NAVIGATING YOUR DEGREE
Important To-Do List
As a graduate student at WSU, there are several important tasks that you should begin working on as soon as possible when you start your program or arrive on campus to begin your academic journey. These To-Dos are highlighted below.
- 1) Establish Residency
- 2) Identify Advisor and Mentors
- 3) Create Program of Study
- 4) Enroll in Research Credits
- 5) Required Trainings
- 5) Get Involved
1) Establish Washington State Residency (applies only to domestic students)*
Establishing residency in the state of Washington can save you a significant amount of money – namely the out-of-state portion of your tuition. Current tuition rates are listed here. For students on an assistantship, the out-of-state tuition is covered by the tuition waiver during their first year of study. For subsequent years, the student will be responsible for covering the out-of-state portion of the tuition if residency has not been established by August of your second year of study.
You must begin the process of establishing residency as soon as you arrive in Washington and establish a domicile. The documentation to demonstrate eligibility for residency spans a 12-month period. There are several types of documents and registrations that are required. Full details are listed on the Graduate School web site. Residency requirements are also covered in the Graduate School orientation and you should complete this orientation section before the first day of classes. Please note that the requirements and deadlines for residency are established by the state of Washington, not WSU.
*International students are ineligible for WA state residency. However, international students on assistantships receive a tuition waiver that covers the in-state and out-of-state portions of the tuition.
All students on any type of assistantship are required to establish a residence (or domicile) in the state of Washington to be eligible for the tuition waiver associated with the assistantship. This is a requirement of the RCW (Revised Code of Washington) state law and applies to U.S. and international students.
2) Identify advising and mentoring resources
At the time of your admission or arrival at WSU, you may have been assigned a temporary faculty advisor (often the director of the graduate program). This is a good person to seek guidance from on your courses and academic plans for your first or second semester in graduate school, until you choose a permanent advisor/mentor who will become the chair of your faculty advisory committee. Conversely, you may have been recruited to your graduate program to work with a specific faculty member. Again, this faculty member is an important source of guidance to set you on the right course as you begin your academic journey.
There are other valuable resources for advising and mentoring on many aspects related to success in graduate studies. Talk to the professors teaching your courses; get to know them beyond the material covered in lecture. Most programs have a staff person (academic coordinator or program coordinator) who will assist you with information about the program, policies, procedures, and paperwork. Get to know this person well! Senior students are also a good resource. Seek formal and informal mentors and ask questions about course offerings, professional development opportunities, research expectations and program norms and traditions. The individuals you connect with early in your career at WSU will likely remain resources of support and information throughout and beyond your graduate studies.
Every student needs a faculty advisory committee. The committee chair is your primary advisor and mentor, who can help guide you on your choice of courses and areas of research, scholarship, or creative activity. You should have regular, frequent conversations and meetings with your committee chair. The expectations of mentorship from your committee chair are described in the Graduate School policies and procedures manual (Chapter 1.D.4).
At the beginning of each semester, it is important to have a detailed discussion with your advisor on the expectations associated with assistantship duties and research credits for that semester. This conversation should address, as appropriate:
1) the duties and expected outcomes for the student to successfully complete the assistantship and be reviewed favorably for continued support; and 2) the goals, results, and milestones that the student must accomplish to earn a satisfactory (S) grade for research credits. A best practice is to summarize this discussion in a written document agreed upon by both parties.
The faculty advisory committee must contain at least two additional WSU faculty members. You should refer to your program’s graduate student handbook for specific details on how committees are chosen or assigned, and which faculty can serve on committees. You should also consult the relevant chapters in the Graduate School policies and procedures manual (Chapters 7 and 8 for master’s and doctoral students, respectively). At a minimum, you should hold annual committee meetings; more frequent meetings are encouraged if needed. The responsibility of your committee is to provide advice and guidance on your academic and research progress; this can only be done effectively if there are open lines of communication and interaction between you and your committee members.
3) Creating a Program of Study
The Program of Study is an official form filed with the Graduate School that specifies the faculty on your advisory committee, including the chair and which courses you will need to successfully complete to obtain your degree. In short, this form is a contract between you and your advisor, committee, graduate program leadership and the Graduate School regarding your degree requirements. We recommend you complete and file this Program before your third semester as a graduate student. At the very latest, the Program of Study must be submitted early (October 1 or February 1) in the semester before you intend to take your final exam (master’s students) or preliminary exam (for advancement to candidacy for doctoral students). For example, if the relevant exam occurs during the Spring semester, the Program of Study must be submitted by October 1 of the preceding Fall semester. The academic coordinator and graduate handbook for your graduate program are important resources on the specific details for when and how to file your Program of Study. Further information is also available in the Graduate School policy and procedure manual (Chapter 6.G, and Chapter 7.C for master’s students and Chapter 8.C for doctoral students).
4) Enroll in research credits (700/702/800)
All graduate degrees require the completion of a specified number of credits at the 700 level (master’s) or 800 level (doctoral).
For non-thesis master’s degrees, the minimum requirement is three or four hours of 701 or 702 credit, respectively. Professionally oriented master’s students complete 701 credits (Chapter 14 of the Graduate School policy and procedures manual). Students in other non-thesis master’s programs complete 702 credits (see Chapter 7). For both 701 and 702 credits, the expectation for these credit hours is the completion of a capstone project or examination that provides a culminating experience to demonstrate a student’s ability to analyze and synthesize material across their program of study. At least two of these credits are taken in the final semester of your graduate studies. For full details of expectations and when to enroll in these credits during your academic career, you should consult your program’s graduate student handbook, the academic coordinator, and the chair of your faculty advisory committee.
