Author: ddc

Academic Policies for Graduate Students

Dear graduate students,

We hope this email finds you well, engaged with your academics, and taking time to take care of yourselves.  We realize that this is a stressful time and that the disruption caused by covid-19, coupled with social and physical distancing may have impacted your ability to be successful this semester.  We’d like to share some information to support your academic success this semester.

Dropping classes

The University is allowing students to drop classes through the Friday of Week 14 (5pm, April 24) with a grade of W.  A W grade is not calculated in your cumulative GPA. There is no refund for dropped classes.

If you are supported as a GTA/GRA/GTI, please contact the Graduate School prior to dropping classes, if possible, to receive permission to be registered for less than 9 credits.

International students may drop below 9 credits in the spring 2020 semester while maintaining their student status.  If you have questions regarding your status, please contact International Programs and Services.

To drop a class, email the Registrar’s Office at making sure to include both the course information and your M number. The deadline for withdrawing from a single course with a W will be extended through Friday of week 14 (5pm, April 24). Please submit your request no later than 5pm.


If you would like to withdraw from all of your classes, please complete a Student Withdrawal form no later than 5pm on the Friday of week 14 (April 24).  You will receive a grade of W in all of your courses. There is no refund for your tuition if you withdraw.

If you are supported as a GTA/GRA/GTI, please contact the Graduate School prior to withdrawing, if possible.

International students should contact International Programs and Services to ensure that their student status and I-20 are updated.

Non-graded classes

The University Senate has passed a policy to allow undergraduate students to convert graded classes to non-graded classes (pass/fail). Graduate students will not be able to change the grading mode for their classes.  The Graduate School requires that classes earn a letter grade (A, B, etc.) in order to be used toward a graduate degree.

Each graduate program may allow up to six credits of BC or C grades to count toward a graduate degree. Please consult with your graduate program director to determine the academic standards in your program.

Student support

Our student support coordinator, Anna McClatchy, is available to help you find additional resources for your personal and academic concerns.  HuskyFAN is available to provide emergency food for those in need. Finally, Counseling Services is providing individual services, group sessions, and seminars through remote services and referrals. 

Academic grievances

If you have a grievance about any grades you have received this semester, please use the Academic Grievance policy to address these concerns.

Good standing

Graduate students must maintain good standing in order to continue pursuing a degree.  In general, this requires a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and making progress in research.  

A switch in academic standing from good to probationary status may occur after a poor academic performance. This is simply an indicator (or warning) that improvement is needed and has no impact on a student’s ability to participate in a degree program in the next semester.

However, if a student is currently on academic probation, continued poor performance would lead to academic suspension.  All students who are suspended are encouraged to appeal this decision so that they can remain active in their academic program.  The Graduate School reviews these appeals holistically and understands that it may have been an extra challenge to return to good standing this semester.

We are here to help.  Please let us know how we can assist you this semester. Please take care of yourself and your loved ones.


Graduate School

Academic Policies for Accelerated Master’s Students

Dear student,

Congratulations on being accepted into an accelerated master’s program at Michigan Tech for summer or fall 2020.  We hope that you and your family are doing well.

The University recently announced a policy allowing undergraduate students the option of converting letter grades to Pass/Fail for the spring semester due to the disruption caused by the novel coronavirus.  This communication will give you further information about that option and how it relates specifically to your enrollment in an accelerated master’s program.  

  • The accelerated master’s program allows you to double-count up to six credits of undergraduate courses toward your graduate degree, with the permission of your graduate program director.  
  • The Graduate School does not allow pass/fail grades (SCV/ECV) in courses to be used to satisfy degree requirements.  
  • Classes that have been converted to SCV/ECV grades will not be able to be used toward completion of your graduate degree.  
  • Each graduate program may allow up to six credits of BC or C grades to count toward a graduate degree. 
  • Please consult with your graduate program director to determine what options will best support your success in graduate school.

For more information about the pass/fail option for undergraduate students, please consult the University’s web site.

Please let us know if we can assist you in any way as you begin your career as a graduate student.


Michigan Tech Graduate School

Adjustments to dissertation, thesis, and report deadlines for spring 2020

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

In response to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, the Graduate School will be adjusting deadlines for completing a dissertation, thesis, or report for spring semester.

To successfully complete a research degree, students must complete the following items by deadlines established by the Graduate School:

  1. Pass their final oral examination (“defense”)
  2. Submit the Approval of a Dissertation, Thesis, or Report form
  3. Submit a committee-approved dissertation, thesis, or report to Digital Commons
  4. Submit a committee-approved dissertation or thesis to ProQuest (reports do not submit to ProQuest)

For the spring semester, the following deadlines will apply for the above items:

  1. To complete a degree in spring, the deadline is 4pm on April 27, 2020.  This is a one week extension from the normal deadline.
  2. To complete a degree in summer – at no additional cost – the deadline is 4pm on May 27, 2020.  This is a three week extension of the regular “grace” period. For students with a terminal degree who submit by this deadline:
    1. The Graduate School will enroll them in UN5951 – a 0 credit, no fee, no tuition course
    2. The Graduate School will request that students are coded as “off campus”
    3. No fees – for this semester – will be due when the document is accepted
    4. A provisional certification indicating degree completion can be provided.  Students request this on the Approval form.

