|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|
|Other Funding Sources||10|
|III. Community: UVM and Beyond||11|
|Proctor Maple Research Center||13|
|Campus Computer Centers||13|
|Exploring the Area||14|
Welcome to the Department of Plant Biology! 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 that 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 catalog, can be found at: www.uvm.edu/~gradcoll
You may have some questions this summer. Here are some people and places that can help:
|Contact||Phone # (802)||Email/Web Address||Location/Building|
Plant Biology office
|656-2930||Lillian.Reade@uvm.edu||111 Jeffords Hall|
Grad. Program Coordinator
|Cathy.Paris@uvm.edu||308 Jeffords Hall|
|Graduate College||656-3160||http://www.uvm.edu/~gradcoll||333 Waterman|
|Financial Aid||656-3156||http://www.uvm.edu/~stdfinsv/||330 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.
Department of Plant Biology
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 and then feel lucky if it takes less.
Usually the first question is whether to live in Burlington or outside, and you may find something slightly cheaper in the foothills. If you commute, there is some traffic at the usual rush hours, and parking on the 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||$550-800+||Somewhat hard to find|
|Two bedroom apartment||$850-$1150+||Common|
|Room for rent||$350-$550||Lots|
Listings may be found in the following sources:
|Community Classifieds Website|
|Burlington Free Press
|Local Gannet daily newspaper|
|Free weekly paper, Wednesday, the alternative/ liberal slice of the population. 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.
|www.burlingtonapartments.com||Very good website. Lots of info and pictures.|
|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 127A 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 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. Cost of the insurance is given below.
Comprehensive Fee - Students pay a Comprehensive Fee each semester according to the following schedule: 1 credit, $10; 2 credits, $20; 3 credits, $30; 4 credits, $40; 5 credits, $364; 6 credits, $406; 7 credits, $458; 8 credits, $508; 9-11 credits, $556; 12 or more credits, $851
Student Health Center Fee - Students enrolled in 6 to 11.5 credits who purchase UVM insurance will be charged the $285.00 per semester Student Health Center fee.
Student Health Insurance - Students who are not otherwise covered under a health policy are required to purchase health insurance through the university. There is an additional charge for this extended coverage beyond the student health fee.
The 2010-2011 cost for one year's coverage for single students is $2,000. 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.
The graduate college covers 75% of the cost of UVM health insurance for all full-time graduate students, with a smaller percentage paid for part-time students. To receive this adjustment, you must submit an application, which can be found on the Graduate College website or in their office (web address and office location provided under "Getting Started").
Continuous Registration Fee - GRAD 900. A fee of $100 per semester is charged each graduate student who has enrolled for all credits required in the degree program but who has not completed all degree requirements (e.g. comprehensive examination, thesis defense) in order to maintain continuous enrollment.
Reactivation Fee - Reactivation following withdrawal or deactivation requires payment of a $25 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, 332 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: The equivalent of a UVM major or minor in a natural or physical science. Satisfactory scores on the Verbal and Math sections of the Graduate Record Examination.
Minimum Degree Requirements: A total of 30 credits of course work and thesis research. A minimum of 15 credits of course work must be in plant biology and supporting fields, and at least nine credits must be in thesis research. Satisfactory completion of a thesis and a comprehensive examination.
Program Description: 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: Enrollment is limited to a small number of mature, highly talented individuals who have demonstrated sustained interest in field aspects of the natural sciences (e.g., participation in environmental and conservation organizations, workshops, environmental education, research). An undergraduate or graduate degree in earth or life sciences is expected, as are strong scores on the Graduate Record Examination. A subject (advanced) test in biology or geology is advised for students who lack an undergraduate degree in natural sciences. Recent college graduates are encouraged to pursue interests outside academe before applying to the Field Naturalist program.
Minimum Degree Requirements: Thirty credit hours of courses to include at least two courses in each of three core areas (the course selection to be determined by the student's studies committee): (1) life science; (2) earth science; and (3) ecology; enrollment in the Field Naturalist Practicum each semester; oral comprehensive examination the fourth semester; written field research project at the end of the fourth semester.
Requirements for Admission: The equivalent of a UVM major or minor in a natural or physical science. Satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination.
Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy: Completion of one academic year in graduate study at The University of Vermont.
Minimum Degree Requirements: A total of 75 credits of course work and dissertation research. A minimum of 30 credits of course work must be in plant biology and supporting fields, and at least 20 credits must be in dissertation research. Satisfactory completion of a thesis and a comprehensive examination. In addition, each candidate must participate in six semester hours of supervised teaching.
Role. The studies committee advises the student's program of study and design of the thesis research. They also administer the comprehensive examination.
