Graduate Student FAQ

Academics

Please review the Graduate College policy on Minimum/Full-Time Enrollment or contact Mary Guerrieri, mary@lpl.arizona.edu.

Note that as of Fall 2014, the policy regarding full-time status for graduate students has been revised; see below for policy summary and go to the UA General Catalog for complete details.

Fall and Spring Semesters

7/14/14 Note:  Full-Time unit minimums updated for Fall 2014.

During the fall and spring semesters, full-time status consists of enrollment for 9 units of graduate credit. Graduate students holding Graduate Assistant/ Associate appointments or working in regular student wage positions must maintain a minimum enrollment of 6 units of graduate credit.  A graduate student working on a thesis or dissertation who is only enrolled in 900-level units and not employed as a Graduate Assistant/ Associate or student worker must be enrolled in 3 units.  A student who has completed all course work, the thesis/dissertation unit requirements, has advanced to candidacy, is working on the thesis/dissertation, and is not employed as a Graduate Assistant/ Associate or student worker may apply for advanced status, which allows 1 unit of 900-level credit for full-time status. The full-time status enrollment minimums apply to students wishing to defer federal loan repayments, to international students with F or J visa status, and/or to students receiving University funding other than wages.

Summer Sessions

During pre-session and first and second summer sessions, full-time status consists of enrollment for 6 graduate units or more in any combination of Pre-Session, First, and Second Summer Sessions. Some colleges (Agriculture & Life Sciences and Engineering) require a greater number of units to maintain full-time graduate status if the student is receiving any financial assistance from the college. A student whose financial aid agreement requires enrollment during the summer sessions should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to verify specific requirements. International students should check with the University's International Students Office to ensure that their registration is in compliance with their visa status.

Please review the Graduate College policy and procedures on Leave of Absence or contact Mary Guerrieri, mary@lpl.arizona.edu.

Please review the Graduate College policy regarding degree requirements or contact Mary Guerrieri, mary@lpl.arizona.edu.

LPL generally reimburses the PTYS 554/594A course fees as a stipend. Please be aware that if you drop the course, the stipend will be rescinded and this may result in a balance on your bursar account; if you drop the course, you may be responsible for additional fees.

In the case where a student has a scholarship funded by outside sources (whether it be NSF GRPF, NASA NESSF, foreign government, Graduate College, or other non-departmental source),  the department policy is to cover financial disparities relating to health insurance and tuition remissions by the university as follows:

1. Scholarship recipients must be employed at least ¼ time as either a TA or RA to obtain student health insurance and a 50% tuition remission. In this case, the remaining 50% tuition remission is covered by the department, first using the GRS/GTS fund, and then departmental overhead. If a student is employed as a ¼ time TA or RA during the Spring semester, then that student’s health insurance is also covered for the summer.

2. Scholarship recipients are eligible to receive summer support unless:

a. the terms of their scholarship say otherwise or

b. the combination of their stipend plus their ¼ time TA or RA salary is equal to or greater than a ½ time RA or TA salary with full summer support.

Students should be aware that the annual stipend provided with many scholarships is intended as compensation for the entire year, not just the academic year.

In no case will we attempt to adjust salaries so that everyone is “receiving the same amount”; our aim is to attempt to maintain equity within the LPL/UA allocations and to ensure that winners of scholarships or fellowships are not penalized financially.

Please review the Graduate College policy on transfer credit. Students who wish to transfer to the Ph.D. program must submit the admission application for the University of Arizona and the Department of Planetary Sciences.

Graduate credit earned at other approved institutions may be counted toward the requirements of a doctoral degree, but will not be included in the calculation of the University of Arizona G.P.A. Transferred units are subject to the following restrictions:

  • The credits must be approved by the major or minor department and the Graduate College.
  • The minimum grade for transferred credits must be an A or B or the equivalent at the institution where course was taken.
  • Transferred units may not count toward more than one doctorate.
  • A maximum of 30 units of transfer coursework may be used toward the Ph.D requirements. Students who wish to transfer credit must submit a Transfer Credit form in GradPath before the end of their first year of study to have the courses evaluated for transfer eligibility.

