Programs : Doctoral : Student Handbook : Section Seven
Any Information that might Help Me for My UCSB Residency?
From the annals of our brave students who have survived UCSB, we have compiled some real pearls of wisdom which should prove helpful to you. There is some ground work you should do before going to UCSB. About six months prior to your first quarter in the frigid north, you should contact your UCSB sponsor (or sponsors if you have more than one) to let them know that you’re coming and to find out if they are going to be available to work with you during your time at UCSB. This alerts them to your intentions and allows you a chance to get them recommitted to your efforts. A good entree for this discussion would be to e-mail an abstract of your potential dissertation topic for comment. Also make a visit to the UCSB campus so that you can try to meet with your sponsor(s) and to talk to other faculty that might be potential committee members. You should be able to get tentative class schedules for your time there that can be used in determining your course work possibilities. You'll be able to scope-out housing options in Isla Vista, Goleta, Ellwood Beach, downtown, or Montecito, too. Also be sure to talk with your joint program colleagues currently at UCSB for the current scoop on what's going on. During your stay at UCSB, you are encouraged to: (1) further develop your dissertation topic and reading list for your Writtens, (2) meet regularly with your UCSB committee members—taking pertinent courses that they offer is an excellent way to establish greater rapport with them, and (3) plan and even take your Writtens.
Housing possibilities can be explored from a distance if you’ll get one of joint students at UCSB to post a notice on the Geography Department’s email server (gradb). Indicate the accommodations you need, how much you’re willing to pay, and when you'd like to move in. UCSB’s Housing and Residential Services Office maintains an extensive listing of rooms, apartments, and houses for rent that you can check-out upon arriving. Remember that if you’re starting at UCSB in the Fall Quarter (late September), you should have your housing situation sorted out before the end of August because after that, it’s slim pickins. Some of your classmates will be going through the same process as you, so pooling resources might be helpful.
Single graduate students may wish to apply to the “lottery” for UCSB graduate housing. Usually, graduate students apply between April 1 and June 1 each year and the results are announced by mid-June. Later, when the paperwork is completed around March-April, you will receive a perm number for log in purposes, which ensures that you are registered in the UCSB system.
For family housing you can apply anytime on the UCSB family housing web site, which means getting on a list (not applying to a lottery). The wait can be long, up to two years for couples with no children and about a year or less for families with children. This generally means getting on the list as soon as you enter the program. The application process involves creating a log in name and password. If you create a login name and password for family housing very early (like September of the previous year), you may have to keep renewing it about every three months to ensure that you are still on the waiting list for family housing.
Financial Aid Issues
For all students attending UCSB and accepting financial aid, you must complete an exit interview at SDSU. Your financial aid will be administered through UCSB during your residency there. If you are unsure if the change in schools has been recognized, upon enrolling at UCSB you may want to contact the lenders of any student loans that you may have to notify them that you will be attending UCSB and are requesting a deferment based upon full time enrollment at another institution. The lenders will a form to UCSB for verification after you have initiated the deferment request. If you have any problems, please see Patti O’Leary, GA 129 (firstname.lastname@example.org 619-594-8411). And, when you leave UCSB to return to SDSU, please complete an exit interview with Financial Aid at UCSB as well.
For students attending UCSB for the first time during the Winter or Spring Quarters, effective Fall 2006, the SDSU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships may send you a message saying that they will only process financial aid for those JD students enrolled at SDSU in the fall semester. According to SDSU Financial Aid office, you can participate in an exit interview with one of their officers (even though you aren't technically exiting), at which time you could receive the appropriate contact information for the lenders of any loan that you have received while attending SDSU.
Before Classes Begin
The Fall Quarter at UCSB normally begins in late September, but you need to give yourself time to get everything sorted out. You won’t have much time when classes start because quarters move very quickly. You might want to arrive by mid-September. There are some people in the Geography Department office that you must meet. Jose Saleta (805/456-2829) or email@example.com ) is UCSB’s Student Programs Manager and he handles all of your paperwork. Introduce yourself to him; given the joint nature of the program, there will invariably be some sort of bureaucratic snafu that will need his attention. SDSU continues to pay your registration fees while you’re at UCSB and Jose handles the paperwork between the Department and the Graduate Division at UCSB. He will also show you where your mail can be found, how to get photocopies, access to phones, fax services, and keys (if you have a room). These will probably be some of your first “official” contacts at UCSB! You may receive bills for registration fees. The SDSU Graduate Division will pay these fees in late September, so no need to make any payments. If any benefits are held up due to nonpayment of fees, please contact Patti O’Leary immediately and we'll try to clear that up.
Make an appointment to see UCSB’s Graduate Advisor, Prof. Stuart Sweeney, as soon as you can. Prior to being able to enroll in courses, the Graduate Advisor has to approve your class selections, so you’ll obviously need to see him prior to trying to register. Also be sure to talk with your sponsor(s) to go over your intended course of study, qualifying exam subjects, and dissertation work. This is best done early in your stay, ideally prior to registering your first semester.
