The GradCURRENTS Guide to The Graduate School

Written by Chris Pasion, graduate assistant to The Graduate School.

The glass dome of Van Wormer Hall, where The Graduate School office is located.

The glass dome of Van Wormer Hall, where The Graduate School office is located.

The Graduate School is the centralized office that oversees all graduate programs (of which, there are over 370). The Graduate School also offers a plethora of professional development opportunities and online resources to aid in your holistic growth during your graduate school experience at UC.

Professional Development

The Graduate School hosts a myriad of professional development opportunities for students looking to work on their leadership skills, speaking and writing abilities, interpersonal communication expertise, and more. Take advantage of these opportunities while working on your degree to help bolster your research, practice your presentation skills, and find ways to build your experience into a career.

The Graduate Student Expo

A student presenting a bulletin board at the Grad Student Expo.

In the spring semester of each year, The Graduate School hosts the Graduate Student Expo, an exhibition that gives students a platform to showcase their research and scholarship. The Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) is the heart of this expo, where scholars from any given field are challenged to present their work to an audience of their peers, professors, and other professionals. Presenters are limited to just one static Powerpoint slide to represent their work; the rest is up to oral presentation skills. The stakes are high at 3MT – a $2,000 cash prize will be distributed amongst the top three presenters of the expo.

The deadline to apply to be a presenter at the 3MT competition has passed, but, for an incredible learning experience, plan on attending as a member of the audience. The 2020 Graduate Student Expo will take place at the 1819 Innovation Hub on February 20, 2020.

Preparing Future Faculty

The Preparing Future Faculty program (PFF) is a professional development program that develops the next generation of teachers and instructors to make them ready for their future career. This program consists of a two-course sequence to educate attendees on effective, theory-based teaching practices (PD 8041; offered in the fall) and on navigating the academic job search (PD 8042; offered in the spring). The program is designed to be completed without adding any time to degree.

In addition to the five credit-hour courseload, students are required to attend workshops centered on building various teaching and presentation skills, as well as take part in reading groups. Near the end of the PFF program, students work with a higher-education faculty member as a part of the Mentorship Experience. The student and mentor work collaboratively to further explore the education discipline and reflect on their PFF experience.


A group of students working together at a workshop.

Outside of the Graduate Student Expo and PFF program, The Graduate School organizes various workshops each semester to strengthen attendees' professional and personal development. The workshops are oftentimes led by faculty members on campus who are sharing their expertise in a nonacademic setting. These sessions are designed to coincide with each of the aforementioned professional development functions, but any student is welcomed to attend them, even if you are not participating in 3MT or the PFF program.

The subjects of these workshops are wide-ranging; past sessions have focused on presentation skills, financial literacy, writing practices, self-marketing methods, and many more. If you have an idea for a workshop that you think would add be beneficial, send your suggestion over to

Awards, Scholarships, and Online Resources

The Graduate School also supports students through various awards, fellowships, and scholarships. These funds help to enrich the gradute community through recognizing outstanding graduate achievement, acknowledging excellent leadership, including numerous underrepresented communities, and more. Learn more specifics about the awards and scholarship opportunities offered by The Graduate School by visiting the awards website. You can also find more award opportunities at UC by visiting the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards' website.

The Graduate School website is also a great resource for keeping up-to-date on upcoming deadlines, finding your program administrative contacts, and learning how to get involved in the programs and sessions we offer. Doing so will help you make the most of your graduate experience here at UC!

Common Misconceptions about The Graduate School Office

The Graduate School has in-house advisors for each program.

No, we do not. If you need advising help with your program (i.e. curriculum, scholarships, GA appointments, etc.) you should reach out to your program administrators. A full list of these for each program can be found at The Graduate School's contacts page.

The Graduate School office makes admissions and graduation decisions.

Once again, these determinations are up to your program administrators. Our office processes transcripts and keeps records, but all decisions regarding acceptance and completion of degrees or certificates are made by individual programs. 

The Graduate School is just graduate admissions.

False! The Graduate School does a lot of behind-the-scenes work, from program review and approval, training of new program administrators on policy, helping with graduation and commencement, etc. 

The Graduate School plans and coordinates the Commencement Ceremony. 

Our office helps to facilitate the event, but all of the planning and details is handled by the Commencement Office.

The Graduate School oversees all financial aid to graduate students.

The Financial Aid office handles everything regarding loans. Our office just allocates scholarship and assistantship funds to the colleges.            

The Graduate School confirms enrollment/degree confirmation and provides the transcript.

Nope, this is all handled by the Registrar. Visit their transcript ordering page for instructions on how to send out your official UC transcript. 

If you have any further questions, call us at 513-556-4335 or visit us in 110 Van Wormer!