The life of a graduate student in our department is demanding and competitive, marked by hard work, intellectual adventure, and, of course, a lot of fun. New students choose their advisor and research group before the completion of the first semester of their graduate study. In the second semester, students begin to get a taste of research, but most become submerged in their research adventures only after the end of the school term. Successful completion of a dossier documenting their research project and an oral examination serve as a passageway to the doctoral program. Typically, a student takes from four-and-a-half to five-and-a-half years to complete their research thesis and obtain a Ph.D. degree.
The department attracts students from across the country and around the world. About forty percent of our graduate students come from leading universities outside the U.S., which provides a colorful cultural mix as well as an exciting and intellectually fertile field. The University of Minnesota is host to various professional and religious societies as well as clubs with a particular cultural, sport, or ethnic focus. In the past, students have shared their country's traditional food or performed traditional dance and/or music for departmental parties. The Friday afternoon happy hours, golf tournaments, softball games, canoe trips, and pig roast parties are all regular departmental social events.
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