Enrollment and Progress towards degree

Fall/Spring Enrollment Guidelines

The Graduate College receives many questions from students and faculty/staff about the number of hours that students need to take during the Fall/Spring Semester.
EVERY STUDENT SHOULD PRINT a copy of his/her class schedule to ensure accuracy in enrollment. It is the responsibility of the student to verify correct enrollment. Mistakes due to student error may not be corrected after the final deadline for enrollment
  • To be considered full time in the fall/spring semester, a domestic student needs to be enrolled in at least nine (9) hours. However, to qualify for an assistantship:
    • A domestic student with an assistantship of 0.50 FTE or greater must be enrolled in at least six (6) hours to be considered full time.
    • A domestic student with an assistantship of less than 0.50 FTE must still be enrolled in nine (9) hours to be considered full time.
  • Domestic graduate students’ eligibility for federal financial aid is based on several factors, including the actual number of hours in which they are enrolled, and regardless of whether or not they hold an assistantship or the amount FTE of the assistantship.  For more specific information, read the Graduate Student FAQs on the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid website, or contact that office at 405-744-6604.
  • In the semester (Fall, Spring, or Summer) during which a student intends to graduate: A domestic student who does not hold an assistantship or who does not need to be declared full time must be enrolled in a minimum of 2 hours.
  • Any semester that a student who is utilizing physical or faculty resources of the University (to include complete course requirements, creative component work, sitting for comprehensive exams, research leading to a thesis or dissertation, defending a thesis or dissertation, revising a thesis or dissertation, etc.) must be enrolled in a minimum of 2 hours. These hours should be appropriate to the type of work in which a student is engaged (e.g., 5000 for thesis work, 6000 for dissertation work).
  • Completing incomplete (I) grades from previous semesters does not count towards the hours enrolled in the current semester
 
In addition to the requirements for domestic students above, International students on an F-1 and J-1 nonimmigrant visas are required - except in their final semester (see below) -to be enrolled and be full time in each fall and spring semester in order to maintain their immigration status, as recorded on the SEVIS system.
  • To be considered full time in the fall/spring, a continuing international student must be enrolled in at least nine (9) hours; however,
    • To qualify for an assistantship, an international student holding a 0.50 FTE or greater assistantship must be enrolled in at least six (6) hours to be considered full time.
    •  An international student holding less than a 0.50 FTE assistantship must still be enrolled in at least nine (9) hours to be considered full time.
  • In the final semester during which a student intends to graduate: An international student who does not hold an assistantship or who does not need to be declared full time must be enrolled in a minimum of two (2) credit hours. Students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be enrolled in a minimum of two (2) hours in their final fall semester. Students should contact the Office for International Students and Scholars for complete details. Note that the “Final Semester Verification form”, which requires approval of the advisor, department head, and graduate dean, must be completed before the end of the second week of the final semester; otherwise the full-time requirement will apply

First Semester International Students

International students for whom the fall/spring semester is their first semester at OSU must be enrolled full time to remain in compliance with immigration requirements.
  • To be considered full time in the fall/spring, a first semester international student needs to be enrolled in at least nine (9) hours; however:
    • A first semester international student with a 0.50 FTE or greater assistantship must enroll in at least six (6) hours to be considered full time.
    • First semester international students holding less than a 0.50 FTE assistantship must enroll in at least nine (9) hours to be considered full time
 
Student Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of the student to verify his/her enrollment. Errors in enrollment that are due to student error may not be correctable after the final date to enroll. Every student should print their class schedule and verify enrollment before the term begins.
 
Visa Issues
Please remember that H1 visa holders are not allowed to hold graduate assistantships or enroll in a full course of study.
 
Facility Use
A student must be enrolled in courses to use University resources during the semester. These resources include access to University computer labs, OSU Library book check out, Colvin Center access, and other university services.
 
Health Insurance
To qualify for the University paid health insurance benefit, graduate students must hold at least a .25 FTE (10 hours per week) assistantship and be enrolled full time. All international students with a J-1 visa must obtain health insurance, whether or not the premium is paid by the University. 
 
