Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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AEM Graduate Program Handbook

Important AEM Policies

Below are explanations and clarifications of AEM departmental policies. If you have any questions about any of the policies and how they pertain to you, please speak to someone in the department office in 107 Akerman Hall.

In addition, graduate students are responsible for knowing University policies and procedures and seeking assistance from the appropriate departmental faculty or staff when they need clarification. All University policy and procedures can be found at:

Bulletin Boards | Computer and Printer Policies | E-mail Accounts | Emergencies | Equipment | Expense Reimbursement Forms | Express Mail Service Guidelines | Faxing | Facilities Management Problems | Financial Aid and Scholarship Payments | Grievances | Hate Crimes | Keys/UCard Door/Building Access and Secruity | Mailboxes | No Smoking | Office Space | Office Supplies | Paychecks | Phones and Telephone Calls | Photocopying | Required Research Training | Room Scheduling | Safety | Sexual Harrassment | Student Conduct | Travel


The University of Minnesota pays employees on a biweekly pay period basis, with each pay period starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday. Employees are paid every other Wednesday, 10 days after the end of the pay period. You will receive your paychecks one of two ways: a paper paycheck or Direct Deposit. Individuals are strongly encouraged to do direct deposit.

Paper Paychecks: If you receive a paper paychecks, it will be mailed to your home address on paydays. If you have a question about where your paycheck will be mailed, visit the MyU website and click on “MyInfo” to view or change your home address.

Direct Deposit: Direct Deposit is a free service that electronically deposits your paychecks directly into your bank account on paydays. To sign up for Direct Deposit:

  1. Visit the Office of Human Resources Employee Center website.
  2. Click on KeyLinks and then on Employee Center.
  3. Click on the "Direct Deposit" link under the My Pay section.
  4. Follow the user-friendly instructions. Once registered you can make changes or add additional accounts to your direct deposit.

See Office of Human Resources Pay and Taxes Section You will find information on Payday and Pay Period Calendars; Understanding your Pay Statement; Direct Depossit; Pay and Taxes; Forms and Instructions; Internatinoal Student Scholars and Visitors. If you have questions about your appointment and payroll documents, please see Lisa Scouviller in the main 107 AkerH Office.

Keys/UCard Door/Building Access and Security:

All full-time graduate students will received outdoor access to Akerman Hall and access to 120 AkerH which is the graduate student louge. Graduate students who hold a research and/or teaching assistantship or graduate fellowship will be assigned desk space in an office. You will use your U-card for access for the outside doors of AkerH. You will need to complete an access request form which is available from Hanna Pahr in the main 107 AkerH office. If she is not available, ask one of the other office staff to assist you. Once the form is completed, it will be reviewed, approved and then access will be granted. Teaching and research labs require additional approvals and also safety training. Safety training needs to be completed prior to room access being granted. When students complete their degrees and/or leave the University they must turn in all their keys and their U card ecard access will be removed.

The AkerH (building hours) building doors are locked early evening after normal business hours and on weekends and holidays.Graduate students, staff, and faculty are granted U card access that allow them access to the building at any time. No one who does not have a key should be admitted into the building after hours. When entering or leaving the building after closing hours and on the weekends, doors should be shut and locked behind you. Offices and lab areas that students have access to should be locked at all times instead of being propped open. No one else should be allowed to use your key to gain entrace to the building, office, or lab areas. If your building, office, or lab keys are lost, it should be reported immediately to the department office. Lost keys pose a security risk. Having key and/or U card door access is a privilege, not a right, and any violations could result in loss of key/and or U card door access privileges.

We are occasionally subjected to thieves who roam the halls looking for easy pickings. Do not leave your office unattended and unlocked. You are encouraged to ask politely for the identity and purpose of any stranger you encounter in the building after regular office or evening class hours.

The Security Monitor Program offers a free walking/biking escort service to and from campus locations and nearby adjacent neighborhoods. To request an escort from a trained student security monitor, please call 624-WALK shortly before your desired departure time and walk safe. Visit the Security Monitory Website for additional information.

