By accepting admission, the student assumes responsibility for knowing and complying with the regulations and procedures set forth by the University.
Applicants admitted on the basis of an expected baccalaureate or graduate degree must have completed all requirements for that degree prior to the start of classes. University of Connecticut seniors entering a graduate program must have completed the baccalaureate prior to the start of classes. Otherwise, they must continue to register as undergraduates, even though admitted to The Graduate School and registering for graduate courses. In addition, except under unusual circumstances or when conducting off-campus research or holding an off-campus internship or fellowship, students enrolled in on-campus programs must arrive on campus on or before the first day of classes in each academic term in which they are enrolled.
Graduate students may enroll in up to 20 credits per semester. The specific number of credits and choice of courses for which a student registers is a matter to be discussed by the student and the major advisor. If a student has extenuating circumstances that require the student to take more than 20 credits, the major advisor must send a written request to The Graduate School for approval. In addition to courses offered within specific subject areas, a student’s credit load may include GRAD 5950 (Master’s Thesis Research), GRAD 6950 (Doctoral Dissertation Research), and other equivalent research courses defined by The Graduate School, as well as seminar and other “colloquium” courses that are not part of the plan of study.
Full-time vs. Part-time Status
A student may be classified as a full-time student in one of three ways: (1) enroll in nine or more credits (coursework or research); (2) enroll in six or more credits while holding a graduate assistantship; or (3) enroll in one of the following four special purpose three-credit courses: GRAD 5960 (Full-Time Master’s Research), GRAD 6960 (Full-Time Doctoral Research), GRAD 5930 (Master’s Level Directed Studies), and GRAD 6930 (Doctoral Level Directed Studies). The former two courses may be taken by students who have completed all requirements for the respective degree except the research component and who have no other obligations at the University (i.e., no other coursework and no graduate assistantship). The latter two courses denote a full-time, off-campus directed project, such as an internship, field work, or other special activity.
Students holding graduate assistantships must register for six or more credits per semester. Such students are considered to be full-time students. Students in GRAD 5930 or 6930 may hold graduate assistantships if those assistantships are in direct support of their studies. Such an assistantship may not be a standard teaching assistantship.
A part-time course credit load is between 1 and 8.99 credits. To be classified as three-quarter time, the student’s credit load must be greater than six and less than nine credits per semester. To be classified as half time, the student’s credit load must be between 4.5 and 5.99 credits per semester. A credit load of fewer than 4.5 credits per semester is considered less than half time. For various reasons, the University may need to provide the institutional consideration of a “part-time” credit load. These criteria apply to all registered students at the University. Note that the Non-Credit Registration courses (GRAD 5997, 5998, 5999, 6998, and 6999) do not count toward the credit load requirement for half-time, three-quarter-time, or full-time enrollment status. Degree and certificate seeking students who do not need to be certified by the University as holding at least half-time enrollment status may use these courses to maintain registration.
Master’s, doctoral, and certificate students must begin their programs with coursework and must maintain registration in each semester thereafter (except summer sessions) until all requirements for the degree have been completed. Registration may be maintained either by taking coursework for credit or by registering for one of the five Non-Credit Registration courses.
Failure to maintain registration during the spring and fall semesters results in the student’s inactivation. Reinstatement is possible (although not guaranteed) within a year of last registration and payment of a reinstatement fee. Students who do not register for longer than a year will be required to reapply for admission. A letter from the major advisor justifying the use of previous coursework to satisfy current degree requirements is required to count previous coursework towards the new enrollment.
Registration is not required during the summer or for the semester during the first 10 class days of which the student completes all requirements for a degree (if it is the only degree the student is pursuing). Note, however, that to receive most forms of summer financial aid for study or research, a student must register for either five credits of coursework or one of the full-time research courses (GRAD 5960: Full-Time Master’s Research or GRAD 6960: Full-Time Doctoral Research).
Both new and continuing students should make appointments with their major advisors to determine the courses in which they plan to enroll. Courses selected shall be consistent with the student’s objectives and related to the program in which the student is enrolled.
Dates for registration are published in the Academic Calendar. Whenever possible, all students in degree or certificate programs must register for courses using the Student Administration System and pay all tuition and fees either through the Office of the Bursar’s or online using the Student Administration System. Non-degree students must register through the Office of the Registrar at the Non-Degree and Visiting Students Services website. Students encountering problems during registration (including enrollment in restricted courses) should contact the Office of the Registrar.
Students who do not wish to register for a course for credit may be permitted to register as auditors under the following conditions: (1) they pay the appropriate tuition and fees for the course; (2) they obtain the consent of the instructor; (3) they audit only courses for which there are adequate classroom or laboratory facilities; and (4) in the case of students in degree programs, they obtain consent from their major advisors. All permissions and registrations for auditing courses must be filed in the Office of the Registrar. Courses audited are entered on the student’s permanent record, but such courses cannot be used to fulfill requirements for a graduate degree or certificate at the University.
The privileges of an auditor in a course are limited specifically to attending and listening. Auditors must attend class regularly. The auditor assumes no obligation to do any of the work required of the course and is not expected to take any of the instructor’s time. In addition, the auditor does not submit any work and is neither eligible to take any tests or examinations nor able to receive grades on all or any part of the course.
Students should not “sit-in” on classes for which they do not register as auditors. No audit enrollment request will be approved after the eleventh week of the semester.
A student may repeat a course, including a course that they have previously audited for credit or converted to pass/fail, once in order to earn a higher grade. However, a student must have major advisor permission to repeat a course that is listed as a prerequisite or corequisite for any course that the student has passed. For example, a student who received a “C” in ACCT 5121 and subsequently passed ACCT 5122 may not retake ACCT 5121 without permission.
When a student repeats a course, credit shall be allowed only once, i.e., no student shall receive credit for the same course twice, unless repeating the course is specifically authorized in the Graduate Catalog, as in a variable content course. Courses with the same number that cover the same course content cannot be counted more than once for credit. The parenthetical phrases (“Formerly offered as…”) and (“Also offered as…”) included in a course description as a cross reference indicate that a student may not receive credit for both the course and the cross-referenced course.
