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Course Loads and Full, Three-Quarter, and Half-Time

Full time for graduate students is defined as registration in 9 hours in Fall and Spring Semesters (5 hours in Summer, although registration for Summer is optional in most situations).  Students are required to register for more than 9 hours (5 in Summer) for a number of reasons, such as, but not limited to:

  • A requirement of your degree program.
  • You hold a fellowship from the Graduate College (12 hours, 6 in Summer).
  • You hold a Graduate College tuition and service fee waiver without an assistantship (12 hours, 6 in Summer).

If on a student visa (F-1 or J-1), effective Fall 2009, full time for graduate students is defined as registration in 9 hours in Fall and Spring Semesters and 5 hours in Summer, although registration for Summer is optional in most situations.  International students are required to register for more than 9 hours (5 in Summer) for a number of reasons, such as, but not limited to:

  • You hold a fellowship from the Graduate College (12 hours, 6 in Summer).
  • You hold a Graduate College tuition and service fee waiver without an assistantship (12 hours, 6 in Summer).  

International Services registration policy effective Fall 2009 - 9 hours for students without assistantships or with assistantship appointments less 50%; 8 hours if assistantship appointment is 50%; Summer registration optional in most sutuations.

Note that full time is still defined as 9 hours, even if registration for more than 9 hour is required, or less than 9 hours is allowed.

Students who can devote full attention to their studies usually enroll for 12 to 16 credit hours each term. In exceptional cases, the advisor and director of graduate studies may permit a student to enroll for up to 20 hours. Registration for more than 20 hours is not recommended but is allowed on a term-by-term basis with the approval the the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate College.

Many programs allow registration as part time students.  Consult with your program if you have questions.

Full, Three-Quarter, and Half-Time

These designations are often used for requirements for United Stated federal student loans, work-study, veteran's scholarships, and official University reporting statistics.  Read the information presented above carefully, since there are various reasons that more than the minimum full-time registration level may be required.

 

 Fall Semester

 Spring Semester

 Summer Session
[Registration Hours for all
Parts-of-Term Combined]

 Full-Time

 9 hours

 9 hours

 5 hours

 Three-Quarter-Time

 8 hours

 8 hours

 4 hours

 Half-Time

 5 hours

 5 hours

 3 hours

This became effective Fall 2006 Semester for all graduate students who are part of the Graduate College.  For students in the MPH and DrPh programs within the School of Public Health, this became effective Fall 2007.

U-Pass

Graduate students registered for 9 hours (5 hours in Summer) are assessed for and are eligible to receive the CTA U-Pass.  Note:  Holding an assistantship with registration for 8 hours (3 hours in summer) is not considered full-time and will not qualify to obtain a U-Pass.

Student Loans

For graduate students, 9 hours (5 hours in Summer) registration is considered full time for student loans.  Half-Time is 5 hours (3 hours in Summer).  Consult with the Office of Financial Aid is you have any questions. 

Note:  Students who have been approved, via a petition approved by the degree program and the Graduate College, for 0 hours registration (in an MS project, MS thesis, doctoral project (professional doctorate) or thesis course) are considered full-time only for the purpose of loan deferment requirements.

Tuition Ranges

Tuition range scales are not based on full time or part time, but the total number of hours for which the student is registered for.  See the Office of Records and Registration website for complete information.

Fellowship Holders

Must register for at least 12 hours of credit per semester of award (6 in summer).  Holders of 12 month fellowships must register in Summer.

Tuition-and-Service-Fee-Waiver Holders

Must register for at least 12 hours of credit per semester of award (6 in summer).

Assistantship Holders

Must register for at least 8 hours of credit each semester, excluding summer. While summer enrollment is optional, assistants who wish to use their summer tuition and service fee waivers must register for at least 3 hours during that term. Some graduate programs may require registration for more than 8 hours per term and/or summer registration. There are no tuition and service-fee waiver benefits for students employed with less than 25% or more than 67% appointment. Assistants who qualify for a Spring tuition and service fee waiver automatically receive a summer waiver if registered in at least 3 hours in summer and do not have an assistantship appointment in the summer.  If an assistant has a summer appointment a waiver is granted for registration in at least 3 hours with apointments of 25% - 67%.  See Assistantships for more information.

Note that 8 hours of registration (fall and spring) with an assistantship will satisfy the requirements of the assistantship and waiver, but will not qualify as being full-time.  9 or more hours of registration is considered full time, with or without an assistantship.

International Students

For purposes of enrollment certification for immigration purposes, the Graduate College considers international students to be pursuing a minimum full-time program of study if they: (1) enroll for 9 or more hours of credit or (2) hold an assistantship appointment (teaching (TA), research (RA), or graduate (GA) for one-half time (50%) and enroll for at least 8 hours of credit edit.  These requirements are for Fall and Spring semesters.

Students on an F-1 visa may be eligible to register for zero hours if all requirements are complete except for project or thesis, and a petition is submitted to the Graduate College and approved. The petition must be endorsed by the advisor and DGS or head of program and the Office of International Services.  Students having an active fellowship, assistantship, or tuition and service-fee waiver are not eleigible for zero-hours. (Note:  International students on a student visa may not register for anything but 0 hours in subsequent terms after a term of 0 hour registration.  This means that if approved and registered for 0 hours for a certain term, an assistantship for a future term cannot be accepted since that would require a minimum of 8 hours of registration.  Consult with the Office of International Services if there are questions.)