GradConnect - Graduate Student e-Newsletter
January 2018 - Published periodically by the Office of Graduate Studies.
Issue 42

Graduation and Commencement, What is the difference and What do I need to know?

Did you know that graduation and commencement are actually two separate things? Graduation means that you have completed your degree requirements and can receive your diploma. At Utica College this occurs three times a year (August, December, and May). In order to graduate everyone must submit an application for degree by the deadline. Commencement is a ceremony celebrating our graduates, which happens once a year in May. Attending Commencement is optional, and everyone who wants to participate must RSVP and Order Regalia by the Deadline. Applying for Degree does not obligate you to participate in Commencement. Alternatively, attending Commencement does not guarantee you will receive your diploma.

Everyone who wants to participate in the Graduate Commencement Ceremony must RSVP and Order Regalia by March 15, 2018. If student do not RSVP by March 15th they will not be allowed to participate in the ceremony.

The deadlines to submit an application for degree are as follows:
• May 2018 graduates – March 15
• August 2018 graduates who want to participate in Commencement – March 15
• August 2018 graduates who do NOT want to participate in Commencement –June 15

The graduate commencement ceremony is at 9:00a.m. on Sunday, May 6, 2018 at Adirondack Bank at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Doors will open at 8:00a.m, students may start to check in at this time. Due to security measures taken by the venue please allow for up to thirty minutes to pass through the security checks and to enter the building. Students please keep in mind that while there is no limit to the number of guests you can bring, seating is first come first serve.

Students who need documentation for a visa application either for themselves or family to come to the USA for the commencement ceremony should email Deborah Wilson-Allam, Executive Director of International Education at Utica College. When emailing her please include your name, program of study, the name of the person(s) needing to enter the United States to attend Commencement, and their relationship to you. Ms. Wilson-Allam will respond with an attached form which you will need to follow the instructions and fill out. Please note that this process can take at least two months. We hope you choose to join us at Commencement as Utica College is very proud to have a diverse population of graduate students.

Utica College encourages graduates and their guest to ride our shuttles buses to and from the commencement ceremony. Parking at the Adirondack Bank at the Utica Memorial Auditorium is very limited and only paid parking is offered. Shuttle buses will begin running at 7:30 a.m. from the Strebel Circle. Shuttle buses will run continuously to bring everyone from Utica College to The Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The last bus going to the Graduate Commencement Ceremony will leave at 8:30 a.m. After the ceremony buses will be waiting outside of The Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium to return everyone back to the Strebel Circle on the Utica College Campus.

Immediately following the ceremony will be a celebratory reception on the Utica College Campus. Depending on the weather the reception with either be in the Rose Garden or in the Clark Athletic Center. The reception is open to all graduates and their guests. The shuttle buses returning to the Strebel Circle will be centrally located to both reception locations. The reception will include snacks and beverages, as well as plenty of photo opportunities. Please consider arranging your plans so that you can attend and celebrate with fellow graduates and faculty members!


The Write Idea: Choosing a Topic!

the begining

It has been said for centuries that “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” (Lao-tzu, unknown). This statement certainly rings true for students beginning their thesis or capstone project. The single step, and possibly most crucial, in this case is to determine a topic. It is important to remember that a thesis or capstone project becomes the culmination proof of your education and academic experience; therefore it is important to choose a topic wisely and really enjoy it.

It might not seem like it now, but you are capable of completing your thesis or capstone project in a short amount of time. Most Utica College programs have specific courses that guide you through this process, typically over the span of one semester. Once you have chosen a topic, it helps to write out a timeline for completion. Many students feel it is beneficial to start with the date you anticipate graduating and working backwards from there, being sure to adhere to the graduation deadlines.

It is never too early to begin thinking about a thesis or capstone project topic. Throughout your coursework make note of anything that is of interest to you then further delve into the topic through course assignments and in conversation with the professor of the course, your academic advisor, or your thesis or capstone project advisor. Researching prospective topics early allows you to narrow your subject down and gives you the ability to write your thesis or capstone project in the time allotted per program.

If ever you get stuck or need some inspiration, there are many tools and resources available to you. You can search the Utica College Library database for previous thesis or capstone projects to get an idea of what past students have researched, or just start Googling keywords or phrases. If you need some guidance determining what makes a good topic here is a YouTube  video to help you out. Remember that the entire faculty and staff are here to help you succeed and will do whatever they can to help!

Other helpful Grad Connect articles related to this article:

Focus your Topic
Accessing Theses and Capstone Projects via ProQuest
Finding Reputable Resources
The MEAL Plan
Setting Writing Deadlines

Contest Alert!

The Office of Graduate Studies is holding a contest for all graduate students. At OGS we believe that every student at Utica College should feel connected and apart of the blue and orange community. We understand as a student in graduate school, free time is hard to come by, and as some of you are distance students, this poses challenges. We want to hear what you do to be more engaged and connected as a graduate student at Utica College. Students should submit an article to be featured in Grad Connect detailing what you can do to be engaged and connected with the college community. Articles should be approximately 400-500 words and sent to by February 19, 2018. The Office of Graduate Studies staff will review all submissions and pick a winner to feature in the next issue of Grad Connect. The winner will also receive a basket of UC swag!


In this edition:


Important Dates:

Please note upcoming deadlines:

Jan 19 - Last day to add/drop both full term and D1 courses.

Feb 19 - Last day to withdraw from a D! course

Mar 9 -
Last day of D1 courses

Mar 12 - First day of D2 courses.

Mar 12-Mar 16 - Spring Break for ground classes

Mar 16 - Last day to Add/Drop a D2 course

Mar 15 - Deadline to apply for May degree

Mar 15 - Last day to RSVP and Order Regalia for Graduate Commencement.

Mar 30 - Last day to withdraw from a full term course

Apr 16 - Last day to withdraw from a D2 course

Apr 30 - Last day of full term courses

May 1-5 - Final Exams for full term ground classes

May 6 - May 2018 degree conferral date

May 6 - Graduate Commencement ceremony

May 6 - Completed Phase III form, ETD submission, and thesis defense deadline.

OGS Spring Open House

The Office of Graduate Studies will be hosting two open houses in celebration of the new Spring semester, with a Saturday session specifically dedicated to the OT Weekend graduate students. Please join us on Saturday, January 20th from 7a.m. to 8:30a.m in 120 White Hall for coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and breakfast. The weekday sessions will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, January 24th and January 25th from 8:30a.m. to 5p.m, also in 120 White Hall. We will have coffee, tea, hot cocoa, available all day with bagels and breakfast pastries in the morning, and snacks in the afternoon. Feel free to stop in at any time during those hours for as little or as long as you like. No need to RSVP simply stop by when you can. The staff in the Office of Graduate Studies looks forward to seeing you and wishes everyone a great and successful semester!

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Office of Graduate Studies
120 White Hall
1600 Burrstone Road
Utica, NY 13502

(315) 792-3335
(315) 792-3170 (Fax)


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              or Graduate Studies
(315) 792-3006
1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502