Category: Uncategorized

Working Hard for You

A Message from the Dean

The University of Alabama has always been known for resilience and determination, and we’re stepping up to face this challenge.

Dear current and future UA graduate students:

I wanted to reach out and let you know that your faculty and staff are thinking about you during this time of national and global uncertainty.

Please know the Graduate School and all of The University of Alabama community is here to support your path forward with as few delays and obstacles as possible. UA has always been known for its resilience and determination, and we are rising to this challenge with creativity and technology.

We have made some recent changes to smooth your way. In terms of admissions, due to both the financial and logistical challenges, many of our programs are suspending the GRE or other test-score requirements for this summer, fall, and spring classes. Please visit our COVID-19 Test Score Waivers page to see whether it applies to you — or you may contact us or your program for details.

Additionally for non-native English speakers, many programs are allowing Duolingo scores to substitute TOEFL or IELTS scores. The Duolingo English Test ( can be taken at home. Please contact your admissions officer to see if this option will work for you. And for all international applicants, we’re keeping up with visa guidance regarding the mailing of I-20 forms to assist you as needed.

For our current students, we have shared information about how you can take your comprehensive exams or complete your thesis or dissertation defenses via distance technology. For many programs, pass/fail grading options will be available as you adjust to the changes all around us. Although we are not in our physical offices, be assured we are working very hard from home to address your particular needs in the most timely way.

Our goal is that everyone admitted to UA will be with us this summer or fall, that all applicants receive decisions as soon as possible and that our enrolled students do not miss a beat in progress toward their degree and goals. Please reach out to if there is any way we can support your goals.

Stay well. Stay in touch. Roll Tide.

Dean Susan Carvalho

Sharniece Holland, an alumna of UA's Graduate School, poses on Washington University campus, St. Louis, Missouri.

Involvement Builds Sharniece Holland’s Success

Sharniece Holland, an alumna of UA's Graduate School, poses on Washington University campus, St. Louis, Missouri.
Sharniece Holland, now a professor at Washington University, earned her master’s and doctoral degrees at The University of Alabama.

Sharniece Holland is a proven leader who demonstrates driven tenacity toward her goals – academically and professionally.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Sharniece first moved to Alabama to attend the HBCU Alabama State University, where she led multiple student organizations on her way to a Bachelor of Science in mathematics (2010). Immediately after graduation, she moved 100 miles north to take on a yearlong mathematics master’s program at The University of Alabama. 

Somehow graduate school wasn’t what she was expecting though. Knowing she wouldn’t be in Tuscaloosa long, Sharniece stuck to her studies. Though she really enjoyed UA, she readily admits her struggle came down to one condition. “I wasn’t prepared the first time for graduate school.”

In a hurry to begin her career, Sharniece took the most direct path to graduation, missing her opportunity to grow and explore. She completed her master’s in 2011, taking her first job as an English and math teacher in South Korea. With her added experience, Sharniece stepped into an adjunct position at a St. Louis tech school when she returned.

After two years at the tech school, Sharniece was restless. She had peaked where she was at and was looking for ways to make herself more marketable and increase her job options.

Confiding her frustrations to a friend, a physics student at UA, Sharniece dug to the root of what she loved most about math, realizing she enjoys utilizing math to solve much bigger projects. To her friend, the solution was obvious; Sharniece needed to switch her focus to materials science.

With more wisdom and experience, Sharniece returned to The University of Alabama as a materials science doctoral student with the resolve to make the most of her time on campus. “When I came back to UA, I was more ready,” Sharniece says. “I enjoyed my department, my advisor. I was more involved, and it really enriched my experience.”

“As a student, I wanted to be able to have an impact on my university,” Sharniece stated. And she did, first joining Tide Together, a peer mentoring program dedicated to helping underrepresented students build personal and professional connections. During her second tenure at UA, she also served as a graduate ambassador, a Graduate Council student representative and the president of the African American Graduate Student Association.

Sharniece’s efforts were not unnoticed. Her research secured funding from several national sources, including The Southern Regional Education Board Dissertation Scholar Fellowship, Alabama NASA EPSCoR Graduate Research Scholars Program, The National Science Foundation: Bridge to Doctorate Fellowship and The National Science Foundation: Alabama Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program Scholarship.

The funding, programs and faculty guidance propelled Sharniece toward her vision. “Drs. Lin Li and Viola Acoff were very helpful and invested in my future. This school will work just as hard for you as you work. It really supported me.”

Now Dr. Holland, Sharniece is back in St. Louis, teaching in the Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science Department at Washington University, a position recommended to her by Dr. Li.

“The doctorate helped me land the job,” Sharniece says. “Campus activities gave me knowledge, and the Graduate School empowered me through funding and experience.”

Ready to find out how you can be involved at The University of Alabama? Apply today:

Graduate School Returns to Rose

Rose Administration Building
The Graduate School returns to Rose Administration Building on Friday, August 23.

Following a six-month long renovation, the Graduate School offices returns to Rose Administration Building Suite 100 on Friday, August 23.

Our phone numbers and campus box number remain unchanged.

We look forward to the Fall semester and welcoming you in our redesigned space, back in Rose Administration Building.