Facilities Management Problems

Any Facilities Management (FM) building issues (plumbing leaks, offices being too cold or hot, door locks are not functinoing properly) requests should be sent to or discussed with the staff in 107 AkerH. The front office staff will contact FM to address the issue.

After Business Hours and On Weekends: After business hours building problems or emergencies should be reported to Facilities Management, 612-624-2900.

Computer and Printer Policies:

All graduate students are entitled to open a departmental computer account. Application forms are available in the main office. The e-net staff will set up your account and can assist you with any problems that you may experience You can e-mail problems with computers to

An AEM computer account is for appropriate educational/research use only. Misuse of this privilege will result in the computer account being closed. This includes, but is not limited to, distributing stolen software and e-mailing harassing or derogatory remarks to or about others. Users are not allowed to run services for other locations such as gopher or WWW servers or IRC boots, etc. Game playing is not encouraged and is only acceptable when it does not interfere with other usage of the machine. Users are not allowed to share their account with others. Please keep your password secret. Usage of the AEM computer system is subject to monitoring by departmental staff.

All graduate students are given UCard access to 120 Akerman Hall. If you are having problems gaining entry to that room, please see staff in the main office, room 107. Use of this printer should be limited to appropriate educational/research use only. It should not be used to print personal items or to print multiple copies of any document. In addition, it should not be used for large jobs such as manuals and other such output. All usage will be monitored and in the case of abuse, the service may be removed. Paper for the printer can be obtained in 107 Akerman Hall; however, one of the e-net staff members will assist you with printer cartridge replacements. Please send them an send them an e-mail at:

Remember that your departmental account is a privilege, not a right. If abused, it will be subject to closure.

For up to date information, consult Computer Help. See appendix A for AEM Computing Guide. See also the Office of Information Technology which is the University's central IT unit for services that they may provide.

The department maintains a wide range of computer equipment within its buildings, and there are other computing facilities available on campus. Most research laboratories are equipped with computers for equipment operation, data acquisition, data analysis, and/or modeling.

University-owned desktop/laptop computers (compatible with the Active Directory architecture) are required to be set up and administered by departmental IT staff. This can take a significant amount of time so be aware that any newly purchased computer will not be immediately available for your use.

Personally-owned desktop/laptop computers are prohibited from using wired connections (i.e. the network "Etherjacks" which are available in most rooms and offices.) Any device may use the wireless Internet access which is available in all areas of the AkerH Building, including graduate offices. It is highly recommended that you configure your device, if possible, to connect via "UofM Secure". Instructions for doing so may be found here. Any computer using the University network, either via wired or wireless connection, must be configured securely per the guidelines described on the Safe Computing web site at

The University recently transitioned from University of Minnesota "Central" email accounts to Google Apps for Education accounts. For those new to the University, a Google Mail email account will be provided for you as part of the larger suite of U of M Google Apps for Education, which includes Google Mail, Google Docs/Drive, and Google Calendar.

With your University U of M Google Apps account comes approximately 5GB of storage space as part of Google Docs/Drive. Google Docs/Drive is a powerful service for working collaboratively and for sharing large files within the University and those with non- University Google accounts. You can find out more about Google Apps here.

To learn more about Google Apps for the University of Minnesota, visit

In addition, the University's Office of Information Technology (OIT) will provide another account, which is often referred to as an "x.500 ID" or "Internet ID" or "Internet Account." This account will be used for authenticating to departmental and University resources and may still include email access for some at the University. The "Internet ID" can be used to access a considerable amount of information, it is important to select a secure password and to follow best practices for safer computing. For information regarding selecting a secure password as well as other security-related information, visit the University's Safe Computing website.


The fax machine is to be used by faculty and staff for University business only. Graduate students who need something faxed for University business can bring it up to the front office and request that a staff member fax it for them. If the staff member determines that it is not University business, students will be referred to a nearby fax center. Personal fax service from the department is not allowable, unless it is an extenuating circumstance that has been approved by the Department Head, Associate Head, or Administrative Director. There is a Kinko's located at 612 Washington Avenue were you can send personal faxes or make personal copies.


