University of Vermont

College of
Agriculture and Life Sciences

Department of Plant and Soil Science

Frequently Asked Questions for PSS Graduate Students

Some of these questions can be answered by looking through the UVM Graduate College Website, but here is a quick overview of some of the most frequently asked questions.

How many credits do I need?

PhD students need a total of 75 credits.

  • At most, 24 credits can be transferred.
  • 51 credits must be completed in residence.
  • At least 40 out of 75 credits must be graded course credits.
  • The remainder must be research credits.

MS students need a total of 30 credits.

  • 18-24 credits must be graded course credits.
  • At least 12 course credits must be completed in residence (matriculated).
  • 6-12 credits must be research credits.

What other requirements are there?

PhD students must also complete:

  • 2 semesters of seminars (PSS 393)
  • 2 public speaking engagements
  • 2 semesters of outreach activity

MS students must also complete:

  • 1 semester of seminars (PSS 393)
  • 1 public speaking engagements
  • 1 semesters of outreach activity

For more information on specific requirements, including transfer credits, see this handout.

Do I have to attend seminar?

PSS 301 Professional Skills Colloquium is required of all incoming students. All graduate students must participate in at least one colloquium each year for the duration of the graduate student's program (select from PSS 301, 302, or other special topics offered as PSS 381) except when on Grad 900 continuous registration.

All graduate students are required to attend Departmental seminars. Students on a teaching assistantship should sign up for the course (PSS 393/394) for 1 credit offered as a P/NP option while those students that are self-funded or grant funded may sign up for credit at the discretion of their advisor and advisory committee but are not required to take the seminar for credit. Regardless, all graduate students are expected to attend seminar, with the understanding that exceptions may occur and should be handled through the student's committee.

A minimum of 1 semester of graduate-level statistics for MS students and 2 semesters for Ph.D. students (see more information in above question).

How many study committee members do I need?

MS students need 3 committee members (2 from the department and 1 from outside the department).

PhD students need 4 committee members (3 from inside the department and 1 from outside the department).

Is the Examination Committee the same as the Study Committee?

Yes, the committees are the same. However, the Examination Committee needs to be appointed through the graduate school. You can appoint committee members with this form. If you have further questions, you can contact or

What is Continuous Registration?

Students who are actively working toward their degree completion and have completed enrollment in all credits required for the degree, but have not completed all graduation requirements, must enroll each semester for Continuous Registration and pay a flat $100 - $300 tuition fee for Continuous Registration each semester until all degree requirements are completed, including removing incomplete grades, passing the comprehensive examination, or completing a thesis or dissertation.

Students who are working at the full-time level of nine or more credit equivalency register for GRAD 903 in their discipline, pay a Continuous Registration fee of $300, and must pay the Health Center fee required of full-time students ($295). Students working at less than full time, but at least half time (five to eight credit equivalency) register for GRAD 902 in their discipline, pay a Continuous Registration fee of $200, and must pay the Health Center fee ($295) if they elect to purchase the UVM health insurance. Students working at less than half time (one quarter to four credit equivalency) register for GRAD 901 in their discipline and pay a Continuous Registration fee of $100.

For specific questions, you may wish to contact in the Graduate College.

The following chart describes the characteristics of each level of registration:

Effort Expectation Credit Equivalency Attributes of Enrollment Designation
GRAD_901     Less than Half Time - 1-16 hours effort per week 1/4 to 41 Catcard, library, fitness center and bus privileges
GRAD_9022 At least Half Time, but less than Full Time - 20-32 hours effort per week 5-8 Catcard, library, fitness center and bus privileges; loan deferral, eligible to enroll in UVM Student Health insurance, federal financial aid eligibility, eligible for GTA/GRA funding
GRAD_903 Full Time - at least 36 hours effort per week 9 or more Catcard, library, fitness center and bus privileges; loan deferral, health insurance required3, federal financial aid eligibility, eligible for GTA/GRA funding, ski pass eligibility

Can I get any financial assistance for traveling to conferences?

Yes, you can get money (in the form of a "mini grant") to help you with travel expenses when you travel outside of UVM for a conference or meeting. Students may receive up tp $200 for travel expenses and conference reimbursement (you will be reimbursed after your travel, you will not receive money before the trip). The process is fairly easy; however you should pay attention to mini grant deadlines. Additionally, at least a half match of the mini grant must be provided by your department. For more information see here.

What is the UVM Student Research Conference?

As part of the University of Vermont's weeklong celebration of student achievement, the UVM Student Research Conference (SRC) showcases the research and scholarly activity of undergraduate, graduate and medical students across campus.

The SRC acknowledges and thanks students' mentors, and celebrates the UVM colleges, schools and programs that encourage, sponsor and support student research. The audience includes UVM students, faculty, staff and the wider community.

All students working on a research or creative project with a UVM faculty member are eligible to present some aspect of their research at this forum. Research and creative projects at any stage of completion are welcome. The event also serves as a resource for students who are not yet involved with research but wish to learn about how to engage in research pursuits.

To submit an application for the conference, click here.

Do I have to complete a lab safety training?

Yes. Jeffords occupants who work in research or teaching labs are required to complete lab safety training. Safety training and sign-up information can be found on the UVM Safety website. Any questions may be directed to: Lee Diamond is currently the UVM Risk Management and Safety professional assigned to Jeffords Hall.






Last modified December 11 2017 08:58 AM