University policy requires all graduate students to be continuously enrolled at the university each semester until the awarding of the degree. Students must also be enrolled in any summer term in which an application for graduation is filed. A full course load is encouraged in order to facilitate timely completion of the degree.
Enrollment in Project (298) or Thesis (299) Units
Initial enrollment in project (298) and thesis (299) units occurs in the departmental office, where the permission and class numbers are obtained.
To maintain continuous enrollment after enrolling in all courses toward the degree, including project (298) or thesis (299) units, students must enroll in zero units, as follows:
Students who have enrolled in the required number of project (298) units, but have not completed their project, must maintain continuous enrollment by enrolling in 298C (zero units) through regular enrollment each semester until the awarding of the degree. Students may enroll twice in 298C with department approval. Additional registrations are not encouraged, and must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Permission and class numbers for 298C must be obtained from the department.
Students who have enrolled in the required number of thesis (299) units, but have not completed their thesis, must maintain continuous enrollment by enrolling in 299C (zero units) through regular enrollment each semester until the awarding of the degree. Students may enroll twice in 299C with department approval. Additional registrations are not encouraged, and must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Permission and class numbers for 299C must be obtained from the department.
Comprehensive Examination Students
Comprehensive examination students who have enrolled in all courses toward the degree, must maintain continuous enrollment by enrolling in GS Continuation (zero units through Continuing and Global Education). After one semester of enrollment in GS Continuation, students must maintain enrollment thereafter by enrolling in GS 299C (zero units through regular enrollment) each semester until the awarding of the degree. Authorization for enrollment in both GS Continuation and GS 299C must be approved by the Division of Graduate Studies, Harold Haak Administrative Center (4th floor of the Henry Madden Library). Permission and class numbers for GS299C must be obtained from the Division of Graduate Studies Office.
The university defines full-time study as 12 units, however, while undergraduate course units are counted at face value, graduate course units (those numbered in the 200 series) are weighted at 1.5 units per each course unit. Therefore, 8 units of 200 level courses constitute an equivalent full-time study load of 12 units.
Upon the recommendation of the student’s advisor and with an evaluation by the course instructor, the graduate dean may certify the following as meeting the full-time requirement with a study load of less that 12 weighted units: Thesis 299, Project 298, and the Comprehensive Examination and Graduate studies Continuation. In such instances, an evaluation will be required to demonstrate that the hours of study equate to full time study.
For the purpose of reporting enrollment for graduate students, regardless of status:
- Part-time less than 9 units
- Full-time 9 or more units
For the purpose of financial aid (loans, etc.):
3/4 time 9-11 1/2 equivalent units
1/2 time 6-8 1/2 equivalent units
8 units of 200-level courses; or
12 equivalent units from combined 200 and 100 level
Note: “Equivalent units” are calculated at 1.5 units for each 200-level unit, and at face value for each 100-level unit.
Students enrolled in zero units (GS Continuation or GS 299C) may need to verify their possible qualification for full- or part-time status. Coordinators should direct such students to the DGS Office, where appropriate paperwork is available. (See “ Zero Units Verification Request”)
The United States Office of Homeland Security (OHS) requires international students on non-immigrant F-1 and J-1 visas to pursue full-time study in a specific program for each semester of enrollment. Full-time study includes 12 weighted academic units of approved prerequisite, corequisite, or graduate program courses (Note: Graduate 200-series courses have weighting factor of 1.5 per course unit.)
- Using the definitions for full-time student status, international graduate students are advised to work closely with their faculty advisor to plan a program of full-time study for each semester of enrollment.
- Graduate program coordinators should not admit international students to their programs in those instances where a sufficient number of courses are not expected to be available during each semester of enrollment in the program.
Students wishing to temporarily suspend their formal studies in order to pursue other activities that will help clarify and contribute to their educational goals may request a planned leave from the Dean of Graduate Studies.
- Students must submit a “Planned Educational Leave” request form to the Division of Graduate Studies for approval. (Forms are available from Joyal Administration Building, Room 106, or the Division of Graduate Studies.)
- Planned educational leaves of absence do not change the existing five-year time limit for completion of the degree.
A time limit of five years from the oldest course listed on the student’s approved “ Petition of Advancement to Candidacy” form is allowed for completion of the master’s degree. A limited number of outdated courses (older than five years) may be validated. (See the Course Validation form.)
In rare circumstances only, extensions beyond the five-year limit (no more than two additional years) may be granted, per Title 5, California State Education Code. Contact the graduate dean.
On rare occasions, a graduate degree student may use a limited number of extension courses toward the degree. Conditions for enrollment include:
- Students must have special permission from the graduate coordinator;
- the purpose of enrollment may not be to bypass the university fee structure;
- a maximum of 9 units, including any other transfer work, may be used on a 30-unit program, and
- 300-level courses may not be used to satisfy requirements toward the master’s degree.
Students applying for the degree to be granted in the summer term must be enrolled.