 

Please review the Graduate College policy on Minimum/Full-Time Enrollment or contact Mary Guerrieri, mary@lpl.arizona.edu.

A student who has completed all course work, the thesis/dissertation unit requirements, has advanced to candidacy, is working on the thesis/dissertation, and is not employed as a Graduate Assistant/ Associate or student worker may apply for advanced status, which allows 1 unit of 900-level credit for full-time status. The full-time status enrollment minimums apply to students wishing to defer federal loan repayments, to international students with F or J visa status, and/or to students receiving University funding other than wages.

 

LPL Coffee Klatsch is an informal gathering of faculty, students, and staff at LPL. Coffee and snacks are provided. It's a great time to take a break and catch up with what's happening in the department. Coffee Klatsch usually happens on Wednesday at 3:30p.m. in Kuiper Space Sciences 309.

LPL Journal Club is held on Fridays at 4:00p.m. in Kuiper Space Sciences 309. Each week, there is a speaker who presents a current topic or paper for informal discussion.

The University of Arizona requires that doctoral students complete a minor program of study consisting of at least 9 units. Graduate students in the Department of Planetary Sciences should choose a minor subject in consultation with their research advisor. Common minor subjects include:

Students should consult the minor department regarding the minor program requirements.

Please review the Graduate College policy on Continuous Enrollment or contact Mary Guerrieri, mary@lpl.arizona.edu.

Computing

To get help in an emergency, please call or visit the LPL Central Computing Systems Staff at: 
Joe Gotobed Cell (520) 631-2138 Room SS-440
John Pursch Cell (520) 631-2200 Room SS-201

If it's not an emergency, please send email to the Systems Help Email Hot Line sys .

Email sys@lpl.arizona.edu with problems regarding email, computing, hardware, software, etc.

All faculty, students, and staff at the University of Arizona are assigned an official UA email account (email.arizona.edu). This is the address to which official university correspondence is directed by default. Members of PTYS/LPL also receive an LPL email account (lpl.arizona.edu). Be advised that you will either have to check both accounts, or forward/merge accounts. John Pursch (pursch@lpl.arizona.edu) can assist you in setting up your email account and providing instruction regarding access.

To set up a web page you must have a collection of HTML files that are the content of your pages. To create these, you'll need to know how to write HTML. It's quite easy to learn HTML. Take a look at the pages for the HTML Class that we gave a while ago for some places to start.

So if you have the HTML and other files for your web page, how do you get it up on the LPL web pages?

Begin by using ssh to connect to shell.lpl.arizona.edu and log in to your LPL UNIX account. In your LPL home directory, create a directory called public_html (you can do this with the command mkdir public_html). You have to make this directory world readable, so that everyone can see your webpage. To do this, you can use the command chmod a+r public_html, from your home directory. Now put all of the HTML files into this directory (or make more directories under this), and you'll be able to see them on the web.

The address of your new web pages will be:

http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~username

where username is your username.

For example, the web address for rbeyer's web page is

http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~rbeyer.

Those are the basics! If you have questions, please email

LPL Webmaster / webmaster

LCS Unix Workstations, MACs, and Windows PCs can be found in rooms 331 and 429a. The Unix Workstations are Sun machines running Solaris with common administration of usernames & passwords.

After you have obtained an LPL user account from LPL Systems, you may use LPL email in one of the following ways:

  • Set up and use an LPL email client on your desktop/laptop, as follows:
    < >Windows and Mac users can download and install Thunderbird, unless they prefer Outlook or Mac Mail.

    Sun and Linux users should find that Thunderbird is already installed on their system.

    Click here to learn how to set up your LPL email client.

    Solaris command-line users can use pine or mailx after ssh-ing to shell (no setup required).

    Login to LPL WebMail

For best performance, LPL Systems recommends that you set up and use an email client on your desktop/laptop. 
LPL WebMail is primarily intended for use when you do not have access to your own system.

LPL WebMail is accessible from a link on the LPL home page. To obtain more information and login instructions, please click here: LPL WebMail Home. If you have comments or problem reports, please send email to sys. 

Financial

Please review information from the Bursar's office or contact Mary Guerrieri, mary@lpl.arizona.edu.