The departmental copy machine is for University business ONLY. Personal copying can be done on campus or at one of the commercial copy centers located near campus. Teaching Assistants should only be copying material relevant to the course they are assigned to such as tests, handouts, homework, etc.

If a faculty member asks you, as their Research Assistant, to use the copy machine for a particular project, you should ask that they provide the appropriate code since individual faculty members are responsible for the copier code numbers on their research grants.

Thesis copying should be considered personal copying and should not be done on the Department copier. Use of the copier by students for their own personal coursework is not allowed.

Phones and Telephone Calls

The department has installed phones in or near all offices used for graduate student study space. These phones are for local use only. Long distance calls can be made only on faculty or main office phones, and you must have approval from your faculty adviser for all long distance calls. Personal long distance calls are not to be made on any University phone unless using a personal long distance calling card.

Express Mail Service Guidelines (FedEx/UPS):

Graduate students who have university related express mail to be sent out should bring it in to the front office, no later than 3:30 p.m. to be sure that the office staff has time to prepare the appropriate documents.

Make sure complete mailing information is given, including a street address, a phone number to go on the express package, and a EFS number to charge it to.

Personal express mail service from the Department is not allowable, unless it is an extenuating circumstance that has been approved by the Department Head, Associate Head, or Administrative Director.

Office Supplies:

Office supplies should be used for departmental purposes only. They are not for personal use. Please contact the department office for supplies you may need.


University equipment should not be taken off campus unless there is a properly authorized equipment checkout form (University form 1677: Capital Equipment Assets Off Campus Use) which will be used for tracking both capital and non-capital equipment checkouts. The form should be completed and turned into the accounting staff in 107 AkerH. It will be signed by the Department Head, Associate Head, or Administrative Director for both capital and non-capital equipment. In addition, Inventory Services will have to also sign for all capital equipment. You can obtain this form here. See forms at bottom of page.

Expense Reimbursement Forms:

Forms are available in the front office or online here, for requesting reimbursement for items purchased with personal funds that will be used for departmental use or a grant. Purchases using personal funds are subject to state tax, so use of a purchase order is recommended whenever possible.

These forms will serve to speed up the reimbursement process and will ensure that we have complete information for each payment. If you do purchase something that is needed and want to be reimbursed, you will need to provide a "detailed" receipt. A copy of a general credit card receipt with just the total listed is not allowable or acceptable under University policy. You will also need to submit a justification as to how the purchase was directly related to the account it is being charged to.


If travelling on University sponsored trips, please review here. On this page, scroll down to Travel on Sponsored Funds for more information.

Departmental Travel Reimbursement Form: The departmental travel reimbursement form needs to be completed and fully processed within 60 days of the trip return date (this includes allowing time for document preparation, auditing, and approvals) . Original detailed receipts (not a credit card statement showing hotel or airfare charges) for all expenses of $25 or more (except meals) must be submitted with the University Employee Expense Worksheet.  Occasionally when meals are charged to sponsored funds, the sponsor may have more restrictive policies and the sponsor’s policies must be followed. The time limit for submitting and processing travel expenses is within the 60 days of the conclusion of travel. This also applies to general reimbursements. For sponsored projects, travel expenses must be submitted and processed within 60 days of the conclusion of travel or before the end of the grant period. Late reimbursements after 60 days will require review and approval of the CSE Dean's Office and the University Controller's Office. If the late reimbursement is approved, it must be reported by the University to the IRS as taxable income. Information on the extra justification and additional approval requirements are addressed here: Requests for reimbursement must be made within 60 days of your return from a trip or sooner if a sponsored project will be expiring or ending before the 60 day period. Any late reimbursements should include an explanation of lateness. Late reimbursements after 60 days will require review and approval of the CSE Dean's Office and the University Controller's OfficeSee also AEM Travel Clarifications and Highlights.