For thesis master’s degrees, the minimum requirement is four hours of 700 credit. The expectation for these credit hours includes conducting research that will be the basis of the master’s thesis. Full-time students should enroll in at least one hour of 700 credit each semester, and they will likely complete more than four credits over the course of their graduate career. You need to enroll in at least two hours of 700 credits in the final semester of your graduate studies, when you complete and defend your thesis for your final exam.
For doctoral degrees, the minimum requirement is twenty hours of 800 credits. To earn these credits, the expectation is that you conduct research that will be the basis of your doctoral dissertation and/or progress through program requirements, such as the preliminary exam for advancement to candidacy. Programs often have other non-course requirements in the curriculum that fall under the expectations for successful completion of 800 credit hours, such as cumulative exams, qualifying exams, literature reviews and research proposals. Full-time students should enroll in at least one hour of 800 credit each semester, and often, over the course of a doctoral career, full time students will complete more than the minimum 20 credits. You need to enroll in at least two hours of 800 credits in the final semester of your graduate studies when you complete and defend your dissertation for your final exam.
Please note: your 700 and 800 credit hours are integral to completing your program of study. In order to earn the satisfactory (S) grade for those credit hours, there are high expectations for effort and productivity in order to earn a satisfactory (S) grade. WSU Academic Regulation #26, in accordance with federal regulations for accreditation, the definition of a credit hour is a minimum of 45 hours per 15-week semester. In a traditional lecture format (e.g., 500-level coursework and most undergraduate courses)—this is one hour of instructor-led activities in class per week plus two hours of outside preparation, such as reading, studying, writing, problem-solving, or homework.
For independent study or research credits, such as 700 and 800 level credits, one credit hour corresponds to three hours of effort per week. We highly recommend you discuss this with your advisor so you can establish goals, outline results, and set milestones for what you are expected to achieve during the 45 hours per credit enrolled for each semester.
5) Required Trainings
- Responsible Conduct of Research TrainingLink to exam: Responsible Conduct of ResearchAll graduate students are required to take the CITI-RCR training (Collaborative Institutional Teaching Initiative Responsible Conduct in Research training), which takes about 2 hours. There are different modules within the CITI-RCR focused for different disciplines (e.g., biomedical sciences, physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and humanities). Your department can direct you to which module is most appropriate for your graduate training. For RCR training, a grace period of one semester will be granted for students who have yet to complete the training at the start of their assistantship. However, a hold will be put on their registration for future semesters, preventing processing of assistantships until the trainings have been completed. To ensure timely processing of assistantships, students should complete the trainings in their first semester by the following deadlines: September 30 (Fall semester), January 31 (Spring semester) and June 30 (Summer semester).
- Discrimination/Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct PreventionWSU is committed to being an institution that demonstrates trust and respect for all persons and cultivates individual and institutional integrity in all that we do. The goal of the online DSHP course is to assist WSU in maintaining a safe and respectful working and learning environment. It describes different types of discrimination and harassment, including prohibited personal behaviors, identifies key WSU Executive Policies addressing these topics, and provides links to specific offices and resources available to help in cases of alleged discrimination and harassment. For more information and to sign up for the course, visit this site at Human Resource Services. For DSHP training, there is a one semester grace period as described above for RCR training.The Office of Civil Rights Compliance & Investigation has provided additional information on WSU’s response policy for discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct.
6) Get Involved!
Getting involved at WSU means creating your community, which is important for your personal well-being. While graduate school may sometimes feel isolating, it doesn’t have to be! There are several student clubs and organizations where you can become involved. In addition, there are spaces for socializing and studying with other graduate students.
- Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA)
The GPSA is the representative body for all WSU graduate and professional students. The organization holds social and professional development activities and provides numerous ways to get involved at WSU at different levels—from networking at social events to becoming a senator and advocating at university and state legislative venues. Visit the GPSA website to find more information. The GPSA Lounge in the basement of the Terrell library is a great place to study, practice presentations, and meet with other graduate students.
- Cultural Clubs and Registered Student Organizations (RSO)
There are more than 400 registered WSU student organizations, and if you can’t find one that fulfills your interests, you can start your own! There are many benefits to joining an RSO, including building your community and making new friends with similar interests and discovering new passions and strengths. Learn more about Registered Student Organizations.
- Department Associations
Most graduate programs have a graduate student association in which you can participate. Involvement in these student associations provide social interaction with your colleagues and opportunities to grow your leadership and communication skills and/or pursue professional development activities to enhance your academic and career success. Contact your academic coordinator to discover the opportunities and ways to become involved in your program’s graduate student association.
There are several resources available to guide you through the requirements of your degree and help you navigate life as a graduate student. Your richest resources may be found on the WSU Graduate School website and from your academic coordinator. Log into myWSU at any time to view your academic advising, academic records, finances, classes, announcements, and more.
If you have questions, feel free to call (509-335-6412), email email@example.com, or drop by the Graduate School office (French Administration 324).
WSU Graduate School Website
The Graduate School is here to help you, and our website provides important instructions, forms, and deadlines for navigating your degree. The links under Current Students in the left hand navigation will direct you to several different resources, including funding opportunities and professional development workshops.
Our policies and procedures manual will guide you through your academic career. This manual includes detailed instructions for most situations you may encounter as a graduate student at WSU. Also, the Table of Contents for the Policies and Procedures Manual will quickly help you find what you’re looking for.
