Jan 25, 2022  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog and Handbook 
    
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog and Handbook

Advising, Timelines, and Procedures



Note: this symbol  means pay attention.

 

The plans of study as outlined on the degree pages determine the course sequencing you will take in the program, but there are other milestones along the way that students need to be aware of, particularly if they are pursuing a thesis or a project as culminating experience.

 

Time Commitment

Important! As a graduate student, you are not just here to take classes and get a degree. You are expected to produce quality work throughout your program, in courses, in your culminating experience, whether a thesis, project, or other required activity. Coursework requirements and demands are more rigorous than those for undergraduates, and you are expected to produce professional-grade work throughout your program. Consider, carefully, how you are funded, what you need to live on, and whether you can dedicate the time required to be successful. 

 

Official Graduate Program Forms

All official forms for the program may be found on the University Registrar’s webpage at https://floridapoly.edu/registrar/forms.php

 

Student Responsibilities

The Graduate Division tracks student progress through the program, paying attention to the courses students take and their research progress. Students, however, are ultimately responsible for their own success and adequate progression. Students must keep track of their plan of study, ensure they are successfully completing required coursework, and actively engaged with their department chair, research advisor, or GA supervisor (if applicable). Additionally, some departments may have timelines and processes that differ from those outlined here.

 

Advisor Responsibilities

Upon entering a program at Florida Poly, you will be assigned a temporary advisor (usually the Department Chair) until an appropriate faculty member has been identified in your selected track. Students pursuing a thesis or a project will also select an advisor for those functions who will assume all related advising responsibilities.

The role of the Advisor includes, but is not limited to keeping students informed of

  • Key policies
  • Important dates
  • Curricular expectations, including
    • Courses required;
    • Course sequences; 
    • Research expectations;

and to work in association with the student on Departmental and University processes for

  • thesis or project proposal
  • committee selection
  • timelines
  • thesis or project defense, and
  • final submission of thesis or project to all appropriate offices.

If this initial advisor becomes the committee chair and supervises the student’s research, the advisor also sets regular expectations and deliverables for the student to follow.

Quick Note for Graduate Assistants

 Students’ work as a graduate assistant is defined as 10-hours of instructional support. The faculty member to whom that student is assigned may not be the student’s advisor. Supervising faculty only interact with graduate assistants as it relates to instructional support, not research or other program advising. Depending on need and availability, a graduate assistant may be assigned to a faculty supervisor outside of their department.

For clarity’s sake, the faculty member to whom the graduate student reports for work purposes is best referred to as the student’s “supervisor.”

 

Coursework Only Option

Students on the accelerated pathway complete a course-work only master’s degree in approximately 10 months. As the heading implies, these students do not research and write a thesis, nor do they engage in a faculty-mentored project. Rather, their master’s consists of work solely confined to the courses in the plan of study. Coursework only students do conduct research but it is done so through the framework of a given course. The standards for successful completion of coursework are no different for these students than for thesis/project students and, in fact, they take the same courses. 

Students in a course-work only option (accelerated pathway) should follow the appropriate plan of study as indicated on their program-track page. In addition to the course sequence, students should also pay attention to the following deadlines and any other deadlines communicated by the Graduate Division or the Office of the Registrar.

  • Enrollment for the summer A session is typically in mid-March. At this time, students must register for their final 6 credits (2 courses) and submit their application for graduation in the summer.

 


Thesis and Project Policy


Thesis-Students. Students pursuing a thesis option must have a Graduate Thesis Committee. The Committee must be comprised of at least three full-time faculty members (not adjunct, nor visiting, nor courtesy). The Committee Chair (thesis advisor) must be an expert in the subject matter of the proposed thesis. In appropriate cases, industry partners may serve on the Committee as members in addition to minimum required full-time faculty. The Committee Chair’s responsibilities include, but may not be limited to, advising the student’s course of study; forming the committee in consultation with Department Chair; supervising the student’s research; and, along with the committee, reading and approving the thesis for content and format, and working with the student and committee to schedule a defense. The Department Chair must approve the makeup of the Committee.