In the computation of the grade point average, the registered credit and grade points for the highest grade shall be included in the GPA calculation. The grade for the lower grade will remain on the transcript, but will be removed from the GPA calculation.
The student should note that repeating a course that was previously passed can have negative consequences. For example, repeating a previously passed course may have an effect on financial aid. Students considering repeating previously passed courses should consult their advisors and Student Financial Aid Services staff. When a student repeats a course after receiving a degree, the student’s transcript will indicate a grade, but no registered credit, for the repeated course. The grade and registered credit recorded for the course prior to receipt of the degree will continue to be included in the GPA and credit calculations.
Students who are not registered for courses for credit may maintain registration by registering for one of the following five non-credit courses: Continuous Registration at the certificate (GRAD 5997), master’s (GRAD 5998), or doctoral (GRAD 6998) level; Thesis Preparation at the master’s level (GRAD 5999); and Dissertation Preparation (GRAD 6999). Other zero-credit courses may be substituted, if appropriate. Any currently matriculated student taking coursework at another institution, either for transfer to a University of Connecticut graduate degree program or for any other reason, must enroll in one of these courses. The implications of enrollment in non-credit registration rather than credit courses are addressed in the “Credit Loads” section above. Note that, per U.S. immigration regulations, students with F-1 and J-1 status are permitted to register for zero credits only in their final semester of degree study. Non-credit registration is granted with the consent of the student’s major advisor and the student’s international advisor. International students should consult with the office of International Student and Scholar Services prior to registering for non-credit courses. Non-credit registration requires payment of the associated University fees. Students may not add non-credit registration after the first day of classes if they were previously enrolled and attended any credit-bearing courses.
Graduate Schedule Revisions
Students may add courses during the first 10 days of classes without special permissions. However, after the beginning of a semester or summer session, a student may not add a course if the instructor feels that the elapsed time might preclude its successful completion. In exceptional cases only, a student may add a semester course after the tenth day of classes with the consent of the student’s advisor, the course instructor, and the head of the department or program offering the course. After the fourth week, the permission of the Dean of The Graduate School or the Dean’s designee is also required for adding classes. For degree and certificate seeking students, courses added after the tenth day of a semester or after the fifth day of a summer session term must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar on a Student Enrollment Request form. Note that section changes require the same authorization as other add/drop transactions.
Course seats are non-transferable. Students cannot transfer/sell their course seat(s) to any other student.
|Semester Period||Permissions Required to Add a Class|
|First and second weeks of classes||None|
|Third and fourth weeks of classes||Advisor, Instructor, and Department Head offering the course.|
|After the fourth week||All of the above and the Dean of The Graduate School.|
During the first eleven weeks of a semester or prior to the midpoint of a summer session course, a student may drop a course by the following procedure. Students registered directly by the Office of the Registrar at Storrs must file a properly completed Student Enrollment Request form with the Office of the Registrar. This form is available on the Office of the Registrar website at registrar.uconn.edu/forms. Non-degree students register and drop courses through the Office of the Registrar at nondegree.uconn.edu. Non-degree students who wish to withdraw from a graduate-level course after the semester has begun must initiate a Voluntary Separation Notification form.
After the first eleven weeks of a semester or the midpoint of a summer session course, students ordinarily are not allowed to drop a course. If, however, a student must drop a course because of illness or other compelling reason beyond the student’s control, the student must request special permission as early as possible and well before the last day of classes. Permission to drop a course or to change from participant to auditor is granted only for good cause. All students must obtain permission from The Graduate School. Permission is granted only on the written recommendation of the major advisor or program director, which must be convincing and sufficiently specific regarding reasons beyond the control of the student. The recommendation should be accompanied by a properly completed and signed Late Drop Petition form for the course(s) to be dropped. Under no circumstances is a student at any location or in any program permitted to drop a course after the course has been completed with a permanent grade posted.
No grade is recorded for courses officially dropped. However, when a student drops a course after the tenth day of the semester or after the first week of a summer session course, the course will remain on the student’s transcript with a mark of “W” recorded in the grade column to signify withdrawal.
Note that discontinuance of attendance or notice to an instructor or to an advisor does not constitute cancellation of course registration and may result in a failing grade on the student’s permanent record. Before terminating class attendance, the student should ensure that the course has been dropped officially. Until this has been done, the student is obligated to complete all work. In addition, dropping a course does not automatically remove the course from a plan of study, nor does approved deletion of a course from a plan of study cause registration in the course to be dropped. The procedures are separate and unrelated.
|Semester Period||Permissions Required to Drop a Single Course|
|First and second weeks of classes||None (The course will not appear on the student’s transcript).|
|Third through eleventh weeks of classes||Advisor (The course will appear on the student’s transcript with a “W” grade).|
|After the eleventh week||Dean of The Graduate School; exceptions made only for extenuating circumstances (The course will appear on the student’s transcript with a “W” grade).|
The general policies and procedures regarding dropping a course described above apply to dropping all courses, whether the student wishes to remain active in the program or to withdraw permanently from it. Permission from The Graduate School is required for the student either to remain active in the program or to leave in good standing. There are no bill adjustments unless all courses are dropped for the term and in such circumstances, the University’s Withdrawal Tuition and Fee Adjustment Schedule will apply.
Course Credit and Grades
Any student who is regularly registered for a course and who satisfies the course requirements shall receive credit for that course. A student is regularly registered for a course only if that student has conformed to all university or college regulations or requirements when applying to register. Note that course credit by examination is not allowed as a means of accumulating credits to meet the requirements for advanced degrees.
Instructors are required to file grades with the Office of the Registrar for all credit-bearing courses taken by a student. Although instructors are free to set the standard of performance expected in their courses, the uniform scale below is published to encourage general agreement on the meaning of grades. Students are required to maintain in their course program at least a “B” (3.0) average, for which a grade point average will be computed using the chart below.
