Academic Policies and Procedures
To earn the Gemstone Citation, the student must maintain satisfactory academic progress, as delineated in the Undergraduate Catalog. Student records are audited by the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations to assure that students have successfully completed the required credits to earn the Gemstone Citation. Students and the Faculty Mentor are notified if credits are missing or any unsatisfactory grade is noted in the student record. It is the student's responsibility to immediately follow up with the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations regarding the matter.
Satisfactory progress for the Gemstone Citation includes the following:
- Completing all Gemstone prerequisite and seminar credits with a grade
of at least a "C."
GEMS 100, GEMS 102, GEMS 104 and GEMS 202 must be taken DURING THE SEMESTER the courses are REQUIRED for a student's cohort and MUST be passed with a grade of at least a "C" in order to continue in the Gemstone Program.
- Significantly contributing to writing the team thesis and presenting and defending it at the Team Thesis Conference.
- Submitting the FINAL version of the team thesis by the posted deadline.
GEMS 102 (1cr)
|GEMS 100 (1cr)|
|GEMS 202 (2cr)||GEMS102 (1cr) & GEMS 104 (3cr)|
|GEMS 296 (1cr)||GEMS102 (1cr) & GEMS 104 (3cr)|
|*GEMS 297 (2cr)||GEMS 202 (2cr) and GEMS 296 (1cr)|
|*GEMS 396 (2cr)||*GEMS297 (2cr)|
|*GEMS397 (2cr)||*GEMS396 (2cr)|
|GEMS 496 (2cr)||*GEMS 397 (2cr)|
|GEMS 497 (2cr)||GEMS 496 (2cr)|
*Students who co-op or study abroad will need to complete a Learning Contract for the missed Gemstone research seminar. Please reference the section on Study Abroad and Co-op policies.
Gemstone Citation Ceremony and Transcript Notation
Gemstone Citations are awarded to teams during the formal academic Citation Ceremony each spring semester just prior to the General University Graduation Ceremony.
During the ceremony, each team is recognized and each individual on the team receives a certificate and a Gemstone medal. The Gemstone Program submits the recommendation of the notation to the Office of Records and Registration AFTER the following have occurred:
- the Gemstone Program office has received the final copy of the Team Thesis by the posted deadline
- all grades for Gemstone courses have been submitted.
- the citation audit is completed
The notation on the student transcript reads Honors College Citation:Gemstone Program. The Gemstone Citation notation will appear on students' transcripts following the Citation Ceremony.
Earning the Gemstone Citation does not mean that you have also earned the Honors Citation and vice versa. Please carefully read the Honors Citation requirements below.
Gemstone students are encouraged, although not required, to enroll in University Honors (HONR) seminars offered by the Honors College and in H-Version courses offered by academic departments across campus. Many of these courses, designed just for Honors College students, satisfy CORE, General Education, or major requirements.
Students who matriculated in Gemstone before the fall 2011 are eligible to earn both a Gemstone and a University Honors Citation. To earn the University Honors Citation, the student must successfully complete a minimum of 16 Honors/Gemstone credits and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2. Students may complete the University Honors Citation in any semester. Students who complete the requirements for both the Gemstone and University Honors Citations will receive notations of both an "Honors College Citation: Gemstone Program" and "Honors College Citation: University Honors Program" notations on their transcripts.
Students who matriculated in the fall 2011 semester and thereafter will be awarded a single "Honors College Citation: Gemstone Program" upon completion of the Gemstone Program requirements. They are still encouraged to enroll in University Honors Seminars and H-Version Courses throughout their undergraduate careers.
The Gemstone staff are available to answer questions regarding the Gemstone Program or more general academic matters. Students should follow up with departmental and faculty advisors for more specific academic concerns. Gemstone works with the academic departments to make advisors aware of curriculum updates in order to ensure that students are meeting their academic goals. The Gemstone Academic Plan (PDF) can assist students and advisors with incorporating the Gemstone requirements along with degree requirements. Please contact the us at 301-458-0784 or firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment. We are also available Mondays from 2-4 PM for open office hours.
As long as a student is in good standing with the University of Maryland, the student can register for Gemstone courses. Gemstone students need to be aware that they should register for the appropriate Gemstone courses EACH semester. Each team is given a specific section number. This section number never changes for the team. Be careful-- register for your designated team section for 200-level and above Gemstone courses.
Students should make sure they add the Gemstone credits by the DROP/ADD deadline of the respective semester. Students who wait beyond this deadline have to get their department's approval for the schedule change. This takes time and involves getting multiple signatures. Furthermore, timely registration assures that you will receive proper credit for your Gemstone courses.
Undergraduate students are generally limited to registering for 16 credits prior to the first day of classes. Afterward, students can register for a maximum of 19 credits, though this varies by college.
STUDENTS WILL HAVE TO GET SPECIAL PERMISSION from their college if the following apply:
- They would like to register for more than 16 credits PRIOR to the first day of classes.
- They plan to take more than 19 credits.
- They want to make adjustments to their schedule (DROP or ADD) AFTER the official DROP/ADD deadline.
The Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations checks Gemstone seminar/course rosters at the start of each semester. If a student is not listed in a course, the Assistant Director for Operations will contact the student directly. It is the student's responsibility to follow up on this matter. If the student does not respond, the assumption is that the student does not intend to add the credits in question. The student will be dropped from the Gemstone Program if the credits are not added by the DROP/ADD deadline.
SOPHOMORE STUDENTS will not be able to add GEMSTONE credits until they KNOW WHICH TEAM they are on. As soon as the team is assigned, register for the GEMSTONE credits (each team is assigned a SPECIFIC section) for GEMS296 in the apppropriate section.
