2018-19 Academic Catalog

Enrollment & Registration

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.

Continuous 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 enrolled 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.

The Continuous Enrollment policy 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 enrolled 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 must be sent to the Registrar.  It does not require Graduate School approval.


The Summer maximum course load is as follows.

  • 3 credit hours for Maymester
  • 7 hours for a 5-week summer session
  • 13 hours for the 10-week term
  • a total of 13 hours for the entire summer semester

A total of 6 credit hours is considered full-time Summer enrollment.  Audit hours may not be used to satisfy the full-time enrollment requirement.

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.

Graduate Assistantship

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.

Required Enrollment

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 to the Library
  • Submits the final thesis/dissertation 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 so as to graduate the next term:

  • 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.
  • Ensure that all degree audit documents have been received by the Graduate School. Graduate School staff will verify eligibility for the course, and enter an override to permit qualified students to register.
  • Enroll in the one-credit hour course (GRD 9011 Graduate Degree Completion) for the semester following the defense. The course holds an associated fee of $100. Students are allowed to enroll in the course only one time. 
  • Students enrolled in the course must meet all of that semester's Library submission and graduation application deadlines.


When a student is admitted into a degree program or as an Unclassified graduate student, the following steps are followed to register for class.

  • Graduate student admitted to a degree program:  the student must meet with his/her advisor to determine course(s) for the subsequent semester and receive a release for online registration.
  • Unclassified graduate student:  the student uses an Unclassified Registration Form to request permission from the academic department(s) to take a course. This permission includes the department's entering a major override in Banner for each course.  When permission is obtained, the student submits the form to the Graduate School to receive the registration release.

To register, the student accesses the Registration menu on MyBanner for Students and clicks on Register for Classes to enroll.

Audit a Course

Upon recommendation from the relevant course instructor and subject to approval by the appropriate Dean and Registrar, a student may enroll to audit a course. The approval to audit must occur prior to the official enrollment count day (tenth class day for spring and fall semesters; third class day for summer school sessions). A student may not change from credit to audit or audit to credit status after the official enrollment count day. An audited course counts as part of the regular load. Students auditing a class are not required to take tests and/or examinations or to prepare other written assignments. Otherwise, conformity to regular classroom rules including attendance requirements is the same as for students taking the course for credit. At the time the request for audit is approved, the professor will inform the student auditing the class of attendance expectations. Failure to meet any or all of these requirements may result in an auditor being administratively dropped from the class roll.  No audited course may be counted as part of the required hours of any degree or program requirements.

A student who must be enrolled full-time cannot count an audited course as part of full-time enrollment; an audited course must be taken in addition to enrollment in 9 hours.  This is especially important for graduate assistants.

Dual (Concurrent) Degrees

An applicant may apply and be admitted into more than one degree program concurrently. Concurrent degree matriculation requires approval of each department provided to Graduate School Admissions staff.  If the student is approved to pursue two degrees concurrently at MSU, no more than 9 hours of coursework used in one degree program may be applied toward meeting the requirements for the second degree.


Schedule Changes - Fall and Spring Semesters

  • A student has through the fifth class day into the semester to drop a course and through the sixth class day to add a course without being assessed a fee or academic penalty.
  • From the fifth class day through the 36th class day, a student who elects to drop a course must receive the approval of his/her advisor, will be assigned a “W” on his/her academic record, and be assessed a fee.

Summer Maymester, First Term, Second Term, and and Ten-Week Term

Consult the Registrar's Calendar or the Graduate Calendar for add/drop dates for each Summer term.


(Drop entire current semester schedule)

To drop an entire current semester schedule, the student accesses the Withdrawal Request found on the MyBanner for Students Registration Menu. By completing this process, the student avoids the automatic assignment of grades of F and assessment of outstanding tuition and fees, even if the student never attended class.  Following the outlined procedure also avoids future difficulties in obtaining transcripts or reentering the University.  In most circumstances the student is permitted to register for the subsequent semester without penalty.

A summer semester student uses the Withdrawal Request when dropping the entire schedule for Maymester or either of the 5-week terms or the 10-week term.  Withdrawing from one summer term (e.g., Maymester) does not affect the student’s schedule for another summer term (e.g., 2nd 5-week).

The withdrawal of a student is not effective for any date prior to the actual date of withdrawal except in documented cases of serious illness or extreme hardship, and then only upon approval of the student’s academic Dean.

The student is responsible for payment of all tuition and fee charges unless he/she CANCELS HIS OR HER SCHEDULE before classes begin.  See the refund schedule at http://www.controller.msstate.edu.  Failure to take prompt and appropriate action may result in significant payment obligations and holds.

Retroactive Withdrawal

(Drop entire prior semester schedule)

In rare and unusual circumstances, a student may request a retroactive withdrawal for a previous semester by submitting a completed petition.  A copy of the petition form can be obtained online at the Retroactive Withdrawal Form Webpage. The student must also submit all required documentation.  The student’s academic Dean, the Dean of the Graduate School, and the Provost must approve the request for retroactive withdrawal.