5.3.10. Course advising

The particular selection of courses taken by any student is based on their educational background, intentions, and experience. Apart from mandatory Professional Development courses, there are no compulsory course requirements.

In such a flexible program, in which each student has an individualized program, excellent advice in course selection from an experienced advisor is essential. To provide this advice each student will have an independent Academic Mentor .

5.3.10.1. Appointment of Academic Mentor
An Academic Mentor (also called General Advisor) is assigned to each student from the time of admission. The Academic Mentor is required to work carefully with the student to select courses and Research Rotations that reinforce the foundations of the field of study and also provide the breadth of study necessary to develop the ability to collaborate effectively across traditional boundaries. The Academic Mentor for each student will be appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School, with advice from the Academic Services Section. The Academic Mentor should have the following characteristics:

i Significant prior experience in course advising and supervision of graduate thesis research. New Faculty may gain experience in course advising and supervision by serving on thesis committees as a committee member.
ii High level of competence in the field, able to give advice to the student on the choice of courses that will prepare them for their PhD thesis research.
iii Be a disinterested party charged with working for the best interests of the student

The Academic Mentor will continue to play a general mentoring role for the duration of the student’s studies at OIST. The Academic Mentor cannot also be the same student’s Thesis Supervisor. If a student elects to undertake their thesis research in the research unit of the Academic Mentor, a new Academic Mentor shall be appointed.

5.3.10.2. Duties of Academic Mentor in development of Course Plan
The Academic Mentor and student together will formulate a plan of courses and Rotations for the first two years. The course plan will take into account any previously established credits, specific experience and research interests of the student. The Academic Mentor will guide the students to choose Rotations that include exposure to both experimental and theoretical approaches, and an interdisciplinary experience.

5.3.10.3. Approval of Course Plan
The course plan will be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School on the required form. Each individual’s course plan will be finally approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.

5.3.10.4. Approval of Research Rotations
Research Rotations are approved by the Dean of the Graduate School taking into account the student preferences, and availability of rotations.

5.3.10.5. Course assessment
Each course will be assessed as specified in the course. Examiners may examine by means of written, practical, or oral test, or by continuous assessment, or by any combination of these. Examination scripts and reports must be written in English.

A student who is unable to complete an assessment because of genuine impairment may be permitted by the Dean of the Graduate School to complete a supplementary assessment. In such cases an application for special consideration must be submitted within 48 hours of the assessment on the appropriate form.

There shall be no appeal against examination results. However, complaints about examination results will be considered by the Dean of the Graduate School and scripts will be checked for errors in marking. If errors are detected marks may be corrected up or down with the agreement of the examiner.

Formal assessment of courses will be coordinated by the Academic Services section. The dates of examinations and due dates of major items of assessment will be coordinated to avoid timetable clashes. Such dates will be fixed at the start of each academic year and students will be advised of the examination and assessment timetable at the start of the year.

Examination questions must be provided to Academic Services at least one month prior to the examination for preparation of examination papers. Examinations will be invigilated. Entry to the examination rooms will only be permitted for candidates enrolled in the course.

5.3.10.6. Monitoring of student progress and student mentoring
In the first two years, before confirmation of the student to progress to thesis research, the Academic Mentor will meet regularly with the student to discuss progress or problems with Courses and Rotations. The grades obtained in courses will be reported to the Academic Mentor and Curriculum and Examination Committee by Academic Services. In cases of difficulty the Academic Mentor will organize help and support for the individual student as needed. If difficulties continue the Academic Mentor has the responsibility of alerting the Dean of the Graduate School, who may initiate proceedings related to poor progress or performance.

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