GUIDANCE MANUAL FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS AND THEIR ADVISORS
Academic Year 2015-2016
Environmental Engineering Program
GRADUATE STUDENT HANDBOOK
Environmental Engineering Program
261 Glenbrook Road, U-3037
Storrs, CT 06269-2037
Tel: (860) 486-3548
Fax: (860) 486-2298
Table of Contents
In a world undergoing rapid urban and ecological transformation, the role of environmental engineers has become increasingly prominent, as evidenced by the increasing demand among private companies and government agencies for qualified and competent environmental engineers on their staff. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides details information on salaries and employment outlook for environmental engineers in the United States (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes172081.htm) and indicates that the projected job growth over the next decade will be +15%, faster than the average growth of all occupations.
A typical definition for Environmental Engineering is that it involves “Research, design, plan, or perform engineering duties in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental hazards using various engineering disciplines” (BLS, 2014). We promote environmentally sustainable human activity by providing engineering solutions that minimize adverse impacts on the natural environment, and by devising effective strategies for resource recapture, reuse, and cleanup. Environmental engineers help prevent pollution and improve the health and safety of all species through the design of pollutant collection and treatment processes for air, water, wastewater, and solid and hazardous wastes.
The Graduate Environmental Engineering Program at UConn goes beyond the traditional scope and addressing the pressing challenges of water management, climate change and associated natural hazards, and the need for renewable energy sources. UConn ENVE faculty have multidisciplinary backgrounds and conduct research in areas as diverse as contaminant fate and transport, groundwater hydrology and geophysics, air pollution, climate change and natural hazards, water resources management and public health, microbial fuel cells and solar energy. The graduate programs offered thus reflect this multidisciplinary nature, incorporating elements of these areas in the course offered and potential topics for research.
The purpose of this handbook is to provide information to prospective and current graduate students in the Environmental Engineering Program with respect to the following topics:
Check the Graduate School website for a complete list of requirements http://grad.uconn.edu/prospective-students/admissions-requirements/
A M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering or related field is desired for admission to the Ph.D. program. Direct admission into the Ph.D. program with only a B.S. degree is possible with the following provisions:
Students in the Ph.D. program that do not hold a previous M.S. degree may be awarded an M.S. during their studies after passing their qualifying exam.
Students with non-engineering degrees that are admitted to the MS program have to take the following courses, or demonstrate proficiency in:
All applications for graduate study at UConn must be submitted using our online application system. Visit the Graduate School website for additional details http://grad.uconn.edu/prospective-students/applying-to-uconn/
In general, the following documentation is required
The deadline for applications to the M.S. and Ph.D. programs is January 15th for fall admissions and October 15th for spring admissions.
Financial aid may be offered in the form of Graduate Assistantships. An assistantship is awarded to a graduate student who provides teaching (teaching assistantship: TA) or research (research assistantship: RA) support to his/her academic program. In recognition of this support, the tuition and a portion of health care (but not fees) are provided by the grant/contract funding agency or through the University. Additional information is provided by the Graduate School
Admission to the M.S. or Ph.D. programs does not guarantee the award of financial aid. Assistantships are offered based on availability and merit, and often depend on funding from individual faculty advisors. Assistantships are awarded on a yearly basis and continuity of funding at the same level is not guaranteed by the program.
Assistantships may be offered at various levels, corresponding to 10, 15 and 20 hours of weekly duties. The level of compensation depends on the level of the student (M.S. (level I), Ph.D. (level II) and Ph.D. who passed the qualifying exam (level III)) and is set by University policies on a yearly basis. Summer salary is not covered by assistantships and is provided at the discretion of individual advisors, depending on availability. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is necessary to award and maintain a graduate assistantship.
The terms for graduate assistantships are regulated by the contract between the university and the Graduate Student Union. Information on the contract and the activities of the Union are provided on their website (http://www.uconngradunion.org/). Additional information on payroll authorization and related questions are provided by the Payroll Department (http://payroll.uconn.edu/PY/for_employees/graduate_assistants.html). Specific questions not addressed in these two websites may also be directed to Althea Lozefski, the Administrative Assistant of the ENVE program (see Contact Information).
It is important to note that the terms of graduate assistantships and especially research assistantships do not cover the obligations of graduate students towards progressing in their own research, applicable to M.S. Plan A and Ph.D. students. It is at the discretion of the graduate student and their advisor to agree on the terms and timeline of the research plan and thesis requirements.
In addition to assistantships, travel funds are available to doctoral students who have passed their qualifying exam to participate in professional meetings and present their research. Students may fill out the relevant form found on the Graduate School website (http://grad.uconn.edu/current-students/forms/) which contains detailed instructions.
