MAIS Graduate Advising
There are different kinds of advising available to graduate students. Understanding how to select and work with your advisors is key to your success. Advising roles are described below.
Graduate Program Advisor
Karin Dalesky, the Graduate Program Advisor, is responsible for helping students with the technical pieces of graduate student life — deadlines, forms, formal procedures and registration, and also functions as the liaison to the Graduate School.
Graduate Program Coordinator
Graduate students will work closely with Dr. Riki Thompson, the Graduate Program Director (GPD). The GPD is a member of the SIAS graduate faculty. The primary function of the GPD is to advise in a substantive, academic nature relating to the graduate program as a whole, and to give direction and shape work leading to the thesis or final project. This includes advising in the selection of electives that will contribute to that end. The GPD may or may not serve on thesis committees, depending on the specific direction that students ultimately decide to pursue. However, the GPD can assist students in identifying a potential chair and/or committee members.
Students will work closely with their thesis chair, or faculty advisor. The role of the thesis chair is separate from that of the Graduate Program Director. Once the thesis committee is formed, the chair assumes the function of a primary faculty advisor, and must be a member of the SIAS Graduate Faculty. Before the student registers for thesis credit, an approved proposal for a thesis or degree project must be submitted to the MAIS Administrator and Advisor, as well as the Graduate Program Director. It is the role of the thesis chair to help the student shape an interdisciplinary thesis or project of a quality appropriate to a master's level. The chair's ultimate duty is to evaluate the thesis or project and, if satisfactory, attest to its quality by signing off on the thesis warrant and approving the student for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to actively engage in the selection of their thesis chairs.
A thesis committee must have a minimum of two members, one of which serves as the chair. Committee members (also called readers) must be qualified individuals who possess a terminal degree in an area appropriate to the thesis/project, and hold an academic appointment at an accredited institution. The chair and at least one-half of the total membership of the thesis committee must be members of the graduate faculty. It is the responsibility of the thesis chair to determine the suitability of any committee members or readers recruited from outside of SIAS. Readers attest to the quality of the thesis or project on the student's warrant for graduation and may offer appropriate advice and assistance to students. Once the committee members have been selected and before students can register for thesis or degree project credits, students must complete and submit a thesis or degree project proposal that has been formally approved.
Graduate Committee Appointments
Once a student has established a committee, please alert the MAIS Administrator and Advisor and the Graduate Program Director. Upon confirmation, the student and all members of the student's committee will then be formally notified by the MAIS Administrator/Advisor.
Connect With Us
Email listserv: MAUWT is the electronic mailing list for students, alumni, faculty and friends of the Master of Arts Program. Important information is sent over MAUWT regarding registration, new courses, opportunities, meetings and events. All MAIS students must subscribe to MAUWT.
Masterly Musings: Our monthly blog offers news, information and updates about the MAIS program, current students, alumni and MAIS faculty.
Graduate School policies relating to grading may be found in the Graduate School Memoranda 19.
The following information can also be found in the University of Washington Tacoma's catalog.
The MAIS program wants to be absolutely certain that all MAIS students are aware of and understand the following rules:
- Grades below 1.7 will be recorded as 0.0 by the Registrar and will not count toward residency, total credit count or grade and credit requirements. A minimum of 2.7 is required in each course that is counted toward a graduate degree. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 is required for graduation.
- Failure to maintain a 3.00 GPA, cumulative or for a given quarter, constitutes low scholarship and may lead to a change-in-status action by the Graduate School. Failure to maintain satisfactory performance and progress toward a degree may also result in a change-in-status action by the Graduate School. (See Graduate School Memoranda 16 for more information.)
- "Change-of-status" refers to re-classification from "good standing" to "probation" for up to two quarters, followed by one quarter of "final probation" prior to "drop." At any point prior to "drop," a student can return to good standing by reaching a cumulative GPA of 3.00. In some cases where a student's cumulative GPA drops only slightly below 3.0 for a single quarter, the faculty is permitted to recommend a "warning" in lieu of automatic probation. Unlike probation, a warning does not appear on the student's academic record.