Instructors grade graduate courses based on the following letter and point system.
|Explanation||Final Grades||Grade Points|
Below Expected Standard
|Satisfactory (Good Quality)||S||N/A|
Final grades of “S” (Satisfactory) or “U” (Unsatisfactory) are associated only with certain courses designated as such by the Executive Committee of The Graduate School. An “S” is a passing grade and is not computed into the student’s grade point average. A “U” is viewed as a failing grade and is grounds for academic dismissal. For more information, refer to the Termination of Status and Academic Dismissal section.
With permission of their major advisor, graduate students may convert any course, undergraduate or graduate, to a Pass/Fail basis. A course that has been converted to a Pass/Fail cannot be used to meet the requirements for a graduate degree or certificate and cannot be included on a student’s final Plan of Study. For graduate students converting a course to Pass/Fail, a passing grade is defined as a grade of C- or higher. Students who are selecting a course for the Pass/Fail option or want to convert a Pass/Fail back to a graded basis must do so by the eleventh week of the semester. For courses taught outside of the fall and spring semesters, these deadlines will be adjusted in a pro-rated fashion by the Registrar.
The grades “R,” “T,” and “W” on a transcript signify the following:
|R||Administrative symbol signifying that a student is registered. Any zero-credit course (e.g., GRAD 5997, 5998, 5999, 6998, or 6999) for which a student registers appears on the permanent academic record with the letter “R” as the grade.|
|T||Course credit has been accepted in transfer from another institution.|
|W||Withdrawal from a course after either the 10th day of a semester course or the first week of a summer session course. Except in extraordinary cases where academic factors or extreme or unusual circumstances warrant it, this mark is not deleted from the permanent academic record.|
Note that an official transcript of an individual’s graduate academic career includes grade point average calculations based on all coursework completed during the student’s graduate career (including any 1000-level courses). Plus and minus values that are assigned to grades are entered on the permanent record and are computed into the student’s grade point average. However, neither credits completed elsewhere and accepted in transfer by The Graduate School nor S/U or P/F grades affect the student’s University of Connecticut grade point average in any way.
Temporary grades signify that credit has not been earned in that course and may subject the student to scholastic probation or dismissal. Temporary grades shall not prevent the calculation of either the semester or the cumulative grade point average.
An instructor may assign one of the following temporary grades for a course when student work is not completed within the semester.
|Temporary Grade||Conditions for Assigning a Temporary Grade|
No basis for grade
|A student has completed few or no assessments and no make-up schedule has been agreed upon with the instructor; the instructor has no basis for a grade.|
|A student has not completed all of the assessments but work completed is of passing quality and a make-up schedule has been agreed upon with the instructor.|
Final assessment absence
|A student did not submit a final assessment and might by means of a satisfactory performance on the assessment complete the course with a passing grade. If in the opinion of the instructor such a student would fail the course regardless of the result of the assessment, the student shall be given a grade of “F.”|
If all work required to change a mark of “I” or “X” is not submitted to the Office of the Registrar within 12 months following the end of the semester or session for which the mark was recorded, or within a shorter period of time specifically designated by the instructor, no credit is allowed for the course. For grades of “I,” it is the student’s responsibility to reach and to maintain an understanding with the instructor concerning the timely completion of the work. For grades of “X,” it is the student’s responsibility to seek the required permission to submit the final assessment (e.g., take the final examination) from the instructor as soon as possible.
Upon the recommendation of the instructor to The Graduate School, a limited extension of an incomplete may be granted. The Graduate School is not obligated to approve an extension if the instructor of the course is no longer at the University of Connecticut. If more than three courses have been left incomplete, the student may be required to complete those still viable before being allowed to register for additional coursework. Failure to make satisfactory academic progress may be grounds for the student’s termination or dismissal. An employment authorization for a graduate assistantship appointment may not be approved for a student who has four or more viable incomplete courses on their academic record.
For further information, the reader is referred to the document “Key to the Transcript,” available from the Office of the Registrar.
Changes of Course Grades
Grades are part of the student’s permanent record. They should never be changed for reasons unrelated to course requirements or quality of work. Once the grade in the course has been submitted, an instructor may neither accept additional work nor give additional examinations.
Instructors should recalculate and, if warranted, change grades only for the following reasons: a computational error, clerical error, or the discovery of overlooked components in a student’s body of work. In cases when the instructor concludes that a course grade ought to be changed, the instructor determines a corrected grade and initiates the grade change process. The head of the department or program offering the course and the dean of the school or college in which the course was taught will be notified of a grade change to ensure consistency.
Appeals of Assigned Course Grades
The Graduate School follows the grade appeal process adopted by the University Senate. Under that process, if a student believes that an assigned course grade is in error, the student has 10 working days from the posting of the grade or the last day grades are to be posted, whichever is later, to ask the instructor to review the grade. Allowable reasons for a grade change request comprise computational errors, clerical errors, and the discovery of overlooked components in a student’s body of work.
If the instructor does not respond to the student within five working days (or sooner if extenuating circumstances merit a more expedited review), the student should contact the department head in which the course is offered.
If the instructor agrees that a grade change is justified, the instructor will initiate the grade change using procedures described by the Registrar.
If the instructor notifies the student that the original grade is correct, the student has 10 working days to appeal the decision to the head of the department in which the course is offered. The department head will seek input from the instructor and the student to determine the merits of the grade appeal and provide a decision within 10 working days from date of the appeal.
If, after this review, the instructor and the department head agree that a grade change is justified, the instructor will initiate the grade change according to the procedures described by the registrar.
If the instructor and the department agree that a grade change is not justified, the department head shall notify the student in writing with a copy to the instructor. If the student is dissatisfied with the appeal decision, the student has 10 working days to request, through the dean of the school or college in which the course is taught, a review by the Faculty Grade Change Review Committee Panel (see below).
If the department head thinks that a grade change is justified but the instructor does not agree, the department head shall request, within 10 working days, through the dean of the school or college in which the course is taught, a review by that school/college’s Faculty Grade Change Review Committee (FGCRC).
