Frequently Asked Questions

Things are a little different on campus this semester, so we put together a list of our most frequently asked questions to hopefully help you out. If this doesn't answer your question, please email us!

What should I expect when I visit the Graduate School Office?

Things will look a little different when you come to our office. We have put in place some distancing rules and have hung a plexiglass barrier at our reception desk to protect both our employees and our visitors. Here’s what you need to know before you come to the office:

1. As with the entire campus, masks are strongly encouraged in our office. Please also be aware of your health and stay home if you are not feeling well!

2. Visitors are not currently allowed past the reception desk into the main office to meet face-to-face with staff, due to our small staff and the inability to allow for acceptable social distancing. Because of this, we encourage you to call or email the staff member you need to speak with to see if your questions can be handled over the phone or by email. Our staff can also set up a Zoom or Teams meeting if you’d like – just ask them to do so when you reach out. If you’re not sure who you should talk to about your question, you can email us at wsugradschool@wichita.edu, and we will direct you to the correct person. You may also call the office during regular business hours at 316-978-3095 (option 1 for admission-related questions, option 2 for all other questions) to be connected to the person best able to assist you. If you feel that a face-to-face meeting is necessary, please contact the person you wish to speak with and ask that an in-person meeting be scheduled. We will need to make a room reservation outside of our office to meet in person, as we do not have a large enough space in our office to accommodate the social distancing recommendations.

3. Due to the small size of our reception area, only one visitor is allowed in the office at a time. If another visitor is in the reception area, please wait in the hallway until that person has left. If you just need to drop off paperwork, feel free to leave it in the dropbox to the east of our door (107 Jardine Hall).

4. To maintain social distancing recommendations in our office for our staff, we are not all working in the office at the same time. Our schedule rotates as to who is in the office on any given day, and who is working remotely. This may change the way in which your questions are answered. For instance, if you do come into the office and our reception staff cannot answer your question directly, they may instant message the staff member who can answer your question, and then relay their information back to you. Even in “normal” times, it may not be possible for you to get an immediate answer if the person who can answer your question is unavailable due to being in a meeting, or is otherwise engaged. In some instances, it may be necessary to leave your contact information so the person who can assist you can call or email you back. We hope you will remain patient while we try to assist you as quickly as possible.

How do I submit paperwork to the office?

We are open from 8am – 5pm Monday – Friday. If you’re on campus, you’re welcome to stop by our office in room 107 Jardine Hall and submit your paperwork, forms, or your signed copy of your assistantship Notice of Appointment. We have an after-hours dropbox outside our office door as well – which you can drop paperwork into any time, even when we’re open. We check it throughout the day. Due to the sensitive nature of some of our forms and materials you would normally send to us, we prefer that you not send those documents via email. If you need to submit them electronically, please use the Dropbox feature within myWSU (myTools) to send it directly to a specific person in our office. If you prefer to send materials through the mail, our postal mailing address is:

The Graduate School
Wichita State University
1845 Fairmount, Campus Box 4
Wichita KS 67260-0004

How do I apply for an exception to graduate school regulations?

The fillable Graduate School Exception Form is permanently housed in the Forms and Publications section of the Graduate School website. Students should download the form from our website, open it in Adobe, and fill out the form, including a detailed description of their request. The form can be signed digitally once opened in Adobe. It should then be forwarded (via Dropbox) to their advisor and then program coordinator for digital signatures. Once the form is complete, it should be submitted, with any supporting documents, by Dropbox in the myWSU portal (used to forward protected information) to Sheree Smith (sheree.smith@wichita.edu) in the Graduate School office.. Instructions for digital signatures can be found in the Digital Signature FAQ below. Physical copies with signatures can also be dropped off at the Graduate School Office in room 107 Jardine Hall or in the dropbox to the east of our door.

How do I complete a digital signature?
Wichita State’s IT Applications Training team has provided instructions online for both creating digital signatures in Signature Fields in Acrobat Forms and Adobe Fill & Sign, which allows you to sign with a printed signature or draw a signature with a stylus or your finger on a touch screen.
How will oral defense be handled?

Students and faculty may decide to hold the defense either in person or remotely. No formal exception is required to be allowed to have a remote defense.

IN PERSON
If both the student and the members of the committee agree to an in-person defense, it can be open to the public IF current social distancing guidelines and size limitations are maintained. Some members of the committee may be allowed to participate remotely if they so desire. For programs requiring public defenses, you may want to consider an online defense or perhaps a recording that is distributed

REMOTE
If preferred by the student and committee, defenses may be held remotely, using Zoom, Teams, Skype, etc. No special permission is required to do a remote defense,
however, it should be noted on the Request to Schedule Oral Defense form that the defense will be held remotely.

