Registration Information and Program Requirements

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Graduate Seminar
Teaching Assistant Requirement
Important Contact Information


Students are required to enroll every semester (fall and spring) from the time of matriculation until degree conferral. Students will be required to seek readmission if they do not register every fall and spring term. After you discuss your course plans with your advisor, you can go online to register at OneStop. This page includes all the information needed to register, including a tutorial for first-time users and course schedules. Sara Cannon in 225 FScN and at, can assist you with permission numbers and if a department course is closed to enrollment. For closed courses offered through other departments, you need to directly contact the instructor or department for registration permission. To avoid late fees, students should register before the start of the semester. Full time status is 6–14 credits. Students should register for courses and use the remaining credits (up to 14) to register for thesis credits.

Directed/Independent Study Credits
The Independent study is intended for individual project work that is arranged with a faculty member, usually the advisor. To register, complete the Directed/Independent Study form with the faculty who will determine the total credits and grading option. The form is on our website.

After completing the form and signatures, give it to Sara Cannon in 225 FScN and at who will issue you a permission number to register. M.S. Plan B students will find further Independent Study registration information below.

Advanced Status: Full Time Status with One Credit Registration)
Advanced Status is for students who need full time status and have completed all their Degree Program coursework and thesis credits. This includes students with a graduate assistantship. There is a deadline to apply.

MS students register for FSCN or NUTR 8333. See form  
PhD students register for FSCN or NUTR 8444. See form  

Grad 999
This is a zero credit, no fee registration option that keeps you in active status, which students need to graduate, without having to pay tuition. This does not meet full time status requirements. Graduate students may register for up to four semesters of GRAD 999 while continuing to work on a thesis or Plan B project. A hold will be placed on the student’s registration after four semesters of GRAD 999. In order to register for each additional semester of GRAD 999 in excess of four, the student will be required to get the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). The DGS will confer with the student’s major adviser to determine whether the student is making progress towards completion. If the student demonstrates that he or she is continuing to work on a thesis or Plan B paper and has a plan to complete the degree, the hold on the student’s registration will be removed and the student will be allowed to register for GRAD 999. The CFANS Scholarly Work Contract must be completed outlining all requirements that must be fulfilled during the semester, and filed in the student’s graduate program file.

For more information on Advanced Status and GRAD 999 visit this website.  

Dietetic Internship Registration
Students participating in the Dietetic Internship must continue to register as an active student during the two semesters of the internship. Options include Grad 999 or Advanced Status (NUTR 8333 or 8444). Please see this link for a comparison of these registration options.

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Graduate Seminar

All Nutrition graduate students are required to attend the weekly Graduate Seminar unless they have a class or teaching conflict. The seminars are usually held each Wednesday during fall semester and Tuesday during spring semester from 3:30-4:30 pm. They are offered jointly with the Food Science seminar. There are no regularly scheduled seminars during summer or intersession. A schedule of seminar speakers and titles is available on the FScN website. Seminars consist of presentations by faculty members, educators, and professionals within and outside the department, and may include students presenting their thesis or Plan B project work.

M.S. students are required to present a seminar as part of their thesis defense. PhD students may choose to present if they would like. For M.S. Plan A and Ph.D. students, the seminar is a report on the thesis research. For M.S. Plan B students, the seminar describes the independent work done as a project, survey, data analysis, etc.

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Teaching Assistant Requirement

FScN Department TA Policy Draft (Revised 4-5-17 waiting for final faculty approval)

Introduction and Rationale
Graduate education is more than just taking courses, passing milestones and doing research for a thesis. One significant component of graduate education is graduate student participation in the educational endeavors of the Department of Food Science and Nutrition by acting as a Teaching Assistant (TA) in undergraduate courses. These experiences are invaluable for learning how to deal with people in meaningful ways and when confronted with difficult situations. The Department intends that serving as a TA will provide valuable educational benefits to graduate students. Graduate students should consider this experience as a way to improve their teaching and communication skills and as their contribution to the educational endeavors of the Department.