 

  1. Thesis Advisors
    • Disciplinary Track: The Committee Chair (thesis advisor) must be from the department that includes the “track” for the graduate degree.
    • Interdisciplinary Track: The Committee Chair (thesis advisor) must be from one of the departments that sponsors courses for the interdisciplinary track.
  2. Thesis Committees
    • ​​​Disciplinary Track: Each department must determine how to staff graduate committees for the “track” in the department. One of the Thesis Committee members should be a faculty member in the department that is responsible for the track that the student has chosen, while the second Thesis Committee member should be from outside the department but with experience relevant to the student’s research area. Likewise, members from outside the University must have experience relevant to the student’s research area. All committees must include at minimum three faculty members with appointments as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor.
    • Interdisciplinary Track: The Thesis Committee must include a third committee member (four members total). This third committee member must 1. be a subject matter expert in a field relevant to the student’s thesis area; 2. be a member of a department other than the faculty advisor’s home department; and 3. be a member of a department that contributes to the interdisciplinary track. This committee member must be approved by the Chair of the Department that sponsors the track chosen by the student.


Project-Students. Students pursuing the project option must have a Project Advisory Group. The Project Advisory Group consists of at least two full-time faculty members (not adjunct, nor visiting, nor courtesy): the student’s advisor who serves as the chair of the group, and a second faculty member. Both members should be from the Department supporting the degree-program track. The Department Chair must approve the makeup of the Project Advisory Group.

  • For interdisciplinary projects, a third member from outside the student’s primary disciplinary focus may be required per direction of the Department Chair, Graduate Division Director, Provost, or designee.

 

Changing from Thesis to Project

Students on the Thesis track may opt for a Project prior to enrolling in Thesis 2, or students may be reassigned to a Project at the direction of their advisor or committee. Both actions must be approved by the Department Chair for the degree program or track the student is registered in and the Graduate Division Director. Students pursuing a Project are required to fulfill the course requirements for a program with the Project as the culminating experience, meaning an additional course may be required.

Thesis 1 will not count towards the degree for those students whose program culminates in a Project, even if they have taken Thesis 1.

 


Thesis Option: Timeline of Required Actions

The following timeline is a guide to help you plan your path to thesis or project completion.

 Important! Each department has its own procedures and deadlines for the following activities. Check with the Department Chair or your Advisor for details. Most departments have more restrictive schedules than what appears below.

 

Semester 1.

  • Before start of semester: Meet with a graduate program representative (Registrar’s Office, Graduate Division Office, or Academic Department) to ensure schedule is correct.
  • Within first week of semester, if you receive a Graduate Assistantship, obtain specific work assignment and report to supervisor for details; establish regular meeting pattern and expectations with supervisor.
  • Begin exploring topics for your thesis. Your department may ask for a thesis pre-proposal prior to end of fall term.

 

Semester 2.

  • No later than 2nd week: Thesis Faculty Advisor identified.
  • No later than 6th week: form Thesis Committee and submit document to Registrar’s Office.
  • No later than end of term: submit Approved Thesis Proposal Form to Registrar’s Office

 Thesis-related work often requires student effort outside of the normal course-requirements and, if applicable, GA time. This means students need to plan to put in hours on-top of their planned schedule to work on thesis pre- and proposals.

Approved Thesis Proposal & Committee Forms must be submitted prior to registration for Thesis 1.

 

Summer

  • Coordinate with Thesis faculty advisor on research efforts. 
  • If funding is present, typically via faculty grant funding, you may be able to be employed over the summer. Typically, institutional funds are not used in the summer to support graduate students, except in certain circumstances. Optionally, students may take summer research hours for credit and obtain financial aid. (Consult with the office of Financial Aid.)

 

Semester 3.

  • Thesis students should plan to spend approximately 10 hours outside of class per week working on a thesis.
  • Students should regularly meet with their advisor and provide progress reports as appropriate.

 

Semester 4.

