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Students and organizations are responsible for the observation of all policies and rules. Students have a responsibility to keep informed of all rules, regulations and procedures required by the program and the university, so please read this student handbook and the Graduate Catalog carefully to ensure you have a good experience at UCF. 

Some of the basic responsibilities of a graduate student are of a more general nature and apply to all students at UCF and they are: 

  • Maintain appropriate student conduct as outlined in the Golden Rule.  
  • Comply with university regulations as established in the Golden Rule, the Graduate Catalog and this handbook and in other university publications and local, state and federal laws.  
  • Cooperate with university officials acting in an official capacity within established guidelines.  
  • Maintain ethics in the conduct of research.  
  • Do not download materials indiscriminately that avoids licensing fees.  
  • Maintain classroom decorum appropriate to the educational environment.
  • Maintain a Knights E-mail account and use it often to officially communicate with the university. Also notify the university of an emergency e-mail address and cell phone number to be used in a campus crisis. 

Certain responsibilities are more specifically focused on graduate students, and there are particular items that apply to you in your role as a graduate research or teaching assistant and your requirements of completing a thesis or dissertation.

Some specific responsibilities for you as a graduate student are:

  • Provide honest information on the graduate application and in all resumes and other materials that reflect your history.  
  • Create a program of study by the second semester if you are a full-time master’s student and the third semester if a full-time doctoral student, or the equivalent time period for a part-time student.  
  • Meet regularly with your faculty adviser, if you are engaged in a research program.  
  • Take care of all transfer work by the first term in a new degree program.  
  • Make satisfactory academic progress by not delaying important exams.  
    • Comprehensive exams should be taken in the second year for master’s students. Most master’s students should graduate in 2 years if full-time and 3-4 years if part-time.  
    • Qualifying exams should be taken in the first year to year and a half for doctoral students. Candidacy exams should be taken in the third year for doctoral students. Most doctoral students should graduate in 4-5 years.  
  • Make up any incompletes in a timely manner.  
  • Let the university know if you are discontinuing your graduate program and do not walk away from your courses in the middle of the semester. These courses will more than likely be recorded as “F” grades and this may haunt you if you should try to attend graduate school elsewhere or reenter graduate school here.  
  • Take responsibility for your education and your experiences. You want to receive the education that will prepare you to be the professional you aspire to and this means gaining the breadth and depth of knowledge in your discipline and related disciplines. It is important to get outside of your department, to talk with others, to network with professionals or those at other institutions that are interested in the research that you are. Take time to attend seminars, workshops, and other events. Be sure to present your research at appropriate venues. Be prepared and willing and able to discuss your research with other graduate students and faculty.  
  • If you plan to become a professor, then you must teach as part of your graduate education and you must learn to document your teaching experiences. You also need to learn to teach an online course and there is training available to do this through Course Development and Web Services.  
  • Maintain professional behavior as a teacher, avoiding harassment, favoritism, and conflict of interest and maintaining professional behavior with regard to student records.  
  • Behave with integrity and professionalism, including referencing work obtained from others. This is most problematic in your thesis or dissertation where failure to keep organized records of where you obtained information can lead to problems with citations when the time comes to write your work. Be organized and you will avoid have problems with this.  
  • Let the university know if you are leaving an assistantship earlier than the agreement period.  
  • Disclose to the Office of Research and Commercialization any original work that is potentially patentable made in the course of university-supported efforts. 

The Graduate Catalog has a broader description of student conduct and information in the General University Polices.

Students should review the Golden Rule Student Handbook for information on conduct regulations and related procedures and resources. Published annually by the Office of Student Conduct, the Golden Rule Student Handbook describes university standards for students regarding their conduct in the university community and their rights and responsibilities. 

And in particular for graduate students, Appeals of Graduate Program Actions or Decisions (Regulation UCF-5.017) outlines academic performance and grievance procedures.

Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities

The UCF Creed is: Integrity, scholarship, community, creativity, and excellence are the core values that guide our conduct, performance, and decisions.

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR) combines Student Legal Services, Dispute Resolution Services, and the Office of Student Conduct. OSRR provides a forum that contributes to the individual growth and development of the student's knowledge of community responsibility, due process, conflict resolution skills, and university conduct rules. 

Dispute Resolution Services 

Student Legal Services 

Office of Student Conduct

Conflict of Interest and Commitment Statement

Conflicts of interest arise (1) when there is a divergence of an individual’s private, personal relationships or interests and his/her professional obligations to the university, or (2) when employers and employees work together but with unequal power in the relationship. 

It is important to realize that as a graduate student you should not:  

  • Engage in an amorous relationship (consensual or otherwise) with a faculty member who is supervising you, teaching you, or likely to have academic responsibility over you at some time during your UCF tenure
  • Engage in personal external activities for your employer or faculty advisor, if such involvement is coerced or presented as a quid pro quo or would conflict with your time commitments to the university 
  • Engage in an amorous relationship (consensual or otherwise) with a student that you may be instructing or teaching or evaluating as a graduate assistant 

For the approved policy, see Conflicts of Interest on the Graduate Council website.

Research Conduct

The National Science Foundation has now instituted a requirement that graduate students who engage in NSF- funded research must receive training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research and that this must be described in each request for funding. The National Institutes of Health have had this requirement for some time. 

It is important to be familiar with what constitutes research misconduct. Since research will be a new experience for most of you, it may not be obvious or understandable in the beginning what misconduct is nor how to ensure that it does not happen to you, but it is essential that mistakes in this area are not made.  

According to the National Science Foundation (,

Research misconduct means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing or performing research funded by NSF, reviewing research proposals submitted to NSF, or in reporting research results funded by NSF.

Fabrication means making up data or results and recording or reporting them.

Falsification means manipulating research materials, equipment or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.

Plagiarism means the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit.

Research, for purposes of this section, includes proposals submitted to NSF in all fields of science, engineering, mathematics, and education and results from such proposals. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

Here are some other helpful sources on this topic:

Center for Engineering, Ethics, and Society

Ethics in Science and Engineering National Clearinghouse (ESENCe)

Office of Research Integrity, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Some important ideas to keep in mind are:

  • Keep careful records of your data, including procedures and results, and ensure that your results are repeatable.
  • Report any instance of research misconduct that you are aware of to your faculty adviser, program director or the Office of Research and Commercialization.
  • Do not allow yourself or others to be listed as an author unless you have made an important contribution to the research publication.
  • Always reference your sources, and particularly, when using the internet, be sure to keep the original file so that you can go back and ensure the correct reference of the source. For more information on avoiding plagiarism, please refer to Understanding Plagiarism on the Prentice Hall website.


The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s, specialist, and doctoral levels. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the University of Central Florida.

Please note the commission's expectation that contact occur only if there is evidence to support significant non-compliance with a requirement or standard. For other information about UCF’s SACSCOC accreditation, please contact the university's SACSCOC liaison in UCF's Office of Academic Affairs.

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