|Welcome to the department!||2|
|I. Getting Started||2|
|Before you arrive||2|
|Your arrival on campus||4|
|Health and Health Insurance||5|
|Graduate Student Fees||5|
|II. The Graduate Program in Plant Biology||6|
|Master of Science||6|
|Master of Science, Field Naturalist Option||7|
|Doctor of Philosophy||7|
|Lab Rotations (Ph.D.)||9|
|III. Community: UVM and Beyond||11|
|Computing and Information Technologies (CIT) helpline||13|
|Proctor Maple Research Center||13|
|Where to Eat||14|
|Explore the Surrounding Area||14|
We are delighted that you chose UVM as the place to do your graduate study. In so doing, you have joined an enthusiastic group of students and faculty who share a common fascination with plant biology. We look forward to getting to know you better in the weeks ahead.
This handbook is intended to provide a basic orientation to the department, the Graduate College, and the UVM community, and to take some of the mystery out of the adventure you have embarked on. It does not pretend to be comprehensive. For more information about the Department, please visit our website at www.uvm.edu/~plantbio. More information about the Graduate College, including the online catalogue, can be found at: www.uvm.edu/~gradcoll
You may have some questions over the summer. Here are some people who can help:
|Contact||Phone # (802)||Email/Web Address||Location/Building|
Plant Biology Student Services
|656-2930||Lillian.Reade@uvm.edu||111 Jeffords Hall|
Plant Biology Administrative Support
|656-2981||Sarah.Goodrich@uvm.edu||111C Jeffords Hall|
Plant Biology Financial Services
|656-0421||Karyn.McGovern@uvm.edu||111B Jeffords Hall|
Grad. Program Coordinator
|656-0434||Mary.Tierney@uvm.edu||313 Jeffords Hall|
|Graduate College||656-3160||http://www.uvm.edu/~gradcoll||330 Waterman|
|Office of International Education||656-4296||http://www.uvm.edu/oie/||Living/Learning B-162|
|Student Financial Services||656-5700||http://www.uvm.edu/~stdfinsv/||223 Waterman|
Mail and packages may be sent to the Plant Biology Department at the following address. Some of us have found this address especially useful during the transition to Burlington. You will have a mailbox here as a graduate student.
Use this address:
Department of Plant Biology
111 Jeffords Hall
63 Carrigan Drive
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT 05405
Burlington has a very low vacancy rate (less than 1%), but there is a lot of turnover as students move in and out. Plan to spend a week or more finding a place to live. The first question is whether to live in Burlington or outside, and you may find something slightly cheaper in the foothills. If you commute, parking on UVM campus is limited and expensive.
Rents range with the usual levels of quality in housing. There are many, many dumpy houses in Burlington, and quite a few gems too. A careful search is warranted--best not to accept the first place you visit! Here is what you can expect:
|One bedroom apartment||$750-1000+|
|Two bedroom apartment||$1200-$1600+|
|Room for rent||$450-$700|
Listings may be found in the following sources:
|Craigslist (most listings here)
|Community Classifieds Website|
|Burlington Free Press
|Local Gannet daily newspaper|
|Free weekly alternative newspaper, distributed Wednesday.
Get at City Market and elsewhere
|Bulletin Boards||Muddy Waters Coffee Shop on Main St. between Church and Winooski
City Market 82 S. Winooski
UVM Campus Bailey Howe Library (near reserve desk), outside Bailey Howe and in most buildings.
|UVM Res Life Apartments & Family Housing
|Housing options at UVM appropriate for grad students|
|Medical school - Student Affairs Office||A list for Medical students that is often shared with those in need (656-2150 or ask in Given E215B)|
|Gradnet||Listserv that tends to list lots of housing opportunities. Click here for instructions on signing up.|
When you arrive, let Porky know you are in town. Here is a list of some things to help get you settled in with the program and life in Burlington.
We will try to give a short tour of our academic home, Jeffords Hall, during the grad student orientation meeting, but for your reference, here is some useful information about working and living in Jeffords.