Although time conflicts are generally not permitted, there are exceptions. ALL exceptions require college approval (the student's ADVISING COLLEGE also has to sign off with approval when resolving conflicts). If conflicts arise with a Gemstone course/seminar, please let us know by contacting the Gemstone Assistant Director for Operations at 301-458-0784 or email@example.com.
Gemstone highly encourages students to enrich their academic experience while at the University by studying abroad, participating in a co-op, and taking advantage of other opportunities that may require a semester away from the University. Because of the nature of team research, there are appropriate and inappropriate times for students to take advantage of such opportunities. Please reference the Four Years At-A-Glance, as it highlights the semesters that Gemstone would anticipate students studying abroad, participating in a co-op, or being away from the University for other reasons. The junior year (either semester) is an ideal time for students to, spend a semester away from campus. Gemstone students are not permitted to study abroad, co-op or otherwise be away from the University until after they have completed GEMS 202 in the fall semester of the sophomore year and in the senior year when writing the team thesis and participation in the Team Thesis Conference is mandatory. Only one semester away is permitted, but it can be combined with a summer and/or a winter term to extend the stay.
- The Gemstone Program should be aware of a student's intention to study abroad, co-op or take advantage of other opportunities that may require a semester away from the University.
- The student must complete a Learning Contract with their team and mentor ONE SEMESTER PRIOR to studying abroad or co-oping, in which the student agrees to significantly contribute to the team's research and the nature of that contribution is specified.
- The fully completed Learning Contract must be signed by the student AND the mentor. The student is responsible for turning the contract in to the Gemstone Associate Director the SEMESTER PRIOR to studying abroad or co-oping.
The Learning Contract is kept on file with the Gemstone Program. Students should make sure that they register for the missed Gemstone research seminar listed under the Gemstone Associate Director name when they return to campus. There are special sections of GEMS 297, 396 and 397 that students should add to their schedule by the schedule adjustment deadline. If a student does not follow the outlined steps to assure that the Gemstone Program has a record of the student's agreement with the team and mentor, it is possible that the student will not be able to continue in the Gemstone Program.
A student can withdraw from the Gemstone Program if the student feels it is necessary. The Gemstone Program encourages students to make this decision PRIOR to beginning team research due to the disruption such departures can create for a team in progress. Students who do withdraw from Gemstone may become students in the University Honors Program if they so choose. If they do so, credits previously earned in the Gemstone Program may be applied toward the "Honors College Citation: University Honors Program" notation on their transcript.
When a student has determined that it is necessary to withdraw from the program the student should do the following:
- Communicate this desire to the team, mentor and the Gemstone Associate Director.
- Complete and submit an online Exit Survey.
- Withdraw from registered GEMS courses. If this occurs after the drop/add deadline, then the student will need to get permission from the Dean of the college that governs their major. Be aware that students receive a "W" at this point for withdrawing from a course.
If students elect to temporarily withdraw from the University, they should discuss this with their mentor and notify their team and the Gemstone Associate Director. A student who temporarily withdraws may still fulfill the citation requirements under the following conditions.
To continue in the Gemstone Program after a temporary withdrawal, a student who withdraws during the spring semester of the freshman year must repeat GEMS 102. A student who withdraws during the fall semester of the sophomore year or who withdraws for more than a semester after the freshman year must repeat GEMS 102 and be assigned to a new team via the normal process. Alternatively, the student can be assigned to a new team in which there is space if he or she forgoes repeating GEMS 102. Either way, the student must become a member of a new team and must fulfill the full three-year research requirements of the Gemstone Program. Students who withdraw during the spring semester of the senior year may not continue in the Gemstone Program.
If students choose to return to the University and continue in the Gemstone Program, he or she needs to complete a Continuation Agreement with their team and mentor to outline their responsibilities and to ensure they receive proper credits to fulfill citation requirements. This agreement must be filed with the Gemstone Associate Director upon return to the University. The agreement must be updated to reflect that the student will make up the missed credits and fulfill needed duties to assist the team with the research (in its present state).
Gemstone follows the University of Maryland's academic policies regarding satisfactory progress toward a degree. In addition, earning a grade lower than a "C" in any of the required Gemstone courses (see above) will result in a student being dropped from the Program. The Gemstone Program also reserves the right to remove a student found in violation of the University's Student Code of Conduct and/or the Code of Academic Integrity.
It is possible for Gemstone students to graduate early from the University of Maryland AND satisfy the Gemstone Citation requirements, but it is only permitted to graduate one semester early, i.e. after completing GEMS496 during the fall semester of the student's fourth year in the Gemstone Program. Gemstone is a four-year program, yet we recognize that talented students can fulfill degree requirements in less than four years. Gemstone works with students and their major college to assure that students get the most of their educational experience as a Gemstone student. If a student plans to graduate early, the student should communicate this to their team, mentor, and the Gemstone Associate Director. If the student continues at the University of Maryland as a graduate student, the student can add the necessary research seminars to their schedule to acquire the relevant credits. If the student is leaving the University, then the student will not be able to add the relevant credits, but this will be taken into account when auditing the student's records for the Gemstone Citation. In both cases, the student HAS to assist the team with writing the thesis AND be physically present at the Team Thesis Conference in the spring of their fourth year.
To receive credit (grade and/or the Gemstone Citation notation) for recognition of contributing significantly to the team’s research and thesis writing/editing process, the student must submit an Early Graduation Agreement to the Gemstone Associate Director three weeks prior to early graduation. The mentor will hold the student accountable for this agreement and will confirm with the Gemstone Associate Director that the student has fulfilled their responsibility outlined in the Agreement.