Constitution. For the master's degree, the studies committee must include at least three members, one of whom has an appointment outside the department and will serve as chair of the committee. This person must be a member of the Graduate College faculty. For the Ph.D. degree, the studies committee must include at least four committee members, one of whom has an appointment outside the department and is a member of the Graduate College faculty.
Committee Meetings; Graduate Program Outline. The student is advised to convene a meeting of the studies committee soon after a research topic has been selected and a proposal has been drafted. With the help of the committee, the student must complete a graduate program outline following the completion of nine hours of coursework for the Master's degree or 18 hours for the Ph.D. (A program outline form is included at the back of this handbook.) At least one committee meeting per year is required. A brief summary of this meeting, including any decisions made, should be added to the student's file in the Plant Biology office.
Tracking Progress through the Program. The graduate program outline form provides a means to track student progress through the program. Forms should be updated annually, with notes about studies committee meetings held and major business transacted, seminar presentations, and changes to the program of study, if any. At the end of the spring term, the Graduate Program Committee will review the forms and write a letter of approval (or concern) for the student's file.
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 full-time student. In short, you must be enrolled for at least six credit hours each semester to receive the benefits of a full-time graduate student.
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.
Variable credit. Some courses may be taken for different credit hours. Officially, this involves corresponding levels of work, but in reality it helps graduate students get more for their money or make up credits. It is all part of the game to get the most coursework for thirty credits. Consult the professor regarding any variable-credit courses.
GRAD 900. Graduate students taking fewer than 6 credits during any semester prior to completing their degree requirements are required to pay a continuous registration fee ($100) and enroll in GRAD 900 (0 credits).
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 their permanent lab.
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 are administered by the student's studies committee. Comps include both a written and an oral component. The exam is customarily topical, related to the student's area of specialization. Comps are to be taken by master's degree candidates by the end of the third semester in residence and by Ph.D. candidates by the end of the sixth semester.
Master's candidates are offered six semesters of support. The thesis defense should take place by the end of the 6th semester.
Ph.D. candidates are offered eight semesters of support (M.S. degree recipients) or up to 12 semesters of support (Bachelor's degree recipients). The thesis defense should take place by the end of the eighth (twelfth) semester.
Fellowship award amount. Ph.D. students in the Plant Biology Department are funded at the rate of $23,000 per year. Plant Biology Master's students are funded at $20,000 per year.
You will receive your fellowship award in the form of a check, which appears in your mailbox on the 15th and the 30th of the month (or the nearest weekday beforehand). Direct deposit of your paycheck is very convenient and highly recommended. You can set this up by visiting the payroll office (ground floor Waterman Building) and filling out a form. It takes 2-3 weeks for direct deposit to kick in.
Tuition Scholarship. Graduate students fully funded as Graduate Assistants on research grants and contracts awarded to and administered by UVM will be eligible for a tuition scholarship for thesis and dissertation credits. Students not fully funded but receiving stipends at least 50% of the base Graduate College stipend level will be eligible for one-half of the tuition scholarship for those fully funded. Up to 12 credit hours of course or research credit per semester is covered under your fellowship. (In-state tuition for 2010-2011 is $508/credit hour, while out-of-state is $1,281/credit hour.)
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.
Typically, a GTF assignment is for 20 hours of work per week, including 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.
There is a vast array of funding available from many different sources that could potentially support graduate research and study. At the same time, it is a mighty undertaking for anyone to start searching for funding. The Office of Sponsored Programs has a website that can be used to search for funding sources for graduate students. Also the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC, see below) has a large number of books and other resources that list many different kinds of grants, scholarships, and so on.
Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowships. The Graduate College makes available a limited number of Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowships. The stipend provides up to $2,000 in summer support to each of approximately 15 graduate students from across UVM to devote their summer work to some phase of their dissertation, thesis, or final project. See http://www.uvm.edu/~gradcoll/?Page=current/smrinstr.php&SM=current/_currentmenu.html for more details.
Financial Aid/Student Loans. Occasionally, Plant Biology Grads take on some financial aid in order to pay for the program and their living expenses while at UVM. Check out the UVM Financial Aid web page at www.uvm.edu/financialaid/. The first step for federal aid is to fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Log on to www.fafsa.ed.gov to apply. Have information about your current assets, your most recent tax return, and a disk (to save the form) handy when you do. You will need the UVM University Code, 003696. While completing the FAFSA, apply for a PIN number so you can check the application progress later on.
A complete FAFSA automatically triggers the financial aid process at UVM. Several weeks to a month later you should receive a letter from the financial aid office asking you for more information. You will be asked how many credits you expect to take in the fall and spring. Typically Plant Biology Graduate students register for 6-10 course and/or research credits per semester.