Ask Porky for an orientation when you arrive.
A Macintosh computer located in Room 239 is available to all department members and is equipped with imaging software, a scanner, a slide scanner, and two laser printers: a duplex black and white for ordinary printing and a high quality duplex color printer for special applications. The BRIC is accessible by card swipe access, which Sarah can help set up for you.
The student health center, located at 425 Pearl Street, usually has appointments on short notice.
Another great benefit is free counseling. Working in a small group of intense individuals can be tough and everyone has reasons to talk. Call the Counseling Center (802-656-3340) to make an appointment.
All new students need to file a personal health and immunization record with the Center for Health and Wellbeing Student Health/Medical Clinic at 425 Pearl Street. You must have current MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) shots. You should be sent a form to fill out.
Through an arrangement with a commercial insurance company, students are able to procure health insurance that provides coverage for services beyond those offered by the Student Health Center.
Comprehensive Fee - Current Comprehensive Fees per semester are as follows: 1 credit, $10; 2 credits, $20; 3 credits, $30; 4 credits, $40; 5 credits, $385; 6 credits, $430; 7 credits, $484; 8 credits, $537; 9 or more credits, $922
Graduate Student Senate Fee - The current Graduate Student Senate fee is $7-$10.
Student Health Center Fee - Students enrolled in 5 to 8.5 credits who purchase UVM insurance will be charged the $323.00 per semester Student Health Center fee. For students enrolled in 9+ credits, the health center fee is included in the comprehensive fee.
Student Health Insurance - The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences pays 100% of the cost of single UVM health insurance for all full-time graduate students who do not have alternate insurance, with a smaller percentage paid for part-time students. Students who are not otherwise covered under a health policy are required to purchase health insurance through the university. All international students, regardless of other coverage, are required to purchase health insurance through UVM. There is an additional charge for this extended coverage beyond the student health fee. The 2015-2016 cost for one year's coverage for single students is $2,822. Married students may obtain coverage for their spouse and children at additional cost. Further details are available from the Student Health Center. To participate in this insurance, the student health fee must be paid each semester in addition to the annual insurance premium.
Continuous Registration Fee - When a graduate student has completed most or all of the credits required in the degree program but has not completed all degree requirements (e.g. thesis defense), the comprehensive fee is no longer required. Instead, they must register for GRAD 901, 902, or 903 and pay a continuous registration fee of $100-$300 per semester.
Reactivation Fee - Reactivation following withdrawal or deactivation requires payment of a $40 reactivation fee.
Advanced Degree Fee - The fee charged to each advanced degree recipient is as follows:
This fee may be paid at any time but must be paid prior to the deadline established for submission of doctoral dissertations or master's theses for each of the three graduation periods.
It is the responsibility of the degree candidate to pay the appropriate advanced degree fee at the Graduate College Office, 330 Waterman, in order to have a degree awarded.
The Department of Plant Biology has a strong and diversified research presence, with programs in two areas basic to plant science: 1) ecology, evolution, and systematics, and 2) biochemistry and cell, molecular, and developmental biology. Information on specific faculty research programs may be found on the department's web page: www.uvm.edu/~plantbio
The Department offers three graduate degree programs:
Requirements for Admission:
Minimum Degree Requirements:
All students must successfully complete a total of 30 credits, including a minimum of 15 credits of program-related course work and 9 credits of thesis research. Satisfactory completion of the written and oral components of a comprehensive examination are required. A student’s M.S. degree is culminated by satisfactory completion of a thesis, a public seminar, and a private defense with their studies committee.