Our website walks you through the steps and deadlines for completing your graduate degree. Access the graduate school deadlines for master’s or doctoral degree links to make sure you complete all the necessary steps on-time to graduate, including participating in commencement. When you reach the final semester of your program and are ready to graduate, visit the commencement website.
You should become familiar with and avail yourself to the many sources of informational support available through your department and/or graduate program. These resources will be instrumental in helping you navigate your graduate career. Everyone is here to help you, and they can only do their best to help if you ask for help and proactively seek advice.
Your Academic Coordinator
The academic coordinator in your department is one of the first points of contact for most students. This staff member will work to ensure you are aware of the requirements for your program, developing your program of study, and monitoring your progress throughout your career. Academic coordinators provide support from the application stage for prospective students, then through the various academic hurdles of your degree, to the final steps for graduation. In addition, they are a liaison between the department/graduate program and the WSU Graduate School.
Your Faculty Advisor
Your faculty advisor will serve as the chair of your committee. As a mentor, advisors are expected to assist you in your scholarly development with encouragement and support for your academic growth. Your advisor will guide you in a professional manner and provide clear explanations of your specific research expectations and responsibilities. The professional relationship you develop with your faculty advisor will be very important as you move forward on your academic journey at WSU. He or she can provide opportunities for you to present at conferences, contribute to publications, and/or be named in copyrights and patents. You should have a clear understanding of your expectations and responsibilities, including timelines and completing your theses and/or dissertations. Please respect your advisor’s time by arriving to your meetings on time and prepared, including reviewing your program handbook and writing down questions you may need to discuss.
Each and every graduate student not only has an advisor but will also develop a committee to assist them through their degree program. In addition to your advisor, your committee members will help guide you in your scholarly development and encourage and support your academic growth as you make your way through your graduate career. It is important to have regular meetings with your committee so they can provide this guidance.
Your Departmental Website
Departmental websites are a great resource to guide you in your graduate career with listings of program handbooks, requirements, and faculty research areas.
Milestones for Master’s Degrees
SELECT AN ADVISOR.
An academic advisor will be key in helping you navigate through the policies put forth by the Graduate School and your department. Check with your prospective department chair or click on your program link on the faculty web pages to find an advisor whose research interests match your own.
RESOLVE ADMISSIONS CONTINGENCIES.
Check your status with the Graduate School and clear any contingencies listed on your original admissions certificate. You will be unable to file a Program of Study (listed below) until you clear all contingencies. Registration holds may be added that prevent future registrations until contingencies have been cleared.
ESTABLISH TIES IN WASHINGTON.
SELECT YOUR COMMITTEE.
By now, you’re probably settled in and have some idea of the type of research you would like to conduct. It’s time to select your master’s committee, which will help guide you through the research. A master’s committee consists of three faculty members: two from your department and another of your choosing. One member will be the committee chair, and the other, your primary contact.
SEEK IRB APPROVAL.
WSU requires approval for the use of human or animal subjects in research, so before you begin any research, you must gain approval from the Institutional Review Board. In addition, you need proof of this approval in order to use human or animal subjects in your research before you schedule your final examination. For more information, contact the Office of Grant and Research Development.
FILE A PROGRAM OF STUDY.
Your committee chair, in conjunction with the other members, will help you in developing your proposed Program of Study [PDF]. This includes an official list of classes you have taken, those you intend to take, and your research interest. After the proposed program is signed by each committee member, you will need to submit it to your department chair who will ensure it meets department and Graduate School requirements. Be sure to follow up and ensure your program of study was submitted to the Graduate School for final approval by the end of your second semester.
APPLY FOR RESIDENCY.
After you have proof that you have lived in Washington for twelve months, you can apply for residency. This will enable you to be charged the lower in-state graduate tuition rate as you continue your studies.
Semester Before You Graduate
APPLY FOR MASTER’S DEGREE.
It’s important that you submit an application for degree to the Graduate School at least one semester before your final exam is scheduled and pay the $50 graduation fee. The Graduate School will notify you of any final graduation requirements before enrolling for your last semester.
Your Final Semester
Plan to graduate this semester? Follow these detailed step by step instructions.
SCHEDULE YOUR FINAL ORAL EXAM.
After your master’s thesis or project is complete, you will need to work with your committee to determine when you will take your final exam. Next, submit the final examination scheduling form and a draft of your thesis to the Graduate School no later than 10 working days prior to the date of the exam, and they will schedule your final examination.
SUBMIT YOUR THESIS TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL.
To avoid delays, be sure your thesis is formatted in accordance with the Graduate School formatting guidelines. Your thesis is due 5 working days after your final exam. Check the Graduate School website for other you should submit along with your thesis, including the Hold Harmless / Copyright Acknowledgement [PDF] form.
GRADUATION AND DIPLOMAS.
The Bookie begins accepting orders for graduate regalia approximately two months prior to commencement. You may place your order by calling 800-937-4978, extension 318.
UPDATE YOUR DIPLOMA ADDRESS.
Diplomas are mailed throughout the weeks following commencement. Graduating students must update their diploma address within myWSU by the last day of the term. If you are unsure where you will be at that point, please ensure your diploma address lists a parent, friend, or your other permanent address where WSU may mail your diploma. If you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Milestones for Doctoral Degrees
SELECT AN ACADEMIC ADVISOR
Your academic advisor will be key in helping you navigate the policies of your department and the Graduate School. If you have yet to be assigned an academic advisor, check with your department chair or the faculty web pages to select one whose research fits your interests.