The TA Oversight and Assignment Committee is composed of the Directors of Graduate Studies (DGS) (Nutrition and Food Science), Undergraduate Program Chairs (Nutrition and Food Science), Student Services Coordinator, Undergraduate and Graduate Program Coordinators, and 2 graduate student representatives (1 each from Nutrition and Food Science). This committee (excluding the graduate student representatives) will meet to consider faculty and student requests for unpaid and paid TAs and to match available graduate students with the requests and available resources. This committee will also meet as needed to address other issues that arise regarding TA experiences. Graduate student representatives will serve for one term (one academic year). New representatives will be appointed by the DGS for each discipline in the fall of the academic year.

Unpaid and Paid TA Requirements
In this TA system, students either volunteer their time as a Teaching Assistant (unpaid TA) or are paid for their time as a TA (paid TA). Minimum requirements for the number of TA experiences are the same for unpaid and paid TAs, but the expectations for time are different based on whether the TA experience is unpaid or paid.

Each graduate student is required to complete 1 TA experience for each year they are in a graduate program up to a minimum of 2 TA experiences for an M.S. student and a minimum of 3 TA experiences for a Ph.D. student. Integrated BS-MS students are expected to complete 1 TA experience after completing their BS degree. A student completing both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Minnesota would serve a minimum of 4 TA experiences for both degrees combined. A student who begins as an M.S. students and changes status to the Ph.D. without completing the M.S. would serve a minimum of 3 TA experiences.

All students are expected to meet the TA requirement as outlined for degree type. In situations where the student is working full time outside of the Department or where TA requirements present personal hardship, alternatives will be presented for meeting this requirement. Alternatives might include developing laboratories, giving guest lectures, grading papers and assignments, or developing course materials for Internet delivery. Students may submit a Contract for Alternative TA Experience to the Director of Graduate Studies for his/her discipline to request an alternative TA assignment, if desired.
This policy will be included in the Nutrition and Food Science Graduate Student Handbooks available on the FScN Department website. The Graduate Program Coordinator will also send a copy of this policy by email to all graduate students at the beginning of each semester.

Unpaid TA Experience
For unpaid TA experiences, each student will spend about 4 hours per week for a given class or 60 hours per course/semester. A graduate student may request that he/she contribute double this, about 8 hours per week or 120 hours per course/semester, to get 2 instead of 1 unpaid TA experiences per course. This request will be granted when it is consistent with course needs.

Paid TA Experience
A TA appointment is for 19.5 weeks per semester. Appointments are from late August to early January during fall term and early January to late May in the spring term. The exact dates will vary slightly from year to year and will be outlined in your appointment letter. The following outlines the effort expected for students holding a paid TA position per semester:
12.5% time = 5 hours per week for 19.5 weeks for a total of 97.5 hours per semester
25% time = 10 hours per week for 19.5 weeks for a total of 195 hours per semester
37.5% time = 15 hours per week for 19.5 weeks for a total of 292.5 hours per semester
50% time = 20 hours per week for 19.5 weeks for a total of 390 hours per semester
A student holding a paid TA position for 1 semester will be credited with 1 TA experience.

Total compensation for a TA appointment is based on a 19.5 week time period. TAs are expected to be available to assist instructors from the first day of the appointment through the last. Effort will vary from week to week, but at the end of the appointment the TA is expected to have worked the total hours they are compensated for. TA’s are not expected to work more hours or fewer hours than their appointment specifies over the course over the period of the appointment term.

Expectations vary depending on the nature of the class, paid vs. unpaid appointment, and/or percent paid appointment. Each instructor will provide the TA(s) an itemized list of expectations at the beginning of the semester along with estimated time commitment for each task. Tasks may include (and are not limited to) grading assignments and exams, preparing for and conducting laboratory sessions, holding office hours and discussion sessions, attending lectures, giving guest lectures, and developing materials. Each TA is generally expected to attend the lectures for the class they are assigned. Attendance at lectures is considered necessary to provide meaningful help in the class. There are some classes or situations where lecture attendance may not be required; however, this decision rests with the course instructor.

Faculty wishing to have a paid and/or unpaid TA must submit a TA request form to the TA Oversight and Assignment Committee by March 1 of the preceding academic year using the Instructor TA Request Form. Graduate students may request to assist in a specific course by completing the Student TA Request Form. The TA committee will try to accommodate all requests, but cannot guarantee specific placement. TA assignments will be made by the TA Oversight and Assignment Committee based on a formula to determine TA hours needed, student and instructor requests, and the amount of funding available for TA hours/positions. The Committee will make recommendations to course instructors regarding student assignments. Course instructors will approve the assignment in writing by sending an email to the Committee.