MAIS is governed by both the UW Graduate School and the School of Interdisciplinary Sciences, providing students with multiple levels of protection and support in the grievance process. “Students are encouraged, but not required, to try and resolve issues with the faculty (or staff). If this is not possible, or issues are not able to be resolved directly, the next step is to refer to the MAIS Graduate Program Director and/or the Graduate Program Advisor, who can work on behalf of students through an informal conciliation process. If the MAIS Director is not able to find resolution, the next step in the process is for the student to contact the SIAS Associate Dean for Student Support and Success, who can advise students on whether to file a formal grievance complaint with SIAS or the Graduate School.
The SIAS Associate Dean for Student Support and Success is responsible for managing and resolving escalated student complaints, reviewing and standardizing processes and policies regarding student complaints, creating opportunities for student feedback, and representing SIAS in discussions with Disability Support Services and the Student Conduct Office.
The Graduate School deals with cases where students seek resolution of their complaints of unfair treatment in the administration of academic policies. See Graduate School Memorandum No. 33 for details on this process and note deadlines for filing complaints.
Students are welcome to file a formal grievance with SIAS or Graduate School at any point in time. It is advised, however, that students follow the recommended steps to attempt resolution informally first.
Continuous Enrollment/On-leave Procedures
To maintain graduate status, a student must be enrolled on a full-time, part-time or official on-leave basis from the time of first enrollment in the Graduate School until completion of all requirements for the graduate degree. Registration is required when applying for the master's degree, filing the thesis and receiving the degree. Summer quarter on-leave enrollment is automatic for all graduate students who were either registered or officially on leave the prior spring quarter.Failure to maintain continuous enrollment constitutes evidence that the student has resigned from the Graduate School. To be eligible for on-leave status, the student must have registered for, and completed, at least one-quarter in the University of Washington Graduate School. The student must also have been registered or officially on leave for the immediate past quarter (except summer).
Requesting On-leave Status
Students requesting on-leave status must submit an online Request for On-Leave Status via MyGrad Program. For a given quarter, students can submit the request as early as two weeks prior to the first day of instruction and must submit payment of the non-refundable fee no later than 5:00 p.m. on the last day of instruction. Leave is granted on a quarterly basis, although the following students may request up to four consecutive quarters of leave at one time: PCMI students, military personnel with deployment orders and some UW Fulbright grantees. With the exception of military personnel with deployment orders, graduate students will be required to pay the fee for each quarter of leave requested.
Returning From On-leave Status
Graduate students who are on leave are eligible to register for the quarter immediately following the expiration of the on-leave period, or any quarter during the leave period, without having to file a Returning Student Re-enrollment Form or a new application. Failure to re-enroll after the on-leave period ends constitutes evidence that the student has resigned from the Graduate School, and students in this position will then need to submit a Petition for Reinstatement. Please refer to the Policy and Process for Extensions of Maximum Time-Frame and Reinstatement for more details.
All work for the master's degree must be completed within six years. This includes quarters spent on leave or out of status and applicable work transferred from other institutions. In some instances, it is possible for students to request to extend their maximum time-frame beyond the six-year maximum time allowed to complete the MAIS degree. Please refer to the Policy and Process for Extensions of Maximum Time-Frame and Reinstatement below.
Policy and Process for Extension of Maximum Time-Frame and Reinstatement
Eligibility for Consideration (not necessarily approval) of Request for Extension of Maximum Time-Frame
Requests for extension of maximum time-frame shall specify the length of the proposed extension and may not exceed three academic quarters (including Summer Quarter) beyond the last quarter of enrollment before the extension begins.