At the beginning of each quarter and particularly the first, make an appointment to see your UCSB faculty sponsor. In addition to finalizing your class and independent research credits, you should make sure that the two of you are on the same page for your graduate assistant duties and any resource requirements that you may have (e.g., office space, computer or laboratory access, etc.). Access to office space is often dependent upon your sponsor. Be sure that you talk to them about being assigned a place to work, otherwise you might end up as an “orphan.”
Most importantly, get to know as many students as you can, because this is the main way you will learn how things work academically and socially. It’s also a great way to develop your ideas while in the north.
Registration materials will be mailed to your address or e-mailed to your e-mail on file about a month before classes if you're a domestic student. Registration is done through the GOLD web site. Make sure to do it as early as possible. International students need to pick-up registration information at the Office of International Students and Scholars on campus. Each quarter you’ll have to fill out a form indicating the classes you’ve selected and have it signed by your sponsor and then the Graduate Advisor, Prof. Sweeney.
UCSB Student Orientation
Prior to the start of the fall quarter, Jose Saleta from the UCSB Geography Department will schedule an orientation for new graduate students. During this orientation, he will cover the following topics: Registration, health services, access card, library borrowing privileges/card, and the Doctoral Candidate Fee Offset (DCFO). Make sure you go to this because faculty and students will introduce themselves, you'll find out important course requirements, and be given information on access to all the department’s labs and how to get an e-mail account. Be there or be left out! You will have a mailbox in the Department office.
While at UCSB, your stipend continues to be paid by SDSU, but we do “assign” your time to the UCSB faculty. Normally, but not always, you should be assigned as a research assistant to your sponsor. They do have the right to utilize your services as they like, including TA activities or other duties. In the past, some joint program students have been given no assignment, which sounds great but really limits your interaction with the department. It is your responsibility to should check with the Graduate Advisor to make assure that he is aware of your availability.
You should make every effort to enroll in at least 12 units every quarter at UCSB. UC System-wide takes a head count at the end of the 3rd week of the quarter and we get credit for full-time Ph.D. students only if they are enrolled in 12 or more units. The one required course each quarter at UCSB is: Geography 201 - Colloquium. Many joint doctoral students fill their schedules with tutorial or independent studies type courses. Chief among these are:
- Geog 596 - Directed Reading and Research (2-8 units, petition required)
- Geog 597 - Individual Study for Ph.D. Examinations (1-12 units)
- Geog 599 - Ph.D. Dissertation Research and Preparation (1-12 units)
All of these courses require that you enroll with an instructor # or code so that the Registrar knows who is giving you the grade. Instructor codes can be found at the end of the Geography section of the quarterly Schedule of Classes and at our dept website. Click on “Undergraduate Program” and then use the pull-down menu to go to “Instructor Code.”
Geog 596 requires an add code, which you can get in the main office.
Geog 597 and 599. You should discuss what you will be doing with the faculty member who will be the supervisor of record and giving you the grade.
You must establish a GPA while you are enrolled at UCSB. Because Geog 201 is an S/U graded courses, and because many joint program students take 597 and/or 599, which also are S/U graded courses, it's easy to wind up with a 0.00 GPA at the end of your first quarter if you are not taking any other courses for a letter grade. The “big brother” computer over at the UCSB Grad Division will see this and automatically spit out a “subject to academic probation” notice because your GPA has fallen below a 3.0. So, make sure you take at least one course in the first quarter for a letter grade (of B or better).
Joint doctoral students have full library privileges at UCSB. The following is an excerpt from a memo that was sent to the Library by former UCSB Geography administrative staff. Hopefully none of you will encounter problems, but if you do, you can either have the UCSB library person give Karen a call, or refer them to this note:
“The Geography Department at UCSB has had a Joint PhD Program with the Geography Department at San Diego State University since 1991. Once students are officially admitted to the Joint Program and enroll here for at least one quarter, they are considered students pursuing graduate degrees at UCSB. Thereafter, they are considered students in good standing pursuing graduate degrees at UCSB as long as they are deemed to be making timely progress toward completion of the Ph.D. and are registered at either San Diego State or UCSB. We do not require simultaneous enrollment at both campuses. Students in the Joint Program must register at UCSB for a minimum of three quarters (normally during their second or third year) and advance to candidacy here. Once advanced, they become doctoral candidates at UCSB as opposed to merely doctoral students, and are entitled to faculty privilege cards.”
In addition to its normal collection, UCSB has an excellent Map and Imagery Laboratory which houses some 4.5 million maps and images and state of the art workstations. It's a great resource that you should be aware of. The UC’s MELVYL electronic data base allows you to access all of the UC holdings and some outstanding on-line data base resources for library searches available only at UCSB, so exploit them while you are there.
UCSB Quarter System
Again, remember that quarters move fast. Finally, keep in contact with your sponsor(s) and run ideas by them. Remember, directed readings and special studies are great ways to keep actively involved with your sponsors and, in many cases, a good way to prepare yourself for your qualifying exams.
How did I get Admitted?
What does the Financial Offer I Accepted Mean?
What Happens Between the Time I'm Accepted and When I Enroll?
Okay, I've Arrived at the Department. What do I do?
My First Semester's Started: Now What?
When Should I Plan on Spending My Year at UCSB?
Any Information that might Help Me for My UCSB Residency?
What are the Major Mileposts in My Program?