The Environmental Engineering Program offers three types of graduate degrees: 1. M.S. Plan A 2. M.S. Plan B 3. Ph.D
All degrees are offered in one of three areas of concentration, as described below. It should be noted that the list of courses is indicative; depending on the research focus of a particular student, it is possible that courses from several areas or other programs are used towards the degree. Students should consult with their graduate advisor on course selection. However, it should be demonstrated in the Plan of Study that the selected courses are relevant to the Environmental Engineering discipline. Descriptions for all graduate courses are available in the Graduate Catalog (http://gradcatalog.uconn.edu/fields-of-study/).
Students completing this track will gain knowledge in meteorology and atmospheric science, will be able to quantify how species move in the atmosphere, understand climate and its forcings; be able to make atmospheric measurements (meteorological and sampling for gaseous and aerosol pollutants); and obtain knowledge of atmospheric chemical processes. Entering students should have basic quantitative skills (math and statistics) and completed courses in introductory hydrology (large-scale fluid motion) and chemistry. Students that lack sufficient science background may take one of the following undergraduate courses:
Graduate-level courses in this track include
Students completing this track will gain knowledge and skills in measurement and modeling of primary hydrologic processes taking place at the atmosphere-surface interface (precipitation, energy balance), related to overland flows and sediment transport, and to vadose zone and groundwater flow and contaminant transport. Students will acquire experience in hydrologic site characterization and monitoring methods. Entering students should have basic quantitative skills (physics, math and statistics) and completed courses in introductory hydrology and geology.
Graduate-level courses in this track include
The focus of this track is on the characterization and measurement of chemical, biological, physical and climatological processes that control the fate of contaminants in natural and engineered systems. Such processes also form the basis of technologies for the treatment and remediation of contaminants in aquatic systems and prevent contaminants from harming human health. In addition, such processes may constitute the basis for technologies that minimize human impact on the environment, including resource recovery and energy production. Students completing this track will gain knowledge and skills that will allow them to identify, quantify, and ultimately control, the biological, geological and chemical reactive processes in the environment in order to restore/maintain soil and water quality, protect human health and minimize resource utilization. Graduate level courses in this track include
Detailed information is available on the Graduate School website http://grad.uconn.edu/current-students/registration/. Students should consult with their major advisor prior to the beginning of the semester with respect to course selection. Registration then is facilitated online through the Student Administration System (Peoplesoft). The NetID and associated password are necessary to log into the system. Registration is possible through the tenth day of the Fall and Spring semesters; however, students are advised to enroll in courses before the first day of classes.
Students on graduate assistantships MUST enroll in a minimum of 6 credits; for international students, 9 credits are necessary to maintain full-time status. If students are enrolled in 3 or 6 credits of coursework, they may use GRAD 5950 (Master’s Thesis Research for plan A students) or GRAD 6950 (Doctoral Dissertation Research for Ph.D. students) to reach the necessary 9 credits. For students that have completed all coursework, they may use GRAD 5960 Full-time Master’s research or GRAD 6960 Full time Doctoral Research to maintain full time status until they complete their thesis/dissertation.
The two-year M.S. in Environmental Engineering has as its primary objective the development of students’ understanding of the subject matter through an emphasis on either research (Plan A) or a comprehensive understanding of a more general nature (Plan B). The M.S. can lead to a professional career in environmental engineering and can be considered a prerequisite for application to Ph. D. programs.
All MS students are required to take the following core courses:
The remaining courses may be related to one of the three areas of concentration, as described above. The Graduate School allows for up to 6 credits of 3000 or 4000 level courses that may be counted towards the graduate degree, while all other courses must be at the 5000 or 6000 level.
A Plan of Study must be prepared and signed by the student and the members of the advisory committee, and submitted no later than the beginning of their final semester to The Graduate School. The Master’s Plan of Study form is available on the Graduate School website (http://grad.uconn.edu/current-students/forms/). All M.S. students have to maintain a GPA of 3.0 to maintain their status in the program. Failure to meet this standard triggers a probationary of period of one semester, after which the student is subject to dismissal.
A total of 30 credits are required for graduation, with a minimum of 21 credits of coursework in Environmental Engineering or related area and a minimum of 9 credits of Master’s Thesis Research (GRAD 5950). A student may enroll in GRAD 5950 credits at any time during the M.S. degree and it is their responsibility to coordinate with their research advisor (and secondarily, with their research committee) on the research plan and requirements for graduation.
A plan A M.S. requires the submission of an M.S. Thesis and an oral defense for graduation. The oral defense fulfills the role of the final examination for the M.S. degree. Two forms have to be submitted to the Graduate School for graduation:
The thesis has to be submitted to the Library both electronically and in one paper copy, as instructed in the checklist. Guidelines for thesis preparation and electronic submission are available in http://digitalcommons.uconn.edu/gs_theses/guidelines.html.
