The Graduate Community

Graduate Council

A standing committee of the Academic Senate, the Graduate Council represents UC Santa Barbara academic disciplines and colleges. It consists of seventeen faculty members, a representative from the Graduate Students Association (GSA), and the Dean of the Graduate Division serves as an ex officio member. For more information about the Graduate Council refer to the Academic Senate.

The Graduate Council sets campus policy for graduate education in graduate admission, distribution of fellowship funding, appointments for student academic titles, degree milestones and degree requirements, and master's and doctoral committee service.

The Graduate Council reviews proposals for new graduate degree programs and modifications to existing programs, including changes in degree requirements. Departments must inform the Graduate Council of proposed or pending changes in their academic programs.

Areas that require Graduate Council approval:

  • Any student request that involves exceptions to Academic Senate policies governing graduate education
  • Nomination of non-ladder faculty-lecturers, researchers, visiting faculty, and adjunct faculty-to serve on thesis or dissertation committees
  • Appointment of non-ladder faculty-lecturers, adjunct faculty, and visiting faculty-to teach graduate courses
  • Creation of new courses or modification of existing courses

Graduate Division

Hours of Operation and Contacts

Academic Services

The Academic Services unit monitors and encourages successful progress toward degree completion, enforces academic standards, responds to student problems, and processes student petitions and forms.

Admissions and Outreach

The Admissions and Outreach unit centrally coordinates application and admissions procedures. They also advise applicants, faculty, and departments on policies and procedures for admission to graduate study.

Financial Support

The Financial Support unit administers fellowship programs and certifies student eligibility for fellowship funding and graduate student academic appointments. The Fellowship staff is responsible for administering University fellowships; department block grants; government and federally funded fellowships; and private, foundation, and corporate awards. Students should visit the Graduate Division Financial Support web page to learn about funding opportunities and sign up for the UC Santa Barbara specific funding search engine The Source.

Graduate Student Resource Center

The Graduate Student Resource Center (GSRC) supports the intellectual vitality and growth of our university by attracting the brightest, most talented, and diverse community of scholars to our graduate programs. The GSRC coordinates peer-led workshops designed to facilitate timely academic progress, write successful fellowship proposals, academic and professional development, and career planning. Refer to the Graduate Division Calendar for events and contact the Graduate Peer Advisors for information, inquires, and assistance.

Departmental Graduate Handbooks

Departments are required by the Graduate Council to prepare handbooks or guidelines to help their students understand what the department and the University expect of them as graduate students. If a department lacks such materials or would like to improve its existing materials, the Graduate Division is ready to assist in these efforts. Contact the Academic Services unit for information and assistance at gradacademics@graddiv.ucsb.edu or (805) 893-4654.

Graduate Advisor

Every graduate program has a graduate advisor. The graduate advisor is a tenure-track faculty member—nominated by the department chair and appointed by the Graduate Dean—who acts on behalf of the Graduate Council. The graduate advisor counsels enrolled students; leads recruitment and admission selection efforts; guides decision-making concerning fellowship nominations and allocations for academic appointments.

Graduate advisors provide an important nexus between the Graduate Division and students. They ensure that departmental norms, expectations, and requirements are clearly communicated to students. Fostering efforts to provide a supportive and enriching climate for students in the department, graduate advisors encourage student involvement in departmental matters as appropriate, including service on committees open to graduate student representation.

Departments should regard graduate students as junior colleagues and mentor them accordingly. Departments are encouraged to use meetings, departmental handbooks, and email as effective means of communication with students. Graduate advisors should lead departmental initiatives directed toward the professional preparation of students, including offering classes that promote effective teaching. All departments should ensure that their students are well prepared to assume the responsibilities associated with teaching undergraduates, which can be achieved through courses and/or workshops.

The graduate advisor's original signature is the only departmental signature, other than the department chair's, recognized as official on graduate forms and petitions. The graduate advisor is asked to advise students on continuous full-time enrollment and to monitor degree progress. The graduate advisor is asked to evaluate all petitions which may include requests to change degree objectives, add or drop courses, waive or substitute requirements, take leaves of absence, and reinstate to graduate standing. The Graduate Dean depends on the graduate advisor's experience and recommendations when making decisions about student matters.

An advising system in which faculty meet with students, examine transcripts, discuss research interests, and suggest a course work study plan is most effective. When the graduate advisor signs any form, the Graduate Deans assume that the recommended action has been carefully reviewed and, in the graduate advisor's judgment, represents the best interests of the University and the student. Departments rely heavily on graduate program assistants for information, but ultimately, faculty must be responsible for academic advising.

Graduate students depend upon the graduate advisor for advice and cannot act without the original signature on a number of forms. Departments are strongly encouraged to clearly identify the graduate advisor on their departmental homepage. It is essential that the graduate advisor keep regular office hours and be available for consultation during the quarter, particularly near registration deadlines and at the beginning and end of quarters.

Graduate Program Assistant (GPA)

Every graduate program has a staff member who works in the capacity of graduate program assistant. The graduate program assistant is responsible for administrative advising of graduate students. The department graduate program assistant works with the graduate advisor to ensure students are receiving clear and timely advising on administrative processes. They also remind students about registration and fellowship deadlines, and manage requisite administrative records on behalf of the department and its graduate students. Graduate program assistants are also expected to stay abreast of requirements from the Graduate Division and the University.

The Graduate Division relies on the graduate program assistants to disseminate all vital information to graduate students concerning policy changes, fellowship and grant opportunities, and workshops and events. They will regularly receive email announcements regarding Graduate Division workshops and events that are to be forwarded to the graduate students.