Your financial aid package will be presented to you in a letter that will offer you several forms of aid: the in-state tuition differential (see Classes and Credits), perhaps a Perkins Grant, a subsidized Stafford Loan, an unsubsidized Stafford Loan, and a work-study option. You can choose to accept, decline or reduce the amount in any of these categories. Decline the work-study and you increase the loan amount you are entitled to. Once you have accepted your aid (i.e. returned this letter to the Financial Aid office), it will be applied to your account and you will be mailed a check for the difference between the aid amount and what the University has billed you for tuition, fees, etc. You'll usually get this check by mid-September if all goes smoothly. If you are pressed for cash, a few kind words to someone in Accounting may release a portion of the balance early. If any of this abbreviated information doesn't make sense, the folks in the financial aid office are very friendly and helpful. If you've never had to use financial aid before, you might need to ask the financial aid person to start from the beginning and slowly explain all the aid options and consequences. They seem to sometimes assume you already know all about financial aid.
The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC), located in Winooski, administers the loans to the Accounting office. This is a wonderful place to drop in and ask any questions you might have about financial aid. The folks at VSAC have invariably been extremely friendly and helpful. They can explain aid options and what happens once you graduate (i.e. repayment).
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/
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.
Reserve Desk. On the first floor is the reserve desk where you can check out course materials. You'll need your UVM ID.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Registrar. Stop here for ordering transcripts in the spring when applying to fellowships.
Other offices. You may also need to visit Waterman for the Financial Aid office, Graduate College, Accounting, Cashier, or Payroll.
Davis is UVM's impressive student center, home to handy resources such as a bank, a pack & ship center, and a convenience store as well as the book store, the student government offices, and several eateries. The Davis website spells it all out for you: http://www.uvm.edu/~davis/
UVM book store. Textbooks are downstairs. General interest books, greeting cards, office supplies, and UVM apparel are upstairs.
CAT Pause. This is the university's convenience store, where you can pick up a toothbrush, a snack, etc.
Computer Depot. UVM's authorized reseller and service provider of Apple, Dell, and Gateway computers.
Underground Copy. High-quality design, print, and copy services, as well as a post office.
Growing Vermont. Student-run gift shop featuring products made in Vermont.
Banking. A full service branch of Chittenden Bank as well as Bank North ATMs
Eateries. Places to eat in the Davis Center range from Henderson's Cafe in the bookstore to Brennan's Pub to the Marketplace, New World Tortilla, Ben & Jerry's, and the student-run non-profit grilled cheese stand, Feel Good.
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 cataloged on the Bailey-Howe system, so you will need to visit to learn what they have.) See Cathy Paris, Dave Barrington, Liz Thompson or anyone at the herbarium for information. It is located in Torrey Hall, between the Billings and Perkins Buildings.
The Proctor Maple Research Center, 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. Funding for research comes from federal, state, and private sources. Much of the applied research has provided new and/or improved techniques for efficient sap collection and evaporation systems and for improvement of maple syrup quality while basic research 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.
The UVM greenhouse (attached to the Stafford building) is a state-of-the-art facility for research and for display of horticultural materials. It is also a great place to visit, especially in the dead of winter!
Most graduate students own their own computers; however there are computers available for your use across campus. The main facilities are:
Waterman. In the basement - this is the largest computer lab on campus, with PCs, Macs, and more. This is a decent place to work, but tends to get crowded and noisy late in the semester. The CIT (Computing and Information Technologies) counselor is located here.
Bailey Howe. The other main computer center on campus is on the first floor here. It can get quite busy.
The Computing and Information Technologies (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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit them in the Waterman computer lab (see below).
Gradnet is a listserv for graduate students across campus. Signing up will keep you in touch with the grad community across campus, 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: email@example.com . 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.
Food service on campus has gotten markedly better in recent years. Check out the all-you-can-eat Cook Commons in Billings or the Marketplace in the Davis Center, where sushi, flatbread, and indian food are all options. The Davis Center is also home to some community-based food establishments, including New World Tortilla, Ben & Jerry's, and Henderson's Cafe, serving cookies and pastries from Mirabelle's and Klinger's and Vermont Artisan coffees, teas, and espresso drinks. Check this website for more eateries on campus: http://uds.uvm.edu/
If you have the time and you didn't pack a lunch, you will fare much better downtown at the CoOp (City Market on Winooski Ave.), Stone Soup, Mirabelle's, Three Tomatoes, Pacific Rim and other tasty and not too, too expensive lunch spots. If you are really desperate, there are vending machines on the first floor of Jeffords. Also, be sure to check out Cheese Traders on Williston Rd. They have amazing deals on random but tasty items like overstocked cereal and chips, slightly out-of-date soy milk, trimmings from the Cabot cheese factory, and much more. They also have a wide selection of fine wines (of all prices) in the basement and a fellow who can tell you all about every single one of them.
While you are in the area, plan to get to know Vermont and neighboring states. Here are a couple of tips:
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.