Variable Credit courses
Courses with numbers that end in a zero (0), such as 5000 (Thesis) and 6000 (Dissertation), are termed “variable credit courses.” When students enroll in such courses via the Banner Self Service website, the system defaults their enrollment to only one credit hour. Students should review their schedule and verify variable credit hour courses; adjust the enrolled hours if necessary. Failure to be enrolled in the proper number of hours and courses may result in the loss of full-time status, violation of assistantship requirements (loss of a non-resident tuition waiver), and/or loss of immigration status (for international students). Further, variable credit courses have a maximum number of hours that can be applied to the Plan of Study (see the OSU Catalog). Students should verify that courses on their Plans of Study do not violate this maximum number of hours. Verification of the correct number of hours for all courses is the responsibility of the student.
 
Continuous Enrollment
A student who interrupts enrollment for one year (i.e., a consecutive period of one spring semester plus one summer semester plus one fall term) must re-apply for admission, and will then be subject to the regulations in effect at the time of reapplication.
 
Enrollment Considerations
Students must enroll in research, thesis or dissertation hours, as appropriate, during each semester in which they are involved in research leading to a thesis or dissertation, irrespective of the number of credit hours of such courses either required or permitted for the degree. Regardless of the number of hours taken, a student may not enroll in more than 12 credit hours in the spring or fall semester.
 
Graduate College Academic Deadlines
The deadlines for submitting theses, dissertations, and other requirements can be found on the Graduate College 
Academic Calendar. The calendar is on the Graduate College’s website and in the OSU Catalog.
 
In preparation for fall/spring graduation, students are encouraged to follow the Graduation Checklist to ensure all final tasks are completed. The Graduation Checklist may be picked up at the Graduate College or downloaded from the Graduate College website (http://gradcollege.okstate.edu | Click on the “Current Students” and from the list of options in the “Graduation” section of the page select “graduation checklist” appropriate for your degree).

To initiate the fall/spring graduation process students need to complete two tasks.

  • Students should submit a signed and completed Graduation Clearance Form to the Graduate College (202 Whitehurst). This requires a meeting with the advisor or department designate to ensure that all requirements will be met by the various deadlines. At this time, a student and their advisor should ensure that the plan of study is accurate and all courses on that plan are reflected on the student’s transcript. In order to address any enrollment-related issues that might arise, students are strongly advised to complete this form early in their final semester. All Graduation Clearance Forms must be submitted by the deadline posted on the Academic Calendar.  All graduate students wishing to graduate are required to submit a signed, completed Graduation Clearance Form (including distance education students and students from OSU-Tulsa).
  • After the Graduation Clearance Form is submitted to the Graduate College, students wishing to graduate must submit an online graduation application to the Registrar’s office. To apply for the diploma, students should log into Banner Self Service and select “Graduation Application” option located under the Students Records menu. If it is the student’s desire to have his or her name printed in the commencement program for the Fall/Spring commencement ceremony, they must submit a graduation application prior to graduation application deadline as listed on the academic calendar. If a student puts him/herself up for graduation and does not complete all graduation requirements by the stated deadlines, the student must extend their current graduation application before s/he will be allowed to enroll in a subsequent semester.

Summer Enrollment

The Graduate College receives many questions from students and faculty/staff about the number of hours that students need to take in the summer. Summer enrollment encompasses any courses completed during the May, June, July, or June/July sessions. 
EVERY STUDENT SHOULD PRINT a copy of his/her class schedule to ensure accuracy in enrollment. It is the responsibility of the student to verify correct enrollment. Mistakes due to student error may not be corrected after the final deadline for enrollment

To be considered full time in the summer, a domestic student needs to be enrolled in at least three (3) hours. 

However, to qualify for an assistantship:

  • A domestic student with an assistantship of 0.50 FTE or greater must be enrolled in at least two (2) hours to be considered full time. 

  • A domestic student with an assistantship of less than 0.50 FTE must still be enrolled in two (2) hours to be considered full time. 

  • To qualify for an out-of-state tuition waiver because of holding a previous spring semester assistantship, an a domestic student must be enrolled in two (2) hours. 

Domestic graduate students’ eligibility for federal financial aid in the summer semester is based on several factors, including the actual number of hours in which they are enrolled, and regardless of whether or not they hold an assistantship or the amount FTE of the assistantship.  For more specific information, read the Graduate Student FAQs on the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid website, or contact that office at 405-744-6604.

In the semester (Fall, Spring, Summer) during which a student intends to graduate: A domestic student who does not hold an assistantship or who does not need to be declared full time must be enrolled in a minimum of 2 hours.

Continuing international students are not required to enroll in the summer to maintain their immigration status. If an international student does not have a 12-month assistantship, most likely he/she does not have to be enrolled in the summer. Students should contact the Office for International Students and Scholars for complete details. 