RESOLVE ADMISSIONS CONTINGENCIES
Check your status with the Graduate School and clear any contingencies listed on your original admissions certificate. You will be unable to file a Program of Study (listed below) until all contingencies are cleared. Registration holds may also be added until contingencies have been cleared.
ESTABLISH TIES IN WASHINGTON
If you’ve relocated from another state, you will want to become a Washington state resident as soon as possible. Graduate tuition is considerably less for residents than for out-of-state students. Establishing residency can significantly reduce the cost of your graduate education. Non-resident waivers are only guaranteed for one year.
SELECT YOUR COMMITTEE
By now, you’re probably settled in and have an idea of the type of research you would like to conduct. It’s time to select your dissertation committee, which will help guide you through your research. A dissertation committee consists of three faculty members: three permanent tenure-track faculty, all of whom hold the highest appropriate degree comparable to the degree you are seeking, and at least one member from your minor department, if applicable. For more information, please consult the Academic Policies website.
SEEK IRB APPROVAL
WSU requires approval for the use of human or animal subjects in research, so before you begin you must seek approval from the Institutional Review Board. You will need to provide proof of said approval in order to use human or animal subjects in your research prior to scheduling your final examination. For more information, contact the Office of Grant and Research Development.
FILE A DOCTORAL PROGRAM OF STUDY
Your committee chair and other members should aid you in developing your proposed Program of Study. This is an official list of classes you have taken and/or will take, and research you have conducted or will conduct. After each member signs the proposed Program of Study [PDF], it should then be submitted to your department chair, who will ensure that it meets departmental and Graduate School requirements. The Program of Study should be submitted no later than the end of the first year of your post-master’s graduate work. If you have not previously earned a master’s degree, submit the program no later than the end of your third semester of graduate work. For more information about filing your program of study, consult Academic Policies.
Be sure to check with your academic department for additional requirements and deadlines that may apply.
APPLY FOR RESIDENCY
After you have proof that you’ve lived in Washington for twelve straight months, you may apply for residency, which enables you to receive the lower in-state graduate tuition rate.
SCHEDULE AND PASS YOUR PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION
Consult with your department and review the Graduate School’s academic policies and procedures for more information about your preliminary exams. Be sure to complete and submit the Preliminary Examination Scheduling Form at least 10 working days prior to your exam date.
Your Final Semester
Plan to graduate this semester? Follow these detailed step by step instructions.
FILE AN APPLICATION FOR DOCTORAL DEGREE
Submit an application for degree to the Graduate School at least one semester before you schedule your final examination. There is a $50 graduate fee. The Graduate School will notify you of any final graduation requirements before you enroll in your last semester. Schedule your final oral exam [PDF] After you complete your dissertation, submit the final examination scheduling form, IRB/IACUC approval, and upload a draft of your dissertation to UMI/ProQuest and pay the applicable publishing fees.
SUBMIT YOUR DISSERTATION TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL IN DIGITAL FORMAT
To avoid delays, be sure your dissertation is formatted in accordance with Graduate School submission guidelines [PDF]. Check the Graduate School’s web site for other forms that should be submitted along with your dissertation, including the Copyright Acknowledgement [PDF] form, and Survey of Earned Doctorates [PDF]. Your dissertation is due 5 working days after your final exam.
ORDER YOUR CAP AND GOWN
The Bookie begins accepting orders for graduation regalia approximately two months prior to commencement. You can place your order by calling 800-937-4978 extension 318.
UPDATE YOUR DIPLOMA ADDRESS
Diplomas are mailed throughout the weeks following commencement. Graduating students must update their diploma address within myWSU by the last day of the term. If you are unsure where you will be at that point, please ensure your diploma address lists a parent, friend, or your other permanent address where WSU may mail your diploma. If you have questions, please email email@example.com.
Milestones for Graduate Certificates
- See the list of graduate certificate offerings HERE.
- Determine if you are eligible to earn a graduate certificate by clicking HERE.
- Apply for admission to the certificate program(s) of your choice. Click the link for instructions on how to apply.
- Apply for your graduate certificate using the Application for Graduate Certificate
Long-term goals and career preparation
Earning your graduate degree requires years of hard work and study. It’s important for you to establish attainable goals to help guide your work and study. You will want to establish these as soon as you enter your graduate program. Feel free to visit the Academic Success and Career Center at ascc.wsu.edu.
During your graduate program, you need to do as much as you can to prepare for your career. Although pursuing a teaching or research position in or outside of academia is a popular career plan for many graduate students, feel free to explore broader pathways such as jobs in government, the non-profit sector, and/or industry.
Understanding your career goals and knowing your own strengths and weaknesses can help guide your career plan. The WSU Graduate School and University offer many opportunities for graduate students to grow, including GPSA and the PDI, so watch for those ongoing opportunities, match them to your desired skillset, and sign up.
Match skills to your career goals
When you have career goals, you will want to match your skills and passion to the position requirements. Therefore, it’s important to know what skills you must gain during your graduate school journey to increase your opportunities and potential to land your dream job. The WSU Graduate School offers information on assistantships and job positions on its website, and you can also contact your department for help.
Build your career network
Build a career network in your field can also help you achieve your career goal. We encourage you to step outside your “comfort zone” and participate in broader social interactions. You can participate in school or community organizations, where you can hone your social, communicative, and collaborating skills. You can also participate in internships, where you can directly connect yourself to people in your career field. Some of the online resources are good for you to start establishing your career network such as LinkedIn.