If, due to exigency, a grade appeal must be resolved and the standing FGCRC is not available, the dean or the dean’s designee of the school or college will convene an ad hoc FGCRC of three full-time faculty members to hear the appeal.
The FGCRC should perform an administrative review to determine if there are sufficient grounds to proceed with an appeal hearing. If so, the FGCRC shall schedule a hearing within 10 working days of notification of a case. Both the student appealing the grade and the course instructor must be present, either in person or via electronic communication, at the hearing. The student will speak first and state the grounds for the grade appeal, followed by the instructor’s response. Both parties must present supporting evidence related to the grade appeal and may request testimony of others. The FGCRC may request input from the department head.
If the FGCRC agrees (by a majority vote) that a grade change is warranted, the FGCRC chair will send a grade change notification to the registrar. If, however, the FGCRC does not agree that a grade change is warranted, the instructor’s grade stands. The FGCRC’s decision shall be considered final. The FGCRC will send a written report of the decision to the instructor, the student, the department head, and the dean of the school or college offering the course within 10 days of the decision.
The general academic standards and degree requirements of The Graduate School described here apply to all students enrolled in degree and certificate programs. Some programs have additional requirements that are more detailed or tailored to the needs of the specific program. Students should acquaint themselves with all of the standards and requirements for their program, as specified in both this catalog and the relevant graduate program handbooks. Undergraduate and non-degree students taking a graduate course should consult the appropriate catalog for regulations that apply to them.
The advisory committee continually evaluates the student’s performance. Any graduate student whose scholastic record does not meet the minimum requirements of the program and/or The Graduate School may be subject to dismissal.
Maintenance of good academic standing in The Graduate School requires a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher at all times while enrolled in a graduate program. Whenever a student’s cumulative average falls below 3.0, the student’s performance is to be reviewed by the student’s advisory committee to determine whether or not the student shall be permitted to continue graduate study. Conferral of a degree or certificate requires that the student have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 for all courses listed on the final plan of study or advisement report.
The following grades are considered to be below the standard expected for graduate work:
- All “C” Grades, if directly within the student’s field of study. A “C” grade (including a “C+” or “C-”) may be considered acceptable if it is in a course in a supporting area that may be of benefit to the student and where the normal higher grade standard might discourage inclusion of that coursework in the student’s program. Such work shall be identified on the plan of study.
- All “D” Grades. A course in which a student received a “D” grade may not be included (or remain) on the student’s plan of study and the student’s eligibility to continue in the degree program is reviewed by the student’s advisory committee.
- Letters “F” and “U”: These grades necessitate a recommendation by the advisory committee to The Graduate School as to whether or not the student shall be permitted to continue graduate study.
A certificate from the University of Connecticut provides post-baccalaureate students with critical knowledge in a specific field or niche. A certificate is not a degree. Rather, it is a focused set of courses that, when completed, demonstrates competence in a coherent academic specialty.
Students are awarded certificates based upon completion of a well-defined program of coursework. A certificate can be earned either as a “stand-alone” certificate (without simultaneous enrollment in a degree program) or while simultaneously pursuing a graduate degree.
The University of Connecticut offers several types of certificate programs: graduate certificates, post-master’s/sixth year certificates, and post-baccalaureate certificates. Post-master’s/sixth year certificates that require 30 or more credits for completion follow rules and requirements that are similar to those of an equivalent master’s degree (if one exists). Most other certificates require fewer than 30 credits (typically 12-15 credits). In a small number of cases where detailed justification has been provided, a certificate program may require as few as nine credits.
Graduate certificate programs consist entirely of graduate courses (those numbered 5000 or above). Post-baccalaureate certificate programs consist either entirely of undergraduate courses (those numbered 1000-4999) or of a mixture of undergraduate and graduate courses.
UConn’s certificate programs may be offered face-to-face, entirely online, or in a blended/hybrid format. Information about certificates that involve a substantial online component is available through UConn Online. Detailed information concerning criteria and procedures may be obtained from certificate program coordinators.
A student may enroll in a certificate program on either a part-time or a full-time basis. If pursued on a full-time basis, many certificates can be completed in a single year. Students must complete the requirements for the certificate within three years of initial enrollment, or, for students who enroll in the certificate program while they are also pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Connecticut, within one year of either (1) the time the degree is awarded, or (2) the time allowed to complete that degree, if the student does not complete the degree within that time-frame. In all cases, with the approval of the Executive Committee of The Graduate School, programs can specify shorter time limits for completion of certificate programs. All coursework on the plan of study for the certificate must be within these time limits.
To be awarded a certificate, a student must satisfactorily complete the required credits with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Advanced coursework taken as a non-degree student or an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut may account for up to six of the course credits required for completion of the certificate, provided the grades earned in such coursework are within the time limit for completion of the certificate program requirements. These credits can include up to six credits used to meet the student’s undergraduate degree requirements, provided the courses are graduate-level courses required for that certificate program or the courses have been approved for credit sharing for that program by the Executive Committee of The Graduate School. Non-degree coursework may be included on the plan of study only with the consent of the advisor. Credits earned at other institutions may not be used on a certificate’s plan of study. Post-master’s/sixth year certificate students refer to the Use of Transfer Credits from Other Institutions section.
Admission to a certificate program does not guarantee admission to a related degree program. However if a student earns a certificate and is currently pursuing or subsequently admitted to a related graduate degree program, all credits from the certificate may be counted toward the graduate degree, subject to the approval of the student’s advisory committee in the degree program and the director of the certificate program. The terminal date associated with the degree will be determined using the date of the first certificate class as the initial date of enrollment for the degree. Students should contact graduate program coordinators to determine whether credits earned as part of a certificate program satisfy degree requirements of any particular degree program.
In addition, in certain cases where the appropriate programs have obtained specific prior approval, one three-credit course may be used simultaneously to satisfy course requirements in two different certificate programs.