  •  For continuing international students who do not hold a summer assistantship (e.g., a 12-month assistantship), enrollment in the summer is optional unless they are graduating (see below). 

  • To be considered full time in the summer, a continuing international student must be enrolled in at least three (3) hours; however, 

    • To qualify for an assistantship, an international student holding a 0.50 FTE or greater assistantship must be enrolled in at least two (2) hours to be considered full time. 

    • An international student holding less than a 0.50 FTE assistantship must still be enrolled in two (2) hours to be considered full time. 

    • To qualify for an out-of-state tuition waiver because of holding a previous spring semester assistantship, an international student must be enrolled in two (2) hours

  • In the summer semester during which a student intends to graduate: An international student who does not hold an assistantship or who does not need to be declared full time must be enrolled in a minimum of two (2) credit hours. Students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be enrolled in a minimum of two (2) hours in their final summer semester. Students should contact the Office for International Students and Scholars for complete details. 

First Semester International Students

  • International students for whom the summer semester is their first semester at OSU must be enrolled full time to remain in compliance with immigration requirements. 

    • To be considered full time in the summer, a first semester international student needs to be enrolled in at least two (2) hours; however: 

    • A first semester international student with a 0.50 FTE or greater assistantship must enroll in two (2) hours to be considered full time. 

    • First semester international students holding less than a 0.50 FTE assistantship must enroll in two (2) hours to be considered full time. 

Student Responsibilities: It is the responsibility of the student to verify his/her enrollment. Errors in enrollment that are due to student error may not be corrected after the final date to enroll. Every student should print their class schedule and verify enrollment before the term begins. 

Visa Issues: Please remember that H1 visa holders are not allowed to hold graduate assistantships or enroll in a full course of study. 

Facility Use: A student must be enrolled in courses to use university resources during the semester. These resources include access to university computer labs, OSU Library book check out, Colvin Center access, and other university services. 

Health Insurance: Graduate students who had health insurance coverage in the previous Spring semester do not need to be enrolled in the summer; their health insurance benefits continue until the Fall semester begins in August. To qualify for health insurance, graduate students must have held at least a .25 FTE assistantship and have been enrolled full time in the previous Spring semester. 

Variable Credit courses:

Courses with numbers that end in a zero (0), such as 5000 (Thesis) and 6000 (Dissertation), are termed “variable credit courses.” When students enroll in such courses via the Banner Self Service website the system defaults their enrollment to only one credit hour. Students should print a copy of their schedule and verify the credit hours for which they are enrolled in such variable credit courses and adjust, if necessary. Failure to be enrolled in the proper number of hours and courses may result in loss of full-time status, violation of assistantship requirements (and thus loss of a non-resident tuition waiver), and/or loss of immigration status (for international students). Further, variable credit courses have a maximum number of hours that can be applied to the Plan of Study (see the OSU Catalog). Students should verify that courses on their Plans of Study do not violate this maximum number of hours. Verification of the correct number of hours for all courses is the responsibility of the student. 

Continuous Enrollment: 

A student who interrupts enrollment for one year (i.e., a consecutive period of one fall semester plus one spring semester plus one summer term) must re-apply for admission, and will then be subject to the regulations in effect at the time of reapplication. 

The maximum hours in which students may enroll for each summer session varies based on the session in which they are enrolled. The total maximum number of hours allowed for all summer sessions combined is nine. Any exceptions to this policy must be petitioned to the Graduate College. 
Summer Session
Maximum 
Session Hours
Maximum Hours
Session 1 (May only) 3 hours 3 hours this session
Session 2 (June & July – 8 weeks)  9 hours  
Session 3 (June only) 4 hours   
Session 4 (July only)  4 hours 
 
   
9 total hours for all 
June and July 
summer sessions 

 

In preparation for a summer graduation students are encouraged to follow the Graduation Checklist to ensure that all final tasks are completed. The Graduation Checklist may be picked up at the Graduate College or downloaded from: http://gradcollege.okstate.edu/forms/. From the list of options in the “Graduation” section of the page select the “graduation checklist” appropriate for your degree. . 

There is no Summer commencement ceremony. Summer graduates are encouraged to participate in the Spring commencement ceremony. To initiate the summer graduation process students need to complete two tasks. 
 