  • By the first Monday of February Submit application for Graduation (See Registrar’s Office for University Calendar for exact date.)
  • At least 4 weeks prior to the date of the thesis defense, but no later than the Monday of Week 11, submit an application for the thesis defense
    • This will ensure that all committee members agree to a date before finals week and that a room is available
  • At least 2 weeks prior to the date of the thesis defense, but no later than the Friday of Week 13, submit a complete, final draft thesis to the Thesis Committee
    • No later than the last day of classes, the student will defend their thesis (unless otherwise permitted)
    • Upon successful completion of the thesis and collection of all required signatures, the signature page must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office as soon as possible.
  • By the last day of Finals, after appropriately incorporating changes from the committee, the the student will submit the final thesis in PDF form, along with the completed, signed cover page, to the degree-granting department and the Graduate Division Office (ogp@floridapoly.edu). These documents will be stored in the student’s record.

 

Thesis Option: Details on Procedures

Additional details and rules on the prospective thesis timeline follow. 

Thesis (Faculty) Advisor
  • A graduate student must have a faculty advisor, who is their Committee Chair, for their thesis.
  • The faculty advisor, who will guide the student through their thesis should be determined no later than the second week of the second semester that the student is registered in the graduate program.
  • Prior to the assignment of the primary advisor, the department will provide interim advising for the student.
Thesis Committee
  • Committee members who serve on a Thesis Committee outside of their department must also have their Department Chair’s approval to serve on the respective Thesis Committee.
  • The Thesis Committee should be formed by the sixth week of the second semester that the student is in the graduate program.
  • The student must submit the approved Thesis Committee Form to the Office of the University Registrar. The Office of the University Registrar must receive the completed Thesis Committee Form prior to the student registering for thesis credit hours.
Thesis Proposal

A student should submit a thesis proposal and formally present this proposal for approval to the committee. Each department may choose to include a more formal review process for thesis proposals, but all thesis proposals must be approved by, at minimum, the Thesis Committee and the Department Chair. The thesis proposal must include:

  1. An abstract that provides a brief description of the problem statement and expected solution;
  2. A survey of current literature regarding the problem statement that demonstrates why the problem statement is important and how it aligns with the student’s research interest and course of study (students are encouraged to use reference management software such as Zotero to make additions of references and generation of bibliography easy);
  3. A description of the work to be performed, and how and where it will be performed. This section should convince the reader that the student has considered the problem and has a research plan that can be executed with the available resources and in the time that is appropriate for a master’s thesis.
  4. A Gannt chart of tasks, milestones, and overall project schedule.
  5. Approved Thesis Proposal submitted: Thesis proposals should be approved and submitted by the end of the second term of graduate study, but no later than the end of the 3rd week of the third semester (thesis 1) of graduate study.
  6. Approved proposals should be retained by the thesis committee and a copy submitted to the Graduate Division at ogp@floridapoly.edu, and acceptance of the thesis proposal must be recorded by the Registrar’s Office.
Thesis Acceptance
  • A thesis is formally accepted at the discretion of the thesis committee, the thesis committee chair’s department chair, and the Provost or designee.
  • A formal “defense” of the thesis is held as a public presentation of the student’s work.
  • All committee members should be present at the defense and the thesis must have been submitted to the committee at least two weeks before the defense. Thesis advisors are responsible for working with the students to ensure that all committee members receive the thesis in an appropriate time.
Changing the Committee Membership

Committee membership may not be changed at the student’s request in the last semester before graduation. Committee membership may be changed and approved, including the committee chair, in the same manner as the advisor and committee is originally approved.

Summary of critical dates for student progression

  • Faculty advisor selected by the second week of the second semester of graduate study
  • Thesis Committee formed by the sixth week of the second semester of graduate study
  • Thesis Proposal submitted and approved by end of the second semester, but no later than end of third week of third semester (thesis 1).
  • Thesis Acceptance: all theses must be submitted, defended, and approved/passed, prior to the start of reading days in the semester in which thesis 2 is taken and graduation applied for. Students have no later than the close of finals week to complete any corrections to the manuscript required by the Thesis Committee.
  • Final copies of the complete manuscript with full-signatures must be submitted to the Student’s academic degree-granting department and the Graduate Division. The signature page must be submitted to the University Registrar as soon as possible upon successful completion of the defense.