Graduate Degree Programs: General Requirements
Students are expected to register for coursework with reasonable regularity and to complete all requirements for the degree within a moderate span of time to assure continuity and adequate familiarity with developments in the field of study.
Ordinarily, if pursued on a full-time basis, the master’s degree can be completed within two years. All work for the master’s degree must be completed within six years from the beginning of the student’s matriculation in the degree program. Work for a doctoral degree can ordinarily be completed within five years, and must be completed within eight years of the beginning of the student’s matriculation. Failure to complete the work within the specified time limit or failure to maintain registration will require re-evaluation of the entire program and may result in a notice of termination.
An extension of the student’s terminal date is considered only when there is substantial evidence that the student has made regular and consistent progress toward completion of program requirements. A detailed recommendation to extend the terminal date must be signed by the major advisor and submitted to the Dean of The Graduate School for approval no later than one month before the student’s current terminal date.
Plans of Study
To become a candidate for a graduate degree, the student must have a plan of study or advisement report that has been approved by their advisory committee or major advisor as appropriate for the degree program. Certain master’s degree programs submit advisement reports for individual students at the conclusion of master’s study rather than a plan of study. Advisement reports require the approval of the major advisor or program director. Successful completion (with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher) of all work indicated on the approved plan of study or advisement report is a fundamental prerequisite to the conferral of the degree. In addition, except when a waiver is explicitly granted by the Dean of The Graduate School, all coursework (including coursework taken prior to matriculation) that is included on a student’s final plan of study must be within the above time limits.
Plans of study for master’s and doctoral degree programs must be prepared and signed by the student and the members of the advisory committee. The advisory committee may require that the student take an exploratory examination to guide the committee in formulating the plan of study. Before drawing up and approving the plan of study, the major advisor should have on file and should consult for guidance a set of transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work the student has taken.
The plan of study shall consist largely of courses at the 5000 level or above. A limited number of credits at the 3000 or 4000 level (not more than six) may be included on a graduate degree plan of study. However, courses in the subject area UNIV cannot be used on a graduate plan of study.
In addition, the plan of study for a Plan A masters student must include nine credits of GRAD 5950 (Master’s Thesis Research) or GRAD 5960 (Full-Time Master’s Research). Similarly, the plan of study for a Ph.D. degree must include at least 15 credits and the Ed.D. degree must include at least nine credits of GRAD 6950 (Doctoral Dissertation Research) or GRAD 6960 (Full-Time Doctoral Research). Note that course credit by examination is not allowed as a means of accumulating credits to meet the requirements for advanced degrees.
Approved plans of study for master’s degree programs must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar no later than the beginning of the student’s final semester. Approved doctoral plans of study must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar no later than when 18 credits of coursework have been completed. Failure to present the plan of study on time may prolong the period of study for the degree. Master’s students may not take the final examination and doctoral students may not take the general examination before the plan of study has been approved. If an approved master’s or doctoral plan of study has been submitted to the Office of the Registrar and a change is needed, an email outlining the changes and including the major advisor’s approval should be sent to Degree Audit.
Use of Undergraduate/Non-degree Credits and Credit Sharing
Except in the case of officially approved dual degree programs or as explicitly allowed herein, credits on the plan of study or advisement report cannot have not been applied toward any other degree, at the University of Connecticut or elsewhere (already completed or to be completed in the future), including undergraduate degrees.
However, up to 12 credits of advanced coursework taken while a student is either an undergraduate or a non-degree student at the University may be included on a master’s or doctoral plan of study or advisement report, provided such coursework is within the time limit for completion of the degree requirements. Inclusion of non-degree coursework on the plan of study requires the consent of the advisory committee. These 12 credits can include graduate coursework used to meet the student’s undergraduate degree requirements at the University of Connecticut, provided (1) the courses are required courses for the graduate degree program (i.e., they are not electives), or (2) the courses have been approved for credit sharing for that graduate degree program by the Executive Committee of The Graduate School. Required courses include graduate courses that meet one of the following criteria: (1) the course is identified by course number as required of all students in the program, (2) the course is one of a limited number of courses (identified by course numbers) that can be used to meet a specific stated competency requirement for that program (e.g., a statistics requirement), or (3) for fields of study that fall entirely within a single academic department, the course satisfies a requirement that a student in that field of study take a specified number of credits of graduate coursework within that department.
Use of Transfer Credits from Other Institutions
A limited number of credits (up to 25 percent of the total credits required for a master’s degree program and up to 30 credits for a doctoral degree) of letter-graded graduate level academic work completed at other accredited institutions may be accepted in transfer and included on a plan of study provided the following conditions are met: (1) the major advisor indicates approval of the transfer of credit(s) by signing the plan of study and the Transfer Credit Request form as appropriate for the degree program; (2) the course is at a level appropriate for the student’s graduate degree; (3) such coursework is within the time limit for completion of the degree requirements; and (4) the grade earned in the course is “B-” or higher. In addition, any credits transferred to a graduate degree program at the University of Connecticut must not have been or be used toward a degree elsewhere (already completed or to be completed in the future).
Certificate students may not use courses completed at other institutions to satisfy requirements for a University of Connecticut certificate program. However post-master’s/sixth year certificates that require 30 or more credits for completion follow the rules for transfer credits if there is an “equivalent master’s degree.” An equivalent master’s degree is one that has the same name and substantially similar requirements as the post-master’s/sixth year certificates.
Official transcripts of any coursework to be transferred must be on file with the University. Once the approved plan of study is submitted to the Office of the Registrar and official transcripts indicating satisfactory completion of the coursework to be transferred are received, the transfer of credit is noted on the student’s permanent University of Connecticut academic record.
Graduate Degree Programs: Master’s Degrees
Master’s degree programs are offered in a broad range of fields throughout the University. A master’s degree program represents the equivalent of at least one year of full-time study beyond the baccalaureate level (or its equivalent).
More than one master’s degree may not be awarded at this institution to an individual student unless the degree titles are different or unless the degrees are earned in substantially different fields of study.
