Post-Candidacy Registration Requirements

The definition of full-time is three credit hours per semester for all post-candidacy doctoral students whether they are funded or self-funded and continuous academic year registration is now required for post-candidacy doctoral students admitted Autumn Quarter 2008 or after or for students admitted prior to Autumn Quarter 2008 who does not enroll for two years. Leaves of absence can be requested. Summer session registration is optional (see Section 3.1, Graduate School Handbook).

The university’s decision to reduce the number of credit hours needed for post-candidacy students to be considered full-time was made to reduce costs to principal investigators and students at a time when the large majority of doctoral students are focused on dissertation research and writing rather than engaged in course work.

Typical course registration

Because post-candidacy students should be focused on dissertation research, post-candidacy doctoral students should generally register for their graduate program’s 8999 research course. However, other course registrations may be allowed. Graduate students should consult with their advisors and graduate programs before registering for courses other than 8999 to make sure that they are fulfilling local graduate program degree requirements.

Registration in other courses

Registrations in so-called “enhancement courses” by funded and unfunded post-candidacy students are supported by the Graduate School.  The Graduate School’s expectation is that all course registration by post-candidacy students is made after consultation between the students and their advisors. The university and Graduate School share the expectation that the large majority of funded post-candidacy students will only register for three graduate credits each semester. Typically, these credits will be in 8999.

However, if a student and advisor decide that another registration is appropriate, other configurations are acceptable. For example, a student might register for a graduate seminar worth one credit and two credits of 8999. Or, perhaps a student might register for a three-credit course featuring content that the student and advisor believe is beneficial to the student’s academic development, such as courses needed for graduate minors and graduate interdisciplinary specializations.

Registrations over three credits by funded students need to be carefully considered by the advisor and department because of the real implications for departmental and college budgets.

Registration above three credits

Post-candidacy doctoral student can register for additional credit hours above three, but this decision must be made following discussions between the student and his or her advisor and should meet with the approval of the local graduate program.

In making such decisions, advisors and graduate programs should consider the academic and professional relevancy of the additional credits for individual doctoral students, and not simply budget implications for the department. The expectation is that registrations above three credits should be made for academic and professional reasons, including opportunities for a graduate student to pursue a graduate interdisciplinary specialization or a graduate minor.

Unfunded post-candidacy students may exceed three credits, including by taking such enhancement courses, because these students are paying their own tuition. In keeping with quality practices in doctoral education, however, the Graduate School expects that graduate programs and advisors discuss post-candidacy registrations with their unfunded post-candidacy students so that the student and program have a clear understanding of expectations regarding reasonable progress and time to degree.

Registration below three credits

A post-candidacy doctoral student can register for fewer than three credit hours, except those who are appointment. Post-candidacy students who are on appointment must register for three credit hours as part of the requirements of the position. Post-candidacy students who register for one or two credit hours will be considered part-time. Post-candidacy students who fall under the continuous enrollment policy must enroll for three graduate hours.

Semester of candidacy exam, final orals, and graduation

Doctoral students must continue to register for at least three graduate credits during the semester in which they take the candidacy exam, final oral examination, and during which they expect to graduate.

Questions can be directed to Graduate School staff at (614) 292-6031.

Need help?

Contact staff members in the Graduate School using the staff directory, or call (614) 292-6031.

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