Graduate School Transition

Strong graduate programming best positions WashU to carry out its mission-critical goals. Graduate programs shape future leaders, and graduate students play a critical role in research practices. To best drive forward our mission, WashU must ensure that our current and future graduate programming is highly effective, distinct, and equitable. 

To achieve these aims and to further the work of both students and faculty, the administrative structure for our graduate school is undergoing a reorganization. Broadly, the efforts that necessitate policy uniformity and scale are to be housed centrally in the Office of the Provost, while more specialized, school- and program-specific activities are to operate at the local level in schools and departments. 

This new structure will position WashU to:

  • better pursue university-wide initiatives and empower schools to align graduate programming with school-level strategic priorities
  • offer stronger support in the lifecycle of graduate students through improvement in activities related to admissions, student services, and professional development
  • enhance initiatives in diversity, equity, and inclusion to promote a culture inclusive excellence
  • further develop a culture of interdisciplinary learning and academic innovation


Such a reorganization requires time and careful planning. The process was initiated in Fall of 2021, and the restructuring is targeted to be completed in early 2022.  This transition will ultimately bolster graduate education at Washington University and provide additional avenues through which graduate students may obtain guidance related to their educational and professional goals. Graduate programs across Washington University will work in coordination with the Provost’s Office and, in particular, the Vice Provost for Graduate Education.

Further updates will continue to be shared throughout the duration of the restructuring process. Additional information about these updates to graduate programming may be found below. 

For current students –The Graduate School will continue to oversee its students through the fall 2021 semester. Beginning in spring 2022, current graduate students will be supported by the school under which their graduate program resides. For example, as the Department of Philosophy is in the School of Arts and Sciences, a student enrolled in a doctoral program in Philosophy will by supported by the School of Arts and Sciences.  The transition period has been designed to provide continuity of support for students, and students are unlikely to notice any day-to-day changes in the administration of their programming during this transition. Long-term, the restructuring is intended to result in enhanced support for the graduate student experience. Please contact your graduate program’s director of graduate studies with any questions. 

For prospective students – Prospective graduate students who intend to matriculate in the fall 2022 semester will apply through The Graduate School. Once enrolled, new graduate students will be supported by the school under which their graduate program resides. For questions, please contact the director(s) of graduate studies for any program(s) to which you are considering applying. 

For directors of graduate studies and other faculty – It is important to note that these changes will not affect the status of current graduate students or the application process for prospective students. Current and prospective students may come to you with questions about these upcoming changes; if you need additional information, please contact your school’s head of graduate studies or Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Interim Vice Provost for Graduate Education.

For staff – A number of staff who were formerly part of The Graduate School have recently transitioned to the Provost’s Office or to the Dean of Arts & Sciences Office. These changes went into effect on August 1, 2021. For questions about staffing and support, please contact Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Interim Vice Provost for Graduate Education or Sophia Hayes, Interim Vice Dean of Graduate Education.