an MS degree on your old research topic before starting a new research topic with a new advisor.
  6. After your decision, approach another faculty member about being an (co-) advisor for you.
    1. Frame your approach with positive information, such as new interests and new possibilities. Be professional at all times.
    2. Focus discussions on your interests and goals and not on negative incidents or difficulties.
    3. Avoid doing or saying anything that could have negative ramifications for your future career.
  7. Notify your current advisor and discuss and arrange a time frame for any remaining work with your current advisor before the switch takes place.
  8. Arrange a meeting with your new and old advisor to discuss your new topic of research and/or overlap on publications in your thesis/dissertation.
  9. Regarding Intellectual property claims, carefully consider UNR’s Intellectual Property Policy.
  10. Complete or update any formal paperwork that contains information about your advisor, eg, advisory forms etc.

10.10 Academic Dishonesty

In order to maintain an academic climate conducive to each member’s success in the pursuit and transmission of knowledge, the University of Nevada, Reno has established a set of policies and standards for all of its members to adhere to. For student members of this community, enrollment at the university carries certain obligations related to activities in the academic setting, including behavior inside and outside the classroom. Specific details can be found on the Student Code of Conduct website.

10.11 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Personal and professional values ​​in the University and the College of Engineering

The students, scholars and staff in the College of Engineering are united in our common desire to make the world a better place. We are firmly committed to fostering an environment of diversity, equity and inclusion that will allow everyone to realize their full potential. As a College, we acknowledge and are actively working to address any systemic barriers of prejudice that may exist within the engineering community and society at large. Our actions align with the goals of the engineering and computer science organizations and accrediting bodies that set the bar for personal and professional excellence in our vital disciplines.

University Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

The University of Nevada, Reno actively welcomes, embraces and nurtures a diverse and inclusive campus culture because we acknowledge that diversity and the unique beliefs, backgrounds, talents, capabilities and ways of living that come with it make for a stronger, smarter, happier and health university.

The University of Nevada, Reno is committed to providing a safe learning and work environment for all. If you believe you have experienced discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic/dating violence or stalking, whether on or off campus, or need information related to immigration concerns, please contact the University’s Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office at 775-784- 1547. Resources and interim measures are available to assist you. For more information, please visit the Equal Opportunity & Title IX website.

ACM Professional Code of Conduct

Computing professionals’ actions change the world. To act responsibly, they should reflect upon the wider impacts of their work, consistently supporting the public good. The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (“the Code”) expresses the conscience of the profession.

The Code is designed to inspire and guide the ethical conduct of all computing professionals, current and aspiring practitioners, instructors, students, influencers and anyone who uses computing technology in an impactful way. Additionally, the Code serves as a basis for remediation when violations occur. The Code includes principles formulated as understanding statements of responsibility, based on the public good that is always the primary consideration. Each principle is supplemented by guidelines, which provide explanations to assist computing professionals in understanding and applying the principle.

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