Students unable to submit by May 27 who wish to complete their degree in the summer must register for at least one credit.  They will have until 4pm on August 10, 2020 to complete their defense and submit their document and associated paperwork.

Defenses should still be scheduled two weeks in advance and must include a public presentation. These presentations may be held using an online platform of the committee’s choice and the URL provided for public access will be publicized by the Graduate School.   Based on feedback we have received, we offer the following suggestions for your defense using Zoom:

  • The IT Knowledge Base on Conferencing includes answers to many of your questions. Contact IT if you need additional assistance (906-487-1111,
  • Set up your meeting to have a co-host so that a second person can start the meeting, mute participants with audio issues, or act as a moderator.
  • Set up your meeting to mute participants automatically when they join.
  • Set up your meeting to turn off video for participants to preserve bandwidth.
  • Share your slides and present as usual.
  • There are several options for asking questions during a Zoom webinar:
    • Participants can be encouraged to type questions in the chat window.  These can be answered in real-time or saved for the end.
    • Participants can “raise your hand” and then ask via chat, audio, or video.  It is helpful to have a friend or committee member be a moderator for this.
    • Participants can “unmute” themselves and simply ask their question. This is easier with a smaller group.
  • The “on-hold” feature may be used to exclude a participant from the audio and video feed, for example, while the committee is deliberating about the defense.

We hope that these adjustments will allow all students to complete their degree in a timely manner with less stress about registration and fee payment.

We are here to help.  Please let us know how we can assist you.


Graduate School

Data Incubator’s Summer 2020 Data Science Fellowship application is open

The Data Incubator’s Summer 2020 Data Science Fellowship application is open!

Program: The Data Incubator is an intensive 8 week fellowship that prepares masters students, PhDs, and postdocs in STEM and social science fields seeking industry careers as data scientists. The program is free for Fellows and supported by sponsorships from hundreds of employers across multiple industries. In response to the overwhelming interest in our earlier sessions, we will be holding another fellowship.

Who Should Apply: Anyone who has already obtained a masters or PhD degree or who is within one year of graduating with a masters or PhD is welcome to apply. Applications from international students are welcome.

Locations: You can attend our program in:

  • New York City
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Washington, DC.
  • Online

Application Link:

Session Dates: 2020-06-29 – 2020-08-21
Early Deadline: 2020-04-03
Regular Deadline: 2020-05-02
We are assessing and interviewing candidates who apply for the Early Deadline first and then based on remaining availability, will take candidates who applied for the Regular Deadline on a first-come first-serve basis.

Data Science in 30 minutes: Learn how to build a data-science project in our upcoming free Data Science in 30-minutes webcast. Signup soon as space is limited.

Learn More: You can learn about our fellows at The New York TimesLinkedInAmazonCapital One, or Palantir. To read about our latest fellow alumni, check out our blog. To learn more about The Data Incubator, check us out on Venture BeatThe Next Web, or Harvard Business Review.

Volunteering as a graduate student

An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education recently advocated for volunteering as a graduate student. While it might seem counter-intuitive to work for free while being a student, the author presents several great reasons why volunteering can help you build your professional skills and expand your professional and personal network.

Participating in activities outside of graduate school can help refresh your mind and spirit. There is nothing quite like the “real world” to remind you that your graduate school experience is special and that you are doing amazing things. Whether it is volunteering or participating in a campus activity, a small amount of time away from your studies can have a big impact on your frame of reference and mood.

How to prepare for a career beyond academia

Whether your goal is an academic or non-academic position after attainment of your graduate degree, building skills outside of your degree requirements is an important part of your career preparation.

In this interview with Dr. Paula Chambers, founder of The Versatile PhD, Dr. Chambers explores:

  • Whether an academic career is a realistic expectation
  • Skills that you can build in graduate school that will strengthen your job applications
  • How to make your resume concrete by counting everything

As you build your non-academic skills, such as marketing or web development, you may find out more about yourself and projects you enjoy. This can further your professional development by helping you to explore new career opportunities.

Nominations open for summer 2020 fellowships from The DeVlieg Foundation

Due to the generous support of The DeVlieg Foundation, the Graduate School is happy to accept nominations for 2020 summer fellowships.

