Graduate enrollment requirements

Graduate students must register for a minimum of 3 hours of graduate or professional credit during any semester in which they use University facilities and/or staff time. A student who holds an assistantship must register for a minimum of 12 hours of graduate credit fall and spring semesters and nine hours of graduate credit during the summer semester. See the Minimum Enrollment Policy below for additional graduate enrollment requirements.

Prior to Fall 2007, a student who has been out of school for three semesters, including the summer semester, and who wishes to return for the same admission classification and major must submit an application for readmission to the Office of Graduate Admissions.

The Schedule of Classes for each semester is available online at the Registrar’s websiteVisit the Bursar’s website for tuition and fee information.

The following policies affect:

  • all new graduate students matriculating Fall 2006 and thereafter
  • any student who changes degree programs Fall 2006 or later
  • any student who is readmitted to a degree program Fall 2006 or later
  • any student who is granted an extension to complete a degree Fall 2006 or later

These policies will be in effect Fall 2007 for all graduate students regardless of enrollment status or matriculation date.

Minimum Enrollment

All enrolled students pursuing graduate degrees at the University of Georgia must maintain continuous enrollment from matriculation until completion of all degree requirements. Continuous enrollment is defined as registering for a minimum of three (3) graduate or professional course credits in at least two semesters per academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer), including the 3 hours of graduate credit that is required for registration during the semester in which degree requirements are complete, until the degree is attained or status as a degree-seeking graduate student is terminated. Doctoral students who have advanced to candidacy and thesis-writing master’s students who have satisfactorily completed all required courses (exclusive of 7000 and 7300) will be allowed to register at a rate equivalent to the prevailing in-state tuition rate. This policy specifies a minimum for maintaining status as a degree-seeking graduate student only. It does not supersede the minimum enrollment requirements of other programs, offices, or agencies. Doctoral students must maintain enrollment during fall and spring semesters (breaking only for summer semesters) until the residency requirement (30 hours for PHD, 20 hours for EDD or DMA) has been met. Refer to the instructions for Out-of-State Tuition Waivers if necessary. UGA employees pursuing graduate degrees under the Tuition Assistance Program and students in non-degree status are exempt from this Continuous Enrollment Policy. However, these students remain under the pre-existing policy and will lose registration eligibility if non-enrolled for three consecutive terms. If registration eligibility is lost, these students must reapply to their programs and pay the applicable application fee to continue graduate study.

Students who are only working towards finishing incomplete coursework are exempt from the continuous enrollment policy IF: 1) they have completed all other requirements for degree completion, and 2) the work required to convert the incomplete grade does not require the use of University facilities, resources, and faculty time aside from grading the work. Students who receive incompletes in directed study, capstone courses, thesis/dissertation credits or other courses involving significant continuing faculty time and University resources should register for GRSC 9270 in order to convert their incomplete grade.

Leave of Absence

A leave of absence provides a mechanism for students experiencing unusual circumstance to be exempt temporarily from the continuous enrollment policy. A leave of absence requires approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator and the Dean of Graduate School. A leave of absence will be granted only for good cause such as serious medical and health-related issues, major financial and employment issues; pregnancy, childbirth, child care, elder care, and other significant family issues; and other major personal circumstances that interfere with the ability to undertake graduate study. An approved leave of absence stands in lieu of registering for the minimum of 3 credits for each semester for which the leave of absence is granted. During a leave of absence, students may not use UGA facilities, resources, or services designed or intended only for enrolled students; receive a graduate assistantship, fellowship, or financial aid from the University; or take any UGA courses related to their program of study. An approved leave of absence does not stop the clock unless the leave is granted for pregnancy, childbirth or adoption (see below): time on leave counts toward any University, Graduate School, or program time limits pertaining to the degree being sought.

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Adoption: Time spent on an approved leave of absence due to pregnancy, childbirth, and/or adoption of a child under six years of age will not count toward time limits governing their graduate degree.

  1. Application. Students may apply for a leave of absence for good cause such as serious medical and health-related issues, major financial and employment issues; pregnancy, childbirth, child care, elder care, and other significant family issues; and other major personal circumstances that interfere with the ability to undertake graduate study.  An approved leave of absence stands in lieu of registering for the minimum of 3 credits for each semester for which the leave of absence is granted.
  2. Student Responsibility. It is the student’s responsibility to apply for a leave of absence in timely fashion. An approved leave of absence does not exempt students from the enrollment requirements of other programs, offices, and agencies such as the Veterans Administration, Immigration and Naturalization Service, and federal financial aid programs. Eligibility for certain types of financial aid, including graduate assistantships, requires enrollment for more credits than the Continuous Enrollment Policy.
  3. Deadlines. A student may apply for a leave of absence before or during any semester in which they are not registered for courses.  Application for a Leave of absence must be received by the Graduate School Office of Enrollment Services on or before the last day of classes for the semester for which it is requested. A leave of absence will not be granted retroactively after the end of a semester.
  4. Limits. A student may request a leave of absence for one semester, two consecutive semesters, or three consecutive semesters (Summer semester included). There is a 12-month limit for any one request of leave of absence. A student may submit multiple requests for a leave of absence subject to a 3 semester limit. [Complete the Form]

Monitoring & Compliance

After the last day of each semester, any degree-seeking graduate student who has not maintained continuous enrollment by registering for the required credits or obtaining an approved leave of absence will lose their status as an enrolled graduate student. Students who wish to resume graduate study must: (a) re-apply to the Graduate School for admission and pay required application fees. Re-admission is not guaranteed and requires approval of the student’s former program, (b) pay a re-enrollment fee equivalent to registering for 3 graduate or professional course credits at the current in-state tuition rate for each non-enrolled semester, including summer, up to a maximum of 9 hours.