 


Project Option: Timeline of Required Actions

Students may opt to complete a project for 3-credits in lieu of a thesis for 6-credits per policy for any track in any master’s degree program. Likewise, a student’s committee may advise that a student take the project route rather than the thesis option due to the nature of the student’s research progress or other factors. Students in the project track must take an additional course to meet the 30-credit hour requirements for the degree. Thesis 1 does not count toward the degree for students whose culminating effort is a Project. Most students opting for the Project will follow the procedures outlined in Policy and here, as applicable.

 

Semester 1.

  • Before start of semester: Meet with a graduate program representative (Registrar’s Office, Graduate Division Office, or Academic Department) to ensure schedule is correct.
  • Within first week of semester, if you receive a Graduate Assistantship, obtain specific work assignment and report to supervisor for details; establish regular meeting pattern and expectations with supervisor.
  • Commit to your decision to opt for a project. This is not a formal commitment, but students should be aware that thesis work begins in the first term, so if you decide in the second semester to pursue a thesis, you may have difficulty finding an advisor and/or getting on-track with a thesis topic.

 

Semester 2.

  • By March, register for summer/fall classes

 

Semester 3.

  • No later than the 10th-week: identify Project Faculty Advisor
  • No later than the 12th-week: form Project Committee
  • No later than end of term: submit Approved Project Proposal Form to Registrar’s Office

 

Semester 4.

  • By the first Monday of February Submit application for Graduation (See Registrar’s Office for University Calendar for exact date.)
  • At least 4 weeks prior to the date of the project defense/presentation, but no later than the Monday of Week 11, submit an application for the project defense
    • This will ensure that all committee members agree to a date before finals week and that a room is available
  • At least 1 week prior to the date of the project defense, but no later than the Friday of Week 13, submit a complete, final draft of project to the committee
    • No later than the last day of classes, the student will defend their project (unless otherwise permitted)
    • Upon successful completion of the project and collection of all required signatures, the signature page must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office as soon as possible.
  • By the last day of Finals, after appropriately incorporating changes from the committee, the student will submit the full final project in PDF form, along with the completed, signed cover page, to the degree-granting department and the Graduate Division Office (ogp@floridapoly.edu). These documents will be stored in the student’s record.

 

Group Projects

In some cases, and upon approval, groups of students may work together on a project. This is at the discretion of the Department and typically available only in specific circumstances and not an option for all tracks.

 

Project Option: Details on Procedures

Details and rules associated with the items in the timeline are provided here.

Advisor and Committee Chair is selected.
  • A final project must have an advisor who is also the project committee chair.
  • The final project advisor should be determined before the 10th week of the third semester that the students is registered in the graduate program.
Project Committee is formed.
  • Committees are comprised of a project advisor and the Project course instructor (in case that the project advisor and project course instructor are the same, then one additional faculty member is required). Read another way, two faculty are required as part of the project committee.
  • An industry representative may be required as a third project committee member for industry sponsored projects.
  • The project committee should be formed by the 12th week of the third semester that the student is in the graduate program.
Complete Project Committee Form.
  • The student must submit the approved Project Committee Form to the Office of the University Registrar.
  • The Office of the University Registrar must receive the completed Project Committee Form prior to the student registering for project credit hours.
Final Project Proposal submitted

For all projects (whether individual or group) students should submit a proposal and formally present this proposal for approval by the committee. All proposals must also be approved by the department chair. The project proposal must include the following:

  1. An abstract that provides a brief description of the problem statement and expected solution;
  2. A survey of current literature regarding the problem statement that demonstrates why the problem statement is important and how it aligns with the students’ research interest and course of study (students are encouraged to use reference management software such as Zotero to make additions of references and generation of bibliography easy);
  3. A description of the work to be performed, and how it will be performed. This section should convince the reader that students’ group has considered the problem and has a research plan that can be executed in the time that is appropriate for a master’s project.
  4. A Gannt chart of tasks, milestones, and overall project schedule.
Approved Project Proposal submitted

Approved proposals must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office for inclusion in the student’s file. A copy should be retained by the Advisor and one copy sent to the Graduate Division at ogp@floridapoly.edu.

