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 (3 or more hours in Summer, although registration for Summer is optional in most situations). Effective Fall 2021, students holding a Graduate College fellowship and/or a Graduate College tuition and service fee waiver without an assistantship are required to register for more than 9 hours (3 in Summer) or more hours. There are reasons why a student might need to register for more hours, such as, but not limited to:
- A requirement of your degree program.
- A requirement of your non-Graduate College fellowship
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.
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% in Fall and Spring Semesters.
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 might be required to register for more hours for a number of reasons, such as, but not limited to:
- A requirement of your degree program.
- A requirement of your non-Graduate College funding
Note that full-time is still defined as 9 hours, even if registration for more than 9 hours is required, or less than 9 hours is allowed.
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. Domestic students in these situations should consult the Office of Financial Aid and international students should visit the Office of International Services for current definitions.
Graduate students are identified in Banner by the 2G attribute. This does not apply to professional students (2P) or other academic levels (undergraduate, non-degree, etc.).
The UIC U-Pass program is now optional. Visit the U-Pass website for more information.
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 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 the Registrar website for complete information.
Graduate College Fellowship Holders
Effective Fall 2021, registration must be 9 hours of credit per semester of award (3 or more in summer); summer is usually optional.
Full-time waiver holders must register for at least 9 hours of credit per semester of award (3 or more in summer); part-time waiver recipients must register for 1-8 hours in Fall and Spring; 1-2 hours in summer.
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 appointments 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. Nine or more hours of registration is considered full-time, with or without an assistantship.
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 eligible 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.)