Students may appeal actions resulting from violation of the Continuous Graduate Enrollment Policy or denial of a requested leave of absence by submitting a request in writing to the Dean of the Graduate School. The appeal should include documentation of unusual and extenuating circumstances that could justify an individual exception to the policy. A negative decision by the Dean of the Graduate School may be appealed to the Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council.

Program Exemption

A graduate program may apply for an exemption from the Continuous Graduate Enrollment Policy if the program operates on an intermittent basis and does not provide graduate courses or opportunities for research and scholarship on a term-by-term basis. For example, a program that offers graduate courses and other educational opportunities only one semester a year may apply for an exemption. Cooperative programs between the University and partners such as federal and state agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and international exchange programs, may qualify for exemption if the program requires extended work or service off campus by the graduate student for multiple semesters. If granted, the exemption will apply automatically to all students enrolled in the program (i.e., students need not apply individually for an exemption). Program exemptions will be reviewed periodically and may be rescinded if the program begins to offer graduate education opportunities on a more continuous basis.

Other enrollment topics

Course Deletions

A course deletion refers to an administrative process whereby the course is removed from the student’s record after the designated drop/add period and, if appropriate, a refund is generated. In order to have a course deleted from the student’s record, it must be determined that the University is responsible for the student being in the course in error.

Course deletion requires a written student petition followed by the review and approval of the instructor of the course, the department head / program director, and the dean. Questions concerning course deletion should be directed to the dean’s office of the student’s school or college.

Course Load

A full-time course load is nine hours per semester during the academic year and six hours during the summer semester. The maximum semester course load for any student is 18 hours per semester. For those students whose degree program officially requires more than 18 hours of credit per semester, the students will be limited to the program maximum. The minimum / maximum course load for which a graduate student may enroll is governed by the following:

Minimum Semester HoursMaximum Semester Hours
  • Students who do not have an assistantship
  • Graduate Assistants: One-third (.33) time
  • Graduate Assistants: Four-ninths (.44) time
  • Graduate Assistants: One-half (.50) time

To exceed the maximum course load, a student must obtain approval from his/her major professor and the dean of the Graduate School. The department head or the departmental graduate coordinator may sign the overload request in the absence of the student’s major professor.

Generally, a request to exceed the maximum course load will not be approved unless the student satisfies the following guidelines: (1) is a prospective candidate (or candidate) for a graduate degree, (2) has a cumulative graduate average of 3.5 or higher, (3) has no incompletes on his/her graduate record, and (4) is not a first-semester student.

The maximum course load for an eight-week summer thru session is 18 hours. The minimum course load for any summer session is 3 hours. The maximum course load during pre-summer session (Maymester) is 6 hours. For students on an assistantship, the minimum course load during summer sessions is 9 hours. Permission to exceed the maximum load is not granted during summer semester.

Course Numbers

Courses numbered 8000-9999, taught by members of the graduate faculty, are advanced graduate courses and seminars which provide educational experiences at the highest level in a graduate student’s program of study. Courses numbered 6000-6999 are fundamental knowledge courses; those numbered 7000-7999, except master’s research (7000) and thesis (7300), are technique and professional courses. Courses numbered 6000-7999 are normally taken early in the graduate student’s program of study. Joint undergraduate / graduate courses, numbered 4000-4999/6000-6999 and 5000-5999/ 7000-7999, in which undergraduate and graduate students are simultaneously enrolled are not normally used to provide the core requirements of a graduate degree program. Such courses may be used as electives and as service courses taken in other departments.

Graduate School Pregnancy / Childbirth / Adoption Leave Policy

The objectives of the Graduate Student Pregnancy / Childbirth / Adoption Policy are to:

  1. Affirm UGA’s commitment to supporting women and families, particularly those who experience pregnancy and childbirth or adopt a young child while pursuing a graduate degree.
  2. Provide a policy and procedure for extending time limits regarding graduate coursework, advancement to candidacy, and graduate degree completion for graduate students who temporarily interrupt their graduate study due to pregnancy and childbirth, or who adopt a child under the age of six.
  3. Amend the existing Leave of Absence policy and procedure to provide this academic accommodation for pregnancy, childbirth, and adoption.

For more information on UGA’s Pregnancy Resources, visit the Equal Opportunity Office.

Class Attendance

For more information on class attendance, visit this page.

Withdrawal From Courses

For more information on withdrawing from a course, visit this page.

Change in Grades & Reporting System

For more information on change in grades and reporting system, visit this page.

Name & Address Change

For more information on change your name and address in UGA’s records, visit this page.


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