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2017-2018 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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The Graduate School


Dean: Potteiger
Associate Dean: Luttenton



The mission of The Graduate School is to define and support excellence in graduate education and the scholarly and research activities associated with it; to articulate a vision of excellence in our actions and policies that affect students, faculty members, and curriculum; and to advocate for graduate education and graduate students within the university in terms of resources, services, and other activities that support graduate student endeavors and goals.

Graduate Degree Programs Offered at Grand Valley

Refer to the Graduate Information section of this catalog for a listing of all graduate degrees.


The Graduate Schoolis located in the Richard M. DeVos Center on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus. The Pew Grand Rapids Campus is home base for most of Grand Valley State University's graduate degree programs. Many graduate programs and courses are offered in Grand Rapids so they are more accessible to adult learners living or working throughout the Grand Rapids metropolitan area. Additionally, many graduate programs offer classes in outlying communities throughout Northern, Central, and Southern Michigan.

The dean of The Graduate School works on behalf of all graduate students to ensure that Grand Valley's graduate programs are of the highest quality, that faculty members teaching graduate courses are well-qualified to teach at the graduate level, and that university policies and procedures are applied appropriately to graduate students. The dean of The Graduate School and staff members work closely with the Office of the Provost, the Graduate Council, the Office of Admissions, academic deans, department chairs, graduate program directors, the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, the Office of the Registrar, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Student Services Division, and Student Financial Aid to advocate on behalf of graduate students and to provide leadership and vision for graduate education at Grand Valley.

Currently enrolled graduate students or those interested in graduate studies at Grand Valley are welcome to visit The Graduate School in the Richard M. DeVos Center for assistance, advice, or to provide feedback on any aspect of their graduate education. The phone number is (616) 331-7105. For general questions about the admission process for graduate students at Grand Valley, students should contact the associate director for graduate admissions at (616) 331-2025. For questions about a specific graduate degree program, contact the graduate program director for that program. Contact information for graduate program directors may be found on The Graduate School website.


Graduate Dean's Citations for Academic Excellence: The dean of The Graduate School presents awards to outstanding graduate students recognized for their academic achievement. Nominations for the awards are submitted to The Graduate School by the graduate program director in the student's area of study. Awards are presented twice per year at the Graduate Student Celebration, held at the end of the fall semester for students who graduated the previous spring/summer and in the fall semester, and in April for students graduating at the end of the winter semester. Awardees receive a certificate and an honors cord, which can be worn at the Commencement ceremony. The Graduate Dean's Citations for Academic Excellence include university-wide recognition for excellence in the following categories:

  • Academic Excellence in a Degree Program Award
  • Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award
  • Outstanding Master's Thesis Award
  • Outstanding Final Project Award
  • Outstanding Publication Award
  • Award for Excellence Service to the Community/Profession
  • Award for Excellence in Leadership/Service to GVSU
  • Award for Excellence in Promoting Inclusion and Diversity at GVSU
  • Award for Excellence in Sustainability

Graduate Assistantships

The Graduate School is responsible for the overall administration of the university's graduate assistantship (GA) program and policies. Assistantships provide graduate students with part-time, paid work experiences in their field of study and allow them to expand and apply the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom in a work setting. Graduate assistants typically work either 10 or 20 hours per week, depending on the terms of their appointment. Under the GA program, faculty and university staff members benefit as well, in that they receive assistance with research activities, special projects, and assignments that require the advanced skills that graduate students possess. Students receive tuition support as well as a stipend, which may help them lower the overall cost of attending graduate school.

Students interested in a graduate assistantship should first discuss their interest with their academic advisor or graduate program director, as students often find assistantships within their programs. However, other academic and nonacademic units may have positions available as well. While The Graduate School administers the policies and makes the final determination as to the students' eligibility for an assistantship appointment, the advertisement of positions and the selection process are performed by the hiring unit. More information on graduate assistantships may be found in the Costs and Financial Aid and Graduate Information sections of the catalog.

Graduate Council

The Graduate School provides administrative support to the Graduate Council, which is part of university faculty governance. The Graduate Council is responsible for oversight of university policies relating to graduate education and the review and approval of the graduate curriculum. The Graduate Council's voting membership is made up of elected faculty representatives from each college and the university library, along with two graduate students who are elected by the Graduate Students Association (GSA). The GSA is a recognized student organization that is eligible to receive funds from the Office of Student Life. More on the GSA can be found by visiting

Graduate Student Association

The Graduate School actively supports the Graduate Student Association (GSA), the university-wide organization for graduate students at Grand Valley. This includes cohosting many professional development events, promoting social events, and providing guidance for the GSA. The GSA appoints two graduate students to serve as voting members of the Graduate Council, a university governance body that reviews and approves graduate courses and programs, and develops and approves graduate-level academic policies. The GSA also appoints graduate student representatives to serve on the following University Standing Committees: Academic Standards and Policies Committee, Faculty Salary and Budget Committee, Faculty Teaching and Learning Center Advisory Committee, University Assessment Committee, Online Education Council, Campus Life Committee, and University Academic Senate. Each year, the GSA awards outstanding faculty with two Dean's Citations, one for outstanding mentorship with the Outstanding Faculty Mentor award, and one for inclusion with the Kimboko Inclusion Award. The collaboration between The Graduate School and the GSA provides all graduate students with opportunities for success beyond the classroom.

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