The Professional Development Initiative (PDI) was created and is managed by the Graduate School and the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA). With the goal of ensuring all graduate and professional students gain the skills, knowledge, and mindsets necessary to succeed professionally and academically, PDI provides a wide range of programs, training opportunities, and resources to graduate and professional students that will help prepare them for academic and career success. Visit the PDI website. Find out more information about core competencies, events, and institutional memberships.
PDI Core Competencies
PDI organizes several events each semester aimed at developing the core competencies of graduate and professional students that are listed above. You can read about and register for PDI events on its website. If you are not on the Pullman campus, you can participate in PDI events through live streaming by selecting that option when you register.
PDI offers graduate and professional students access to some of the top industry and academic career memberships that can be found on the PDI website .
Grammarly at EDU offers online writing assistance and plagiarism tools to encourage polished grammar and better overall wordsmithing that results in a professional writing style. The PDI offers 20 FREE memberships to this platform. Students with memberships can access to 400+ points of grammar checking, a built-in plagiarism checker, and learning management system integration.
Versatile PhD helps graduate students and new PhDs envision, prepare for and excel in non-academic careers. Here you will find a wonderful online community, an overview of PhD careers, PhD-appropriate job listings and access to a database of nearly 90,000 members. Because WSU subscribes to VPhD, you ALSO get these subscription-only resources such as, detailed inside information on industry careers from the PhD perspective, successful resumes & cover letters that got PhDs their first post-ac jobs, personal stories of long-term PhD success outside the academy, and a “Power Search” feature that identifies real post-academic contacts for you.
Cheeky Scientist provides STEM PhD’s and post-docs with the opportunity to build the necessary skills to pursue a career in Industry. As part of the partnership we are offering a limited number of spaces to the Cheeky Scientist Association online training platform. As part of the program, you will have access to over 100 training videos on a variety of topics related to working in industry, workbooks, resume templates, as well as webinars that are held on a weekly basis. Furthermore, you’ll have the opportunity to network with other PhD’s through the directory found within the training dashboard as well.
The Professional Development Initiative offers a TA workshop in early fall. If you are a new teaching assistant, watch for advertisements for this workshop and be sure to register. Here are select resources for teaching assistants from past workshops:
Preparing Lectures and Using Learning Innovations
The WSU Academic Outreach and Innovation division serves to discover, implement and support academic technology that increases teaching efficiency and enhances student access and engagement. The team can assist you in designing courses, activities, and assessments that align with your course learning goals, select and implement the right academic technology tool, and create rich media objects that convey course content in easily digestible ways.
Guidelines for Course Planning and Syllabi
Please check the detailed WSU Syllabus Components Checklist HERE.
The Graduate School also provides teaching resources for graduate students which can be found HERE.
The Graduate Writing Center (GWC), located in Smith CUE 402G, is available to all graduate students from all disciplines who want to discuss their writing.
The GWC is not an editing or proofreading service, but rather a service to discuss students’ writing as they come to understand more fully their ideas and how they can be expressed in writing. Some of the services they provide includes:
- Improving your writing in a supportive and friendly environment, at any stage of working on your paper.
- Learning to revise and edit your writing, paraphrase sentences, and organize the structure of your paper.
- Getting help with checking plagiarism of your paper.
- Polishing the draft of your writing.
- Getting one-to-one tutoring with a GWC consultant
- Working with on all types of writings including thesis, proposal, prelim paper, dissertation, cover letter, resume/CV, conference paper and teaching materials.
WSU libraries aspire to exceed the needs and expectations of the WSU community by:
- Selecting, organizing, preserving, and providing access to sources of knowledge in all formats,
- Designing and delivering information services to support our public land grant university,
- Providing environments for individual and collaborative discovery, study and learning, and
- Offering instructional services to promote information literacy and lifelong learning.
The WSU libraries are located on the Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver campuses also provide services for the Global Campus.
Libraries on the Pullman Campus
There are three libraries on the Pullman campus: the Animal Health Library, Holland/Terrell Libraries, and Owen Science and Engineering Library. The libraries provide students several services.
Getting books, articles, media and more: WSU Libraries system is available for you to search and find learning resources both online and in the libraries. Each library in the system has its own Access Services (Circulation) desk where library materials may be checked out. To check out an item, you need to bring it to the Access Services desk along with your valid WSU ID. The regular loan period for most books is one semester for graduate students. Interlibrary loan is available as well. Click HERE to know more about the service.
Computers: All three libraries have computers available for use by WSU students any time the libraries are open. Most computers have Microsoft Office and screen readers (NVDA and Kurzweil 3000). You can also check out laptops for 4 hours at a time at Holland and Terrell Libraries and the Owen Science and Engineering Library. Meanwhile, the libraries are equipped with CougPrints print/scan/copy machines. There are two ways to print: (1) Upload your documents to My Print Center from your own device and retrieve from any printer on campus using your Cougar Card, or (2) Print directly from a library computer. Only Cougar Cash can be used for the payment. Deposit Cougar Cash HERE.
Studying in the Libraries: Study spaces are provided in all three libraries on the Pullman campus. Please click HERE to find out the study spaces located in each library. To book a study room, you can find the availabilities of rooms and times and finish a reservation online.
The Spokane Academic Library supports the academic programs of WSU in Spokane. It maintains a collection of books and journals in print but relies on the main campus libraries in Pullman and Cheney for much printed materials. The services provided by the Spokane Academic Library include access to the library’s Catalog, access to multiple indexing and journal articles databases on many subjects, course reserves, article and book delivery, equipment to view coursework-related videos, use of group study rooms, internet access, photocopying, professional instructional and reference services, and call for instructions or to schedule appointments.