All graduate programs may nominate one eligible PhD student per program.  The recipient will  receive a stipend for summer 2020 plus tuition support (one credit or three research credits for PhD candidates).  Eligible students will meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Must be a graduate student in the field supported by the DeVlieg Foundation:
    1. Biology/wildlife (2020 Summer Research Award in Biology/Wildlife)
  2. Must be a US citizen or permanent resident.
  3. Must be enrolled in a PhD program.
  4. Must be nominated by student’s graduate program.  Each PhD program may nominate one student.
  5. Must not be supported by another funding mechanism while supported by The DeVlieg Foundation (part-time job, fellowship, GTA, GRA, etc.).

Nominations are due no later than 4pm on February 26, 2020 to the Graduate School. Please submit as a PDF file sent to

Please see our web page for details on the application procedure and materials needed.  Each program may determine its own internal selection procedure.

Please contact the Graduate School with any questions.

Parental Accommodation for Graduate Students

Having a family and pursuing a PhD is balancing act. I’ve given birth to 3 precious girls while pursuing my PhD. The parental accommodation policy at Michigan Tech has helped me embrace and enjoy my personal life without feeling pressure to finish my degree. I will finally graduate this semester!

Being a graduate student is challenging.  When coupled with becoming a new parent, that challenge can be overwhelming.  To assist graduate students who are new parents, the Graduate School has a parental accommodation policy;  in place since 2010.  This policy grants eligible students:

  • a six-week excused absence from classes,  
  • a one-semester extension for a student’s time-to-degree limit, 
  • a one-semester extension for completion of a qualifying exam,  
  • a one-semester extension for completion of a proposal defense, and 
  • guarantees that no student will be penalized financially during the period of accommodation.

This policy applies to graduate students who:

  • have new childcare or related responsibilities due to a recent or upcoming birth or placement of a child under four years of age in the home for the purposes of adoption
  • are the primary caregiver for the child or children new to the home
  • are enrolled full-time at Michigan Tech
  • are in good academic standing
  • have completed at least one full-time semester at Michigan Tech.

Funding may be available from the Graduate School to Department Chairs, School Deans, Graduate Program Directors, and Principal Investigators who must hire a temporary replacement for a student who has been granted an excused absence under the parental accommodation policy.

The Parental Accommodation policy has been in place since 2010. Graduate students who have availed themselves of this benefit have found it to be very helpful at a critical period in their lives.  

One student said, “Returning to work and school right after having a baby is not an easy job. This opportunity to have 6 weeks of parental leave helped me to cope well with my new status. Especially because it provides excused absences in which one can ask to extend course completion which is the peace of mind. Without having this leave, I cannot imagine how I could continue my studies with no complications. I appreciate MTU graduate school to provide this accommodation for new parents. And I encourage all grad students who are considering to become parents to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Another commented, “Having a family and pursuing a PhD is balancing act. I’ve given birth to 3 precious girls while pursuing my PhD. The parental accommodation policy at Michigan Tech has helped me embrace and enjoy my personal life without feeling pressure to finish my degree. I will finally graduate this semester!”

Editing Services

The English Language Institute now provides editing services to all members of the campus community with the following options:

  • Copy editing (grammar, spelling, punctuation, flow, readability) for when quick turnaround is needed
  • Face-to-face editing conferences for long-term writing improvement
  • Editing workshops for small groups and research teams, tailor-made for your writing context

Editing services are provided by highly qualified English language instructors with expertise in grammar, writing and language instruction. Service rates are $25 per hour. Requests for editing can be made here.

Request a workshop by emailing (1.5 hours of preparation billed for each hour of workshop).

Summer 2020 PHF Graduate Assistantship Nominations Open

Applications for summer 2020 PHF Graduate Assistantships are being accepted and are due no later than 4pm, March 3, 2020 to the Graduate School. Instructions on the application and evaluation process are found online. Students are eligible if all of the following criteria are met:

  1. Must be a PhD student participating in health-related research that is aligned with the PHF’s mission.
  2. Must be eligible for or in Research Mode at the time of application.
  3. Must be 2 years after starting the graduate program at the time of application.
  4. Must not be a prior recipient of a PHF Graduate Assistantship.

Priority will be given to students originally from Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, or Ontonagon counties. Non-resident students and international students are encouraged to apply if their health research is applicable to health needs and job shortages of our local community (obesity research, rural health, medical informatics, drug delivery and lab testing, physical therapy, etc.).

These assistantships are available through the generosity of the Portage Health Foundation. They are intended to recognize outstanding PhD talent in health-oriented research areas. Applicants should be a catalyst for promoting and improving the overall health of Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, and Ontonagon communities through one of the following:

  • health research and technology development
  • health education or preventive and wellness initiatives
  • rural healthcare access, informatics, and assessment of care

Students who receive full support through a PHF Graduate Assistantship may not accept any other employment. For example, students cannot be fully supported by a PHF Graduate Assistantship and accept support as a GTA or GRA.