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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

Music Graduate Student Receives Award to Have KSO Musicians Perform His Compositions - Dennis Belisle, graduating in December with a Master of Music, received the inaugural Robert W. Pedersen Memorial Research Award this fall. The funding he received from this award is going toward allowing members of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra to perform his compositions during a special concert at 8 p.m. on Friday, November 15, at the Powell Recital Hall in the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center. You can listen to samples of Belisle’s work on his website, dennisbelisle.com and learn more about him and his work on Tennessee Today.
Lori Mayer Fellowship Recipient Spreads Beauty through Art - Tasha Lewis, an MFA student starting this fall at UT, is a recipient of the Lori Mayer Re-Entry Women’s Graduate Fellowship. The fellowship was designed to provide personal encouragement and financial support for returning adult women students. Lewis's work includes body-cast sculptures, more than 5,000 handcrafted butterflies, and a page-by-page illustration for a classic novel. Read more about her work and her plans for the future at UT.
Doctoral Fellow Studies Link Between Puberty, Hormones, and Mental Health - Marcia Chavez thought she wanted to be a clinical psychologist, but after working in a research lab as an undergraduate in California, she was fascinated to learn the possible link between mental health disorders, adolescent development, and gender. A third-year PhD student in experimental psychology who will graduate in May 2023, Chavez is one of five PhD students recently honored as Tennessee Doctoral Fellows.
Doctoral Fellow Sa’Nealdra Wiggins Aims to Improve Women’s Nutrition - Sa’Nealdra Wiggins fell in love with the field of women’s health during an undergraduate internship. Now a fourth-year doctoral student in nutrition scheduled to graduate in May 2021, Wiggins is one of five PhD students recently honored as Tennessee Doctoral Fellows.
Doctoral Fellow’s Love of Social Justice Was Sparked by a Stray Dog - Nadya Vera, who begins her doctoral studies this fall in sociology, wants to be a problem solver. And it all started when she rescued a dog. Vera is one of five PhD students recently honored as Tennessee Doctoral Fellows. Tennessee Doctoral Fellows are chosen every three years; this is only the second group of fellows at UT. The fellowships are funded by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and UT’s Graduate School.