The scope, content and length of the M.S. thesis results from the agreement between the research advisor and the student. An advisory committee of at least two additional faculty members will also weigh in on the originality and quality of the thesis prior to graduation. In general, the thesis should be present the methodology and results of novel, independent research conducted by the student. Thus, plan A M.S. theses cannot be solely literature reviews or replicate research already published in the scientific literature. As a standard, the M.S. thesis should constitute the basis for a journal paper submission and may be structured as such.
A total of 30 credits are required for plan B Master’s, with a minimum of 27 credits of coursework in Environmental Engineering or related area. The remaining credits may be used towards additional courses or towards a research project as Graduate Independent Study in Environmental Engineering (ENVE 5020).
The final examination for a plan B Master’s is an oral or written exam on three core courses of Environmental Engineering: ENVE 5310 and two additional ENVE courses selected by the student. The oral exam will take place in the final semester before graduation and it will be administered by the advisory committee that will sign the Plan of Study and the Report on the Final Examination.
The requirements of the Graduate School for the Ph.D. degree may be found under http://gradcatalog.uconn.edu/grad-school-info/standards-degree-requirements/#DocPhil.
If a student is admitted to the Ph.D. program with only a B.S. degree, at least 30 credits of coursework are required. If the student has a M.S. degree, the minimum requirement is 15 credits. However, if the M.S. degree is in a field other than Environmental Engineering, the ENVE Graduate Admissions committee will determine the minimum number of credits required for coursework. All Ph.D. students have to maintain a GPA of 3.0 to maintain their status in the program. Failure to meet this standard triggers a probationary of period of one semester, after which the student is subject to dismissal.
All Ph.D. students are required to take or demonstrate proficiency in the following courses prior to taking the General Exam:
The advisory committee may substitute the above with equivalent courses. The remaining credits may be taken in one of the three areas of concentration described previously. No more than 6 credits of 3000 or 4000 level courses may be used towards the degree. When the student has completed 18 credits of course work a Plan of Study has to be filed with the Graduate School (download from http://grad.uconn.edu/current-students/forms/ and choose Plan of Study for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy).
The General Exam is taken after a minimum of two and a maximum of four semesters after admission into the Ph.D. program. An approved Plan of Study must be filed with the Graduate School before the general exam can be taken. The Environmental Engineering Program administers the General Exam as an oral examination, which is administered twice a year, in December or January and in May. The purpose of the oral examination is to test student mastery of core environmental engineering concepts and student ability to integrate concepts across disciplinary areas.
Assessment: Students will be assessed on the thoroughness of their conceptual approach, the clarity of their explanation, the accuracy of their answers to examiners’ questions, the depth of knowledge of core environmental engineering concepts and the ability to interconnect concepts across environmental engineering including potential water management implications.
A student can take the General Exam twice, if the examination committee allows for a re-take. If the student fails the exam a second time, they are dismissed from the Ph.D. program. Students dismissed may acquire an M.S. degree, upon fulfillment of the appropriate requirements.
A doctoral student, in conjunction with his/her major advisor, forms an advisory committee consisting of the major advisor and at least two (but in most cases four) associate advisors with suitable academic or scientific credentials. This committee oversees and mentors the student throughout the duration of the student’s degree track. Members of the committee must be active participants in each milestone event and their original signatures of approval are required on all Graduate School necessary documents.
The topic of the dissertation research is agreed upon by the major advisor and the Ph.D. student. If the student is funded by a Research Assistantship, the topic of the research project and the dissertation may, but not necessarily, overlap. The research should be original and eventually published in peer-review journals. As a requirement for graduation, a Ph.D. student must have three journal papers: one published or accepted for publication, one under review and one in the final stages of preparation. However, it is important that the three papers address a larger, coherent research question (as outlined in the Dissertation Proposal below) and they are not isolated bodies of work.
The dissertation proposal is a document that outlines the proposed research for the dissertation and has to be compiled and approved before the research is well underway. It is recommended that the dissertation proposal is submitted for approval in the following semester after a student passes their General Exam, but the maximum time is one year after the General Exam. The proposal consists of the submission of a written document to the advisory committee and an oral presentation to the committee. The written proposal and the appropriate form have to be submitted to the Graduate School for approval. The Dissertation Proposal form is signed by the advisory committee and the ENVE Program Director. Instructions for the preparation of the proposal are provided in the form.
In general, the dissertation proposal addresses the following questions:
A suggested outline for a Dissertation Proposal includes:
Checklist for Dissertation Proposal
Information on the dissertation preparation and scheduling of the oral defense is provided at http://grad.uconn.edu/current-students/doctoral-degree-program/dissertation-information/
The dissertation may conform to one of two general formats:
In this case, each journal paper is a separate chapter, with its contents presented as sub-chapters. An introductory chapter and a conclusions chapter should be prepared in addition to the manuscripts. These will explain the common thread between the papers, in terms of rationale and methodology (introductory chapter) and big-picture conclusions and recommendations (conclusion chapter).
