Seniors Taking Graduate Courses

A student (other than a senior taking graduate courses with appropriate authorization; see "Seniors Taking Graduate Courses", or a student in a combined undergraduate/graduate program) must be admitted to the Graduate School to receive graduate credit for courses taken or to take courses at the 500 level or above.

Course Load

A full-time graduate student is one enrolled in courses totaling 9 to 12 semester hours for fall and spring semesters and 6 semester hours for summer. The maximum course load for a graduate student is 13 semester hours. 

A part-time student is one who is enrolled in less than 9 hours and is defined as follows for fall and/or spring:
Full time = 9 or more semester hours
¾ time = 6.5 to 8.5 semester hours
½ time = 4.5 to 6.00 semester hours
Less than ½ time = 0.5 to 4.00 semester hours

Graduate Students enrolled during Summer term have the following enrollment classifications:
Full time = 6 or more semester hours
¾ time = 4.5 to 5.5 semester hours
½ time = 3.00 to 4.00 semester hours
Less than ½ time = 0.5 to 2.5 semester hours

Thesis/Dissertation Requirements

Students working on a thesis or dissertation must register for thesis or dissertation credit each term in which they receive supervision or during which they are engaged in the formal preparation of the thesis/dissertation. Students must register for 3 credit hours of either 699 or 799 in the semester that they defend. Thesis and dissertation supervision courses are graded on satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

Continuous Registration Requirement

Students pursuing a doctoral degree must register for a minimum of 3 semester hours of graduate credit (to include dissertation credit) each fall and spring semester until all degree requirements are complete and the dissertation is complete and defended. 

Credit to Audit

A student is permitted to change a course from credit to audit only during the first four weeks of classes. For students whose tuition is paid by the University through graduate assistantships or tuition scholarships, changing a course from credit to audit will require the student to reimburse the University for that course's tuition.

Graduate Non-Standard Terms for Federal VA Certification Purposes

The VA instructs institutions to enter the training time (full, ¾, etc.) in the TT/FT box for the enrollment period based on the school’s academic policy when submitting the federal VA certification for graduate level terms. The VA also depends on the institutional determination of what is considered full time in these cases. The VA has an undergraduate matrix for students that is used for non-standard terms. However, this matrix does not adequately apply to graduate students in a fair and equitable manner when graduate students take courses in non-standard terms due to the weight of semester hours being affected by the number of hours the institution considers full time for graduate level coursework as compared to the undergraduate equivalent (12 hrs for UG = FT vs. 9 hrs Fall and Spring; 6 hrs Summer for GR = FT). Furthermore, the academic policy does not dive deeper into the individual parts of term in order to apply the academic policy appropriately and in an equitable manner as compared to the undergraduate counterpart and due to the way the federal VA requires institutions to certify benefits to the VA.

To bring clarity and equity to this situation, the following policy has been established and will be applied when certifying graduate students in non-standard terms that takes the academic policy of what the institution considers full time and allocates the policy’s equivalent to the individual parts of the term when certifying benefits to the VA and is publishing this certification policy guidance to bring the institution into federal compliance by having this information published in the University’s catalog. Otherwise, graduate students using benefits would be unfairly subjected to the lesser-weighted undergraduate hours.

Below is the University’s determination for VA purposes of how the academic policy for full-time status would apply to VA students for determining rate of pursuit for VA purposes:

Graduate Policy for Full Time Status Within a Semester:

9 hours Fall & Spring and 6 hours Summer
VA Non-standard part of term full time status:
Fall / Spring semesters
Full time = 9 hours
10 week classes = 6 semester hours
7 week classes = 4 semester hours
5 week classes = 3 semester hours
VA Non-standard part of term full time status:
Full time = 6 semester hours
12 week classes = 6 semester hours
10 week classes = 6 semester hours
7 week classes = 4 semester hours
6 week classes = 3.5 semester hours
5 week classes = 3 semester hours

Maymester (3 week classes) = 3 semester hours