Please review information from the tuition and fees calculator from the Bursar's office or contact Mary Guerrieri, mary@lpl.arizona.edu.

Information about RA/TA benefits, including tuition remission, health insurance, etc., is available online from the Graduate College.

Although we cannot make any guarantee, it is the department's intention to provide up to five (5) years of financial support towards completion of the Ph.D., contingent upon availability of funding and the student's making satisfactory academic progress and remaining in good academic standing with the department/University. Normally, this support will be provided in either the form of a half-time (20 hours per week, .50 FTE) Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) or a half-time Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA). Current GA/TA salary information is available from Mary Guerrieri (mary@lpl.arizona.edu, 520-621-2828). Most of our students supplement this support by working full time on research projects during the summer (with a GRA appointment). It is the policy of the department to provide students who receive an outside fellowship or scholarship with sufficient support in assistantships so that the total benefits package will be at least comparable to that of someone with a .50 FTE GTA or GRA who receives a summer GRA stipend.

LPL generally reimburses the PTYS 554/594A course fees as a stipend. Please be aware that if you drop the course, the stipend will be rescinded and this may result in a balance on your bursar account; if you drop the course, you may be responsible for additional fees.

In the case where a student has a scholarship funded by outside sources (whether it be NSF GRPF, NASA NESSF, foreign government, Graduate College, or other non-departmental source),  the department policy is to cover financial disparities relating to health insurance and tuition remissions by the university as follows:

1. Scholarship recipients must be employed at least ¼ time as either a TA or RA to obtain student health insurance and a 50% tuition remission. In this case, the remaining 50% tuition remission is covered by the department, first using the GRS/GTS fund, and then departmental overhead. If a student is employed as a ¼ time TA or RA during the Spring semester, then that student’s health insurance is also covered for the summer.

2. Scholarship recipients are eligible to receive summer support unless:

a. the terms of their scholarship say otherwise or

b. the combination of their stipend plus their ¼ time TA or RA salary is equal to or greater than a ½ time RA or TA salary with full summer support.

Students should be aware that the annual stipend provided with many scholarships is intended as compensation for the entire year, not just the academic year.

In no case will we attempt to adjust salaries so that everyone is “receiving the same amount”; our aim is to attempt to maintain equity within the LPL/UA allocations and to ensure that winners of scholarships or fellowships are not penalized financially.

Please review the Graduate College policy on Minimum/Full-Time Enrollment or contact Mary Guerrieri, mary@lpl.arizona.edu.

A student who has completed all course work, the thesis/dissertation unit requirements, has advanced to candidacy, is working on the thesis/dissertation, and is not employed as a Graduate Assistant/ Associate or student worker may apply for advanced status, which allows 1 unit of 900-level credit for full-time status. The full-time status enrollment minimums apply to students wishing to defer federal loan repayments, to international students with F or J visa status, and/or to students receiving University funding other than wages.

 

If you are receiving salary or wages from the University of Arizona, you can establish Direct Deposit from UAccess Employee/Manager Self Service. Once logged in using your netID, to to Self Service (under Main Menu), then Payroll and Compensation, then Direct Deposit.

If you are a student who is not receiving salary or wages, you can establish Direct Deposit from your UAccess Student Center account.

  • Once logged in using your netID:
  • Click on the Account Inquiry link (under the Finances / My Account)
  • Click on the Web Refund Enrollment tab
  • Enter your direct deposit information
  • Click Enroll

General

What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, commonly referred to as FERPA or the Buckley amendment, is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student’s educational record. FERPA applies to all educational agencies or institutions that receive federal funding for any program administered by the Secretary of Education.  FERPA also applies to private entities that contract to perform services for the University that it would otherwise undertake to perform on its own; in such cases, the private entity must observe the same FERPA protections applicable to the University. FERPA grants adult students (18 and older) the following rights:

  • The right to inspect and review their educational records
  • The right to seek the amendment of their educational records
  • The right to consent to the disclosure of their educational records
  • The right to obtain a copy of their school’s Student Records Policy
  • The right to file a complaint with the FERPA Office in Washington, D.C.

All faculty, staff, and students who work with students and educational records MUST review FERPA policy and complete the FERPA tutorial.