The graduation requirement of the ENVE program to produce three journal papers (one accepted/published, one in review and one in final preparation) renders option B more attractive. However, the format of the dissertation results from the agreement between the major advisor and the Ph.D. candidate.
An electronic and one printed copy of the dissertation have to be submitted to the Graduate School. Information is supplied in the Dissertation Submission Checklist form and in the Digital Commons website http://digitalcommons.uconn.edu/dissertations/guidelines.html
Formatting guidelines are provided in http://grad.uconn.edu/current-students/doctoral-degree-program/specifications-for-doctoral-dissertation-preparation/.
Before you can schedule the oral defense, you have to obtain tentative dissertation approval from all members of the advisory committee. It is advised that you circulate the working draft of the dissertation at least one month prior to the desired defense date, as at least two weeks are required to announce the defense and another to weeks should be extended to the committee for review.
The oral defense of the dissertation must be announced publically by means of the University’s online Events Calendar at least two (2) weeks prior to the date of the defense. For announcements, contact Althea Lozefski. You should be book CAST 306 well in advance to insure availability. Provide Althea with the title, date and time, advisory committee member list and abstract for the defense. For the UConn Events Calendar, directions are provided in the Dissertation Information link provided above.
At this time, electronic tentative approval of the dissertation and an electronic working copy of the entire dissertation must be filed with The Graduate School.
Not fewer than five (5) members of the faculty, including all members of the candidate’s advisory committee, must participate in the final examination.
The oral defense entails three sections:
Degree conferral requires that the student be in good academic standing and that all requirements for the degree have been completed satisfactorily by the deadline specified in The Graduate School’s Academic Calendar. Degrees are conferred three (3) times each year in August, December, and May. However, the only graduate Commencement ceremony is held annually in May. Students who qualify for degree conferral receive their diplomas by mail, normally within three (3) months following conferral.
Application for the Degree
Formal application for a degree to be conferred must be filed online by the degree candidate using the Student Administration System. Information and instructions can be found on http://grad.uconn.edu/current-students/apply-for-graduation/ . If filing is not timely, conferral is delayed to the next conferral period, even though all other degree requirements may have been completed on time.
The graduate Commencement ceremony is held once each year at the end of the spring semester. Individuals who have had degrees conferred at the end of the previous summer or fall semester, and candidates for degrees who complete degree requirements by the end of the spring semester may participate in the annual Commencement ceremony. Academic regalia appropriate for the University of Connecticut degree being conferred is strictly required for all who participate in the ceremony. Information concerning the Commencement ceremony, including academic regalia and guest tickets, is made available by the mid-spring semester.
Students may check the Academic Calendar of the Graduate School (http://gradcatalog.uconn.edu/grad-school-info/academic-calendar/ ) for actual dates. The overall schedule is as follows:
Commencement – typically the first Saturday in May. In 2016, the date for the Graduate School is May 7th, 2016 1-3 pm.
One day before commencement = Final date to submit final MS thesis and Ph.D. dissertation copies to Library, and any documentation to Graduation School for degree conferral
Two weeks before commencement = Last day to hold MS or PhD defense for May graduation
Four weeks before commencement = Last day to announce the Ph.D. thesis defense date (you should have scheduled this with your committee in advance of this date)
The above means that you have to have tentative approval of the Ph.D. dissertation by early April, so that a working draft should be ready by mid-March. For M.S. theses, a working draft should be disseminated to the committee by early April.
There is no commencement in December; the conferral date is in the third week of December. Similar to May, the final submission date for thesis and dissertations is one or two days before the conferral data, last day to hold defense two weeks before the conferral date (beginning of December) and last day to schedule defense four weeks before the conferral date (mid-November).
The August conferral date is typically in the 3rd week of August and similar dates hold.
Uconn has established Safety Policies, Programs and Procedures to promote safety to the public at the university. This has been developed by Uconn’s Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S), a Division of Health and Environmental Public Safety. EH&S provides these Policies, Programs and Procedures in response to regulatory requirements and/or University committee decisions. Therefore, these items are MANDATORY in nature, and must be followed by all departments and individuals to ensure compliance for laboratory safety access at UConn. At the request of CEE faculty, a formal departmental policy has been developed in order to be able to communicate to various entities requesting laboratory access. This document articulates some basic elements for this policy. It may be found on the departmental website http://cee.engr.uconn.edu/about-us/infrastructure/cee-laboratory-access-and-key-distribution-policy
In general, access to Environmental Engineering Labs requires: