Postgraduate student training constitutes a crucial part of the mission of SWIFAR as a researchinstitute. We aim to give our students high-quality training and to prepare them for future careers. To achieve the goal, this Code of Practice is formulated to strengthen the training process, and to provide guidelines to both students and supervisors. It complements the "Postgraduate Student Handbook of YNU", and is in accord with the development needs of SWIFAR.
Our objective is to train young talents with high aspirations, a down-to-earth attitude, a strong sense of social responsibility, a solid background in astronomy, physics and mathematics, a capability of communicating in English and skills of computer applications, a good knowledge of the frontiers of his/her research field, a clear understanding of the scientific significance of his/her specific research project, a good skill in observational, theoretical or numerical simulation analysis, and an ability to carry out independent research. Therefore they can grow to be a task force to contribute to the development of Chinese astronomy.
MSc Degree Candidates:Each year, the SWIFAR Postgraduate Committee needs to prepare a detailed working plan for postgraduate students’ admission, including candidate selections from excellent students with written-exam exempted and from students who go through the national entrance exam, candidates’ interviews, and final admission. The plan needs to be based on the relevant YNU regulations of the year. With the approval by the SWIFAR Director, the Committee conducts the tasks accordingly.
Doctoral Candidates: The admission of candidates applying for the successive postgraduate and doctoral program is carried out through the "Application-Evaluation" procedure. The SWIFAR Postgraduate Committee is responsible for making a plan detailing the specifics of the evaluation and proposing faculty members to join the evaluation committee. Upon approval by the SWIFAR Director, the Postgraduate Committee leads the tasks.The admission of other doctoral candidates shall be carried out according to the "’Application-Evaluation’Procedure for the Admission of Doctoral Students of YNU (for Trial Implementation)" (Annex 1).
SWIFAR advocates the spirit of respect for science, high standards of academic integrity, a strong will of truth-seeking, and the attitude of determination and hard-working. We firmly oppose any act of fishing for fame and credit, cheating and intentional plagiarism.Supervisors should take the lead to set a good example for their students. Any misconduct that violates academic norms will be handled in accordance with the "YNU Postgraduate Student Handbook - Academic Ethics and Handling of Violations (for Trial Implementation)".
For students to be able to find a suitable research project based on a rational judgment of their interests and capabilities, it is necessary to provide them opportunities to learn different frontiers in astronomy and astrophysics, as well as the SWIFAR developmentstrategy and key tasks. For that, first-year MSc degree students shall not specify their research projects. In addition to course learning, they are required to participate in weekly meetings of two research groups during the first year of study, one per semester.
SWIFAR arranges two to three field trips to different observatories for first-year students.
3. 研究方向及导师的选定Selection of Research Project and Supervisor
By the end of the second semester, 1st-year MSc degree students should have their supervisors and research projects determined. To be responsible for the students and to provide them with opportunities to engage in large internal and national research programs, the following guidelines are made.
A student is qualified to select his/her thesis supervisor and research project if his/her average score of the major courses is above 70 (inclusive) and the number of failed major courses should not exceed 1.
Under the guidance of the SWIFAR Postgraduate Committee, a Two-way selection mechanism is implemented for students to determine their supervisors and research projects, considering the willingness of working together from both the students and the supervisors.
To be eligible of being a supervisor, he/she should have, as a principal investigator, an ongoing National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) project, or be a core member of an ongoing sub-project within a National Key Research and Development Program of China. An exception applies to new faculty members because the output of their first grantapplications can only be known by August each year. To encourage their early involvements in research and student training, each new faculty is eligible to recruit one student in the first year when he/she joins SWIFAR. If his/her grant application is disapproved known by August, the eligibility for student recruitment will be suspended for the following year.
To ensure the quality of training, in principle, each supervisor cannot accept more than one student each year. The total number of postgraduate students (including doctoral, MSc and joint-trainingpostgraduate students) under each supervisor shall not exceed three. Some exceptions may apply if a supervisor is a) a core member of a large national project, including NSFC key project, andasub-project within a National Key Research and Development Program of China; b) a recipient of the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars or the NSFC Excellent Young Scientists Fund.
