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Section 3.1 of the Graduate School Handbook
The number of credit hours attempted each semester or each summer term is mutually determined by the student and the advisor and reflects faculty and student effort and the extent to which university resources are utilized. Course loads for full-time students can vary. A student may not enroll for more than 18 credit hours per semester or 12 credit hours in summer, including audited courses, without advisor and Graduate School approval.
Post-candidacy doctoral students. Full-time status for all post-candidacy doctoral students is three credit hours per semester or summer term.
Continuous Enrollment. All students who successfully complete the doctoral candidacy examination are required to be enrolled in every semester (summer term is excluded) until graduation. These students must be enrolled for at least three credits per semester. This policy is effective for all students who were admitted to the Graduate School Autumn Quarter 2008 and after (
International Students. International students are required to register for a minimum of eight credit hours per semester except in summer term, when the minimum is four, unless they hold appointments as fellows or trainees. International students who are post-candidacy must register for at least three credit hours. These registration requirements can include research hours.
Graduate Associates. Graduate associates holding 50 percent or greater appointments must register for at least eight credit hours per semester, except in summer term, when the minimum is four. GAs holding a 25 percent appointment must register for at least four credit hours per semester or two credits in summer term. Post-candidacy doctoral students must register for at least three credit hours each semester or summer term an appointment is held. These registration requirements can include research hours.
Fellows and Trainees. Students holding the titles Graduate Fellow or Graduate Trainee, regardless of the source of the funds, must register for a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester the appointment is held except in summer term when the minimum is six. Graduate Fellows or Graduate Trainees who are post-candidacy doctoral students must register for at least three credit hours per semester or summer term an appointment is held. These registration requirements can include research hours.
Monitoring of Registration. Under certain circumstances non-graduate credit course work may count toward the minimum requirements for GA and fellowship eligibility, but only graduate credit course work counts toward graduate degree requirements. Monitoring of the appropriateness of non-graduate credit course work will be the responsibility of the Graduate Studies Committee chair.
Petitions to register for fewer than the published number of credit hours will be considered by the Dean of the Graduate School on the recommendation of the Graduate Studies Committee chair. Examples of grounds for exemption include but are not limited to:
- responsibility as a major caregiver for children, elderly parent or sick/disabled immediate family member
- birth or adoption of a child
- documented learning or physical disability
- documented extraordinarily heavy GA responsibilities
Veterans’ Benefits Loans. Students pursuing a minimum of six graduate credit hours are considered full-time students for veterans' benefits purposes. Pursuit of four to five graduate credit hours is certified to the VA as 75 percent time. Those enrolled for three graduate credit hours will be certified as 50 percent time students. Enrollment for fewer than three graduate credit hours is certified as less than 50 percent time. Post-candidacy doctoral students enrolled for at least three credit hours will be considered as full-time students.
Other. Information on course loads for students receiving other loans or work-study support is available from the university’s Student Financial Aid Office.