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UT Graduate School Introduction

“In order to serve the mission and vision of the Graduate School and preserve the integrity of Graduate Programs at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, information related to the process of graduate education in each department is to be provided for all graduate students.

Based on Best Practices offered by the Council of Graduate Schools, it is important that detailed articulation of the information specific to the graduate degrees offered in each department/program be disseminated.

The Department Graduate Handbook does not deviate from established Graduate School Policies  noted in the Graduate Catalog, but rather provides the specific ways in which those policies are carried out.”

This graduate student handbook is intended to provide information about the policies and procedures of the graduate programs in the College of Communication and Information. An effort has been made to anticipate the questions that commonly occur to students during their course of study.  

Information Sources

Although the purpose of this handbook is to assist graduate students in planning their programs, graduate students are expected to be aware of and satisfy all regulations governing their work and study at the university.  Those regulations are documented in the Graduate Catalog and Hilltopics. Graduate students should also review the Appeals Procedure and the Graduate Assistant Handbook available on the Graduate School website. Nothing in this handbook supersedes the requirements stated in the Graduate Catalog or other official publications of the University of Tennessee. However, it is our hope that this document will be helpful during your graduate studies in the College of Communication and Information.  

Information about the College of Communication and Information is available at The link to should be particularly useful to you. Among other things, this Web site will provide guidelines and forms that you need as you progress in your graduate program.

Program Administration

The Ph.D. program and the M.S. in Communication and Information are both interdisciplinary programs that are coordinated out of the associate dean’s office in Suite 302 of the Communication & University Extension Building.  Dr. Joan Rentsch is the Associate Dean for Academic Programs for the college and is responsible for the programs.  She also serves as the Director of Graduate Studies for the college-wide programs. Diana Hall, CPS is the Administrative Services Assistant to contact for information about these college-wide programs. The telephone number for information about interdisciplinary graduate programs is (865) 974-6651; the e-mail addresses are for Dr. Rentsch and for Ms. Hall.  Most of the remainder of this handbook applies specifically to these two college-wide degrees.

The M.S. in Information Sciences is coordinated out of the School of Information Sciences office in Suite 451 of the Communications & University Extension Building. Dr. Diane Kelly is the Director of the School of Information Sciences and is responsible for this program.  Tanya Arnold is the Student Services Coordinator and primary contact for information about the information sciences master’s program.  The telephone number is (865) 974-2858; the e-mail addresses are for Dr. Kelly and for Ms. Arnold. A separate handbook has been prepared for students who are in this degree program and should be the primary guide for students studying information sciences at the master’s level.