For keys to PTYS/LPL offices, supervisors should send an email to keys@lpl.arizona.edu; message should provide employee name and list of rooms for which keys are needed. Employee can then contact Sarah Lane-Gaxiola in the LPL Business Office, Kuiper 339.  She will make a copy of your CatCard and request the key(s)/access required.

Contact Dennis Bowers at 520-621-4769 or 520-240-9271. If Dennis is unavailable, call the Academic Office at 520-621-6963.

LPL Coffee Klatsch is an informal gathering of faculty, students, and staff at LPL. Coffee and snacks are provided. It's a great time to take a break and catch up with what's happening in the department. Coffee Klatsch usually happens on Wednesday at 3:30p.m. in Kuiper Space Sciences 309.

LPL letterhead and logos are posted here. You can visit the UA RedBar site for access to UA graphics.

LPL Journal Club is held on Fridays at 4:00p.m. in Kuiper Space Sciences 309. Each week, there is a speaker who presents a current topic or paper for informal discussion.

Check out the supply cabinet, Kuiper 335.

Yes! The LPL Library is located in Kuiper 409. Lisa Martin (lmartin@lpl.arizona.edu; 520-621-2870) is the librarian.

Contact Sarah Lane-Gaxiola (slane@lpl.arizona.edu) or Kari Figueroa (karis@lpl.arizona.edu) in the Kuiper Business Office (Kuiper 339) for access to the Kuiper bike cage (located under the gantry stairwell on the northeast corner of the building).

The FAX number for LPL/Kuiper is 520-621-4933. The Kuiper FAX machine is located in the mailroom, Kuiper 315. Users will need to have their long-distance PIN phone codes to make dial a long-distance number.

Contact the following staffers:

For after-hours emergencies, call the UA Facilities Management switchboard, 520-621-3000.

Shared (networked) printers in the Kuiper building (3rd and 4th floors) are maintained by sys (sys@lpl.arizona.edu); contact sys for problems with ink, jams, etc.

Paper for these printers is available in the Kuiper mailroom, Kuiper 315.

Contact Tara Bode in the LPL Business Office, Kuiper 339: tara@lpl.arizona.edu, 520-621-4497.

Information about obtaining a UA CatCard is here: http://www.catcard.arizona.edu/obtain_catcard.  You will need a CatCard before obtaining keys to an office in Kuiper or Sonett.

To obtain your CatCard you must visit the CatCard Office located in the Student Union. Please be prepared with the following:

  • A government or state issued photograph identification such as a driver's license, state identification card, or passport. High school issued identification is NOT accepted as valid identification.
  • A completed and signed CatCard Terms and Conditions Form
  • Students and affiliates pay $25 for their first card.
  • Faculty and staff are issued their first CatCard free of charge.

Please Note: When you apply for your CatCard, you will need to provide your student or employee identification number to verify your status at the University of Arizona. This information is needed because only students, faculty, staff, and some affiliates of the University of Arizona are eligible to receive a CatCard. This number will not appear on the face of your CatCard, but it will be encoded electronically on your card, to be used for necessary UA internal purposes only. The number will not be provided to outside entities without your prior consent.

Requirements

  • Students must be enrolled in at least one class, or be participating in a New Student Orientation.
  • New employees must have been issued an employee identification number (EmplID) and show active status in the payroll system.

All faculty, students, and staff at the University of Arizona are assigned an official UA email account (email.arizona.edu). This is the address to which official university correspondence is directed by default. Members of PTYS/LPL also receive an LPL email account (lpl.arizona.edu). Be advised that you will either have to check both accounts, or forward/merge accounts. John Pursch (pursch@lpl.arizona.edu) can assist you in setting up your email account and providing instruction regarding access.

Please review the Graduate College policy, provided here:

Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

A student who believes that he or she has experienced discrimination or sexual harassment should contact the Office of Institutional Equity.  The student will be referred to an individual with expertise in these areas for confidential advice on handling the situation or filing a written complaint. Students with disabilities who would like information on University policies with regard to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact the University's Disability Resource Center (DRC) at (520) 621-3268. 

There are two RICOH copiers in the Kuiper building (Kuiper 351A and Kuiper 409A), 1 copier in the Sonett building, and 1 copier in the Drake building.

