Frequently Asked Question For Graduate Students

Below are only some of the Frequently Asked Questions that Graduate Students might have, you should always refer to the Academic or Workplace Handbook, but also talk to Graduate Studies Coordinator or Department Chair if you have questions.


Can my advisor require me to take a course?

  • Can my advisor require me to take a course?Yes, your advisor may require you to take a course. It is your advisor's job to ensure that you learn adequate skills as well as identify areas where you may need more experience.

I won an award that will fund me for one quarter of my choosing. Can my advisor tell me when to use it?

  • Often your advisor will recommend that you use it in a specific term, but you may choose when to use your award. 

I wish to change my research topic and advisors, how should I do this?

  • A student may request a change of academic advisors at any time; this request should be made in writing to the Graduate Coordinator or Chair, and is usually granted if relevant parties involved agree to the proposed changes, and funding sources allow. If you entered with guaranteed funding, you will continue to be funded for the promised length of time as long as you find a new advisor, but the source of funding may change (e.g., RA to DF). Also, you should talk with your current advisor about how to bring closure to the current research project.

I am having difficulties with another student, whom should I talk to?

  • First, you should talk to the other student, if appropriate and you are comfortable doing so. Many times people are unaware that their actions may be inconveniencing or bothering someone else, and a discussion can quickly resolve the issue. If you are not comfortable, it is not an appropriate situation, or talking doesn't help, the next step would be to view the dispute resolution guidelines above to see who might be the best contact for your specific issue.

My assigned work in my TA or RA position exceeds 20 hours per week, what should I do?

  • The first step is to let the instructor know that the assigned work is exceeding the limits. Most of the time this is sufficient; however if the assigned work continues to exceed 20 hours you should contact the Department Chair or Graduate Student Coordinator to resolve the issue.

Can I take a leave of absence? How do I go about organizing this?

  • A student in good standing may request a leave of absence through their advisor, the Graduate Coordinator, or the Department Chair. A personal or medical leave may be approved for up to one year, and may be later extended, if approved by the Department. Normally a leave will not be approved beyond a second year.
  • A letter specifying the terms of the leave must be sent to the Assistant Dean of the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. The letter must provide the beginning and ending dates of the leave, as well as the date by which the student must indicate their intention to return.
  • While on leave, a student retains active student status to provide access to email and other Dartmouth student systems. A student on leave is required to stay enrolled in the Dartmouth Student Group Health Plan unless an insurance waiver is submitted to and approved by the Dartmouth Health Service Office. While on leave, a student is responsible for paying the insurance installments that are billed to the student account. If a student does not return to their graduate program by the end of the approved leave, the student's degree candidacy is terminated and the student would be required to apply for readmission.