In cases of an urgent need, approved by the Director, to carry out research related to SWIFAR development tasks, or a need under a special circumstance, a supervisor can apply for extra quota for student recruitment by submitting a written application to the Postgraduate Committee for evaluation. With the final approval by the Director, additional quota can be granted. SWIFAR encourages faculty members to work on the construction, data processing and analyses, and relevant scientific studies, with regard to the institutional observing facility development, and student quota can be inclined toward such projects.
Under the above principles, the Postgraduate Committee organizes faculty presentation sessions to the first-year students after their enrollment. In addition, in the first week of the Two-way selection process, the Postgraduate Committee organizes one-to-one discussions between each of the first-year students and the eligible faculty members so that the students can grasp the basics of different research areas of different faculty members. Then the students need to fill in the "Two-way Selection Form of Postgraduate Students and Supervisors of SWIFAR, YNU" (Annex 2). The candidate supervisors can further talk to the potential students to decide whether or not to accept him/her. Once the two sides reach an agreement, they both need to sign on the form and hand it to the SWIFAR secretary of postgraduate affairs. After careful reviews by the Postgraduate Committee, the secretary will notify the student and the supervisor the approval.
Each year, the process of selecting supervisors and research projects normally starts in late May and completes by the end of June. All the specifics are organized and implemented by the Postgraduate Committee.
During the postgraduate training process, a supervisor may apply for a termination of the supervision if a student adopts an improper work attitude, and refuses to change or improve his/her behaviors upon repeated warnings. Students who encounter significant difficulties or other insurmountable obstacles in the course of their academic research can also apply for a change of supervisor. A written application should be submittedto the Postgraduate Committeefor their careful assessment.The Committee will report their tentative judgments to the SWIFAR Directorfor a final approval/disapproval.
In accordance with the Training Guideline of YNU Astronomy Discipline, postgraduate students need to register for all the courses specified in the Guideline, and meet the minimum credit requirement for graduation.
Students must attend the registered classes on time. Those who cannot for good reasons should fill in the "Application Form for Leave of Absence for Postgraduate Students of SWIFAR" (Annex 3) in advance, and ask for permissions and signaturesfrom the lecturer, the supervisor and the tutor. The signed form should be kept properly in triplicate. Any unexcused absenteeism will be taken into account in scholarship evaluations and the end-of-year assessment of postgraduate students.
Students who fail a course examination or assessment need to take a make-up exam if available, or to retake the course per relevant terms of the "YNU Postgraduate Student Handbook".
SWIFAR organizes all kinds of academic activities, such as colloquia, lunch talks, journal clubs, public lectures, academic conferences, etc. Except for conflicts with the curriculum, all postgraduate students are required to attend the academic activities on time and actively. For every participation, question-ask and oral presentation from a student, he/she is given 1, 2, and 5 points, respectively. The accumulated points constitute an essential part of the end-of-year performance assessment within SWIFAR, the evaluation of various types of scholarships, and so on. Students who are unable to participate in an academic activity due to specific reasons must request a leave of absence at least one day in advance from the faculty in charge. Those who are absent for no reason may be subject to warning and point deductionsin all kinds of award and scholarship applications and evaluations.
SWIFAR encourages students to participate actively in high-quality academic exchange activities outside the university, including relevant domestic and international academic conferences and academic visits. Postgraduate students who are invited to participate in academic activities outside the university should ask for permission from their supervisors and fill in the official "Business Trips Application Form of YNU" (Annex 4). With the approval and signature of the Director, the student should report to the tutor and the residential management center for a leave.It is the student’s responsibility to abide by the university disciplines, regulations and their supervisor's requirements, and to safeguard his/her own safety. The scoring rules for postgraduate students participating in academic activities outside the university are the same as those within the Institute.