After the defense has been completed, the signed Recommendation for Degree form should be forwarded to our Degree Audit Coordinator, Denecia Angleton (Denecia.Angleton@wichita.edu) either by email, dropbox, or by campus mail (Box 4). If you have questions about form submission, please contact Denecia directly.

How will comprehensive exams and other similar requirements be handled?
Exams of any variety should be handled in a means that will best suit the situation. Online is still acceptable if that works for your students; in-person is fine as we move toward more "normal" operations. You may also think of other creative solutions that may fit, e.g. changing a written examination to oral (via Skype, Zoom, Teams, etc.), when appropriate. If your exam is written and students prefer written to an oral exam, you could consider something similar to a take-home exam. You could also choose to use Skype, Zoom, Teams, etc. to proctor your written exams in real time in a virtual format. Please note that departments are responsible for the costs associated with proctoring exams from outside sources and cannot be passed on to the students. If your program’s needs do not seem to fit this, please reach out to us and we will be happy to brainstorm on solutions.  
 How do these circumstances affect other degree requirements?
 Please remember that we are always able to consider exceptions to waive or defer degree requirements on a case-by-case basis. If circumstances are affecting an entire cohort, we can consider a blanket exception request from that department rather than having the student (or department) file individual exception requests. If students have had to delay completing their degree requirements due to COVID-19, we will consider exceptions to the requirement of enrollment in the last semester when possible. Note that this would only apply to students who had completed all coursework but needed only finish their thesis or dissertation, or research project. Students on an F1 visa must consult with the International Student Services office to determine if an enrollment waiver can be allowed. The Graduate School does not have the authority to override enrollment requirements put in place by the federal government. Appropriate enrollment WILL be required for those students who hold an assistantship position.
Can I defer my graduation without having to file a new AFD and pay the fee again?
Students who need to defer their graduation semester will need to file a new Application for Degree and pay the $25 fee again. If you feel that your situation is extraordinary and that you should be exempted from the AFD filing requirement, please email Denecia Angleton, our degree audit coordinator, to discuss your case.  We are generally only supporting these requests at this time for documented issues with research directly resulting from COVID-19.
Can I be exempted from enrolling in terminal activity hours?
Students who are finishing their graduate degree are required to be enrolled in the appropriate number of hours for their terminal activity (1 hour of thesis or project, 2 hours of dissertation, etc.). Students who wish to be allowed to enroll in fewer hours, or not to be enrolled at all, must file a formal exception with the Graduate School to request permission to be enrolled in fewer than the required number of hours. See above section about filing exceptions. 
 How do I meet with the Degree Audit Coordinator to review my thesis or dissertation for formatting?
Since we have limited space in our office, we are continuing to restrict in-person meetings at this time,. We therefore will handle reviews remotely. When your Request to Schedule Oral Defense is approved, Denecia Angleton, our degree audit coordinator, will reach out to you with instructions on next steps. Further, when you have passed your defense and she has received notice of this from your committee chair, she will email you with instructions on how to upload your thesis or dissertation. She will review the document as soon as possible and email you with any changes or corrections that are needed. Please remember you are not done until she has given final approval of your corrected thesis or dissertation. If it in necessary to meet with her in person, you will need to reach out to her to set up an appointment that can be done outside of our office where physical distancing will be possible. 
How do I create and submit my plan of study?

Ideally, you would meet with your advisor to discuss your degree plan and to build your plan of study. Given the current circumstances, you may not be able to meet one-on-one with your advisor. We recommend reaching out to that person to see if you can schedule an appointment over the phone, or by Zoom or Teams. In some cases you may be able to have your discussion via email.

The plan of study form is available on our website in Forms and Publications section. Students should download the form from our website, open it in Adobe, and fill out the form. The form can be signed digitally once opened in Adobe. It should then be forwarded (via email or Dropbox) to their advisor and then program coordinator for digital signatures. Once the form is complete, it should be submitted to the Graduate School office via email to wsugradschool@wichita.edu. Instructions for digital signatures can be found in the Digital Signature FAQ above.

When the plan is reviewed and approved by our office, you’ll receive an email from our staff with a scanned copy of the approved plan. Please note that you can revise your plan any time you need to, as many times as you need to.