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Regulations and Policies

Regulations & Policies

Academic Affairs - Graduate School


To establish minimum enrollment requirements for graduate students, enrollment status classifications, and a formal academic leave of absence procedures for students who cannot maintain continuous enrollment.


  1. Degree-seeking graduate students are required to maintain continuous enrollment (fall and spring semesters) of at least one credit hour until degree completion, and they must be enrolled during the term (including summer) in which they graduate from the university. The continuous enrollment requirement begins with the initial graduate matriculation term. The Graduate School monitors continuous enrollment and reserves the right to take action if a student fails to maintain continuous enrollment. Individual programs/departments may impose additional enrollment requirements and consequences for students who fail to maintain continuous enrollment.

    Full- and Part-Time Enrollment

    Degree-seeking graduate students must enroll in at least 9 credit hours in the fall and spring semesters in order to be considered full-time. Half-time is defined as at least 5 hours in the spring and fall. During the summer, full-time is defined as 6 credit hours and half-time is defined as 3 credit hours.

    In programs with thesis/dissertation tracks or required final projects, graduate students who have completed all required coursework and are only enrolled in thesis/dissertation/final project credits may be classified as full-time with an enrollment of at least three credit hours. Eligible students are considered full-time for academic purposes and financial aid eligibility. However, the cost of attendance may be adjusted to reflect the exception status.

    Eligible students will remain in the full-time status only in the terms in which they enroll in the applicable coursework.

    Thesis/Dissertation Final Term Exception

    Students who meet all thesis/dissertation deadlines with the exception of final submission are eligible for Clear Prior status. Clear Prior status waives the requirement to enroll in the final graduation term. In order to be eligible, all required forms, with the exception of the final thesis/dissertation and Certificate of Approval, must be submitted by the advertised deadlines. Students interested in obtaining Clear Prior status are encouraged to contact the Graduate School no later than the last day of the intended graduation term.

    Leave of Absence

    Active students who will not be enrolled and not using university resources in an upcoming fall and/or spring semester may apply for an academic Leave of Absence. A Leave of Absence (LOA) is a temporary interruption in a student’s program of study. A LOA cannot exceed 180 days in any 12-month period and may have a serious impact on a student’s financial aid. To that end, students cannot initiate a leave of absence in a summer term, which is the end of the university’s financial aid year. Any student considering a LOA that received financial aid, should consult with the Office of Student Financial Aid to determine how their financial aid will be affected. Students choosing this option must request a Leave of Absence, in advance, through the Graduate School. There must be a reasonable expectation that a student will return to the university. Any student who breaks continuous enrollment as defined by the university, must reapply for admission. No more than two Leave of Absence requests will be approved for the particular program in which a student is enrolled. Students who have an approved leave of absence are granted the following:

    1. Approved students will remain under their catalog year and all policies active in the term in which the leave was granted.
    2. Approved students have access to campus resources including parking passes (parking fees apply), network drives, and student email.

    Students who have an approved leave of absence are excluded from the following:

    1. Access to resources that require enrollment, including library services, student wellness centers, and faculty resources

    Students are encouraged to submit a leave of absence request at least one term prior to the intended term. A student is required to apply for a Leave of Absence by the last day of the term immediately preceding the term in which leave is requested. Students experiencing unforeseen circumstances can request a Leave of Absence in the current term and the appropriate incomplete grade will be assigned. Approved students will have a Leave code entered on their record. Leave of absence dates are based on the start and end dates of the approved terms. Once complete a Leave of Absence cannot be revoked and previous coursework will not be assigned a new grade. There are no additional fees associated with LOA.

    Students experiencing a medical emergency or other crisis should contact the Ombudsman Office.

    Special Considerations for International Students

    International students on F-1 visa/status must remain continuously enrolled until degree completion, and typically are required to maintain full-time enrollment status. Those international students who wish to enroll less than full-time or to apply for a leave of absence are strongly advised to consult with the International Center.

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