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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

Journalism PhD Student Charli Kerns Featured in Tennessee Today - Charli Kerns, a PhD student in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media, was recently featured in Tennessee Today. An avid action sports enthusiast, her research focuses on how action sports media can help re-imagine issues of gender in sport and culture. Read more about Charli, her dissertation research, and the ups and downs of whitewater canoeing.
Geography PhD Student Laura Smith in Media for Research on Tree Rings - Laura Smith, a PhD student in Geography, has been taking up research on tree rings begun in the 1930s and her research has made it into various media outlets. Florence Hawley started research on tree rings to understand long-term weather patterns in the Norris Basin, while working with the Tennessee Valley Authority. 80 years later, Smith is continuing the work by the trailblazing researcher, using new technologies available to the field. Besides moving the research forward, Smith wants the world to know more about Florence Hawley, her work, and her challenges. Read more about Laura Smith's work in the Chattanooga Free Press, and hear her as she talks about her research and Florence Hawley in Science Minute.
Graduate Student in Social Work Studies the Use of VR Technology to Help Older Adults with Dementia - Joe Strong combined his frustration with the health insurance industry and a lifelong interest in neurology and is now a PhD candidate in the College of Social Work. The Office of Research and Engagement recently told his story, giving him the opportunity to discuss how he hopes to show the benefits of VR technology to assist older adults with early to moderate dementia.
Law Graduate Aspires to Improve Education for Nigerian Girls - Nigerian-born Chidimma Nwaneri will graduate from the UT College of Law this month. After Nwaneri completes her bar exam in July, she plans to return to Nigeria to begin planting seeds that she hopes will make a difference for other girls who want to pursue their education. Read more about Chidimma Nwaneri at the College of Law.
Graduate from the College of Law Prepares for a Military Career - Chase Moore, a native of Dallas, Georgia, will receive a law degree during spring commencement at noon Friday, May 10, and soon after will join the Navy as a JAG Corps officer. “Service to others is at the core of my upbringing and part of what drew me into the Volunteer family,” Moore said. “I see no more attractive way to use my legal education than to serve our country and the service members who work so hard to support it.” Read more about Chase's story in Tennessee Today.