The Office of Graduate Studies strongly believes that a graduate student population diverse in its origins, beliefs, lifestyles, experiences, and intellectual perspectives greatly enriches the scholarly, cultural, and social activities of the University. In particular, we are committed to enhancing the presence and mentoring of students from historically underrepresented or marginalized populations with the knowledge that these improvements will make the University a more democratic community and benefit the entire graduate student body.

The purpose of this section is to increase your awareness of the factors that shape how a student faces the challenges of pursuing an advanced degree. No two students experience advanced study in exactly the same way. Even students with similar backgrounds and personal characteristics can experience very different challenges. Conversely, some graduate students of very different backgrounds share similar concerns, such as presenting or publishing papers and job searching.

Thus, rather than assume that students are members of discrete groups, we have chosen to discuss gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, race and ethnicity, disabilities, age, prior work experience and career aspirations, family responsibilities, and socioeconomic background as important factors that influence (but do not determine) the graduate experience. To be empowered, students should reflect on how these factors shape their particular circumstances as a graduate student. Recommendations provided here are general enough to apply no matter what your discipline, although we attempt to draw disciplinary distinctions where pertinent.