University policy requires that nonnative English speaking paid TAs provide TOEFL scores or take the SETTA test upon arriving at the University. Results from these exams will determine a student’s eligibility for a paid TA assignment. All new TAs are expected to participate in training as directed by course instructors and teaching workshops offered through the Department and University. More information about TA eligibility and teaching workshops can be found here.

Tracking Hours Worked During TA Experiences
Students should keep an accurate accounting of their time and activities, and time per activity per week, review this with the course instructor on a regular basis, and submit to the TA Oversight and Assignment Committee at the end of the semester. A tracking form will be used to account for hours worked. The TA(s) and course instructors will agree on an appropriate tracking form given the expectations for the specific course at the beginning of the semester. The form will be completed throughout the semester by the TA(s) and submitted to the Committee at the end of the semester.

If the time required from an individual graduate student is different from what has been estimated, the nature of the work is different from that promised, or any other TA-related conflicts arise, the student should first attempt to resolve the discrepancy as soon as possible with the course instructor. If that fails, the student should bring the issue to the Director of Graduate Studies who will work together with the TA Oversight and Assignment Committee, the student, the course instructor, and Department Head to correct the situation. If an issue arises regarding TA performance, the course instructor should bring the issue to the Director of Graduate Studies who will work together with the TA Oversight and Assignment Committee to correct the situation. If a TA fails to complete tasks according to the responsibilities outlined for the TA experience, he or she may need to complete another TA experience.

When issues regarding TA experiences arise, students or course instructors should send a description of the issue to the DGS by email. The DGS will call an ad hoc meeting of the TA Oversight and Assignment Committee to address the issue.

Evaluation of TA Experiences
Graduate student performance as TAs will be evaluated by the course instructor using the Instructor Evaluation of TA Performance form. TAs can request evaluation of their performance from students in the course as a part of the required student course evaluation. After completing their work as a TA, students will be asked to evaluate their experience using the Student TA Evaluation form provided to them at the start of the semester. These evaluations of student experiences and performance will be used to monitor the system and improve the experience for future TAs.

Graduate students may request assisting in a specific course by filling out the TA Request Form found here:

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Important Contact Information

Director of Graduate Studies in Nutrition
Dr. Xiaoli Chen, Associate Professor
139 FScN, St Paul Campus
Ph: 612-626-1220

Food Science and Nutrition Graduate Student Services
Admissions, registration and degree progress procedures
Nancy Toedt
225J FScN, St. Paul campus
Ph: 612-624-6753

Undergraduate Student Services
Permission numbers, Independent Study, Course/classroom scheduling
Sara Cannon
225K FScN, St. Paul campus
Ph: 612-624-4787 

Department of Food Science and Nutrition contact
General department information, keys, meeting room scheduling
Sue Winkelman
225A FScN, St. Paul campus
Ph: 612-624-1290 

Food Science and Nutrition Administrative Director
Human Resources, Graduate Assistantships, Office Assignments
Dorit Hafner
FScN 225C, St. Paul campus
Ph: 612-624-4789 

Accounting Office
Jackie Lee, Principal Accountant
330 Haecker Hall, St. Paul campus
Budgetary matters

Sue Merrin, Accountant
225A FScN St. Paul campus
Ph: 612.624.4289

Graduate School/GSSP website
Graduate School/GSSP email  

International Student and Scholar Services  
190 Hubert H. Humphrey Center, Minneapolis campus
Ph: 612.626.7100

Office of Student Health Benefits  
410 Church Street SE, N-321 BHS, Minneapolis campus

Graduate Assistant Employment Office
Donohowe Bldg, 319 15th Ave SE, Minneapolis Campus
Ph: 612.624.7070

Graduate Assistant Insurance Office  

One Stop (search for everything U of MN)  
Financial Aid  
Parking and Transportation Services  

Opportunities for Student Involvement
Student Representative for Food Science faculty meetings. See DGS if interested.

Mutual Rights and Responsibilities of Faculty and Graduate Students: Guidelines  

Student Conduct Code  

Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity 

Student Conflict Resolution Center  

Managing Nepotism and Personal Relationships 

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