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Program Handbook Resources

The Program Handbook is the manual for incoming and current graduate students and generally contains:

  • academic requirements
    • typical course sequences
    • exam requirements, including expectations for format, duration, etc. for the qualifying exams and other preliminary exams
    • minimum course loads
  • formal departmental policies and guidelines
    • maximum number of years for a degree
    • dispute resolution
    • graduate student family leave
    • orderly dismissal of graduate students
  • procedures for requesting financial support from the department
  • resources for graduate students who are just beginning their research
  • expectations for TAs and RAs


Essential items and supplementary items to develop and check your handbook.

Checklist for Program Handbooks


A fillable document to get you started on your handbook.

Program Handbook Template

Mandated Policy Language

Safety & Wellness

This is a sample of Safety & Wellness information for Program Handbooks, as mandated by former President Ruth Watkins. All program handbooks should have this or similar language readily accessible to students.

Your safety is our top priority. In an emergency, dial 911 or seek a nearby emergency phone (throughout campus). Report any crimes or suspicious people to 801-585-COPS; this number will get you to a dispatch officer at the University of Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS; If at any time, you would like to be escorted by a security officer to or from areas on campus, DPS will help — just give a call.

The University of Utah seeks to provide a safe and healthy experience for students, employees, and others who make use of campus facilities.  In support fo this goal, the University has established confidential resources and support services  to assist students who may have been affected by harassment, abusive relationships, or sexual misconduct. A detailed listing of University Resources for campus safety can be found at

Your well-being is key to your personal safety. If you are in crisis, call 801-587-3000; help is close.

The university has additional excellent resources to promote emotional and physical wellness, including the Counseling Center (, the Wellness Center (, and the Women’s Resource Center ( Counselors and advocates in these centers can help guide you to other resources to address a range of issues, including substance abuse and addiction.

Download Safety & Wellness sample text

Family Leave

Departments are expected to produce their own policy language for graduate student family leave and dismissal. Below you will find some examples of these policies across University of Utah departments to help guide you in creating your own policies.

Leaves of Absence 

Students who wish to discontinue their studies for one or more semesters may request a leave of absence from the department’s Director of Graduate Studies, which may be granted subject to the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School in the following circumstances:

  1. Leaves of absence will generally be granted and reviewed on a yearly basis for reasons relating to illness, military service, pregnancy and/or child care, or residence outside the state of Utah. 
  2. Leaves may also be granted and reviewed on a yearly basis to students who, in the judgment of the Director of Graduate Studies, are engaged in work considered beneficial to their academic goals, such as temporary teaching or professional positions or employment which will ultimately allow the student to complete the degree. 
  3. Leaves for other reasons may be granted and reviewed on a yearly basis when the Director of Graduate Studies believes the leave is in the best interest of both the student and the University.  

While on a leave of absence, a student may continue to get health care coverage through the Graduate School.

The Department/College provides up to twelve (12) weeks of parental leave to graduate students in good standing in the Ph.D. track, provided that they have not yet defended their Ph.D dissertation. Ordinarily this twelve week period will begin with the birth date of the child but adjustment may be made to accommodate any issues that arise before the birth of a child. In some circumstances, men who are the primary caregiver within the family may qualify and may petition the chair for such consideration. Students who qualify for this leave will be paid at their normal rate. Such additional medical complications arise that require longer term medical care, student should seek a leave under the policy for graduate student leaves.


Parental Leave Policies

Family Leave Policies at Other Institutions


Departments are expected to produce their own policy language for graduate student dismissal. Below you will find some examples of these policies across University of Utah departments to help guide you in creating your own policies.

Dismissal Policies

University Orderly Dismissal Policy

Student Code

Last Updated: 2/1/22