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Section 3.1 of the Graduate School Handbook
Masters or Predoctoral Candidates. For full-time status, a student must register for the minimum number of regular credit hours as specified for the categories below. Audited credit hours do not count towards the minimum credit hours required for full-time status. However, audited credit hours can be included within the maximum number of credit hours allowed per autumn or spring semester or summer term.
Full-time status for all graduate students who are not yet doctoral candidates (pre-candidacy) is typically eight to 18 credit hours per autumn or spring semester and eight to 15 credit hours per summer term. This credit-hour requirement is applicable for their visa and/or financial aid eligibility.
Pre-Candidacy Academic Leave. Pre-candidacy students who want to withdraw from their doctoral program or who plan to take a leave of absence from enrollment for one semester or more (up to one year) are required to complete a Withdrawal from Program or Pre-Candidacy Leave of Absence form to declare withdrawal or leave of absence, respectively. These forms, which may be completed and submitted in GRADFORMS, require advisor and program approval. Additionally, the Pre-Candidacy Leave of Absence form must specify inclusive dates of leave. Students who do not complete the Withdrawal from Program or Pre-Candidacy Leave of Absence form, or do not enroll after the inclusive dates of leave, will require program and advisor approval to be reinstated in their program. In certain cases, the program may require the student to submit additional documentation for evaluation.
Doctoral Candidates. Full-time status for all doctoral candidate (i.e., students who have achieved doctoral candidacy status) (Section 7) is three credit hours per autumn or spring semester or summer term.
Continuous Enrollment. All students who successfully complete the doctoral candidacy examination are required to be enrolled in every autumn and spring semester (summer term is excluded) until graduation. These students must be enrolled for at least three credits per autumn and spring semester. These registration requirements can include research hours. This policy is effective for all students. Post-candidacy doctoral students are not eligible for academic leaves. They may apply for a leave of absence due to medical or military reasons, or during periods in which the University has declared a University State of Emergency
International Students. International students are required to register for a minimum of eight credit hours in autumn and spring semesters. Enrollment in the summer term is optional unless the international student is in the first or last term in their program, is participating in a Curricular Practical Training, or is on an appointment as a graduate associate.
Graduate Associates. All graduate associates (
Fellows and Trainees. Students holding the titles Graduate Fellow or Graduate Trainee (
Exceptions Regarding Course Loads
Non-Graduate Credits. Under certain circumstances non-graduate credit course work may count toward the minimum requirements for GA and fellowship eligibility. Monitoring of the appropriateness of non-graduate credit course work will be the responsibility of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Graduate Program.
Course Load Inconsistent with Full-time Status: In certain situations, graduate students may desire to enroll in more than the number of credit hours required for their full-time status, based on their status in the program (e.g., for pursuing a minor, interdisciplinary specialization, certificate or dual degree). Such students should seek prior approval from their advisor and Graduate Studies Committee and discuss how enrolling for excess credit hours may affect their progress, program of study and any financial implications. This can be especially relevant for Graduate Trainees, Graduate Fellows, or GRAs with a Matching Tuition and Fees Award who receive the graduate fee authorization (GFA) benefit (
Other. Information on course loads for students receiving other loans or work-study support is available from the university’s Office of Student Financial Aid.