Thesis and Non-Thesis Master’s Degrees
The Graduate School requires a minimum of 30 credits for a master’s degree, though some programs may require more.
Master’s degrees may be earned under either of two plans, as determined by the advisory committee. The Thesis plan (Plan A) emphasizes research activities while the Non-Thesis plan (Plan B) requires comprehensive understanding of a more general character. The Thesis plan requires no fewer than 21 credits of advanced coursework and no fewer than nine additional credits of master’s level thesis research (GRAD 5950 or 5960), as well as the writing and oral defense of a thesis. The Non-Thesis plan requires no fewer than 30 credits of advanced coursework. In addition, some programs require a comprehensive final examination. Advisory committees may also require the student to take other courses with or without graduate credit, depending on the student’s objectives and previous preparation.
Students admitted to study for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy may earn a Master of Arts or Master of Science degree in the same or another field of study, under either the Thesis (Plan A) or the Non-Thesis Plan (Plan B) option by meeting all of the requirements for that degree, including filing a Master’s Plan of Study for the degree that is based on courses that are not used on the student’s Ph.D. Plan of Study.
Students may also apply for a Plan B master’s degree in their Ph.D. field of study (if one is offered) if they meet all of the following requirements: (1) they have completed at least 30 credits of content coursework (i.e., any coursework other than GRAD 5950/5960 or GRAD 6950/6960) from a fully approved Ph.D. Plan of Study with no more than six credits being transfer credits from another university, (2) they have passed either a master’s final examination or a doctoral General Exam in that field of study, and (3) they have been recommended by their major advisor or by the Dean of The Graduate School for award of the master’s degree in that field of study. In this case, the courses used toward the master’s degree can also be used on the student’s Ph.D. Plan of Study.
For students following a Thesis plan, the advisory committee must approve the topic and scope of the thesis and, upon its completion, ascertain that it represents an independent investigation of a significant topic and is an important contribution to ongoing research in the candidate’s field. The thesis must be acceptable in literary style and organization. The advisory committee indicates its approval of the thesis and satisfactory oral defense by completing and signing the Report on the Final Examination form (see below).
The thesis must be dated as of the calendar year in which all requirements for the degree are completed. The Graduate School requires the electronic submission of the thesis through Submittable, a University repository for public access. The final copy must meet all specifications outlined on the Office of the Registrar’s website. It is the student’s ultimate responsibility to be certain that the thesis conforms to the required specifications.
No restrictions that limit or delay the accessibility, use, or distribution of the results of a master’s student’s research are acceptable if such delays are inconsistent with an embargo period requested by the student or if they interfere with the timely completion of a student’s academic program.
Master’s Final Examination
Fields of study may require that candidates complete a final examination as part of a master’s degree. If a final examination is required, it must be completed no later than one year after completion of coursework or the thesis. The student may not take the final examination before Regular Status has been granted. The examination must be completed by the published deadlines for the appropriate conferral period for the degree to be granted with that conferral date.
The contents of the final examination are under the jurisdiction of the advisory committee. The advisory committee has discretion to determine whether the examination shall be written, oral, or both. Invitation to participate in an oral examination is issued by the advisory committee, although other members of the faculty may attend. Under the Thesis plan, the examination may center on the candidate’s research and its relation to the field of study as a whole, but may have a wider scope. Under the Non-Thesis plan, the examination shall be comprehensive and designed to assess the candidate’s mastery of the field and ability to integrate the knowledge acquired.
The decision as to whether a student has passed or failed the examination rests solely with the advisory committee, which shall take into account the opinions of other participating faculty members. The vote of the advisory committee must be unanimous. After the examination, the major advisor shall communicate the results to the student. In addition, the Report on the Final Examination, indicating the result of the examination and the names of all faculty members participating, must be signed by the members of the advisory committee and submitted to the Office of the Registrar.
If the student has failed the examination or if the advisory committee considers the result of the examination inconclusive, the committee has the option of requiring the student to retake it. In such cases, the recommendation must reach the Office of the Registrar promptly, and any re-examination must take place within 12 months from the date of the original examination.
Graduate Degree Programs: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree
The Ph.D. is the highest degree offered by the University. The program leading to its attainment is intended to give persons of outstanding ability the opportunity to become creative contributors in a scholarly field. Award of the degree testifies to broad mastery of an established subject area, acquisition of acceptable research skills, and a concentration of knowledge in a specific field. An individual may not earn more than one Ph.D. degree in a single field of study at this institution.
To earn a Ph.D., The Graduate School requires a minimum of at least 30 credits of content coursework beyond the baccalaureate (or its equivalent) or at least 15 credits of content coursework beyond the master’s degree or other advanced degree in the same or a closely-related field of study (exclusive of any required Related Area). Content coursework is defined as any coursework other than GRAD 5950/5960 and GRAD 6950/6960. Ph.D. students must also take at least 15 credits of GRAD 6950 (Doctoral Dissertation Research) or GRAD 6960 (Full-Time Doctoral Research). Some programs may also require Ph.D. students to fulfill a Foreign Language(s) or Related Area requirement.
Although certain minimum requirements are set by The Graduate School, it is important for students to realize that work toward this degree is not merely a matter of accumulating course credits or of satisfying other requirements.
The degree will be conferred only after the advisory committee has determined that the student has met the standard of independence of judgment and mature scholarship in the chosen field. The advisory committee has the flexibility to determine what is needed to meet this standard, provided (1) the standard meets the relevant minimum Graduate School requirements set forth in the Graduate Faculty Council by-laws and the program requirements set forth in the graduate catalog, (2) the standard is clearly articulated to the student prior to filing of the dissertation proposal, and (3) the standard is applied in an equitable and non-discriminatory way.
Ph.D. General Examination
All Ph.D. students are required to pass a Ph.D. General Examination. A student is examined in the several facets of their field of study, not merely in the particular area of concentration. The examination may be written, oral, or both. Advisory or examining committees may give a series of cumulative examinations, to be taken at intervals over the student’s period of study. For practical purposes, the final part of such a series shall be regarded as “the General Examination.” The General Examination usually is undertaken when the student has completed at least 75 percent of the content coursework listed on the approved Plan of Study.