To keep abreast of the latest scientific developments and to enhance professional competence, the postgraduate students are required to attend weekly student journal clubs and make contributions. The journal club is regarded as one of the internal academic activities. Students who are unable to attend the journal club due to specific reasons must take a leave of absence at least one day in advance from the faculty/postdoc in charge.
In an effort to help postgraduate students to better conduct academic research, SWIFAR implements students annual report processin December every year. Students need to submit an annual progress report or a research proposal for the thesis to the SWIFAR Postgraduate Committee.The Committee is responsible for organizing oral presentationsessions and requires the attendance of all the faculty members. The specific requirements for the report to be submitted by postgraduate students are as follows.
(a) All the 3rd-year postgraduate students and doctoral students
needto submit an annual progress report for their thesis research, including the background of the research project, a description of the whole project and the main results obtained so far, difficulties and problems encountered, and research plans for the coming year with a time table, etc.
(b) For the 2nd-year postgraduate students, a proposal of the thesis research project is required. It should consist of a background introduction for the project, a description of the specific problem to be tackled, the specific knowledge necessary for the project, the feasibility of the research project, and a time plan for the next few years.
The report and the PPT slides of oral presentation should be written in English. Students are encouraged to give the presentation and answer questions in English.
Students’ annual evaluation is based on their academic performance of the year. Participation and involvement in academic activities, the quality of the annual report and the presentation, and the research achievements account for 30%, 30%, and 40%, respectively.According to the overall scores, the annual evaluation results are classified into excellent (in principle, no more than 10% of the total number of students), good (in principle, no more than 30% of the total number), qualified and unqualified (< 60/100 points). For those who are assessed as excellent or good, SWIFAR will issue certificates of honor and bonuses; for those who are unqualified, SWIFAR will issue warnings, instruct the supervisors to urge the students to improve, and deduct 20% of the students’ Research Assistant (RA) remuneration in the next year.
6. 硕转博 Candidates Applying for the Successive Postgraduate and Doctoral Program
According to the regulations of YNU, the 3rd-year postgraduate students can apply for the successive postgraduate and doctoral program in the first semester. In order to ensure the quality of the application, the following principles and procedures shall be followed:
(1) A student is qualified to apply if his/her average score of major courses is above 75 (inclusive).
(2) Eligible candidate supervisors should have the quota of doctoral candidate recruitment and meet the requirements listed in Article IV-3 of this Code of Practice.
(3) Eligible students apply voluntarily after a thorough discussion with the candidate supervisor.
(4) The Postgraduate Committee will review the application materials and arrange oral interviews. All faculty members participate in the interviews and give a grade to each applicant.
(5) The Committee then gives a recommendation list and submits it to the SWIFAR Director for approval.
(6) The list will then be submitted to YNU for a final review and approval.
To apply for an extension of schooling, upon agreed by his/her supervisor, the student should submit a written application, signed by him/her and the supervisor, to the SWIFAR Postgraduate Committee for evaluation. With the approval, the student should then follow the YNU regulations for an official application for extension to the University.
After determining his/her researchproject by the end of the second semester of the first academic year, the student needs to conduct researchpreparations under the guidance of his/her supervisor. At the end of the third semester in December, the student should submit a well-written research proposal. The detailed requirements are listed in Article IV- 5- (4) - (b) of this document.
For a student’s thesis project, a detailed research plan is needed with the help of his/her supervisor, including learning and research activities at different stages. The plan needs to be submitted to the SWIFAR Postgraduate Committee for a review before handing in to YNU.
After completing the required course credits and passing the thesis proposal evaluation, students will officially enter the stage of dissertation research.Supervisors should take full responsibilities to guide their students during the whole research process. They should conduct frequent discussions with the students and respond to their questions and requests promptly.
