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Students are required to register for twelve credit hours by the stated deadline each term. These twelve credit hours may be comprised of a combination of courses and Non-Topical Research. Audited courses carry a full tuition charge, but do not count toward the twelve-credit requirement. The Graduate School does not offer part-time programs. Under extraordinary circumstances, the assistant dean may permit a student to enroll with a reduced course load.
The registration process is not complete until a student has paid tuition and fees or made satisfactory arrangements with Student Financial Services. Changes in a student’s registration record after the final day for dropping a course, including changing grading options, require the approval of the assistant dean. Students are expected to enroll continuously through the completion of their degree programs. Students who have completed their coursework enroll in twelve credits of Non-Topical Research per term to maintain full-time status with access to University facilities while completing the research and writing of theses or dissertations. Advanced doctoral students who have completed 72 credit hours of coursework and research and who are pursuing thesis or dissertation research and writing independently off-Grounds may transition to Continuous Enrollment status. This status is less than half-time and, as such, accrues no credit hours and provides no access to University facilities. A student who wishes to suspend his or her enrolled status entirely must pursue voluntary withdrawal as described below in consultation with the director of graduate studies and the assistant dean. A graduate student must be registered in the Graduate School during the semester in which he or she is an applicant for a degree and must seek reinstatement or readmission if he or she has not registered continuously.
Students are expected to attend classes throughout the session with the exception of University holidays. When necessary, excuses for absence from class are arranged between the student and the instructor of the course in question. Routine excuses for illness are not furnished by the Department of Student Health either to the student or to the instructor. At the request of the assistant dean, the Department of Student Health will evaluate the effect of any illness upon a student’s attendance and academic performance. Failure by students to attend lectures and other prescribed exercises in the courses for which they are registered may subject them to penalties for non-attendance.
Absence from written examinations will not be excused except for sickness on the day of examination attested by a physician’s certificate or for other cause which the graduate faculty by special action may approve. An unexcused absence in such cases constitutes failure of the examination.
Grades and GPA
The standing of a graduate student in each course is indicated by one of the following grades: A+, A, A-; B+, B, B-; C+, C, C-; D+, D, D-; F. B- is the lowest satisfactory grade for graduate credit In courses where the grading option is Satisfactory(S)/Unsatisfactory (U), Unsatisfactory (U) is considered to be a failing grade as is a grade of No Credit (NC). Students with a grade point average below 3.00 for an academic year will be considered as not making satisfactory progress toward a degree. Students with a cumulative grade point average below 3.00 in the courses offered for a degree will not be considered to have satisfactory status with respect to earning that degree. Unsatisfactory performance during a given semester may be considered sufficient reason for a student to be placed on academic probation or asked to leave a program.
A grade of Incomplete (IN) for a graduate course must be resolved by the conclusion of the next full term. An unresolved grade of Incomplete will be converted to failing grade by the University registrar 200 days from the date on which grades for that term were originally due. Courses in which no grade was recorded are assigned a failing grade 30 days from the date on which grades for that term were originally due. Failing grades recorded in this manner have the same effect on a student’s record and standing as failing grades assigned by instructors.
Students are responsible for confirming the accuracy of their transcripts. A student must identify and seek correction of any errors by the conclusion of the term following the award of the grade in question. Upon identifying a possible error, the student should contact the instructor and director of graduate studies immediately. Errors not noted within the one-term time limit will not be revised.
A graduate student who wishes to receive his or her degree must file a degree application with the Graduate School. Deadlines for degree applications are October 1st for conferral in December, February 1st for conferral in May, and July 1st for conferral in August graduation (or the next business day in the event that a deadline falls on a weekend). A transcript of the applicant’s previous academic record confirming the substance and award date of his or her baccalaureate degree must also be on file in the Graduate School.
In the event that a candidate does not complete the degree requirements in the semester for which his or her degree application was approved, the candidate must notify the Graduate School of the revised expected date for graduation. The candidate must then submit a new application at the beginning of a subsequent semester in which candidacy for the degree is again proposed. A candidate who requests degree conferral during the summer must register for the summer term.
A student who wishes to withdraw voluntarily from the Graduate School must discuss the circumstances with his or her director of graduate studies and submit a formal notice of withdrawal to the assistant dean. Forms for this purpose may be obtained from the Graduate School. Students withdrawing during an academic term must do so at least one week prior to the examination period in order to receive notations of “W” on the transcript. For more detail, see “University Regulations—Academic Regulations—Voluntary Withdrawal.”
Leave of Absence
A student who wishes to suspend full-time study temporarily may request approval from the director of graduate studies and the assistant dean to undertake a leave of absence and postpone his or her expected date of graduation. Depending on the circumstances of the leave, a student may be required by the Graduate School to meet with the associate dean of students as part of the approval process. Leaves are approved for a full term or academic year, with a student eligible for up to two years of leave cumulatively. A student on an approved leave retains access to his or her UVA e-mail account and, if previously enrolled in the UVA student health plan, may purchase health insurance during the first twelve months of the leave, but is otherwise ineligible for financial aid and the use of University facilities. A student must affirm his or her intent to return from leave at least eight weeks before the end of the leave.
