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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs


A graduate student who is in residence at the University is expected to be properly registered. In residence means that the student (whether full- or part-time, whether commuting to campus or other instructional site or living nearby or on campus) is pursuing graduate credits and/or an advanced degree by (a) attending classes or seminars for credit or audit; (b) doing a thesis, term project, independent study, or similar research or scholarly work in a University laboratory or other research facility; (c) consulting in person or by other means of communication with one or more faculty members on scholarly matters, research projects, or dissertation; (d) using the library, Computation Center, or other University information resources; or (e) using other University facilities provided for graduate study.

The responsibility for being properly registered rests first with the student and secondarily with the student’s adviser if the student has one (nondegree students may not). A student may register for course work or research or a combination of the two. In the case of research the number of credits shall be determined by the amount of time devoted to the investigation, with 1 credit representing approximately the equivalent of one week of full-time work. In the later stages of the program, the situation will determine the requirements for the student’s registration. (See Registration Near the Completion of a Program.)

International Students--Because international students on an F1 or J1 visa are required by the Department of Homeland Security regulation to be in residence, all international students need to be registered for full-time status (fall and spring semester), unless an exception to full-time enrollment has been approved by the University Office of Global Programs Directorate of International Student Advising (DISA). Students who fail to register may jeopardize their status.

Advisers--Advising is an important factor in enhancing the quality of a student’s program. To assist the student in planning a coherent program and meeting all degree requirements, the head of the major department or program chair will designate a member of the faculty to serve as adviser. It is the student’s responsibility to secure an adviser from the department or program and to seek a conference before each registration.

Time of Registration--Registration days are indicated in the calendar at the beginning of this bulletin. A student is expected to complete registration during the officially designated period and to attend the first meeting of all classes. If this is impossible because of some emergency or unusual circumstance, the student may be granted permission by the instructor to miss a few class meetings, it being understood that work missed will be made up subsequently. Under these conditions permission may be granted through the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services for the student to register late. In general, a student who receives permission to register late will be required to reduce the course load in proportion to the length of absence.

A student who fails to complete the process of registration within the officially designated registration period will be liable for the late registration charge, regardless of when the student begins attending classes.

Continuity of Registration--A student who is a degree candidate at any of the five graduate campuses of the University and who registers there without interruption for each fall and spring semester is considered to have maintained a normal continuity of registration. A student who has been admitted as a “summers only” D.Ed. candidate (see D.Ed. Residence Requirements) can maintain continuity by registering each summer for a six-week summer session.

Anyone who has interrupted such a normal sequence and now plans to return and register for course work should submit an application found at the corresponding link below:

The policy may be summarized for any specific semester or session as follows:

  • Summer Session--Resume Study/Change of Degree or Major application required unless the student was registered for the preceding spring semester or the preceding summer session (if “summers only” student).
  • Fall Semester--Resume Study/Change of Degree or Major application required unless the student was registered for the preceding summer session or the preceding spring semester.
  • Spring Semester--Resume Study/Change of Degree or Major application required unless the student was registered for the preceding fall semester.

Withdrawal--The dropping of all academic work for which a student is registered in any semester constitutes withdrawal from the University, and changes the student’s status to nondegree. A “Resume Study/Change of Degree or Major” form must then be submitted and approved if the student wants to enroll for further work toward a degree.

Procedure--For each registration, it is expected that the student, in consultation with the adviser, will prepare a schedule of courses and research designed to fit individual needs and meeting the pertinent credit limits. The registration process is completed in the manner specified for all students at the University.

Under certain conditions credit may be earned for work done away from the campus. A student contemplating such work should first consult with his or her adviser and then inquire at the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services about the procedures and conditions. The student must assume responsibility for the registration process, by accessing the Registrar’s Web site at (Opens New Window). Registration must be completed before the close of central registration at University Park campus.

A student must register for courses audited as well as those taken for credit.


A candidate for the Ph.D. degree is required to register continuously for each semester from the time the comprehensive examination is passed and the two-semester residence requirement is met until the thesis is accepted by the doctoral committee, regardless of whether work is being done on the thesis during this interval. (See Registration and Continuous Registration.)

Although there is no general continuous registration requirement for D.Ed. degree candidates and master’s students, individual programs may require it. It should be noted, moreover, that (a) proper registration (see Registration) is expected of all graduate students; (b) graduate assistants must carry the prescribed credit loads (see Credit Loads and Academic Status); and (c) because of visa considerations, international students typically will register every semester, no matter what their degree objectives.

A master’s candidate is not required to register for the final semester in order to graduate or in order to make minor revisions to the thesis and/or to take a final examination for the degree, unless required to do so by the program.

Students who are only resuming in order to submit their intent to graduate should not complete an application to resume study. These students should contact their plan of study to have their records activated in order to submit their intent to graduate. Important Note: This is only for students who have already satisfied all course requirements who need to graduate. Students who still need to enroll in courses should complete an application to resume study.


6/21/17; links updated, 8/13/14


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