The Field Naturalist Program is a multidisciplinary non-thesis program leading to the degree of Master of Science, Field Naturalist Option. The program is designed to provide students with (1) a solid grounding in field-related sciences; (2) the ability to integrate scientific disciplines into a coherent whole at the landscape level; (3) the ability to evaluate sites from a number of perspectives and/or criteria; (4) the ability to translate scientific insights into ecologically sound decisions; and (5) the ability to communicate effectively to a wide range of audiences. Additional information can be found on the program's web page: www.uvm.edu/~fntrlst
Requirements for Admission:
A subject (advanced) test in biology or geology is advised for students who lack substantive coursework in natural sciences. Recent college graduates are encouraged to pursue interests outside academe before application to the Field Naturalist Program.
Minimum Degree Requirements:
All students must successfully complete a total of 30 credit hours that includes enrollment in the Field Naturalist Practicum (PBIO 311) and Professional Writing (PBIO 333) each semester and at least two courses in each of three core areas: (1) life science (2) earth science, and (3) ecology (course selection to be determined by the student's studies committee). In addition, satisfactory completion of an oral comprehensive examination is required. A Field Naturalist student’s degree culminates in satisfactory completion of a field project for a sponsoring organization that includes a professional report, a focused literature review, a written academic reflection, an oral presentation, and a journal publication or article in the popular mass media.
Requirements for Admission:
Minimum Degree Requirements:
All students must successfully complete a total of 75 credits, including a minimum of 30 credits of program-related course work and 20 credits of dissertation research. First-year students participate in at least two rotations in research laboratories before committing to one laboratory for completion of dissertation research. Satisfactory completion of the written and oral components of a comprehensive examination are required for advancement to candidacy. A student’s Ph.D. degree is culminated by satisfactory completion of a dissertation, a public seminar, and a private defense with their studies committee. In addition to research, all students must participate in a minimum of two courses of supervised teaching.
Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy:
Satisfactory completion of the written and oral components of a comprehensive examination are required for advancement to candidacy.
Role. The studies committee advises the student's program of study and design of the thesis research. They may also administer the comprehensive examination or a separate committee may be formed to administer the comprehensive exam.
Constitution. The studies committee consists of at least three faculty members for a master’s degree and at least four faculty members for a PhD. All studies committee members must be Graduate College faculty, and the Chair of the committee may not have an appointment within the degree-granting program.
Committee Meetings. The student is advised to convene a meeting of the studies committee soon after a research topic has been selected, and at least annually after that.
Registering for courses. Do not register for the fall semester until you have spoken with your advisor. Course registration is done electronically, via the registrar's website (www.uvm.edu/~rgweb) or myUVM (https://myuvm.uvm.edu), where you can add and drop classes, check your grades, and access an online course schedule.
Course credits. Be sure to read the Graduate College's Enrollment Policies and Procedures. This section will tell you what you need to do each semester in order to be considered a fulltime student. In short, you must be enrolled for 9 credit hours (of courses and/or research) during each of the fall and spring semesters to receive the benefits of a fulltime graduate student. Fulltime students who are working during the summer may enroll for up to 5 credits of research during the summer semester. Students who have finished the credits required for their degree (75 for PhD and 30 for MS) but are still working fulltime on their thesis research should enroll in GRAD 903 during the fall and spring semesters to maintain fulltime student status.
Making a 100-level course a 200-level. A graduate student can take only one 100-level course for graduate credit. Many instructors allow their 100-level courses to be changed to 200-level courses through extra work of graduate student quality. If you want to bump a course up to graduate level, see the instructor before signing up for the course and negotiate the graduate level work. It is important not to register for the course until the instructor has assigned it a graduate-level course number.
During the first year, Ph.D. students will do research rotations in the labs of at least two faculty members. Students should contact faculty about potential rotations in the first week or two of the fall semester. Rotations are an opportunity to try out different disciplines and to work with different faculty members. Rotations should be completed by the end of the spring semester. At that time, students will initiate thesis research in the lab of their thesis advisor.
Participation in the Plant Biology department's seminar program is expected of all graduate students. This includes both regular attendance at seminar and presentation of one seminar per year. (Two graduate seminars are customarily scheduled in a seminar slot; thus each student's seminar will be about 20 minutes long.)