Leaves of absence involving medical circumstances may be approved at any point before or during a particular term. In the latter case, tuition is charged according to the portion of the term elapsed before the effective date of the leave, and financial support allocated to the student for the remainder of that term is forfeited. Students whose leaves involve medical circumstances are required to meet with the associate dean of students as part of the approval process and obtain clearance from the Department of Student Health in order to resume enrollment.
Readmission and Reinstatement
A student who voluntarily withdraws from the Graduate School or otherwise ceases to enroll while completing a degree program for a period of one semester up to two years must petition his or her director of graduate studies and assistant dean for reinstatement at least 60 days in advance of the next registration period. A student who has been absent for longer than two years must reapply through the standard process to his or her program of study.
A student may be required to withdraw from the Graduate School if the academic advisor, departmental faculty and the assistant dean determine that the student is making unsatisfactory progress toward a degree.
Eligibility for posthumous degrees extends only to students enrolled in B.A. and B.S. programs.
Appeals and Grievances
The Graduate School does not entertain appeals or grievances of the faculty’s academic evaluation of students. Petitions for exceptions to Graduate School policy must be requested by the student through the director of graduate studies to the assistant dean. Grievances relating to a faculty member, department chair, or dean are handled in the following manner:
- A student who has a conflict regarding a faculty member that cannot be resolved between the two parties should discuss this concern with the director of graduate studies or chair.
- If the conflict involves the director of graduate studies or department chair, the student should discuss this concern with the assistant dean.
- If the concern is related to the assistant or associate dean, the student should file a written grievance with the vice provost for academic affairs.
- If the level of concern relates to the vice president and provost, appropriate written documentation should be presented to the president of the University.
Appeals and grievances must be raised within 45 days of the event or decision precipitating the conflict.
Application for admission must be made on-line by the stated deadlines, which vary by program. A non-refundable application fee of $60 is payable at the time of application. Official decisions regarding the application for admission are communicated directly by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Applicants may apply to only one program in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences during a given admissions cycle. Applicants who hold a Ph.D. or its international equivalent are not eligible for admission to the Graduate School in the field in which they have already earned that degree. With the approval of the assistant dean, applicants who hold master’s degrees are eligible for admission to a terminal master’s degree program in the same field in cases where the faculty recognizes a significant curricular distinction between the previous and proposed programs of study.
An applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree from among the arts and sciences issued by a collegiate institution of recognized rank. Other baccalaureate degrees from such institutions may be acceptable upon approval of the assistant dean. Applicants who hold the degree of Doctor of Medicine may be considered for admission as students in the biomedical sciences.
An applicant should have achieved, at minimum, a B average in their undergraduate program or the equivalent as estimated by the assistant dean.
Academic credits, undergraduate or graduate, earned more than ten years before the date of application for admission will normally not be considered as a valid basis for admission to the Graduate School. At the discretion of the faculty in the proposed program of study, such credits may be validated by an examination or examinations given at the University of Virginia.
Official results of the Graduate Record Examination general test (as well as subject tests when required by the department) and two letters of recommendation from faculty (preferably those who have taught in the field of the major subject) are required in support of the application. Upon acceptance to the graduate program, the applicant must provide official transcripts of his or her baccalaureate record and any graduate-level work conducted at the University or elsewhere. Additional materials are required by some departments.
Applicants whose native language is not English must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which is administered by ETS, or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). This requirement is waived for applicants who will have received a baccalaureate degree or its international equivalent from a college or university in which English is the primary language of instruction.
The degrees of Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Fine Arts and Master of Public Health will be conferred upon the holder of an approved baccalaureate degree who has fulfilled within the designated time limit all requirements set forth below and any discipline-specific requirements stated by the department or program. Successful candidates in departments which offer both the Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees may elect the Master of Science degree at the discretion of the department.
Academic Requirements Students must complete a minimum of 30 hours of graduate credit. Only graduate courses taught by members of one of the graduate faculties of the University and graded on the standard A through F scale may be counted toward the graded coursework requirement unless otherwise specified in a program’s degree requirements. If the degree program includes the completion of a thesis, a maximum of six out of the 30 credits may consist of Non-Topical Research. No extension, correspondence, home-study, or transfer courses will be counted toward the degrees of Master of Arts and Master of Science. Courses applied toward a master’s degree in one department may not be used to fulfill requirements for a master’s degree in a second department of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
A student’s particular course of study is arranged in consultation with faculty advisors in the discipline and the director of graduate studies. With the approval of his or her advisor, students may elect a limited number of appropriate courses offered in other departments. Additional discipline-specific requirements for the master’s degree are noted in the entries for respective graduate departments and programs.
Residency Requirement Master’s students must be enrolled in a minimum of two semesters of full-time study.
Time Limitation All requirements for the master’s degree must be completed within five years from the first term of enrollment.
Final Examination A candidate must achieve satisfactory standing in a final examination (oral, written or both) conducted by two or more graduate faculty members designated by the candidate’s department. The result of the examination and the names of the examiners must be reported by the chair of the examining committee to the Graduate School at least two weeks in advance of final exercises.