Normally, the General Examination is under the jurisdiction of the student’s advisory committee. In this case, the final decision as to whether or not the student has passed the examination shall rest solely with the advisory committee. However, the members of the Graduate Faculty in a student’s field of study can vote to assign authority to conduct and determine the outcome for all or part of the examination to a differently constituted examining committee. If a field of study has voted to assign authority over the General Examination to a different committee, the final decision as to whether or not the student passed the examination rests with that committee. In either case, a minimum of five faculty members must participate in the General Examination.
After the examination, the Report on the General Examination, indicating the result of the entire examination and the names of all faculty members participating, must be signed by the members of the advisory committee and submitted to the Office of the Registrar no later than the date of the submission of the approved Dissertation Proposal.
The Dissertation Proposal is to be prepared in consultation with the members of the advisory committee before the research is well underway. When the Dissertation Proposal has been completed and signed by the student and also has been approved by the members of the advisory committee, the proposal then is submitted to the head of the student’s department or program. The department or program head appoints reviewers from outside the advisory committee to conduct a critical evaluation of the Dissertation Proposal. The use of at least one reviewer from outside the University is encouraged. Reviewers may be appointed to evaluate an individual student’s proposal, or they may be appointed to a committee responsible for reviewing all proposals in a particular field of study or group of related fields of study. The evaluation may take the form of a reading of the proposal or attendance at an oral presentation and discussion of the proposal.
Dissertation Proposals are reviewed with the following questions in mind:
- Is the proposal well written, well organized, and well argued?
- Does the proposal describe a project of appropriate scope?
- Does the student demonstrate knowledge of the subject and an understanding of the proposed method of investigation?
- Does the student show awareness of the relevant research by others?
- Does the student consider how the proposed investigation, if successful, will contribute to knowledge?
The department or program head’s signature on the proposal when the review is completed confirms that the student has passed the proposal defense. The Dissertation Proposal, bearing the signatures of the members of the student’s advisory committee as well as the signature of the department or program head verifying satisfactory review by two reviewers who are not members of the advisory committee (see the paragraph above), should be submitted to the Office of the Registrar by the time the student has completed the ninth credit of GRAD 6950 or 6960. In any event, the approved Dissertation Proposal must be on file in the Office of the Registrar before the public announcement of the oral defense of the dissertation. Approved Dissertation Proposals submitted to the Office of the Registrar will not be considered in good order without the inclusion of any required copyright, Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), human stem cell approval granted by the Stem Cell Research Oversight (SCRO) Committee, or other required approvals. Receipt by the Office of the Registrar of the approved Dissertation Proposal and any required approvals are a basic requirement for eligibility to schedule the oral defense of the dissertation and for conferral of the doctoral degree.
Candidacy, Dissertation Preparation, and Final Oral Defense
Upon approval of the plan of study, passing the General Examination, and approval of the Dissertation Proposal, the student becomes a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
A dissertation representing a significant contribution to ongoing research in the candidate’s field is a primary requirement for completion of the degree. The preparation of the dissertation is under the immediate and continuous supervision of the advisory committee, and it must meet all standards prescribed by the committee and by The Graduate School. It must be acceptable in literary style and organization. Although a dissertation should provide evidence of a student’s ability to make significant research contributions in their field, it may contain work done in collaboration with others (including other students), provided the student has played a major role in the work and subject to the approval of the advisory committee. Proper acknowledgment of authorship should be included in the dissertation. Specifications for its preparation may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar’s website. It is the student’s ultimate responsibility to be certain that the dissertation conforms to the required specifications.
The oral defense of the dissertation must be announced publicly by means of the University’s online Events Calendar at least two weeks prior to the date of the defense. Not fewer than five members of the faculty, including all members of the candidate’s advisory committee, must participate in the final examination, unless written approval for a lesser number has been secured in advance from the Dean of The Graduate School.
The decision regarding whether a candidate has passed, conditionally passed, or failed the dissertation defense rests solely with the advisory committee, which will take into account the opinions of other participating faculty members and other experts. The vote of the advisory committee must be unanimous. Following the dissertation defense, the major advisor communicates the results to the student and verifies that the official report has been completed and signed for submission to the Office of the Registrar (or to the UConn Health Center, if appropriate).
The abstract and dissertation must be dated as of the calendar year in which all requirements for the degree are completed, including submission of the dissertation. All members of the student’s advisory committee must approve the final version of the dissertation. The Graduate School requires the electronic submission of the dissertation through Submittable, a University repository for public access. The final copy must meet all specifications outlined on the Office of the Registrar’s website. No restrictions that limit or delay the accessibility, use, or distribution of the results of a doctoral student’s research are acceptable if such delays are inconsistent with an embargo period requested by the student or if they interfere with the timely completion of a student’s academic program.
Degree conferral requires that all requirements for the degree have been completed satisfactorily by the deadline specified in the Academic Calendar. Degrees are conferred three times each year: August, December, and May. However, graduate commencement ceremonies are only held once per year (in May). Students who qualify for degree conferral receive their diplomas by mail, normally within three months following conferral.
Application for the Degree
Formal application for a degree to be conferred must be filed online by the degree candidate using the Student Administration System within the first four weeks of the student’s final semester. This application may be withdrawn at any time by the applicant. Information and instructions can be found on the Office of the Registrar’s website under the section titled Graduation. If all required paperwork and submissions needed for conferral are not received by the Office of the Registrar by the deadlines published in the Academic Calendar, conferral is delayed to the next conferral period, even though all other degree requirements may have been completed on time.
Information concerning the commencement ceremony, including academic regalia and guest tickets, is made available by the mid-spring semester and can be found on the Commencement website.
Under compelling personal or medical reasons, a graduate student may request a leave of absence from their graduate program for a period of up to two semesters. The request for a leave of absence must be made using the Voluntary Separation Notification form on The Graduate School’s website.
