The mission of the School of Graduate Studies is the pursuit of excellence in graduate education and the welfare of our students. The school accomplishes this mission in three ways:
- We promote high quality in graduate education and work to improve the effectiveness of graduate education. We do so by the maintenance of rules governing requirements for the degree, through oversight of admissions standards, and by reviewing and approving curricular initiatives and changes. To assess the effectiveness of graduate education, our school collects data on current graduate student support, external awards of current students, student success within programs, and placement and career advancement of its graduates. We provide topical and timely support to assist students to progress and succeed, through flexibility in the application of standard rules and various forms of financial assistance and through competitive support of outstanding students and support for training grant and other funding initiatives. Through GradFund, we help students succeed in the pursuit of external fellowships and grants. We also keep abreast of trends, best practices, and comparative data on graduate education, and we promote and oversees participation in local and international consortia and exchanges. By disseminating best practices and results of assessments of activities in graduate education, the School of Graduate Studies works with individual degree programs to improve the effectiveness of graduate education to enhance mentorship, reduce degree completion time, and increase completion rates. We offer ongoing advice and assistance to graduate directors, faculty members, and staff on the full range of issues they confront in conducting the everyday work of graduate education.
- We seek to enhance the quality of student life for graduate students by serving as an advocate for their needs in such matters as the development of policy and planning pertaining to housing, dining, facilities, recreation, health and psychological services, and other aspects of student life and procedures governing issues of graduate student conduct and status. The School of Graduate Studies also enhances student welfare through the services it provides directly, including ombudsperson and conflict resolution services, the Teaching Assistant Project, and general guidance and assistance with regard to the registration, degree attainment, financial support, insurance, and other matters pertaining to persistence to degree.
- We actively support efforts to diversify the student community in graduate education. We do so through our RISE summer program for undergraduate students from diverse academic backgrounds, through recruitment efforts, through the financial support of students that supplements the funding available from other sources, through advocacy for international scholars, and through measures that underpin a supportive environment for students from all walks of life.
Graduate instruction at the university began in 1876 with courses at Rutgers College, which conferred its first doctor of philosophy degree in 1884. The college issued detailed regulations governing graduate degrees in 1912 and set up a separate graduate faculty in 1932. The Graduate School-New Brunswick (GSNB) was established in 1952. The expansion of graduate programs on the Newark and Camden campuses led to the formation of the Graduate School–Newark in 1974 and the Graduate School–Camden in 1981. In 2017 the Graduate School-New Brunswick merged with the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, formerly of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, to create the School of Graduate Studies. Dr. Jerome Kukor was Dean of the graduate school for 13 years until he retired in 2021 when Dr. Henrik Pedersen assume the role of Interim Dean.