1. Preferably in the Spring semester prior to the summer graduation term, students should submit a signed and completed Graduation Clearance Form to the Graduate College (202 Whitehurst). This requires a meeting with the advisor or department designate to ensure that all requirements will be met by the various deadlines. At this time, a student and their advisor should ensure that the plan of study is accurate and all courses on that plan are reflected on the student’s transcript. In order to address any enrollment-related issues that might arise, students are strongly advised to complete this form before the end of the first week of the final summer semester. All Graduation Clearance Forms must be submitted by the end of June. All graduate students wishing to graduate are required to submit a signed, completed Graduation Clearance Form (including distance education students and students from OSU-Tulsa).
 
2. After the Graduation Clearance Form is submitted to the Graduate College, students wishing to graduate must submit an online graduation application to the Registrar’s office. To apply for the diploma, students should log into Banner Self Service and select “Graduation Application” option located under the Students Records menu. If it is the student’s desire to have his or her name printed in the commencement program for the Spring commencement ceremony, they must submit a graduation application prior to April 1. If a student puts him/herself up for graduation and does not complete all graduation requirements by the stated 
deadlines, the student must revoke their current graduation application before s/he will be allowed to enroll in a subsequent semester. .
 
If a student puts him/herself up for graduation and does not complete all graduation requirements by the stated deadlines, the student must revoke their current graduation application before s/he will be allowed to enroll in a subsequent semester

Graduate Student Appeals Policy

Leave of Absence Policy

Oklahoma State University (OSU) graduate students are expected to maintain active status through continuous enrollment from the time they matriculate until they graduate. Students who are not able to maintain active status are strongly encouraged to consult with their program, advisor, and Graduate College to determine whether requesting a leave of absence (LOA) is the most appropriate course of action. International students must consult with the International Students and Scholars (ISS) office to ensure compliance with Federal immigration policy. Example situations that may lead a student to explore a leave of absence request are medical, personal, employment and military service. Students who do not have an approved leave of absence and are not continuously enrolled may experience negative consequences related to academic, visa, financial aid, and other student issues – see University policies and guidelines for additional information. A student status of “good standing” (academic and conduct) is generally required for a leave of absence.

1. Students who experience circumstances that prevent them from maintaining active student status may be granted approval from the Graduate College for a leave of absence upon request. Students must complete a Leave of Absence form that specifies the length of the leave requested.
2. An approved leave of absence may not exceed one academic year, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
3. Students who do not obtain an approved leave of absence prior to interrupting their enrollment (excluding summer) may be terminated from their graduate program and/or held to new requirements if they are subsequently readmitted.
4. Students granted a leave of absence may not use University facilities or services available only to enrolled students.
5. The approved leave of absence time will not be counted toward time-to-degree limits.
6. Students who obtain an approved leave of absence in accordance with this policy are eligible for reinstatement provided they re-enroll no later than the term immediately following the expiration of the leave (excluding summer). Programs may specify reasonable conditions for reinstatement to active status, whether the student returns early or at the expiration of the leave. Programs may deny reinstatement to active status based on crimes or other serious misconduct occurring during the leave that would have been grounds for suspension or expulsion had the student engaged in the conduct while enrolled. Students are obligated and agree to disclose such material information. See OSU Student Code of Conduct.
7. Students whose leave of absence has expired and who have not yet registered for the following term (excluding summer) will be placed on inactive status. Students who are placed on inactive status must reapply for readmission.
8. Given the diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary nature of graduate degree programs, programs may develop additional rules governing leaves of absence, as long as they are consistent with Graduate College and University policies.

Documentation
Each program must establish and publicize its process for implementing this policy and must inform all entering students about it.

 

The Leave of Absence request form can be found here.

Students may need to interrupt their enrollment for reasons they cannot control. Allowing students to take a leave of absence provides students the opportunity to return to the University under the rules and policies in effect when they left and without affecting their time to degree. It also allows the University the opportunity to counsel students about actions they must take to be reinstated upon the expiration of the leave. In addition, it allows students to successfully complete degrees in the face of challenging situations.

No. Students are not required to register at any time during the period of their approved leave of absence. If students wish to enroll during a leave of absence, they must follow the returning from a leave of absence procedures.

No. Tuition and fees will not be charged for the period during which a student is on an approved leave of absence provided students cancel enrollment prior to published university deadlines. However, students not enrolled due to a granted leave of absence are not eligible for deferral of any federal student loans they may have, and depending on the length of the leave of absence, may be required to begin repaying those student loans.  Students should confirm with their federal loan servicer (that information can be found at www.nslds.ed.gov) how their leave of absence will impact their student loans.