Reimbursable vs Nonreimbursable Travel Expenses: The following website contains a chart as to what types of expenses are reimbursable or nonreimbursable when traveling on University business:

Also, graduate students should check with their faculty sponsor (or project principal investigator) to see what costs will be covered, especially if there is limited funding or multiple individuals attending a particular conference, workshop, or meeting.

Required Research Training:

Depending on the sponsored research or scholarship project and project role, faculty, staff, and students are required to complete ethics and compliance training. Read the University policy here. The Research Compliance Office supports the research community by managing compliance programs across the University.

The NSF, NIFA, and the USDA require appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to everyone who participates in or conducts research supported by funding from these agencies, including undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff. This policy can be read here.

Information regarding the mandatory courses and training can be found here. This resource indicates what training you must receive depending on your role in the research project.

Note: If a student is working on a sponsored project and does not complete this training within 90 days from the date of a PI’s initial appointment, he or she will receive an e-mail indicating noncompliance and will be removed from the payroll of the project(s).

Bulletin Boards:

The AEM Graduate Student Lounge located in 120 AkerH has a bulletin board that is used for notices relating to graduate students. The bulletin board outside the department office has information on general information, job postings and internship postings.

Posting Policy: Announcements and other information can also be distributed in student mailboxes located in the main office. These notices, announcements, etc. should not be posted on windows, walls, pillars, doors, glass surfaces, elevators, or easels.

Signs and information not properly posted will be removed.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Payments:

Financial aid payments will be credited electronically to your individual student account. If your financial aid award is less than your account balance, you may pay the difference outright or choose to make installment payments. If your award is more than your account balance, you may have a check mailed to you, pick up a check, or leave the credit balance in your account to pay for future charges.

It is important to remember that the planned registration you indicated on your financial aid notification must match your actual enrollment in order for your aid payment to be credited to your student account. The Office of Student Financial Aid will adjust your aid amount accordingly and credit your student account in the next weekly disbursement.

You will be notified by mail of any aid payments not credited to your student account. These payments, along with any credit balance checks you requested to pick up, will be disbursed by Check Disbursement, 200 Fraser Hall. Specific disbursement dates and times will be mailed to you.

FAQ: What is the difference between a 25% and 50% appointment? With a 50% appointment you get paid for 20 hours and a full tuition benefit. With a 25% appointment you get paid for 10 hours and a half tuition benefit. For Graduate Health insurance please see the following page:

Contact the accounting office staff for any questions you may have.

E-mail Accounts

E-mail communication is critical in our department. You are responsible for all e-mail sent to these addresses, and should check your e-mail at least once or twice a day. Official communication will be sent to your central UMN e-mail address (also referred to as your "Internet ID" or "X.500 address".) Your central e-mail address ends in "" The full policy can be found at:


In case of emergency, dial 911 for police and ambulance assistance. After the police have been notified, please inform the Administrative Director or DGSA in the department office.

Office Space:

Office space is at a premium. The AEM Department, unlike many other departments on campus, strives to provide "sitting" space for full-time graduate students who hold research or teaching assistantships or graduate fellowships. As such, all students must realize that the rooms they have been assigned to may reach capacity levels. Students who may not have an office assignment can use the 120 AkerH Graduate Lounge.

Students must remember to respect the space of others and not infringe upon that space by bringing in unnecessary items to store in the room. One microwave and small refrigerator are allowed if there is room in the office suiteand it is agreeable with the other students in the room.. Students in the office suite will be responsible for maintenance and cleaning of the refrigerator and microwave. Students are encouraged to use the microwave and refrigerator in the Graduate Student Lounge in 120 Akerman Hall instead of having these items in the individual office suite. Please note that if you do bring in a personal microwave or regrigerator and it quits working, you will need to remove it and take it to the appropirate dispoal faciltiy. The University Faciltiies Management staff does not dispose of these. They only clean and do building repairs and maintenance. At your desk location, please display the "Departmental Space Assigmnent Card" so we know that the desk has been assigned to you. It is also useful when a new person is assigned to an office suite, so they know if the space is avaialble for use.

