FAQ

Q1: What are my person number and UBIT name? How do I obtain them? Why are they important?
A1: Your person number serves as your identification for every administrative process at UB and your UBIT name is your key to IT services. After you have enrolled and paid your bill, you will receive your person number, UBIT name and a single-use password. Your person number is used in administrative procedures and the UBIT name enables access to Central email, your personal web page, on-campus wireless connectivity and library computers on all campuses. It also gives you access to MyUB: http://www.buffalo.edu/aboutmyub/ , where you can access your GPA/grades, library account and more) as well as UBlearns: https://ublearns.buffalo.edu/ , an online resource for class schedules and assignments.

Q2: How do I find out about department and graduate activities?
A2: Check out MyUB for university level activities and the DMS grad list-serv (dms-grads-list@listserv.buffalo.edu) for DMS-specific information and activities. Once you have your UBIT name, you should automatically receive messages from the list-serv.

Q3: Where can I find information about my program?
A3: All program guidelines an be found on our e-forms page: http://mediastudy.buffalo.edu/resources/eforms/

Q4: Where do I find other DMS-specific administrative forms?
A4: All the forms you need to keep track of your academic progress are available online for download at the same site: http://mediastudy.buffalo.edu/resources/eforms/
You will need the newest version of free Acrobat Reader in order to fill them out and sign them. Further instructions can be found at the link above.

Q5: Whom do I ask if I have a question?
A5: If you have technical questions about the forms, contact Mike Bouquard (bouquard@buffalo.edu). If you have administrative questions regarding the forms, contact Bradley Hendricks,  bhendric@buffalo.edu  (716)645-0316

Q6: Which classes are mandatory in my first year?
A6: It depends on your program.
MFA students need to enroll in: Grad Seminar I, DMS 570 Media Theory and a Methods of Making course.
PhD students need to enroll in: PhD Seminar I, DMS 570 Media Theory and a Methods of Making course.

Q7: Which events are mandatory in my first year?
A7: Just before the beginning of the semester there is a mandatory plenary orientation for DMS graduate students. Furthermore, all students are assigned a faculty mentor that you should be in contact. Finally, all graduate students are required to present results from their first year of study in the First Year Review.

Q8: What is the First Year Review, and how do I prepare for it?
A8: All first year MFA/PhD graduate students are required to present their completed work and work/s in progress to the DMS faculty in their second semester of the MFA/PhD program. The First Year Review provides the faculty with an opportunity to assess your engagement with the department and to acknowledge your progress. It allows you the opportunity to situate your practice within the field you identify with and to tell us where you are coming from and where you intend to go in the near future.
In selecting material for the First Year Review, keep in mind that your presentation will be limited to 15 minutes, including work and explanations. Choose work which offers some sense of your level of productivity and intellectual engagement. All materials should be made available for review online.

Q11: Which events are mandatory in my 2nd year?
A11: You should create a thesis proposal, organize a thesis committee (starting by designating a thesis chair) and see the Graduate Coordinator, Bradley Hendricks.
You should have your thesis draft, your project proposal and the application to candidacy ready by the end of the summer of your second year in order to ensure that your third year can be dedicated exclusively to your thesis project and research.

Q12: Which events are mandatory in my 3rd year?
A12: In the fall semester of the third year you should complete your thesis draft. During the spring semester of your third year you should finish your thesis and submit it to your thesis committee for revision. At the end of the spring semester your revised thesis and your thesis project should be completed.

Q13: Who is my advisor?
A13: During your first year, you will be assigned a preliminary faculty mentor. This person can help you with questions, course selection, etc. Your advisor for administrative issues is Bradley Hendricks. The Director of Graduate Studies is also available to answer any questions and concerns. After the first year review you will have a tenure-track DMS faculty member assigned as your advisor this may or may not be the same person as your preliminary mentor. You should meet with him/ her to discuss conceptual and strategic issues (courses pertinent to your research, contacts in the university, etc.). You should continue to seek administrative advice from the Graduate Coordinator, Bradley Hendricks. Also, remember to keep track of your credits each semester through the MFA Course Requirements Form (Blue Form), available online (see A3 above). Once you get your thesis project ready, you will put together a thesis committee and a thesis chair. Your thesis chair will then act as your advisor until you graduate.

Q14: How many credits should I take each semester?
A14: This is dependent upon the pace at which you feel comfortable working. However, we strongly recommend not taking more than 12 credits per semester.

Q15: How do I obtain codes to access Labs at the DMS?
A15: Each instructor has codes for the labs where their class takes place. Ask them to provide you with the classroom-specific code or ask Mike Bouquard.

Q16: Where can I find the lab schedules?
A16: Each lab has its own schedule posted at the entrance. Labs that do not have posted schedules may be used at your convenience, provided you have been granted access by an instructor or DMS staff.

Q17: How do I obtain codes to enter the CFA building after regular work hours?
A17: Elaine Schwartz in the main office can help you with this, you will need to fill out and sign a form. Do not share your code with others. Misuse of building access codes may result in loss of access rights.

Q18: How I can apply for a designated space at the Graduate Studio?
A18: An email call from the department will go out to the graduate community asking for studio space requests. Studio space is assigned depending on the specific needs of each individual, giving 3rd year students priority status.