No. An approved leave of absence is not counted toward a student's time to degree and does not require the student to make degree progress during the period of the leave.

No. During the period of an approved leave of absence, students are not enrolled, and therefore, may not use student amenities and services, laboratories, equipment, libraries, and other research facilities, nor may they use the services of faculty or administrative staff, except as may be needed to return to active status.No. During the period of an approved leave of absence, students are not enrolled, and therefore, may not use student amenities and services, laboratories, equipment, libraries, and other research facilities, nor may they use the services of faculty or administrative staff, except as may be needed to return to active status.

Eligibility for coverage on each program is contingent on student status. Students no longer eligible for the Student Health Plan have the option of continuing coverage at their own expense for up to 18 months. Students should contact the Office of Student Health Benefits for specific details about continuation of coverage options.

A leave of absence for international students is subject to SEVIS regulations and requires completion of additional forms. All international students considering a leave of absence must consult International Students and Scholars (ISS) Office.

Units should refer to other relevant University policies regarding leaves for University employees, including graduate assistants. If the student is not a University employee, units are encouraged to make reasonable efforts to accommodate requests for leaves related to such situations as illness, death in the family, the birth or adoption of a child, and military service. The graduate program and student must document any specific requirements or conditions on which the leave of absence and reinstatement is governed.

Units shall reinstate a student following an approved leave of absence and should provide appropriate advising to help reintegrate the student to the graduate program.

If a student must take a leave of absence during the semester, the student would withdraw from all courses for that semester, would lose their tuition and fees for the term, and would not receive credit for their coursework. (Exceptions to allow a refund of tuition and fees may be considered by petition due to documented extraordinary circumstances and committee approval. The Petition for a Refund of Tuition and Fees form is available on the Registrar website.) If the leave occurred near the end of the semester and the student met the conditions for potentially receiving an incomplete (“I”) grade, the student in consultation with the course instructor may have an incomplete grade option. The student would need to follow current policy for making up an incomplete grade. The leave of absence would not affect the timeframe allowed for making up incomplete grades.

Federal aid recipients who take a leave of absence during a semester may be required to pay back some or all of the federal financial aid they received for that semester.  For more specific information, read the Return to Title IV Policy on the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid website, or contact that office at 405-744-6604.

Start and return dates for leaves of absence are term specific. The start date is the first day of the term for which the leave of absence begins – regardless of the timing of the leave request. The return date is the first day of the term (excluding summer) immediately following the expiration of the approved leave of absence.

Yes. Graduate students may be reinstated for any term prior to, but no later than, the term (excluding summer) immediately following the expiration of the leave. Students must confer with their principal advisor or graduate program coordinator and the dean of the Graduate College prior to the expiration of their approved leave of absence to discuss the terms of their reinstatement, any conditions related to resuming their studies after the leave, and to obtain required signatures of approval. Students must be reminded that leaves of absence are term specific, even in instances of early reinstatement; i.e., the first day of a term is always used to define the leave of absence return date.

In general, no; students may not return after the semester has started and should time their reinstatement accordingly. However, if circumstances preclude this and the student wishes to return very early in the semester, reinstatement during the restrictive drop/add period (the first two weeks of a fall/spring semester and the first week of an eight-week summer term) may be possible if the student's advisor or program coordinator and the dean of the Graduate College approve.

Yes. If you receive an assistantship, fellowship, scholarship, financial aid, etc. from the University, you should talk with your graduate program, Student Financial Aid, International Students and Scholars Office, and the Graduate College to understand the consequences a leave of absence might have. If you receive funding from a source outside the University, you should talk with that agency to learn about any issues a leave of absence might have.

If the student is pursuing two graduate degrees in two different graduate programs, the student will need to request a leave of absence from both programs under the provisions of this policy. If the student is pursuing a graduate degree and a first professional degree (e.g., D.V.M. or D.O. degree), the student will need to request a leave of absence from his or her graduate program under the provisions of this policy and will also need to comply with the leave of absence policy stipulated by the program offering the first professional degree.

Students may request an extension to the initial, approved leave of absence, but approval of such is exceedingly rare. In such cases, it is the student’s responsibility to make all arrangements and file all paperwork to request approval of an extension prior to the expiration of the initial, approved leave of absence. In general, students should start the process at least one month prior to the expiration of the initial, approved leave of absence. 

Dual Enrollment/Graduate