The Max E. Benitz Memorial Library is the Tri-Cities campus library resource. Media, maps, microforms, government publications, eBooks, ejournals, manuscripts, archives and special collections support the teaching and research programs. Approximately 35,000 volumes are added to the collection annually.
There is one library located on the Vancouver campus that is open seven days every week. You can check HERE for library hours. Like libraries on other campuses, this library provides you services to support your academics.
WSU Global Campus students have full access to WSU Libraries, including 3.5 million books, journals, documents, microforms, etc. Services available include online access to database, reference assistance, borrowing WSU-owned books and other circulating materials, and photocopies of non-circulating materials. Global Campus students can request assistance with research projects by contacting the Distance Learning Librarian, Erica England at firstname.lastname@example.org; you may also find an answer to your question at the Ask Us page. Visit the website for more information about the services provided by WSU Libraries system to the Global Campus.
Disability Services & Access Center
WSU Access Centers on all campuses provide accommodations and services to students with disabilities, psychological or medical conditions, or temporary injuries that limit their access to the WSU environment. Each campus offers general and specific accommodations. Visit the relevant website below.
Pullman Access Center accesscenter.wsu.edu
Spokane Access Services Student Affairs › studentaffairs › access-resources
Vancouver Access Services studentaffairs.vancouver.wsu.edu › student-wellness-center › access-center
Tri-Cities Access Services tricities.wsu.edu › Current Students
Common disabilities include ADHD, learning disabilities, mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, sensory disabilities such as deafness and blindness, physical/mobility disabilities, and chronic medical conditions, such as seizure disorders, chronic migraines and diabetes. The Center also serves students with temporary disabilities or injuries that impede the ability to travel on campus or take exams.
The Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) is the representative body for the graduate and professional students at WSU. With the aim to “facilitate the relationship between graduate and professional students and the WSU community,” GPSA helps enrich the graduate and professional student experience academically, professionally, and socially while at WSU.
GPSA offers a wide variety of programs that provide academic, professional, personal, and financial support services for graduate and professional students. The GPSA programs include but are not limited to the following:
RSO Funding for graduate or professional registered student organizations
Dissertation Grants to support WSU Ph.D. students’ research work.
The Excellence Awards include 7 categories: Graduate Assistant, Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, Graduate Students Instructor, Academic Advisor, Registered Student Organization, and Community Involvement. Students and faculty can self-nominate or nominate their peers, and most awards come with a scholarship. Applications usually open in November and awards are given out during a dinner in April.
Research exposition offers graduate and professional students a forum for presenting their original research, scholarship, and/or creative work at WSU Pullman/ Participants have opportunities to win a total of $9,600 in scholarships in six competition categories. The research exposition is usually held during academic showcase week.
The Professional Development Initiative (PDI) provides a range of programs, training opportunities, and resources to graduate and professional students to help prepare them for academic and career success. The many workshops and events benefit students’ academic and career development, communication, and collaboration skills, leadership and professionalism traits as well as personal wellbeing.
GPSA organizes many events for graduate and professional students. Visit HERE to learn about upcoming events, including ice cream socials and free bowling and social nights every semester. Be sure to subscribe to the Monday Minute Newsletter that comes to your email box from GPSA each week.
Want to Get Involved?
There are several ways to get involved in the GPSA. Find out more HERE. Join GPSA committees. Any graduate student is eligible to join a GPSA Committee and can join as many committees as they want.
WSU aims to be affirming for all romantic/sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions. The Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center (GIESORC), also called “The Center,” serves and supports LGBTQ+ students, faculty, staff, and alumni systemwide by providing resources, fostering community building and relevant initiatives. Additionally, the Center promotes academic and personal growth, learning, and development for students.
For a series of events held by GIESORC, go HERE. These including InQueery Symposium, UndocuQueer Conference, and Gender Affirming Healthcare Symposium.
Education and Training
GIESORC provides definitions of many terms that help students build a foundation for being an affirming ally at WSU and beyond. Visit the GIESORC website to see what training opportunities they offer the WSU community.
Queer Intersections Association (QIA) is a safe space for WSU students, staff, faculty, and community members to discuss the intersecting oppressions faced by queer people. Access their website HERE.
Q*STEM is a space primarily for members of the LGBTQ+ community pursuing a degree in the STEM field. To learn more about places to study and to facilitate discussion about issues within the STEM field, (although anyone in the community is welcome,) email Matthew Jeffries.
International Student Involvement
WSU is a multicultural community made of international students from many different countries. To help international students better immerse themselves in this and surrounding communities, WSU provides the students with several resources.
International Student Center
The International Student Center website helps everyone who wants to make international friends and connections. Located in the CUB, this Center offers inter-cultural communication and leadership opportunities, and a variety of global programs for the campus and community. Computers and free printing, free tea and coffee, a comfortable lounge with TV and kitchenette, and quiet study space are available at the Center. Events are often organized to facilitate students’ language learning and cultural understanding.
International Students’ Council
Visit the International Students’ Council website to learn about events throughout the year that promote cultural exchange on campus and in the Pullman community. Membership is open to all students and leadership opportunities are offered to students in a variety of positions. You can visit the Council in CUB L46. You can also participate in council meetings that are open to the public and regularly held every Wednesday at 4 p.m. in CUE 518.