Project Acceptance
  • A project is formally accepted at the discretion of the project committee, the project committee chair’s department chair, and the Provost or designee.
  • A formal presentation of the project is held as a public presentation of the individual or group’s work. The individual, or student project team members, and all committee members should be present at the presentation, and the project report must have been submitted to the committee at least two weeks before the presentation.
  • Project advisors are responsible for working with the students to ensure that all committee members receive the thesis in an appropriate time.
Summary of Critical Dates for student progression
  • Final project group determined, and project advisor determined: tenth week of the third semester of graduate study.
  • Project Committee determined: twelfth week of the third semester of graduate study.
  • Final Project Proposal submitted: Project proposals should be completed prior to reading days of the students’ third term in the graduate program, but no later than the end of the 3rd week of the final semester of graduate program (i.e. end of the third week of the project course).
  • Final Project Acceptance: all projects must be submitted, defended, and approved/passed, prior to the start of reading days in the semester in which the project course is taken and graduation applied for. Students have no later than the close of finals week to complete any corrections to the project manuscript required by the Advisor or Committee.
  • Final copies of the complete manuscript with full-signatures must be submitted to the Student’s academic degree-granting department and the Graduate Division. The signature page must be submitted to the University Registrar as soon as possible upon successful completion of the presentation.

 


Oral Examination - The Defense

Thesis writers must perform a public defense of their work. Project Report writers should consult with their Primary Advisor to determine whether a public defense is desirable; sometimes the projects contain proprietary materials/ideas and therefore does not lend itself to a public defense. If a defense is not desirable, the Project Advisory Committee may at their discretion require an alternate procedure in its place.

If defending, then upon approval of the Thesis Supervisor/Project Advisor, students should announce their oral examination (defense) at least one week prior to the defense date. In order to meet this requirement:

  • Prepare your announcement in consultation with your Committee Supervisor/Project Advisor. Most students simply use their abstract for the body of the announcement.
  • The announcement should include:
    • A formal defense announcement like: “Announcing the Final Examination of Ms. Susan B. Student for the degree of Master of Engineering.”
    • Date, time, location, and thesis/report title.
    • An abstract or summary of the thesis/report.
    • The student’s current major course of study.
    • The student’s previously awarded degrees, including the year of conferment and the conferring institution.
    • A list of all members of the Thesis Committee or Project Advisory Group.
    • The date on which the Thesis Supervisor/Primary Advisor approved distribution of the announcement and that the public is welcome to attend.
  • Ask your Committee Supervisor/Project Advisor to approve your announcement for distribution.
  • Once approved, contact the Graduate Division ogp@floridapoly.edu for distribution of your defense date to all faculty, students, and staff.

 

Filing the Thesis or Project Report

 Upon successful completion of the Thesis or Project report, the student must obtain all signatures and file the signature page with the University Registrar to finalize requirements for the degree. The Student and Advisor must take possession of the fully signed, completed Thesis or Project and ensure that

➢ One (1) copy is filed with the Graduate Division Office (Office of the Provost); and,
➢ One (1) copy is filed with the Academic Department.

 


Important Terms


Program Advisor: a student’s initial faculty advisor upon entering the program.
 

Thesis Advisor/Committee Chair: the student’s faculty advisor who takes over from the program advisor once established as the committee chair or advisor for the student’s thesis. The thesis advisor/committee chair directs the student’s research and advises on course selection and other aspects of the program.
 

Committee Member: a faculty member who serves on the student’s thesis committee.
 

Outside Committee Member: A member of the student’s thesis committee who is not from the department offering the student’s selected track but provides external evaluation of the student’s thesis and research.