Post-Comprehensive Enrollment

Upon passing the comprehensive examination, the student becomes a candidate for the Ph.D. degree. The student and the student's advisor will then designate the candidate's dissertation committee based on the recommendation of the Department. Each candidate must complete a research project that has been approved by the committee. The committee establishes the candidate's course requirements and directs the research.

The candidate must adhere to the University's Post-Comprehensive Enrollment Policy to be eligible for graduation. Any deviation from this policy may result in the student not being able to graduate unless an additional petition is submitted and approved at least three weeks prior to the intended date of the dissertation defense.

See the bullet points below for a brief overview of the University's Post-Comprehensive Enrollment Requirements. Should there be a discrepancy between this information and that which is stated in the University's Policy, defer to the Policy information.

  • Unless granted a leave of absence, the candidate must be continuously enrolled full-time, including summer sessions, until all requirements for the degree are completed.
  • Post-comp doctoral students must initially enroll in a minimum of 6 hours each Fall and Spring semester and 3 hours each Summer.
  • Post-comp enrollment must include within the 6 or 3 required hours at least one dissertation or dissertation-equivalent hour every term, with the exception of the semester in which the comp exam is taken. For the Physics & Astronomy Department, the only acceptable course that meets this requirement is PHSX 999.
  • The post-comp enrollment requirement remains in effect as described until the student has completed 18 post-comp hours, or until graduation, whichever comes first.
  • Hours completed during the semester in which the student takes his or her comprehensive exam count toward the required 18 hours, as long as enrollment during that semester follows the requirements described above (the minimum 6-6-3 formula). Enrollment that semester does not, however, have to include a dissertation or dissertation-equivalent hour within the required 6 or 3 hours.
  • A student may, under advisement of the department, enroll in more than 6 hours each semester to achieve the 18 hours more quickly (such as 9 hours in the Fall/Spring semesters).
  • During the semester in which the student is due to complete the 18 hours of post-comp enrollment, he or she may drop down to whatever number of hours is required to complete the 18 (e.g., if the student started the semester with 15 hours of post-comp enrollment completed, only three hours are required). The student MUST notify the Graduate Secretary of this intention so that the appropriate certification may be filed at least THREE weeks before the start of the semester.
  • The student must then continue to enroll in at least 1 dissertation or dissertation-equivalent hour each term, including summers, until he or she graduates. It is imperative that the student consult with his or her advisor about enrollment needs before reducing hours. As each students coursework needs are unique, there may be instances where dropping to fewer hours would be detrimental to the student's progress to degree and/or funding, etc. There may also be instances in which a scholarship, fellowship, or other funding situation may require full-time enrollment. If the funding is provided by an institution outside of KU, such as the Department of Defense, it is the student's responsibility to check with the funding agency directly to ensure compliance with that agency's enrollment requirements.


GTA/GRA Post-Comprehensive Enrollment

All of the regulations above also apply to students with GTA/GRA/GA appointments. The only difference is that these students must be certified to drop their enrollment levels. The paperwork for this certification must be submitted at least THREE weeks prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student intends to reduce enrollment below full-time. 

Please refer to the Progress Tracking Reports page for information about post-comp annual 


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