Policies regarding enrollment for graduate students differ significantly from those for undergraduate students. This section defines and details policy and procedure regarding requirements for part-time, full-time, required enrollment, continuous enrollment, and graduate assistantship enrollment.
The continuous enrollment policy applies when a graduate student has completed all coursework but has not met other requirements (typically the master's comprehensive examination, master's thesis defense, thesis submission, doctoral dissertation defense, or dissertation submission). These students must be continuously registered for (1) a minimum of one graduate credit hour during the fall semester and (2) one credit hour during the following spring or summer semester until degree requirements are met. This requirement applies to students in one of the following circumstances.
- A non-thesis master's student who lacks only sitting for the comprehensive examination must be continuously enrolled after the coursework is completed until taking the comprehensive examination.
- A non-thesis educational specialist student who lacks only sitting for the comprehensive examination must be continuously enrolled after the coursework is completed until taking the comprehensive examination.
- A thesis-option master's student who has not submitted a thesis must be continuously enrolled after the coursework is completed until submitting the final approved thesis to the Library.
- A thesis-option educational specialist student who has not submitted a thesis must be continuously enrolled after the coursework is completed until submitting the final approved thesis to the Library.
- A doctoral student who has completed all coursework and passed preliminary/comprehensive examinations must be continuously enrolled until submitting the final approved dissertation to the Library.
A student who fails to be continuously registered is required to register retroactively and pay tuition and registration fees for missed terms at current rates.
Full-time Course Load
Fall and Spring
A full-time course load in fall and spring semesters is enrollment in 9-13 credit hours. A student may register for up to 16 hours only by submitting to the Registrar’s Office a Scheduling Overload Form approved by the student’s college dean and sent to the Registrar for processing. This form does not need to be sent to the Graduate School.
The Summer maximum course load is:
- 3 credit hours for Maymester;
- 7 hours for a 5-week summer session;
- 13 hours for the 10-week term; or
- a total of 13 hours for the entire summer semester.
A total of 6 credit hours is considered full-time Summer enrollment.
A student may not schedule courses offered on campus and in external programs concurrently whereby the maximum number of credits that may be earned in a semester or term is exceeded.
A student holding an assistantship appointment is required to maintain full-time enrollment throughout the full appointment period. A student holding a half-summer graduate assistantship must be registered during the term of the assistantship. Audit hours may not be used to satisfy the full-time enrollment requirement. See the Graduate Assistantship section of this publication for a description of enrollment and all requirements for holding an assistantship.
A student must enroll at MSU for at least one graduate credit hour in the semester that he/she meets any of the following degree requirements.
- Sits for an oral and/or written comprehensive examination
- Defends a thesis/dissertation*
- Submits the initial thesis/dissertation manuscript to the Library*
- Submits the final thesis/dissertation manuscript to the Library*
A student who holds a graduate assistantship is required to maintain full-time enrollment. Other students may be required to be enrolled full-time for different reasons.
Late Thesis/Dissertation Submission
(after Initial and Final Submission Deadlines published in the Graduate Calendar)
Graduate students who pass the thesis/dissertation defense by the end of a semester and meet all other graduation requirements except the deadlines for thesis/dissertation submission to the Library may adhere to the following procedure.
- Defend their thesis/dissertation no later than the end of the semester. End of semester is defined as the date/time grades are due to the Registrar's Office. This date is posted each semester on the Graduate Calendar.and the University Calendar.
- Enroll in a zero-credit hour course (GRD 9010 01) the following semester. The zero-credit hour course shall have an associated fee of $100. Students are allowed to enroll in the zero-credit hour course only one time.
- Students enrolled in the zero-credit hour course must meet all of that semester's Library submission and graduation application deadlines.
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