Furniture and other personal items should not be stored in the student offices or labs.

Moving Office SpaceLocations: If you move from one office location to another in the department, please make sure you clean your desk before you move to the next location.

Room Scheduling for Exams or Other Needs:

Room schedules are located on the web at

Requests for scheduling a room for a student-related meeting, activity, or exam, can be made by email to The AEM Library can be scheduled for final Ph.D. orals or when a larger room is needed. If the AEM departmental rooms are not available, you could check with Mechanical Engineering.


Student mailboxes located in 107 Akerman Hall have been provided as a courtesy to you and student organizations. Student mailboxes are identified by the first letter of the student's last name so there will undoubtedly be several students assigned to one box. Please be sure that you check your mailbox frequently and remove your mail. Expense and travel reimbursement documents will be put in your mailbox for your signature once the accounting staff has prepared them. You are responsible for getting these forms signed and returned to the accounting office staff in a timely manner. Late documents can be denied by the department approvers if they are signed and processed in a timely manner.

Students should not have personal mail such as home utility bills, bank statements, credit card statements or the like, sent to this address. Rather, personal mail should be sent to a home address including packages. Continued disregard of this policy will result in mail being marked "return to sender."


All graduate students, regardless of whether working in a lab or shop area, are required to go through safety training. Training is usually given during the first meeting of graduate students early in the Fall semester.

If you were not present at the "First" meeting or have not had this training as yet, please contact the AEM department office to arrange for a time to take the training. Signed forms indicating that you have completed the training are required to be filed with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety here on campus and will also be entered into AEM databases.

*Even if you do not work in an experimental lab, you need to be aware of the safety precautions necessary in case you are ever assigned to one. Additional on-line safety courses are listed on the Department of Environmental Health and Safety website.*

AEM also has a Safety Page with training, documentation, and resource information. The AEM safety officer is Professor Yohannes Ketema.


You should first try to resolve student related grievances with the Director of Graduate Studies. If no resolution is reached at this level, you should notify the Associate Department Head and also the Departmental Grievance Officer. The University of Minnesota Board of Regents adopted a Student Grievance Policy on January 13, 1995. See the Graduate School Catalog for relevant information.

Hate Crimes:

The University of Minnesota is committed to providing equal educational access and opportunity to all persons without regard to race, religion, color, sex, national origin, handicap, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation.

Acts of harassment based on an individual's race, religion, color, sex, national origin, handicap, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation will not be tolerated at the University of Minnesota.

Students who engage in such harassment may be charged under the Student Conduct Code, the Grievance Policy, or State or Federal Law.

Please report any such harassment to the University Police (612-624-2677), the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (612-624-9547), Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity (612-624-6073), or to the AEM Department Head (612-625-8000).

Sexual Harassment:

If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable about someone's behavior related to a sexual issue, you may be experiencing sexual harassment. If you are uncertain about whether what is happening to you constitutes sexual harassment, talk to someone you trust about the situation.

You have the right to pursue your education and conduct your job in an environment free from sexual harassment. The University's policies are intended to protect you against reprisals. The DGS should be contacted first if you need to talk with someone and then, if necessary, you can discuss the problem with the Department Head. If you have any questions about sexual harassment, please call the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at 612-624-9547. The Office is located in 419 Morrill Hall.

Additional information about the University's Sexual Harassment policy can be found here. See also Graduate School Catalog for relevant information.

Student Conduct:

You are responsible for abiding by the Student Conduct Code, published in the Minnesota Daily on the first day of Fall Semester classes. The document is also available at the Office of Student Judicial Affairs, 16 Morrill Hall. See the Graduate School Catalog for relevant information.

No Smoking:

Minnesota has a Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits smoking inside public buildings except in designated smoking areas. All restaurants are required to have no-smoking sections; bars are not included under the provisions of this act.

As of July 1, 2014, Smoking is prohibited everywhere on the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus except inside your car with the windows up.

For detailed infomation about any University policies, see the policy Web site.

Last Modified: 2018-08-23 at 11:53:58 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation