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Graduate Program

Full-time Status

Many students need to maintain full-time status. Full-time status is required for aid eligibility and for student visas. The minimum number of credits you can take per semester and still maintain full-time status is 9 for teaching assistants and 12 for all others. The maximum number of credits you can take without paying additional tuition is 15. These rules apply to the Fall and Spring semesters. You are not required to take additional credits during the summer to maintain full-time status.

Many students take two or three classes per semester, and then fill in the rest of the needed credits with research. For example, if you need to take at least 12 credits, you might take a 4-credit class, two 3-credit classes, and two research credits. The number of research credits you take during a given semester does not necessarily correspond to the amount of research you will do during the semester. You will receive a grade of IP (in progress) for all your research credits until you complete the degree, at which time they will be converted to S (satisfactory). Thus, what matters is not how much research you do in a particular semester, but that by the time you are done, you have completed all the research and registered for as many research credits as needed. Because it doesn't cost you extra to take 15 credits, and because you don't have to do extra work if you register for extra research credits, you may want to register for 15 credits so that you can get as many credits as possible out of the way.

Of course, the bigger challenge is getting the research done, and often students complete all their credits before they complete their research. In such a situation, you must continue to register for at least 12 credits per semester (or 9 if you are a TA, but by that time you will have probably have used up all your TA time). Usually students in this situation register for additional research credits rather than take classes. When you graduate, you will receive a grade of S (satisfactory) for those research credits you use toward your degree. Any extra credits will remain with a grade of IP (in progress). The maximum number of research credits you can use toward an MS is 9. The total number of credits used for your degree (courses plus research) will be 30 for the MS and 72 for the PhD (or 48 if you have a prior MS).

If you joined the degree program as a full-time student, you may not switch to part-time status later, such as when you are done with most of your credits.

You must either register for every Fall and Spring semester or apply for a leave of absence. Part-time students must register for at least one credit per semester and full-time students must register for at least 12 (or 9 if you are a TA). If you do not register for some semester, you will be removed from the program.

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