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UCF - Graduate Program Handbooks 2016-2017


The instructions below are to be used by handbook editors as a reference guide to the "smartforms". All other visitors may view the program handbooks at

For help formatting your content in the smartform, please see the Handbook Quick Reference.


Promoting student success is a primary goal at UCF. This serves in the best interest of the students as well as the university. The Graduate Handbook Template was created to serve as a guide for departments, units and programs to improve or develop handbooks for their graduate students. The objective of the graduate handbook is to be effective in providing direction and guidance to graduate students that will lead to their success. Since the Graduate Catalog serves as a source for general polices, it does not explain in great detail the program polices and procedures and the intricacies that play into them. As a supplement to the Graduate Catalog, the Graduate Handbook is more detailed and specific to the student and their program.

The objective is to help students understand the process of completing a graduate education at UCF, provide information on resources that will help them develop academically and professionally, and to define all expectations required to complete the degree program by making the implicit explicit. The handbook will also serve as a reference tool to guide graduate students through their graduate program and help students stay on track for degree completion.

The Graduate Catalog is the university’s official record of graduate policies, and the Graduate Student handbooks must be consistent with university policy. In the graduate handbook reference directly to the Graduate Catalog on polices that are comprehensive and intricate in detail. Give a short description of the policy and provide the direct website link to the section of that particular policy. Handbooks must also include the following disclaimer. “The UCF Graduate Catalog is the university’s official record of graduate policies. In any case where this handbook appears to disagree with the Graduate Catalog, the Graduate Catalog is the final authority.”

Provide the graduate handbook to new students before or soon after their arrival on campus. This will help them to acclimate and become familiar with the endeavor of pursuing a graduate education at UCF. Consider covering the most important contents of the handbook in an orientation for new students, emphasizing the first year. This practice establishes an official effort by the program to inform students of all program requirements and informs the students of their responsibilities.

Although all sections may not be relevant to every graduate program, we hope that this template will facilitate and encourage the development and improvement of graduate handbooks. If you have any questions about the content of this template, please do not hesitate to contact Kelley Rasgaitis at or 407-823-3530.

Mission Statement

The mission statement describes the purpose, focus, role, goals, and direction of the program. Students should understand how the programs offered relate to the program’s scholarly and research efforts. The mission statement should explain how graduate students fit in the efforts of the program. See example below.

Mission Statement: Excerpt from the University of Central Florida, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Electrical Engineering Graduate Handbook February 2006

The mission of the MS degree program is to provide students with an in-depth education geared toward meeting the needs of business and industry in Florida and throughout the U.S. Our goal is to produce graduates with a good, solid understanding of Electrical Engineering with strong emphasis on at least one of the major areas of focus in the Electrical Engineering program, such as electronics, power electronics, microelectronics, controls, communications, digital signal processing, electro magnetics, and optics. Such graduates will be prepared to continue studies towards a PhD or directly enter industry or government positions.

The mission of the PhD program is to produce professionals trained at the highest possible academic level in the theory and practice of Electrical Engineering to meet current and projected market demand for Electrical Engineering experts. Our PhD students graduate with proven abilities in research and instruction, suitable to make immediate contributions in academia, industry and government, conducting original research in the area of Electrical Engineering and its allied disciplines, and educating others in the discipline.


Advising and mentoring are two very important elements in a graduate student’s career, and it is essential that appropriate advising, supervision and mentoring be provided to students as soon as they begin the program. Graduate students typically receive guidance from two advisers with distinct roles. The general adviser provides guidance on overall academic requirements, program and university policies and procedures, while the thesis or dissertation adviser serves more as a mentor providing guidance on research, professional guidance and socialization, and other areas of academic and professional interest. In this section, it is important to distinguish between the two, if such exists in the program.

Provide the following information:

  • Define the adviser’s role and responsibilities.
  • Define the student’s responsibility. Make reference to the section titled Student’s Responsibility in the Graduate Catalog, located under General Policies - > Policies > General Graduate Policies > Student Responsibilities.
  • Explain how students acquire or are assigned a thesis/dissertation adviser and/or the process for identifying an advisor.
  • Provide the timeline for identifying a research mentor/adviser.
  • Provide the policy for changing thesis and dissertation advisers.