The request requires approval from the student’s major advisor and the department or program head. The completed application is to be submitted to The Graduate School for review and approval at least thirty days before the leave of absence is to commence, or the earliest date possible in extenuating circumstances.
Information provided in the application for a leave of absence must address the specific reason(s) prompting the request. Examples could include, but are not limited to, physical and/or mental health issues, family leave and financial hardship. Students requesting a health-related leave of absence should not submit medical documentation to The Graduate School. In addition, consultation with university offices may be appropriate. For example, consultation related to assessment of the safety of the student’s work environment may be requested by contacting the Division of Environmental Health and Safety and accommodations and services for students with disabilities may be discussed with the Center for Students with Disabilities.
When students are on approved leaves of absence for the full duration of a fall or spring semester, they are not required to register for any credit or non-credit course. Requests submitted during an academic session will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine the most appropriate mechanism for recording the period of leave (e.g., requests made prior to the open enrollment closing date may be dated to cover the entire semester). An approved leave of absence indicates that the student status will be recorded as “inactive” for the duration of the requested period of leave, and as such, the student will not have access to university services as a graduate student. In addition, the terminal date (the date determined by The Graduate School by which all degree requirements must be completed) of any student granted a leave of absence will be extended by a period of time equivalent to the duration of the approved leave of absence. Thus, the period of the approved leave of absence will not be considered when calculating the time the student has spent working toward the completion of the degree. In contrast, a student who chooses to maintain Continuous Registration will maintain active status, which means the student will continue to pay associated fees and have access to university services as a graduate student, and the terminal date for degree requirements is not extended. Thus, the decision to choose a leave of absence versus Continuous Registration to maintain active status must be weighed accordingly. The information about refunds and cancellation of charges found in the Tuition and Fees section of the catalog applies to students taking an approved leave of absence.
International students are strongly encouraged to evaluate thoroughly the implications of any decisions on their student status. International students must obtain authorization from an international advisor at International Student and Scholar Services before any course is dropped. Failure to do so will be considered a status violation and will result in termination of the student’s SEVIS record. It is strongly recommended that students hold advisory meetings with international advisors if they are considering requesting leaves of absence.
The leave of absence can be extended up to a maximum of two additional semesters. The request must be resubmitted using the previously described procedures, and ultimately approved by The Graduate School. A leave of absence cannot exceed four semesters in duration. In cases in which a student needs leave for more than four semesters, the student must reapply for admission to The Graduate School with no assurance of acceptance.
Approval of a leave of absence does not assure or guarantee that a graduate program, an academic department, The Graduate School, or the University would be in a position to provide financial support or a graduate assistantship to the student upon the student’s return to studies following an approved leave of absence. Students returning to studies after a leave of absence must work with appropriate faculty advisors and program personnel to resume their degree programs.
Reinstatement from an approved leave of absence will occur at the beginning of the appropriate academic term. To request reinstatement from an approved leave of absence, the student should complete the Request for Reinstatement from Leave of Absence from Graduate Studies form on The Graduate School website and submit it to The Graduate School.
During a student’s degree program, certain circumstances may lead to termination of status or dismissal from The Graduate School.
Termination of Status
To remain in good standing, a student must at all times have a major advisor and be within the degree time limits for the degree the student is seeking. A student may be terminated for either of the following: (1) failure to have a major advisor, or (2) failure to complete degree requirements within the required time limit.
Once a student’s plan of study has been approved, the student at all times must have a duly constituted advisory committee, minimally including a major advisor. (Refer to the Advisory System section for additional information regarding the advisory committee.)
A graduate student and the major advisor must always be cognizant of the time limits associated with the student’s degree. Any request to extend the date by which requirements must be completed must be submitted in writing to The Graduate School using the Request for Extension of Terminal Date for Degree Requirements form, which must include an explanation and a written endorsement from the major advisor.
Extensions of the terminal date are granted by The Graduate School only on the basis of substantial evidence that the student is making consistent and satisfactory progress toward the completion of degree requirements and with certification by the major advisor that the student is likely to complete within the requested extension period. If an extension is granted, it establishes a new terminal degree date for the student.
Whenever a student’s graduate degree program status is terminated, the student receives notice from The Graduate School. The student may appeal the termination under the provisions outlined in the Complaint, Appeal, and Hearing Procedures. If the termination stems from resignation of an advisor and failure to identify a new advisor, the student can appeal only on the grounds that the department or program did not make reasonable efforts to find a new major advisor for the student.
A graduate student’s progress in a degree program must be monitored regularly by the student’s advisory committee. If at any time a student’s academic performance, progress in a graduate degree program, or professional development and/or suitability is judged by the advisory committee to be unsatisfactory to the degree that dismissal is warranted, the advisory committee must submit its written recommendation that the student be dismissed on such grounds. A student may be dismissed for failure to satisfy any requirement of the student’s graduate degree program, including failure to maintain adequate academic progress. This could include one or more of the following:
- Failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average required by The Graduate School (3.0);
- Receiving a grade of “D+,” “D,” “D-,” “F,” or “U” in any course;
- Failure to satisfy a foreign language or related area requirement for a degree;
- Failure of the doctoral General Examination;
- Failure to produce an acceptable Doctoral Dissertation Proposal;
- Unsatisfactory performance in any aspect of the research or writing for a required master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation;
- Failure of a final examination for the master’s or doctoral degree.
The advisory committee submits the written recommendation for academic dismissal to The Graduate School indicating the specific judgment on which the advisory committee’s recommendation is based. For a student who does not have an established advisory committee, the major advisor alone submits the recommendation. The department head or designee for the program in which the student is enrolled must endorse the recommendation of the committee and document the reasonable attempts that have been made to find the student a pathway to completion. Whenever a student is dismissed on academic grounds, the student receives notice from The Graduate School. The student may appeal the dismissal under the provisions outlined in the Appeal and Hearing Procedures section.