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DGS Handbook

The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) assists students in their program and serves as a liaison between the program and the Graduate School. A list of Vanderbilt Directors of Graduate Studies can be found here. 

Below are the typical duties of the DGS. Duties listed with an asterisk [ * ] are ones in which the DGS interacts directly with the Graduate School. 

  1. Recruiting - Spearhead the program's efforts in recruiting and attracting qualified applicants. Learn more.
  2. Admissions* - Coordinate the admission of new students to the program and nominate new students for honor fellowships. Learn more. 
  3. Orientation - Lead in the orientation of new students into the program, the Graduate School, the University and the city. DGS should also be responsible for updating the guidelines for the program. Learn more.
  4. Registration* - Aid students and the Graduate School in the registration process. Learn more.
  5. Transfer of Credits*  Request the transfer of credits from the graduate school of an accredited institution or from a professional degree program at Vanderbilt. Learn more.
  6. Monitor Progress - Maintain records on students and monitor the progress of the students. Learn more.
  7. Professional Development - Assure that teaching and research activities assigned to the student contribute to professional development and that the performance of these is appropriate. Learn more.
  8. Funding Opportunities - Provide to the student information about funding opportunities from the Graduate School, such as Travel Awards and Dissertation Enhancement Grants (currently inactive), and from other sources, such as the NIH, NSF and private foundations. Learn more.
  9. Ph.D. Committee & Qualifying Exam* - Submit in advance requests to appoint or revise a Ph.D. committee, arrange for the Qualifying Examination, and return to the Graduate School the completed and signed  examination results form.  
  10. Requests for Extension* - On behalf of the student, and in advance, request extension to complete requirements for the Ph.D. or an extension of the deadline for taking the Qualifying Examination.  
  11. Request for Leave of Absence* - Request in advance, on behalf of the student, a leave of absence.  
  12. Dissertation Defense, Defense Results, and Intent to Graduate* - Submit in advance to the Graduate School, the date, time and place of the Dissertation Defense. When the defense has been completed, see that the completed and signed defense-results form is returned to the Graduate School. Ensure that the student has submitted an Intent to Graduate Form. Learn more.
  13. Program Spokesperson* - Act as the program's spokesperson to the Graduate School office, keeping the Graduate School informed of developments affecting the students, e.g., the termination or withdrawal of a student. Contact:
  14. Awareness of Regulations - It is also important that the DGS be knowledgeable of the rules and regulations listed in the  Graduate School Catalog.