Q19: Can I use the studio without having a properly designated space?
A19: If you want to make use of the Graduate Studio without having an assigned space, contact Mike Bouquard. Be courteous to others and try to make the work environment pleasant for everyone. If you want to use the Graduate Studio for a ‘special’ project (that generates noise, or has specific lighting or temperature requirements), please let your colleagues know in advance.

Q20: How can I get access to a locker?
A20: Lockers are assigned at the start of the fall semester. Look around and see which locker is not in use, get the locker number, and go to the DMS equipment room to reserve the locker for a year.

Q21: How I can access equipment?
A21: All production classes levy a fee that buys you access to media equipment. As a graduate student you have privileged access to graduate-only equipment, provided you abide by the DMS rules. Please review the guidelines here: http://mediastudy.buffalo.edu/facilities/overview/

Q22: Where is classroom X?
A22: Check out the map of DMS.

Q23: I need a computer and a printer. Where do I go?
A23: If you are a TA you have access to a computer and print station in a shared office. If you are not a TA, there is one computer and print station in the Graduate Studio. Also, there are many workstations around campus in each of the libraries. See: http://ubit.buffalo.edu/sites/

Q24: I want to do an independent study with Professor X – how do I proceed?
A24: You should be considering independent study only after your first semester. If you have identified an instructor you want to work with, email him/her to set up a meeting. Independent studies are available only at the discretion of the instructor. Once you have agreed in principle on the topic and scope, you need to document the independent study with the following forms:
Syllabus for Proposed Independent Study (Green Form) –Credits, meetings and the planned schedule must be agreed upon. Once the form is signed by the student and the instructor, it must be sent to the Director of Graduate Studies for review and finally mailed back to Bradley Hendricks for enrollment and archiving.
Independent Study Evaluation Form (Yellow Form) – After you finish your Independent study your instructor must evaluate your work. Send the completed form to the Director of Graduate Studies. The signed form will again be sent to Bradley Hendricks for archiving.
Always keep copies of signed documents for your own reference.

Q25: Who do I contact if I have problems signing up for classes?
A25: If the class has reached maximum capacity, contact the instructor or Bradley Hendricks. If you are experiencing technical problems with the registration system, contact the CIT Help Desk:
http://ubit.buffalo.edu/helpdesk/index.php or send an email to cit-helpdesk@buffalo.edu
If your problems are related to the registration process, payments, or any other academic or financial issue, contact the Student Response Center: http://registrar.buffalo.edu/registration/

Q26: For which courses do I get graduate course credits?
A26: Graduate level classes are taught by experienced and often senior professors. All classes taught by a tenure-track instructor (or visiting professor) identified by the numbers 500 or 600 are graduate courses that count for credits. You may enroll in undergraduate courses but they will not count towards your graduate credit requirements.

Q27: I want to study abroad – do you have an exchange program, and how do I participate?
A27: DMS has two exchange programs with two different Universities in Germany: The Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (http://www.uni-weimar.de/) and the Universität Bremen (http://www.uni-bremen.de/). Both institutes offer exciting opportunities and all master-level courses are taught in English. Weimar is more closely linked to the locative media practices at DMS, and Bremen is more invested in informatics and fine arts. Generally we recommend the exchange to students in good academic standing in the first semester of their second year OR during thesis research in the third year. Contact the Director of Graduate Studies for further information.

Q28: What is the annual report?
A28: You will be required to send in a current copy of your CV to documents your latest activities and events.

Q29: What is the GSA? Why should I care, and how do I stay informed?
A29: GSA is the acronym for the Graduate Student Association. GSA members are grad students recruited from all departments (minus medical, dental, law, and MBA graduates). Membership is organized by departmental clubs, and the DMS GSA section has been very active over the last few years. This is important as the GSA represents the interests of graduate students on campus and has access to funds to support all kinds of graduate activities. Check out the GSA website for further information: http://www.gsa.buffalo.edu/. Many of the GSA activities are announced on the DMS graduate email list as well.

Q30: I have finished my coursework and want to start my thesis. What do I have to do?
A30: You should meet with the Graduate Coordinator, Bradley Hendricks, to make sure you have met all DMS requirements. If so, you are ready to put together a thesis committee with a thesis chair of your choice (must be DMS tenure-track faculty). You must then formulate a thesis project idea and abstract and circulate it to the committee for approval. You will then collect committee signatures on the MFA thesis progress map and ATC forms (both available from the DMS E-forms site, see Q+A4). You send the electronically signed forms to Bradley Hendricks, who then sends the ATC to the Graduate School for approval. Once these forms are approved, you have advanced to candidacy and are ready to start your thesis work.

Q31: I am a graduate student without a TAship and I want to teach a course. What can I do?
A31: TA and adjunct positions are limited, unfortunately. If you do not have a TAship and you tell us early in your DMS career about your teaching experience needs, we can try to organize a workshop or something similar during your studies. You can also apply for positions in other departments. Depending on the connections you make during your studies, this might be a very effective venue.

Q32: I need money for a project. Who can help out?
A32: The GSA is an excellent source for conference funding. Additionally, DMS offers a graduate starter grant program for which DMS graduate students can apply. The call goes out once or twice per semester. Preference is given to second and third year graduate students who are not funded by a TAship. The application process is simple, but all materials must be presented online