Thesis A department may include a master’s thesis among its degree requirements. In such cases, the formatting and submission requirements are the same as those for the Ph.D. dissertation. Submitted theses remain on file with the UVa Library System.
Doctor of Philosophy
The degree of Doctor of Philosophy will be conferred upon the holder of an approved baccalaureate degree who has fulfilled within the designated time limit all requirements as set forth below and any discipline-specific requirements stated by the department or program.
Academic Requirements Students must complete a minimum of 72 hours of graduate credit. A minimum of 24 out of the 72 credit hours must be graded coursework, and no more than 48 of the 72 credit hours can be comprised of Non-Topical Research. Only graduate courses taught by members of one of the graduate faculties of the University and graded on the standard A through F scale may be counted toward the graded coursework requirement unless otherwise specified in a program’s degree requirements..
With the approval of the supervising department and the assistant dean, a student may transfer up to 24 credit hours of coursework earned in another graduate program toward the 72-hour doctoral requirement. In any case, at least 18 graded course credits applied toward the degree must have been earned at the University of Virginia.
General Examination A candidate must achieve satisfactory standing in a general examination (oral, written or both).
Certificate of Candidacy A certificate of candidacy may be awarded by certain departments to students who have completed all requirements for the Ph.D. degree except for the dissertation. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences does not award such certificates.
Residency Requirement The minimum length of study for the Ph.D. is three years. In exceptional circumstances, students may petition the assistant dean to waive the third year of graduate work. No degree candidacy will be approved unless the student has spent at least two consecutive semesters during the academic year in a Ph.D. program in full-time residential study at the University of Virginia.
Time Limitation All requirements for the Ph.D. must be completed within seven years from the first term of enrollment in the Ph.D. Program, excluding periods of approved leave and military service.
Dissertation The successful defense of a dissertation exhibiting independent research in the candidate’s major subject is required. A primary advisor who is a member of the graduate faculty will periodically evaluate the student’s progress on the dissertation. If the student’s progress is judged to be unsatisfactory, the advisor\ may recommend that the student develop a new topic or that the faculty consider whether the student should be allowed to continue graduate study. The title of the dissertation must be approved by the primary advisor. The student should consult the advisor and director of graduate studies regarding departmental requirements relating to the dissertation.
Completed dissertations in compliance with the Graduate School’s formatting requirements must be submitted to the department for examination by the dissertation committee.
This committee, chaired by the primary advisor, will consist of a minimum of four members of the graduate faculty. One member of the committee must hold a primary appointment outside of the student’s department and will serve as the Dean’s representative to affirm that the student has been assessed fairly and in accord with Graduate School policy. Once these minimum requirements have been met, additional committee members from within the University or other institutions may be added. Through its chair, the dissertation committee may invite other members of the departmental faculty to take part in the examination; the doctoral examination may be given before the entire faculty of the department concerned. The result of the examination and the names of the committee members and their departmental affiliations must be reported to the Graduate School by May 1st for May graduation, August 1st for August graduation, and December 1st for December graduation (or the next business day in the event that a deadline falls on a weekend).No candidate may be admitted to the final examination until the committee has accepted the dissertation and the candidate has satisfied all other degree requirements set by the Graduate School and the department or program. Preliminary examinations may, in addition, be required by individual departments.
The University offers financial assistance to students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences through a variety of programs, including fellowships, assistantships, health insurance subsidies and loans. All doctoral students are admitted with five years of financial support through a combination of fellowships, assistantships and a health insurance subsidy. In some cases, master’s students are awarded financial support on a merit basis. Fellowships and assistantships are awarded with the provision that the student remain in good academic standing. Students are expected to begin residence at the University during the award period unless otherwise approved by the assistant dean. Students are encouraged to seek external funding for their research and are required to report the receipt of such funding to their directors of graduate studies.
Teaching assistantships, research assistantships and part-time instructorships are available in most departments to graduate students who are enrolled full time and in good academic standing. The duties associated with these appointments and the wages, tuition remission, tuition adjustment and health insurance subsidy that accompany them are articulated in a policy maintained by the Office of the Provost.
Teaching assistants other than graders must be fluent in English. Graduate students whose native language is not English are required to achieve a grade of 55 or higher on the SPEAK test or complete a series of classes through the Center for American English Language and Culture. In courses that enroll graduate and undergraduate students, the grading of graduate students should not be performed by a graduate teaching assistant. For information concerning assistantships, students should write directly to their directors of graduate studies.
Loans and Part-Time Employment
Graduate students are permitted to engage in part-time employment up to twenty hours per week. A student who wishes to work beyond twenty hours per week must obtain petition his or her director of graduate studies and the assistant dean, indicating the type of work to be undertaken, the weekly effort involved, the potential effects of this additional work on the student’s academic progress, and whether or not the student is present at the University on an international visa.
In addition to receiving fellowships and assistantships, graduate students may apply for financial assistance through the Office of Student Financial Services. All awards from federal loan or employment funds are based on need. Students must submit a University financial aid application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to Student Financial Services. For further information or to obtain a copy of the requisite forms, please contact Student Financial Services.