Graduate & Undergraduate Research


Strategic goal: Enhance the undergraduate and graduate research program

Summary of FY2013 undergraduate research events

  • January 31 – Research on Capitol Hill featured 26 USU posters and 34 participants.
  • February 22 – USU hosted Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research (UCUR). Over 400 students presentations were shared, making it the second largest UCUR participation in the history of the event.
  • March – Spring URCO process completed.March 29 – A-Day Scholars Experience (high school recruitment for Undergraduate Research Fellowship).
  • April 11-12 – National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in La Crosse, WI. USU sent 25 student participants.
  • April 11 – Student Showcase. Nearly 100 USU students participated in poster and oral presentations at the annual, on-campus symposium.

Presidential Doctoral Research Fellow (PDRF) program

The PDRF program was established in AY2012-13 to raise USU’s national and international reputation for high-quality graduate research through recruitment and retention of world-class students. The award includes four years of tuition and a minimum of $20,000 per year in stipend support, along with additional program-based benefits.

The first cohort of PDRFs started at USU in fall 2012. The cohort includes nine students from six college (CAAS, CHaSS, EEJCEHS, Engineering, Science, QNR) and eight departments (ADVS, BE, BIO, ITLS, MAE, PSY, SSWA, WILD).

The 2013 cohort was recruited and will begin at USU in fall 2013. They include 10 students from five colleges (CAAS, CHaSS, EEJCEHS, Science, Engineering, QNR) and 10 departments (WILD, BIO, ITLS, ECE, GEO, PSYCH, COMPSCI, CHEM, SSWA, CEE).

Graduate Research Symposium

The USU Graduate Research Symposium was held April 12, 2013. The primary purpose of the Graduate Research Symposium is to provide opportunities for graduate students to hone their presentation skills to prepare for professional meetings in graduate school and beyond. In addition to competitive oral presentations, there was added to this year’s Symposium the DEV PRES (Developmental Presentation). The DEV PRES is designed to provide additional feedback to students making presentations, including a video recording of their presentation and rubric-based feedback from a faculty moderator and all attendees.

Graduate student funding

RGS provided the following fellowship and scholarship support to graduate students in FY2013:

Subsidized graduate insurance

As we enter the sixth year of the subsidized graduate student health insurance program, we continue to seek ways to improve the management of the program with FirstRisk. To qualify, graduate students must either have a 0.5 FTE graduate assistantship or receive $10,000 or more in fellowship/scholarships. Qualifying students pay only 20% of the total insurance premium, and 80% is paid by the hiring department or the sponsor(s) of the scholarship. For several years, insurance premiums did not increase. However, due to increased costs this past year, the premium will be modestly increased by $40 for FY2013. In FY2012, 880 graduate students were eligible for coverage under the subsidized insurance plan for at least one semester.

Graduate student travel

In AY2012-13, the Graduate Student Senate was dissolved, and the Graduate Student Travel Award mechanism that had been managed by the Graduate Student Senate was incorporated into the purview of the associate vice president for graduate and undergraduate research. The RGS Graduate Student Travel Award was established to promote student involvement in their disciplines by partially funding travel costs associated with professional presentations at regional, national, and international conferences. In FY2013 there were 293 requests for a travel award. Of these, 249 were for conferences in FY2013, and 44 were for conferences in FY2014. Of the 249 conferences for FY2013, 166 students were awarded money for a total of $49,822.51. Eligibility requirements, funding, and application processes are available online:

Actions of the Research Council

The Research Council provides advice and recommendations to the Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies. Additionally, members of the council provide direct and important channels of communication between researchers and those who make decisions affecting research at USU. The following are selected major issues addressed by USU’s Research Council in FY2013:

Research Council

Action: the council formally approved by unanimous vote the establishment of a new framework for university core facilities. The motion was made by Dean Luecke and seconded by Dean MacMahon (1/24/13). The final policy summarizing the framework for a University Core is appended to this report (see page…).

FY2013 Awards Table

FY2013 F&A summary

For FY2013, RGS budgeted approximately $9M in F&A. Starting with the largest and moving to the smallest portions, the F&A funds were used for the following purposes:

Actions of the Graduate Council

The Graduate Council advises the Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies, provides a forum for graduate program and student issues, and approves changes in programs. Listed below are the Graduate Council members who served in 2012-2013.

 Graduate Council

New Graduate Student Applications –

New Grad Applicants

The number of applications for doctoral programs was lower in 2012-13 (672) than in the previous year (752), however, the total number of graduate student applications was slightly higher because of an increase in the number of master’s applications.


Acceptance and enrollment rates

Acceptance rates by college ranged from 21% (Science) to 40% (Business) and averaged 29% across all colleges. Of students who were accepted, all college enrollment rates were over 95%. USU continues to have a lower proportion of degree-seeking graduate students than other land-grant institutions.


Graduate headcount, Fall 2012 semester

 Graduate headcount

Degrees awarded

In summer 2012, USU awarded 292 master’s, three educational specialist, and 37 doctoral degrees, totaling 332. In fall 2012, there were 272 master’s, four educational specialist, and 31 doctoral degrees, totaling 307. An additional 323 master’s degrees, three educational specialist, and 41 doctoral degrees were posted spring 2013, totaling 367. For the 2012-2013 academic year, there was a grand total of 1,006 degrees awarded.

Degrees awarded by type and semester for AY2012-13

 Degrees Semester

Graduate Council actions affecting programs

The Graduate Council approved the following actions affecting USU graduate:

Degrees added

New Degrees

Degrees discontinued

Specializations added

Specializations Added

Specializations discontinued

Degree options added

Degree Options Added

Degree options discontinued (Plan C)

Degree Options Discontinued

PhD credit reductions

PHD Cedit Reductions

Other actions

  • Graduate Council Representative to EPC. Scott DeBerard was unanimously approved to serve as the representative this year to the EPC committee (10/10/12).
  • R401 PSC Rename MS and PhD Degrees. The proposal to rename the MS and PhD degrees of Biometerology to Climate Science was unanimously approved (11/14/2012).
  • R401 CHSS Certificate. The Council unanimously approved the proposal to offer graduate certificate in Women and Gender Studies (1/9/2013).
  • R401 NDFS Dietetic Internship Certificate. The Council unanimously approved the proposal to create a Dietetic Internship Certificate (2/13/2013).
  • MAcc Admission Requirements/Concurrent Degree. The proposal to admit high achieving USU undergraduate students into a graduate degree concurrently was approved (1/9/2013).
  • The Council approved the name change from Master of Strategic Human Resources (approved 2/13/2013) to Master of Human Resources (approved 4/10/2013).