Comprehensive exams include both a written and an oral component. The exams are customarily topical, related to the student's area of specialization. Master's students typically complete their comprehensive exams by the end of the third semester in residence, and Ph.D. students are encouraged to complete their comprehensive exams by the end of the second year.
The culmination of the research performed by masters and PhD candidates is the thesis defense. This defense includes both a seminar-style public component and a closed examination with the studies committee.
Ph.D. students in the Plant Biology Department are funded at the rate of $27,000 per year. Plant Biology Master's students are funded at $23,500 per year.
Payroll checks are distributed on the 15th and the 30th of the month (or the nearest weekday beforehand). UVM requires that you set up direct deposit for your pay unless you submit a request for an exception. You can sign up for direct deposit on PeopleSoft. Please see Porky Reade in the main office (111 Jeffords Hall) for help with this. It takes 1-2 pay periods for direct deposit to kick in.
Graduate Teaching Fellowship. Many graduate students in Plant Biology are supported on a Graduate Teaching Fellowship (GTF). GTFs provide instruction in the laboratory sections of courses taught by department faculty. Typically, beginning graduate students are assigned to the introductory biology courses (Bio 1 and BCOR 011 [fall] and Bio 2 and BCOR 012 [spring]). Prior to the beginning of each semester, you will receive a letter informing you of your teaching assignment. We try to match graduate student teaching interests with the needs of the Department. Tuition for 9 credits of graduate coursework per semester is covered for students serving as GTFs.
Typically, a GTF assignment is for no more than 20 hours of work per week, and includes teaching two lab sections, grading papers, and so on. It is a serious commitment. Most professors express a great deal of respect and admiration for the skills that grad students bring to their teaching assignments. Grad Teaching Fellows often work together to design labs and bounce ideas off each other, striving for quality and creativity. GTFs are encouraged to seek training and feedback on their teaching skills from faculty members. UVM’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) offers regular workshops on pedagogical approaches, which students are encouraged to attend. Graduate students also receive feedback directly from their students through the use of student evaluation forms at the end of each semester.
The library has tremendous resources that you all should explore right away. Library staff often offer library orientations for new graduate students. Inquire at the reference desk. Library hours, the online catalog, and much more can be found at http://library.uvm.edu/
Inter-Library Loan. If you can't find a book or article you need in the library, you can put in an on-line inter-library loan request. This is easy and very useful. If you request an article, they will either send you a photocopy that you can pick up at the Bailey/Howe circulation desk, or they will send you an electronic copy of the article-pretty convenient!
Periodicals/Journals. On the second floor, unbound newest issues to the north side, old ones bound in the stacks. Be aware that graduate students can check out periodicals, new issues for two hours, and bound issues for two weeks. You need to fill out circulation cards at the periodical desk to do this. This is very convenient if you want to photocopy an article elsewhere instead of using the somewhat pricey library copiers.
Reserve Desk. On the first floor is the reserve desk where you can check out course materials for short-term in-library use. When you’re teaching a course, you can place books and supplementary readings on reserve for your students.
Media Services. Located in the basement, this department has a wide range of AV equipment for loan, a photo stand for making slides of art and photos, audio and video rooms, and a couple of powerful Dell computers with full graphics and digital editing software and scanning hardware. You can check out digital cameras and video cameras here (very nice!). With your UVM ID you can sign out any equipment you need. You can also check out DVDs and videos for free!
Map Room. Here you can find ortho-photos, topos, soil surveys, a GIS station and much more. Bill is extremely helpful and has lots of local knowledge (plan extra time for any visit). The Map Room is on the bottom floor of Bailey Howe across from Government Documents.
Special Collections. Located in the basement, this room houses archival materials (including a great collection of Vermontiana) and rare books. Materials from here cannot be checked out, but with the permission of the attendant on duty you can take them to a photocopier (you'll have to leave an I.D.). The Special Collections room has limited hours.