To use the copiers, contact Kari Figueroa (karis@lpl.arizona.edu) in the LPL Business Office (Kuiper 339) for a PIN. The PIN will be keyed to appropriate account number(s); scanning is free, but a PIN is required as a login.

For the complete TADA policy and information on procedures, visit the Graduate College web site.

Temporary Alternative Duty Assignments for Graduate Assistants/Associates

While changing duties for family-related needs is not required and may not be feasible in all circumstances, deans, directors, department heads, advisors and faculty shall make every reasonable effort to meet the family-related needs of graduate assistants/associates (GA's), to the greatest possible extent, and in a manner consistent with the effective and efficient operation of the University. Similarly, GA's are expected to be flexible and plan ahead to the extent possible. 

Recognizing that some family circumstances may require special flexibility, GA's may request a temporary alternative duty assignment (no more than 6 weeks during one’s entire graduate education). The alternative duties should make it feasible to remain active as a GA under the following circumstances: the responsibility to care for the GA's newborn child or newly-placed adopted or foster child or the need to provide temporary care to the GA’s spouse/domestic partner, child or parent who has a serious health condition.
 
During the period of temporary assignment to alternative duties, the full-time equivalency (FTE) will remain unchanged and the GA will be compensated at the same rate of pay for all hours worked. GA's are classified as exempt employees, so their pay is not based on number of hours worked but for the whole job, regardless of the amount of time or effort required to complete the work.

 

LPL uses the LARS online scheduling system to reserve classrooms, laptops, a/v materials, and more. LPL staff can get a LARS login by contacting sys@lpl.arizona.edu ; for other assistance in accessing LARS or making a reservation, contact the LPL Academic Office, 520-621-6963.

Graduate student parents are encouraged to consider applicable family care programs from UA Life & Work Connections, ranging from individual consultations and referrals, to Child Care Subsidy & Housing Program, lactation resources, and a University-subsidized Sick Child and Emergency/Back-up Care Program. Visit http://lifework.arizona.edu to learn more about student child care and related programs.

 

Campus mail is picked up daily from the LPL mailroom in Kuiper 315. Please use envelopes marked “campus mail” and be sure to address all envelopes with correct/exact building and recipient. Please note that there are different bins for mail going to the Drake or Sonnet buildings and mail going to other areas of campus. 

Should a graduate student feel he or she has been treated unfairly, there are a number of resources available. With few exceptions, students should first attempt to resolve difficulties informally by bringing those concerns directly to the person responsible for the action, or with the student's graduate advisor, the department head, or the immediate supervisor of the person responsible for the action. If the problem cannot be resolved informally, the student may be able to file a formal grievance.

Please go to the Graduate College site to review complete policy and procedures.

Visit Risk Management and click on “Driver Registration and Motor Vehicle Record Check.”  Fill out the information for the University to check your driving record and clear you to drive University vehicles.

International Students

The University of Arizona provides information regarding taxes and the international student online here: http://global.arizona.edu/international-students/taxes.

Information about student visa requirements is online with the International Students Office of UA Global Initatives. Please refer to the guidelines posted there and take advantage of the advising from that office.

**NOTE** Students MUST inform Tara Bode in Kuiper 339 (tara@lpl.arizona.edu, 520-621-4497) if their visa expires/renews. Students whose visas expire WILL NOT BE PAID for the time they hold the expired visa and there is NO BACKPAY permitted.

Please review the Graduate College policy on Minimum/Full-Time Enrollment or contact Mary Guerrieri, mary@lpl.arizona.edu.

A student who has completed all course work, the thesis/dissertation unit requirements, has advanced to candidacy, is working on the thesis/dissertation, and is not employed as a Graduate Assistant/ Associate or student worker may apply for advanced status, which allows 1 unit of 900-level credit for full-time status. The full-time status enrollment minimums apply to students wishing to defer federal loan repayments, to international students with F or J visa status, and/or to students receiving University funding other than wages.

 

Taxes

The University of Arizona provides information regarding taxes and the international student online here: http://global.arizona.edu/international-students/taxes.

Academics

Please review the Graduate College policy regarding degree requirements or contact Mary Guerrieri, mary@lpl.arizona.edu.

