It is the policy of the Graduate School that both full-time and part-time students must progress at a reasonable rate and that their enrollment shall reflect the demand on faculty time and university facilities.

To be certified by the Graduate School as a full-time graduate student for purposes of qualifying for fellowship tenure, veteran's benefits, student visas, meeting residence requirements, and similar certification, the student should be enrolled in at least 9 hours of work, or at least 6 hours with a half time appointment as a GTA or GRA. The Graduate School requires that students who are employed more than half time be enrolled in at least 6 hours per  regular semester in order to be considered full-time. Full-time in the summer session is enrollment in 3 credit hours.

It is the policy of the Department that a student must be making satisfactory academic progress, in some cases greater than that represented by the Graduate School's minimum requirements, in order to merit financial support in the form of an assistantship. The Department has provided guidelines for the faculty advisors to use in approving student schedules:

See the University's policies on Full-Time Enrollment for Graduate Students, Post-Comprehensive Enrollment, and GRA/GTA Appointment Eligibility for further information. If there is a discrepancy between the information stated below and that which is stated in the KU Policy Library, defer to the policy and notify the Graduate Secretary of the discrepancy.

Full-time enrollment for Fall and Spring semesters:

  • Enrollment in 9 credit hours;
  • Enrollment in 6 credit hours plus a GTA, GRA, or GA appointment, regardless of percentage of appointment;
  • Enrollment in 6 credit hours for graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) and Post-9/11 GI Bill – Active Duty;
  • Doctoral candidates enrolled in dissertation hour(s). See Doctoral Candidacy (post-comprehensive enrollment).

Full-time enrollment for Summer semesters:

  • Enrollment in 6 credit hours;
  • Enrollment in 3 credit hours plus a GTA, GRA, or GA appointment, regardless of percentage of appointment;
  • Enrollment in 3 credit hours for graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) and Post-9/11 GI Bill – Active Duty;
  • Doctoral candidates enrolled in dissertation hour(s). See Doctoral Candidacy (post-comprehensive enrollment).

*Only master’s students in their last semester of study are eligible for the 3/4-time and half-time enrollment exception while holding a GRA. For more information, see the policy on Graduate Research Assistant Appointment Eligibility.

Students enrolled in fewer hours than defined by half-time enrollment are considered part-time.

All students should check with their graduate degree programs and Graduate Studies’ policies to determine whether additional enrollment requirements or summer enrollment requirements exist.


Course Numbering System:

  • Courses 000-099 do not count toward graduation.
  • Courses 100-299 are designed for freshman and sophomores and cannot be taken for graduate credit.
  • Courses 300-499 are designed for juniors and seniors and cannot be taken for graduate credit.
  • Courses 500-699 are designed primarily for juniors and seniors but may be taken by graduate students for graduate credit.
  • Courses 700-799 are designed primarily for graduate students who have less than 30 of graduate credit but may be taken by undergraduates for undergraduate credit.
  • Courses 800-999 are open only to graduate students except by special permission.

Grading System: The grading system in the Graduate School is a A,B,C,D,F system with some additions. For any given course, the instructor as the discretion to assign +/- grades in addition to the lettered scheme. Regular courses (i.e. all courses except research courses 800, 899, and 999) are graded as follows:

  • A = above average graduate work
  • B = average graduate work
  • C = passing but unsatisfactory graduate work (remember: students must hold a B GPA in order to remain in good standing with the Department and Graduate School).
  • D = failing graduate work
  • F = failing graduate work
  • I = work of A or B level but which is unfinished for good reason. The grade of I remains until the student completes the work and the instructor changes the I to A,B,C,D, or F. Research in progress that is not complete enough for evaluation is graded as P (participation) not I.
  • W = the student has formally withdrawn from the course in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School.
  • S = satisfactory work in a seminar or colloquium for which a specific grade (A or B) little meaning. This grade is not used in this Department except as a grade for certain examinations. No more than 6 hours graded S are allowed to count towards the graduate degree.

The research course PHSX 800 is graded as follows:

  • The instructor may assign, each semester, a grade of A,B,C,D,F, or W with the same definitions as above. I is not a valid grade for research.
  • Another option is to assign, each semester, P, which means participation, with evaluation pending. 

Research courses (899 and 999) are graded as follows:

  • The instructor may assign, each semester, a grade of SP, LP, or NP. The definitions established by the graduate studies grading policy follows.
    • This grading scale is established in USRR 2.2.5. It evaluates a student's work as demonstrating satisfactory progress (SP), limited progress (LP), or no progress (NP). It is appropriate only in designated thesis, dissertation, and approved thesis- and dissertation-equivalent enrollments.
    • For departments that use this scale, a grade of SP must be assigned for a student's final semester of enrollment in thesis, dissertation, or approved thesis- or dissertation-equivalent course work. The SP indicates that the final product was of satisfactory quality to earn the degree.

The MS exam, comprehensive oral examination and the final exams for Ph.D. are evaluated as follows:

  • H = honors, the highest grade
  • S = satisfactory, a passing grade
  • U = unsatisfactory, a failing grade

Faculty members may assign + or - signs to grades for use within the Department. They are normally reported to students by their advisors.

Course work should average better than a B. Supplementary + and - signs are ignored in computing this average. Upon falling below a cumulative graduate grade point average of B, the student shall be placed on probation and dismissal from the graduate program may be recommended.

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