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Graduate Student Life

While studying at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, as a graduate student, there are a number of resources available to support you in successfully completing your program. This section of the Graduate School website is devoted to helping you find those resources.

The Big Picture

If you are a new graduate student, or just looking to refresh your view of the graduate education process, the Graduate School provides an overview of the entire process. This “big picture” can help you navigate your way through your time at UT. The Graduate Catalog is also available as the definitive guide to course offerings and requirements. Each fall term, the Graduate School organizes orientations for new graduate students and new graduate teaching assistants and associates.

Pursuing Your Degree

Particularly at the beginning of your program, your coursework will comprise the bulk of your work. UT’s One Stop service can help you in registering for classes, and the Graduate School can help you understand the requirements of your program. If, during the course of your work, you find it necessary to change to a different program, learn about the process for changing your program.

Engaging in Research

While engaging in research as a graduate student at UT, you are a representative of the university. Be sure you understand the rights and obligations involved in conducting research and publishing your work. The Office of Research Engagement is more than happy to assist you in ensuring that your research is in compliance with UT policy and federal regulations. The University of Tennessee Libraries has created a toolkit for graduate students that can help with publishing your work. If you’re beginning your thesis or dissertation research, visit the Theses and Dissertations area for some things to consider.

Costs and Funding Opportunities

The reality is that graduate education can incur costs, such as tuition (which depends upon your residency classification) and research funding. The Graduate School can help you locate funding for your graduate student career through various means, such as teaching or research assistantships and fellowships, both within and without the University of Tennessee. Find out more about Costs and Funding.

Understanding Your Rights and Obligations

The Graduate School and UT have developed a set of policies that are designed for administration and to protect the rights of students and staff. Be sure to understand and abide by these policies. We hope that you do not have any difficulties that add to the challenges inherent in graduate education, but if you do, the appeals process and the complaint procedures can help you protect yourself.

Spotlight on Graduate Students

Entomology and Plant Pathology Grad Student Spotlighted in Catalyst - Matthew Longmire is a graduate student in entomology and plant pathology who was recently featured as a Graduate Student Spotlight in Catalyst, the newsletter of the Office of Research and Engagement. Longmire’s research compares how selecting cover crops affects the composition and density of different arthropods, a classification that includes insects, arachnids, and crustaceans. His study focused on the most popular cover crop species—grasses, mustards, and legumes—for soybeans. Read more about Longmire and his work at the Office of Research and Engagement.
Graduate Student in Geography Spotlighted - Reagan Yessler, a graduate student in the Department of Geography, is the subject of a spotlight at the Office of Research & Engagement. Yessler’s research is based upon the premise that society not only develops out of its local landscape but also shapes it. Read more about Reagan Yessler at the Office of Research & Engagement's Student Spotlight page.
Nuclear Engineering PhD Student Presents on Superheavy Elements - Nuclear engineering doctoral student Clarice Phelps recently presented at a virtual spotlight on Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) hosted by the American Nuclear Society Young and Student Members. She became the first African American woman to be involved in the discovery of an element on the periodic table—in this case, appropriately, Tennessine. Read more about Clarice Phelps at the Department of Nuclear Engineering.
Microbiology PhD Student Brittany Zepernick Featured in Catalyst - Brittany Zepernick, a PhD student in the Department of Microbiology, is the latest Graduate Student Spotlight for the Office of Research and Engagement. Her research focuses on harmful algal blooms (HABs), which are masses of phytoplankton, or microscopic algae, that experience unregulated growth. These blooms negatively impact freshwater habitat, with detrimental effects on the ecology and economy of the surrounding areas. Read more about Zepernick and her work at
Summer GRA Awardees Announced - Eighteen graduate students, selected from a pool of 47 applicants, will receive $3,600 stipends from UT’s Summer Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) Fund managed by UT’s Office of Research and Engagement.