Criteria for Approving Extension of Maximum Time-Frame
The student has been prevented from finishing within the maximum time-frame due to health, family or other extenuating circumstances. Such circumstances and their direct, material impact on the student's inability to complete the degree program within the maximum time-frame must be documented with supporting materials submitted at the time of application for an extension. [i]
The student has been prevented from finishing within the maximum time-frame due to administrative or other errors on part of the University, including but not limited to misadvisement, miscommunication or breach of policy. Such errors and their direct, material impact on the student's inability to finish within the maximum time-frame must be documented.
The student must be in good standing academically and have a plan for timely completion of the degree as evidenced in their application. Examples are an approved thesis or project proposal and/or a letter of faculty support from graduate faculty addressing the student's readiness to successfully advance their proposed plan for completion.
Process for Approving Extension of Maximum Time-Frame
Requests for extension of maximum time-frame may be considered at any time but only from active students who are three academic quarters (including Summer Quarter) or less from the end of their maximum time-frame, or from inactive students who are simultaneously being considered for reinstatement.
Requests for extension of maximum time-frame shall explain the circumstances leading to the request and provide a clear plan and timeline for completion of the degree.
Requests for extension of maximum time-frame shall be submitted to the MAIS Administrator/Advisor, who will acknowledge receipt in writing and pass them on to the MAIS Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC).
The GPC will forward the request to an ad hoc faculty committee consisting of the GPC (or a faculty member of the MAIS Steering Committee in the event of a conflict of interest) and two additional MAIS faculty as well as the student's faculty advisor. The committee may consult with other members of the student's committee and the MAIS Administrator/Advisor as well.
In the event that the student does not have a faculty advisor and/or committee members, the committee will consult with other faculty familiar with the student's graduate work as well as the MAIS Administrator/Advisor.
A final decision regarding the student's request will be made by the committee. The committee's decision shall be communicated in writing to the student within four weeks of receipt of the request.
Eligibility for Consideration (not necessarily approval) of Request for Reinstatement
Requests for reinstatement may be considered only from students who have been inactive for two academic years or less.
Requests for reinstatement must specify the academic quarter for which reinstatement is sought, and must be submitted no less than eight weeks before the start of said quarter.
Criteria for Approving Reinstatement
The student became inactive due to health, family or other extenuating circumstances, and/or the student became inactive due to administrative or other errors on the part of the University, including but not limited to misadvisement, miscommunication or breach of policy. Such circumstances and/or errors and their direct, material impact on the student's progress toward completing degree requirements must be clearly documented. [ii]
The student is now ready to resume study as demonstrated in a personal statement explaining their circumstances.
Additional information and/or documents may be required (e.g., a draft thesis or project proposal; evidence of faculty support).
Process for Approving Reinstatement
Requests for reinstatement shall be submitted to the MAIS Administrator/Advisor, who will document them and pass them on to the GPC.
The GPC (or faculty member of the MAIS Steering Committee, in the event of a conflict of interest) will review the request and make an initial determination as to whether additional information and/or documents are required. In the event that they are, these requirements will be communicated to the student requesting reinstatement within three weeks of the submission's requrest.
The GPC will forward the request to an ad hoc faculty committee consisting of the GPC (or faculty member of the MAIS Steering Committee, in the event of a conflict of interest) and two additional MAIS faculty as well as the student's faculty advisor. The committee may consult with other members of the student's committee and the MAIS Administrator/Advisor as well. In the event that the student does not have a faculty advisor and/or committee members, the committee will consult with other faculty familiar with the student's graduate work as well as the MAIS Administrator/Advisor.
A final decision regarding the student's request will be made by an ad hoc faculty committee consisting of the GPC (or faculty member of the MAIS Steering Committee, in the event of a conflict of interest) and two additional MAIS faculty. The committee's preliminary assessment shall be communicated in writing no later than the end of the quarter immediately prior to the one for which reinstatement is requested.
[i] Where appropriate and to insure confidentiality, the circumstances may be unspecified but the need for the extension confirmed by an academic advisor and/or external authority (e.g., health professional, counselor, etc.)
