Advising & Mentoring Graduate Students

Academic & Related Financial Policies
Degree, Course & Credit Requirements

The SMS Graduate Catalog serves as the official record of degree requirements and academic policies in effect at the time a student matriculates to the program.  All faculty advisors should be familiar with this important document.

The Milestones section of the SMS Graduate Program Student Handbook outlines degree requirements and associated timelines for each degree track, and provides links to catalog policy, resources, forms, general information and procedures for each milestone, as appropriate.  Course and credit requirements for each degree are summarized in these handy infographics - M.A., M.S., Ph.D. 

Other SMS Academic Policies

Refer to the SMS Graduate Catalog for the following Academic Council approved policies that pertain to degree-seeking students in the M.A., M.S. or Ph.D. tracks:

  • Academic Standing & Satisfactory Progress
  • Academic Probation and Appeals
  • Auditing a course
  • Core Course Exemption
  • Degree Program Time Extension
  • Grading & Quality Points
  • Graduation (degree conferral dates, filing for, fees)
  • Leave of Absence
  • Registration
  • Changes in Registration
  • Retaking a Course
  • Transfer of Academic Credit
  • Withdrawal from the Program
  • Reinstatement after Withdrawal

The SMS catalog also provides a link to W&M Academic & General Policies that pertain to SMS students.

W&M/SMS Financial and Related Information & Policies

The SMS Graduate Catalog is the repository for the following W&M and SMS financial policies:

  • Domicile (how determined)
  • Graduate Financial Aid (overview)
  • Graduate Tuition
  • Student Health Insurance Requirement
  • Admission Application Fee Waiver
  • Veterans Educational Benefits
  • Information for Senior Citizens
  • Billing, Payment of Accounts and Financial Penalties
  • Students Who Withdraw from the University
  • Withholding of Transcripts and Diplomas in Cases of Unpaid Accounts
VIMS/SMS Expectations & Other Guidance for Students (and Faculty)
Guidance Documents Approved by the Academic Council

Quick Link: VIMS/SMS Student Policies

The following guidance documents are available on the Academic Affairs website as pdfs:

Navigating VIMS and the School of Marine Science as a Graduate Student
Roles and Responsibilities of Students, Advisors, and Committees
Student Yearly Planning & Accomplishments Meeting Guide
Guidelines for (M.S. or Ph.D.) Student Transfer into the M.A. Program

The following document is used to support the New Student Orientation program:

Student-Advisor Expectations Worksheet (pdf)

Student Employment Policies
Graduate Assistantships

quick links: SMS Graduate CatalogVIMS/SMS Student Policies

From the catalog: Students awarded graduate, teaching or research assistantships work on average 10-20 hours a week depending upon the stipend awarded. To maintain funding eligibility, students must satisfactorily carry out the duties assigned by their advisors or supervisors, remain in good academic standing and make satisfactory progress in their degree programs as defined by university degree requirements and School of Marine Science policies. This includes meeting the milestones for normative progress in the degree program. Other conditions apply.  Refer to the SMS Graduate Catalog section SMS: Financial Policies, Graduate Financial Aid for additional information.

Personnel actions for graduate students on assistantships are administered by the Office for Academic Affairs (VIMS PPDs 0602, 0604, pdf) 

VIMS/SMS-approved leave policies for graduate students on assistantships are given in VIMS PPD 0605 (pdf).

Workships (for students with assistantships)

From VIMS PPD 0603 (pdf): Graduate workship allows SMS students to expand the breadth and depth of training while supporting the operational needs of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. A student is eligible for workship if they are in good academic standing, making satisfactory progress as defined by university degree requirements and regulations of the School of Marine Science, and fulfilling assistantship duties as assigned, if applicable. A particular workship assignment may be recurring, but assignments are generally short-term in duration. 

International students in valid F-1 or J-1 status are limited to 20 hours of work per week during the fall and spring semesters, but may work more than 20 hours per week during Winter Break, Spring Break and Summer Break. International students should contact the Reves Center International Students, Scholars & Programs Office for further information.

Under no circumstances may a student work more than 29 hours per week (combined assistantship and workship), averaged over the period June 1-May 31. The William & Mary Office of Human Resources and Payroll Office track hours worked by students.

Note: Only students with assistantships are eligible for workship.

W&M - Policy & Procedures for Undergraduate & Graduate Student Hourly Employees

Quick Link: W&M Student Hourly Employees

SMS assistantship and workship policies fall within the W&M guidelines.  If you are looking for information on hiring W&M undergraduate students, refer to the W&M website.

Additional Opportunities, Resources & Supports for Your Graduate Students

Expanding Your Curricular Options

Funding for Research, Travel & More

Graduate Life & Well-Being

Professional Development Opportunities & Resources

Inclusive Excellence
W&M Resources

Quick link: Inclusive Excellence at W&M

W&M's Office of Diversity & Inclusion provides resources to support faculty professional development and inclusive excellence.

W&M's Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation provides many resources and trainings that support Inclusive Excellence in the classroom.  Here are a few examples: Accessibility and Inclusivity in Assessment, Building Community in the Classroom, Creating an Inclusive Learning EnvironmentCulturally Affirming Pedagogy, Inclusive Teaching Strategies, Universal Design for Teaching

VIMS Resources

Daniel Ogunyemi is Director of Inclusive Excellence and Belonging at VIMS. The VIMS Diversity & Inclusion Committee (known as Dive-In) offers trainings and hosts events that are open to faculty, staff and students. Watch email for announcements.

SMS Resources

In addition to information & resources provided in Teaching A-Z, VIMS/SMS is a partner of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Bridge Program. Through this partnership, VIMS faculty have access to trainings and a broader network of partner institutions that are working to advance equitable practices in graduate geoscience departments, support cohorts of students pursuing advanced degrees in the geosciences and create a more welcoming environment in the geosciences for everyone. Contact the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for more information.

What should you do if you have concerns about a student?
Please reach out!

Quick links: Care Support Services (W&M Dean of Students Office), Resources for Faculty and Administrators

You may contact the Associate Dean or Assistant Dean for Academic Studies, or Care Support Services in the William & Mary Dean of Students Office. 

From W&M Care Support Services: Know [consider] your limits and the limitations of your role. You are not expected to act as a counselor or mental health professional for a student.

As a faculty or staff member, you are in a position to interact with students on a daily basis and often times form close relationships with students working in your major area of study. Given your on-going contact with students you are often the first to notice behavior changes or signs of distress. Your willingness to address a situation is often the encouragement a student needs to seek resources and assistance. In many cases a student's success may depend on early detection and intervention.

Mentoring Guides & Recommended Reading for Faculty:

Skill Development in Graduate Education (Parker, R. 2012; pdf)

The Science of Effective Mentoring in STEMM website of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine offers an online guide, podcasts and other resources on mentoring. 

The Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) provides a long list of mentoring resources.

AGU has a YouTube playlist focused on mentoring and a mentoring resource guide (pdf).

Guidelines for Graduate Student Mentoring and Advising (The Graduate School, Michigan State University) and their related Implementation Toolkit.

How to Mentor Graduate Students (Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan)

Mentoring Graduate Students (Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University)

Mentoring Tips for Faculty (The Graduate School, Duke University)