A qualifieddissertation should show that the student has mastered the basic knowledge of the field, has a systematic understanding of the relevant literature and related frontiers, has the ability of problem-solving, and has new research results.The dissertation must contain all the elements required to be a complete academic thesis, and is well written.Thedissertation needs to go through the reviewing process, and a thesis defense is then conducted. Having met all the requirements, the student can apply for the academic degree.The specific dissertation requirements,defense and degree awarding procedures shall be implemented in accordance with “The Detailed Rules for the Implementation of Degree-awarding Work of YNU” (Annex 5).
Minimum requirements for obtaining a doctoral degree: 1 first-author SCI/EI paper. If the first author is his/her supervisor, and the student is the second author, the paper is regarded as an equivalent first-author paper for the student. All the research results published during the doctoral degree period must have SWIFAR of YNU as the first affiliation.
Requirements for obtaining aMSc degree: During the period of study for the MSc degree, the postgraduate students should actively engage in scientific research, and the dissertation should include enough new results from his/her research under the guidance of thesupervisor. A thesis with only overviews of a subject without any new contributions from the student is regarded as unqualified. All the research results published during the MSc degree period must haveSWIFAR of YNU as the first affiliation.
SWIFAR encourages postgraduates to actively apply for various scholarships and assistantships, such as national scholarship, provincial government scholarship and academic scholarship, etc.On the basis of complying with theapplication procedures of YNU, all applications for scholarships and assistantships from a student must be signedby his/her supervisor and approved by the SWIFAR Postgraduate Committee.
In addition, in order to further stimulate our students to study hard, to devote themselves to scientific research, SWIFAR has set up Research-Assistant (RA) and Teaching-Assistant (TA) remuneration and work-study remuneration, as follows:
RA and TA remuneration for the1st-year MSc graduate students is shared equally among the faculty who have eligibility, quota and willingness for student recruitmentin that year.The specific average amount shall be determined according to the number of students, calculated and tabulated by the Postgraduate Committee. The faculty shall be informed afterwards. For the second- and third-year MScstudents and all the doctoral students, their RA remuneration shall be paid by thesupervisors from their own research grants.
For the sake of students' study and safety, postgraduate students are not allowed to take part-time jobs outside SWIFAR, including other institutes of YNU.In order to relieve the economic pressure of some students, SWIFAR has set up two work-study positions for graduate students to apply for. The specific rules are as follows:
(1) Once a semester, the application shall be reviewed by the administration staff and submitted to the SWIFAR Director for approval.
(2) The working hours of part-time students shall not exceed 12 hours per week, and SWIFAR shall give part-time students certain remuneration according to the actual workload of the month.
Those who are professors should have the spirit of forge ahead with determination to fulfill the responsibility of propagating the doctrine, imparting professional knowledge, and resolving doubts. The faculty members of SWIFAR are expected to have a high standard of integrity and professional expertise, and to be well motivatedto continuously improve their research capabilities and the understandings about the developments of the research field.Supervisors should take full responsibilities for their students’ training, from selecting suitable research projects to guiding the students all along. The quality of the students’training accounts in the assessment of supervisors.
All supervisors shall strictly comply with the "Detailed Codes for the Implementation of the Assessment and Appraisal of the Responsibilities of Postgraduate Supervisors of YNU (for Trial Implementation)" (Annex 6), and perform their duties in accordance with the requirements of the "Measures for the Selection and Appraisal of Supervisors of MSc Degree Students of YNU (for Trial Implementation)" (Annex 7) and the "Measures for the Implementation of the Selection and Confirmation of the Qualifications of Supervisors of Doctoral Students of YNU (for Trial Implementation)" (Annex 8). In addition to the above Codes and Measures, the supervisors of SWIFAR are also required to comply withthe relevant terms of this Code of Practice.
Other outstanding matters, including Study Leave or Interruption for personal reasons and withdrawal of postgraduate schooling, shall be implemented in accordance with the relevant terms of the "Postgraduate Student Handbook of YNU".
This Code of Practice shall be implemented from the date of promulgation. The Postgraduate Committeeof SWIFAR is responsible for any interpretations.