Copiers and Scanners. On the first floor near the reserve desk are copy machines, which can be operated with coins or your CATCard. One of the copiers is equipped with the capability to scan and email copies to yourself. While making hard copies costs money, scanning is free.
Library Research Annex. Located across East Ave. from the entrance to the main UVM parking lot. The Annex is in the cluster of buildings on the way to Centennial Woods. Here you'll find the complete collection of UVM Master's Theses and Doctoral Dissertations, older journals, and the University archives. Although you can't take materials out of the building, there is a photocopier and some places to work.
Waterman is the administrative center of the campus. Often you can do a number of errands in one trip through its avenue-like hallways. Offices you may have occasion to visit include the Registrar, Student Financial Services, Graduate College, Accounting, Cashier, and Payroll.
Davis is UVM's impressive student center, home to the UVM Book Store, the Computer Depot, CAT Pause (a convenience store), the student government offices, and several eateries. The Computer Depot, located within the book store, is UVM's authorized reseller and service provider of Apple, Dell, and Gateway computers. It is also home to the Computing and Information Technologies (CIT) help desk. More information can be found on the Davis website: http://www.uvm.edu/~davis/
The CIT helpline is a great resource for any kind of computer-related questions. You can ask them about problems with your own personal computer, or with anything related to the campus computers and network. Call them up at 656-2604, email them at email@example.com, get help online at www.uvm.edu/it/help, or visit them at the Computer Depot in the book store in the Davis Center.
Gradnet is a listserv for graduate students across campus. Signing up will keep you in touch with the grad community and will let you know about everything from available apartments and rooms to yard sales and social events to thesis defense deadlines. To join the list, send email to LISTSERV at: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the body of the message, place the following subscribe command: subscribe gradnet First Last. Replace the words "First Last" with your name. Here is an example: subscribe gradnet Joe Smith. The welcoming message you receive from the listserv will tell you how to unsubscribe if you decide to do so in the future.
This is the third largest herbarium in New England. Here you can find plant specimens (300,000) from Vermont and other parts of the world dating back almost 200 years. It has an excellent library of botanical references. The Pringle Library is not catalogued on the Bailey-Howe system, so you will need to visit to learn what they have. It is located in Torrey Hall, between the Billings and Perkins Buildings. For more information, see Dave Barrington, Director of the Pringle.
The Proctor Maple Research Center (PMRC), located on the lower slopes of Mount Mansfield, is a Field Research Station of the Department of Plant Biology. The Proctor Center was established in 1946 in Underhill Center, Vermont. Research there has centered on the sugar maple tree (Acer saccharum Marsh) and its products--sap and syrup. Much of the research contributed by the Proctor has provided new and/or improved techniques for efficient sap collection and evaporation systems and for improvement of maple syrup quality. In addition, research there has contributed to an improved understanding of the physiology and continued health of sugar maple trees. It is a great place to see sugaring in the late winter, and the Proctor folks host a wonderful sugar-on-snow party for the department every spring. Tim Perkins (Director of the Proctor) or Abby van den Berg can provide more information.
The UVM greenhouse (connected to Jeffords Hall) is a state-of-the-art facility for research. It contains a permanent collection of plant specimens as well as bench space for teaching and research purposes. It is also a great place to visit, especially in the dead of winter! For questions about greenhouse use, contact Colleen Armstrong, Greenhouse Director.
The on-campus eateries most convenient to Jeffords Hall are in the Davis Center:
Check this website for more eateries on campus: http://uds.uvm.edu/
The cafeteria in the hospital, adjacent to UVM campus, sells good food for very reasonable prices.
For a quick snack, there are vending machines on the first floor of Jeffords.
Burlington and Vermont are tourist destinations, so there’s plenty to see and do. Here are some websites with good recommendations:
Part of the information in this handbook was taken from the Field Naturalist Program's "Field Guide to the FN Program." We thank them for permission to use their material. Other parts were taken from the UVM Graduate College's website, http://www.uvm.edu/~gradcoll, which is well worth visiting.