NOTE: Specifics of these timelines may be adjusted for students who register with the Disability Support Services (DSS) Office on campus and are approved for such academic adjustments and reasonable modifications such as extra time to complete a degree program to the extent curricular continuity is not unreasonably impaired and/or limited leaves of absence.
The following information has been organized to provide graduate students working toward a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with essential university requirements and procedures. Students are expected to visit the Graduate School website or speak with the MAIS Administrator/Advisor for the most current information. Please note that the information in the UW Graduate School Memoranda supersedes the information provided here. It is your responsibility to meet all requirements of the Graduate School and the MA Program. Please contact the MAIS Administrator/Advisor with questions.
Earning Your Masters Degree
Candidates for the MA in Interdisciplinary Studies must meet the following requirements. Keep these requirements in mind as you work toward your degree.
- Complete 55-quarter credits applicable to the MAIS degree.
- Remove any X, N, or I grades posted on your transcript for courses needed to satisfy degree requirements. If the two-year limit to remove I grades has passed, you must retake the course(s) if they are required for the degree.
- Have a grade of 2.7 or better on all coursework used to satisfy degree requirements and have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.
- Complete all coursework, including approved transfer courses, within a six-year time period. Transfer credits must have prior approval.
- Complete Graduate School coursework requirements including residency requirements as stipulated by the UW Graduate School.
- Fulfill all specific requirements of your thesis or degree project.
Submitting the thesis/project/practicum
All master's students must submit a thesis or degree project, or complete a practicum, that is a culmination of your work. Please review the guidelines for submitting your thesis or your project, or completing your practicum.
Master's Degree Request: Final Quarter Application Process
Students can apply to graduate during weeks 1-7 of their final quarter. To do so:
- Complete the online Master's Degree Request/WARRANT.
- Make an appointment with the MAIS Administrator/Advisor to pick up the hard copy of the Master's Degree/WARRANT Request so you can obtain the required signatures.
- Return the signed Master's Degree/WARRANT Request to the MAIS Administrator/Advisor no later than 12:00 p.m. the Thursday of finals week.
Students who complete their degree requirements in any quarter of an academic year may participate in that year's commencement exercises, as well as the MAIS Hooding Ceremony. Information about the UW Tacoma Commencement Ceremony and the MAIS Hooding Ceremony becomes available in early spring.
Carol Van Natta Scholarship
MAIS allocates a pool of money annually to support graduate student scholarship. The funds of approximately $600 will be allocated. Funds may be used to support expenses related to student research, travel, or related activities (including tuition costs, equipment, software, hardware, and other supplies). Funds of approximately $600 will be distributed once a year to one or two students, and must be spent by the end of the academic year or prior to graduation. Previous applicants and recipients are welcome to apply again in this round (though applications from previous recipients may not be prioritized as highly as other applications). Decisions regarding funding will be made by a two-member subcommittee of the MAIS Steering Committee. The subcommittee will make recommendations to the larger body for approval.
Application deadline is February 15, 2018. Applicants informed of decision by March 15, 2018.
MAIS Graduate Research Fund
The MAIS Graduate Research Fund was established through the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Science (SIAS) to help graduate students present their research at academic conferences as an important scholarly experience that characterizes graduate study. For the 2018 funding cycle, awards of $500 are available (per student) to fund travel expenses for the 2018 West Coast GLS Symposium on June 22-24 at Stanford University. Awards are contingent on conference proposal acceptance and availability of funds. Currently enrolled students will be given priority for funding. Alumni are welcome to apply
Application deadline is March 1, 2018. Applicants informed of decision by April 22, 2018.
The UW Graduate School provides funding for graduate student conference participation to be used for transportation, and will cover up to $300 for domestic travel, and up to $500 internationally. Students can apply for this once every other year, and priority is given to students who have never received the award. Funding is awarded on a first come, first serve basis. Contact the MAIS Administrator/Advisor for more information.
UWT provides funding for any UWT student that has been accepted to a conference. Funding is available yearly and is awarded on a first come, first serve basis. Apply early!
Other Resources: UW Graduate School links
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