More than 300 registered student organizations welcome international students to join and participate in events at WSU. Getting involved in the student organizations and participating in various events held by the organizations are good ways for international students to immerse in the WSU and surrounding communities. You can find the international student organizations HERE.
Women*s Resource Center
WSU’s Women*s Resource Center engages with the multi-dimensional experiences of women, to challenge patterns of injustice for people of all genders, and to provide a welcoming and inclusive space for all. The Center elevates all marginalized voices while prioritizing prerogatives to learn, organize, and support one another as peers and mentors. It fosters a community dynamic both within and beyond the Center that is collaborative, creative, and inclusive.
The Women*s Resource Center organizes various events to inspire, encourage, and empower people to create change in their lives and communities. Programs range from simple crafting events to week-long events with visiting speakers. The Center also collaborates with campus and community partners to create educational programs during awareness months, International Women’s Week, Honoring Indigenous Women, and Women’s History Month.
Women’s Leadership Conference: Together with the University of Idaho, WSU organizes this conference annually to celebrate our differences and create an empowered community more inclusive of women as a group and irrespective of social identity, status or institutional role.
International Women’s Day: According to the United Nations, International Women’s Day is “a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistics, cultural, economic or political.” WSU celebrates the entire week as part of Women’s History Month. Each year, the WSU International Women’s Week Committee develops a calendar of events celebrating women’s challenges and achievements worldwide.
Coalition for Women Students
The Coalition for Women Students (CWS) was formed in 1912 as the Association for Women Students. Currently, CWS is comprised of eight groups: The Association for Pacific and Asian Women, Black Women’s Caucus, Men for Social Change, Mujeres Unidas, Native American Women’s Association, Planned Parenthood Generation Action, the Queer Intersections Alliance, and the YWCA of WSU. CWS also funds the Cougar Safe Rides, which is a volunteer program that offers free rides home at night to the WSU community and operates between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. on Thursdays and between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Scholarship Opportunities: The WSU Women*s Center awards one or two scholarships a year to students who apply and meet the necessary criteria. This scholarship rewards past achievement and looks toward supporting students in their future endeavors.
Center for Civic Engagement
Civic engagement is central to the student experience, empowering you to become an active citizen and forge community-campus partnerships. You can access The Center for Civic Engagement HERE and foster meaningful engagements between students and their community by providing opportunities for service. You may also find your niche in civic engagement on the Givepulse website HERE.
Becoming involved in your community can promote inclusion and help you make new connections. The GPSA has provided a pathway for WSU students to find community partners, opportunities, and events. Find out more about Community Engagement and ways to become involved HERE.
Cougar Health Services
Cougar Health Services provides WSU students clinical services and counseling and psychological services. Check the hours and location for the services HERE.
The primary care teams at Cougar Health Services Medical Clinic are made up of physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and support staff. Services include gynecological and sexual health services, STI/STD testing, internal medicine, sports medicine and orthopedic care, LGBTQ health care, laboratory and X-ray services, physical therapy, nutrition counseling, travel clinic, allergy desensitization injections, immunizations, and behavioral health care.
The Cougar Health Services Vision Clinic is committed to providing professional, highly accessible vision care for WSU students. Services include comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, emergency same-day appointments for conditions such as red eye, flashes of light, floaters, and injuries to the eyes/face, treatment for eye conditions such as fry eye, allergies, diabetes, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, and pre- and post-op LASIK care.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Don’t let the negative emotions steal your life. Cougar Health Services offers counseling and psychological services, such as brief, focused individual or couple therapy, group therapy and workshops, biofeedback, and psychological assessment. To begin using these services, please schedule an initial consultation with CAPs. To see more information on how to schedule your initial consultation, visit HERE.
WSU administers insurance for international students, eligible graduate student assistants, and graduate and professional students in health sciences. Students can contact the billing office to get help from the certified health insurance navigators with exploring options for health insurance coverage, enrolling in WSU student insurance plans and the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, understanding and navigating the medical system and insurance benefits, and applying for financial assistance for routine and urgent medical care. Find out more HERE.
Compliance and Civil Rights
The Compliance and Civil Rights (CCR) center integrates the principles of equal employment, affirmative action, fairness and equality into all academic and employment activities and practices throughout WSU. To find out more, go HERE. The Office provides training to students, employees and affiliates on topics such as ADA and accessibility, sex and gender-based discrimination, TITLE IX, Clery Act and discrimination.
It also reviews and investigates all complaints of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct and advises faculty, staff, and students on appropriate management of such issues. Click HERE to access the Procedural Guidelines.
The Office of the University Ombuds, located HERE, is an effective, informal, and neutral channel for students to voice university-related concerns. The primary purpose of the office is to protect the interests, rights, and privileges of students, staff, and faculty at all levels of university operations and programs. This office provides information relating to university policies and procedures and facilitates the resolution of problems and grievances through informal investigation and mediation.
WSU is committed to enhancing the safety of the students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the campuses. For more information related to campus safety, click HERE.
Communicating with the Campus and the Public during Emergencies: Many resources and tools are developed for emergency communications, including Campus Outdoor Warning System, Crisis Communication System, and WSU ALERT.
Resources for preventing and responding to violence and other campus emergencies:.(1) WSU Police provides general crime prevention for the general university community; (2) The AWARE network aims to help WSU students be successful by providing a forum for early intervention to anyone who has direct contact with students; (3) The Behavior Assessment Committee responds to reports about students of concern and will screen and intervene with students whose behavior is.percerived.as threatening to self or others; (4) Human Resource Service’s Safe Environment initiative is committed to preventing campus violence and ensuring a safe and healthy environment; (5) The Office of Emergency Management is a key resource for developing emergency response and recovery plans for the campus and in responding to emergency situations.