Please review the Graduate College policy on transfer credit. Students who wish to transfer to the Ph.D. program must submit the admission application for the University of Arizona and the Department of Planetary Sciences.

Graduate credit earned at other approved institutions may be counted toward the requirements of a doctoral degree, but will not be included in the calculation of the University of Arizona G.P.A. Transferred units are subject to the following restrictions:

  • The credits must be approved by the major or minor department and the Graduate College.
  • The minimum grade for transferred credits must be an A or B or the equivalent at the institution where course was taken.
  • Transferred units may not count toward more than one doctorate.
  • A maximum of 30 units of transfer coursework may be used toward the Ph.D requirements. Students who wish to transfer credit must submit a Transfer Credit form in GradPath before the end of their first year of study to have the courses evaluated for transfer eligibility.

 

The University of Arizona requires that doctoral students complete a minor program of study consisting of at least 9 units. Graduate students in the Department of Planetary Sciences should choose a minor subject in consultation with their research advisor. Common minor subjects include:

Students should consult the minor department regarding the minor program requirements.

Financial

Please review information from the tuition and fees calculator from the Bursar's office or contact Mary Guerrieri, mary@lpl.arizona.edu.

Information about RA/TA benefits, including tuition remission, health insurance, etc., is available online from the Graduate College.

Although we cannot make any guarantee, it is the department's intention to provide up to five (5) years of financial support towards completion of the Ph.D., contingent upon availability of funding and the student's making satisfactory academic progress and remaining in good academic standing with the department/University. Normally, this support will be provided in either the form of a half-time (20 hours per week, .50 FTE) Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) or a half-time Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA). Current GA/TA salary information is available from Mary Guerrieri (mary@lpl.arizona.edu, 520-621-2828). Most of our students supplement this support by working full time on research projects during the summer (with a GRA appointment). It is the policy of the department to provide students who receive an outside fellowship or scholarship with sufficient support in assistantships so that the total benefits package will be at least comparable to that of someone with a .50 FTE GTA or GRA who receives a summer GRA stipend.

If you are receiving salary or wages from the University of Arizona, you can establish Direct Deposit from UAccess Employee/Manager Self Service. Once logged in using your netID, to to Self Service (under Main Menu), then Payroll and Compensation, then Direct Deposit.

If you are a student who is not receiving salary or wages, you can establish Direct Deposit from your UAccess Student Center account.

  • Once logged in using your netID:
  • Click on the Account Inquiry link (under the Finances / My Account)
  • Click on the Web Refund Enrollment tab
  • Enter your direct deposit information
  • Click Enroll

General

Information about obtaining a UA CatCard is here: http://www.catcard.arizona.edu/obtain_catcard.  You will need a CatCard before obtaining keys to an office in Kuiper or Sonett.

To obtain your CatCard you must visit the CatCard Office located in the Student Union. Please be prepared with the following:

  • A government or state issued photograph identification such as a driver's license, state identification card, or passport. High school issued identification is NOT accepted as valid identification.
  • A completed and signed CatCard Terms and Conditions Form
  • Students and affiliates pay $25 for their first card.
  • Faculty and staff are issued their first CatCard free of charge.

Please Note: When you apply for your CatCard, you will need to provide your student or employee identification number to verify your status at the University of Arizona. This information is needed because only students, faculty, staff, and some affiliates of the University of Arizona are eligible to receive a CatCard. This number will not appear on the face of your CatCard, but it will be encoded electronically on your card, to be used for necessary UA internal purposes only. The number will not be provided to outside entities without your prior consent.

Requirements

  • Students must be enrolled in at least one class, or be participating in a New Student Orientation.
  • New employees must have been issued an employee identification number (EmplID) and show active status in the payroll system.

LPL Coffee Klatsch is an informal gathering of faculty, students, and staff at LPL. Coffee and snacks are provided. It's a great time to take a break and catch up with what's happening in the department. Coffee Klatsch usually happens on Wednesday at 3:30p.m. in Kuiper Space Sciences 309.

LPL Journal Club is held on Fridays at 4:00p.m. in Kuiper Space Sciences 309. Each week, there is a speaker who presents a current topic or paper for informal discussion.