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Students must pay strict attention to the University and Graduate School rules for classification as full-time students and for graduation. Consult the Graduate School Handbook the Graduate School Policies and Procedures, and the Graduate Catalog for more details.


Registration Requirements for Full-time Student Classification

Three groups of students want to be classified by the University as registered full-time during the fall and spring semesters:

  • Students receiving financial aid from the University (including departmental assistantships, Graduate School fellowships, and research grants)
  • U.S. students who wish to delay repaying federal student loans
  • International students whose visas require full-time student status

Those not registered as full-time students risk financial support, the right to delay repayment of student loans, and their visa classifications.

And, there are three ways to be classified as a full-time student:

  • Register for nine hours or more (most first and second year students). For the purposes of full-time Graduate School status, any University courses count towards the nine hour requirement.  The department has additional  requirements.  In order to be considered in good standing, Ph.D. students are expected to complete the seven core courses in the first year and three additional Ph.D. courses approved by the DGS in each semester of the second year.  In the third year, students complete remaining courses and begin substantive work on the dissertation.  Any exceptions must be approved by the DGS and faculty in the student’s field.  The DGS may also consult with the departmental Appeals Committee regarding any exceptions.  Students who do not complete the required courses as expected may become ineligible for funding and for continuation in the Ph.D. program.
  • Register for Econ. 992 or 994 (most students in the fourth year and after).  You must complete all other course requirements before registering for Econ. 994. University full-time student classification requires only registration in these courses, the department expects substantive progress on your Masters or Ph.D. work.  Faculty advisors and committee members offer a great deal of help to students working on their Masters papers or theses and their Ph.D. dissertations.  Both you and your faculty committee members want you to be making continual progress each semester.  It is important that you seek help and that you respond to the comments and suggestions from your committee in a professional manner.
  • Apply for a waiver (most students in the third year). Please note that we have limited funds and thus students receiving tuition remission are limited to registration for the required 15 courses.  In order to obtain the wavier, the department files a Graduate School form for you.   Note that your waiver will specify the number of hours for which you have registered.  If you drop a course, then you risk your full-time classification and may be responsible for the tuition for the dropped course. An additional detail is relevant for students taking a course at one of the other universities nearby. In order to take a course at another university, a student must also be enrolled for a three credit course on this campus. See the DGS if you have questions about the options for your enrollment here.

These rules apply for only the spring and fall semesters.  Most graduate students need to be registered in the summer only if taking masters/doctoral oral examinations or if graduating.

Registration Requirements for Doctoral/Masters Examinations Papers, Theses, Dissertations, and Graduation

In addition to the rules for full-time registration, there are also explicit registration requirements for Masters and Ph.D. students during the semesters in which they complete the degree requirements.  For example, students must be registered for three credits of Econ. 992/994  respectively during the semester in which the Masters paper is submitted or the Ph.D. dissertation is defended.  Since the two summer school sessions are so short, the Graduate School allows Ph.D. students who register for one of the summer sessions to take the doctoral oral exam (preliminary oral exam) or to defend the Ph.D. dissertation in either summer session.  Similarly, Masters students who are registered for one of the summer sessions may complete exam or paper requirements during either session.

Students who are registered in the fall semester may fulfill exam/dissertation/paper requirements between the end of the fall semester up to, and including, the day before classes begin in the spring semester.  Ph.D. students who are registered for the fall semester and successfully defend the dissertation before the first day of classes in the spring semester, but do not meet the deadline for fall graduation, are NOT required to register for the spring semester in order to graduate in the spring.  Similarly, Masters students who are registered for the fall semester and fulfill the exam/paper requirements before the first day of classes in the spring semester, but do not meet the deadline for fall graduation, are NOT required to register for the spring semester in order to graduate in the spring.  Students must, of course, meet the deadlines for spring-semester graduation. The rules for scheduling examinations between other semesters are exactly analogous.  Please note that scheduling examinations during the summer or between semesters may be difficult since many faculty are away from the University during these times.

Be sure to read the Graduate School registration rules carefully in order to be appropriately registered during each semester in which you plan to take an examination or submit a paper/thesis/dissertation.