Student privacy: WSU complies with regulations in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. For complete information, click HERE.
Sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking: sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking will never be excused or tolerated at WSU. Click HERE to report sex or gender-based violence.
Safety and security in residence halls and university apartments: students in University Housing should familiarize themselves with campus resources regarding safety and avoid behaviors that put them at risk. For reasons of safety and noise control, no explosives including primers, powder, dynamite caps, firecrackers and pyrotechnics are allowed and weapons of any kind including pistols, rifles, air guns, knives, slingshots, crossbows or martial arts tools may not be stored or used in apartments. To ensure your personal safety and security of the property, please always lock your room doors.
As a graduate student, you may encounter situations that make it difficult to balance your life, work, and study. when you are writing a manuscript on computer, your kids ask you to play with them; although you have many outdoor hobbies, you may be so busy with your work, research, and study and have no time to go for a trip. Maintaining work-life balance is important and challenging for many graduate students. Inside Higher Ed provides some tips that might help you.
Be nice to yourself
You do not need to study all the time. After long days pipetting at the lab bench or hunched over a computer, go outside to have fun, or give yourself a break. You will feel refreshed and revitalized after adventuring and relaxing and then you can take on your to-do list. WSU provides you with resources to practice mindfulness. The GPSA and PDI websites both offer resources on mindfulness.
Mix up your routine to reset and recharge
You can start with some mini goals and deadlines. Reward yourself with a break or a good meal when you complete the goals. With more and more mini goals that are completed, you will find that you have already made a big progress.
Prioritize your time and say no
Saying no is hard, but sometimes we must say no to others, even to ourselves. Learning when and how to say no is an important skill for graduate students. Ask yourself the following questions before you determine to say yes or no:
- Can I fit this into my schedule without sacrificing my work, timeline, or goals?
- Can I fit this into my schedule without sacrificing my free time, personal health, or sleep?
- Am I being fairly compensated for my work?
- Do I know enough about this project?
- Will doing this make me a more well-rounded person or scholar?
- Will there be similar opportunities in the future?
- Am I able to complete the requested task?
- Can I help someone else say yes?
WSU Family and Childcare Resources
To assist graduate students to meet a life-work balance, WSU offers you several resources HERE that aim at helping you to take better care of your families.
WSU Pullman provides seven apartment complexes designed for students with children. They offer affordable rent and safe, family-friendly settings that are conveniently located on the university campus. View the website for more information.
WSU Childcare Resource and Referral: This agency provides a variety of information and services for families. Trained parent counselors are available to help you with your parenting questions and concerns. Go HERE for more information.
WSU Children’s Center: This Center serves WSU students, faculty and staff children age 6 weeks through 12 years. The Center offers a developmentally appropriate learning environment advocated by the National Association for the Education of Young Children led by trained professionals in child care. Find all the information you need HERE.
Community Child Care Center: This non-profit agency provides several childcare programs and family support services to Pullman and surrounding community. Click HERE to know more.
Pullman School District
The Pullman community demonstrates interest and commitment to public education with widespread involvement through a district-wide volunteer program, a Pullman Education Foundation, strong parent/teacher associations, and the Pullman High School Boosters. For more details, go HERE.
Your Financial Well-Being
Managing your finances
You can reduce stress by having a clear understanding of your monthly income and expenses. Create a monthly budget so you know where you stand and take out loans for only the amount you need. You can sign up for the Professional Development Initiative (PDI) workshops on managing your finances.
Don’t know how to budget?
If you are not sure about how to budget, here are some tips that might help you.
- Track your expenses for one month and write them down.
- Compare your income to your expenses. If your expenses exceed your income, you will need to find additional income, or cut your expenses.
- Plan for extra expenses and try to save ahead of time, i.e., Christmas and vacations.
- Download a free money management app to track your income and expenses; there are several to choose form, so pick the one that best fits your needs.
WSU is dedicated to helping provide financial support for graduate students. Many students receive a graduate student assistantship, which often comes with a tuition waiver. There are three types of assistantships available:
- Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA): The GTA may assist faculty in teaching undergraduate courses and labs, grading examinations, problem sets or lab assignments, setting up, preparing for or maintaining laboratory equipment.
- Graduate Research Assistant (GRA): The GRA conducts academically significant research under the direction of a faculty member who is generally a principal investigator on a grant or contract.
- Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA): The GTA provides academic and administrative program support such as academic advising, program planning, and assisting with the administration of student services offices.
WSU also offers several scholarships and fellowships for graduate students. Navigate gradschool.wsu.edu/funding to find out more funding opportunities to financially support yourself.
Many new graduate students experience what some call “imposter syndrome” although it’s not really an illness. This phenomenon, which disproportionally affects students from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, creates the false perception that you feel like a fraud, like you may not belong in graduate school.
Imposter syndrome includes a nagging doubt about your abilities and accomplishments, and may make you feel as though you have been given something you didn’t earn and/or deserve. In reality, most bright, motivated, successful people who set high goals for themselves, even people like Maya Angelou and Albert Einstein, experienced imposter syndrome at some point in their career.
Recognizing and talking about imposter syndrome is the best way to combat the issue. Watch this TED Talk from educational researcher Elizabeth Cox which provides helpful information about the basis of and dealing with imposter syndrome.
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