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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. Students must register for at least nine graded credits on the standard lettered scale (A through F) in each of the first two terms of study. Audited courses carry a full tuition charge, but do not count toward the twelve-credit requirement. The Graduate School does not offer part-time doctoral programs. Under extraordinary circumstances, the assistant dean may permit a doctoral student to enroll with a reduced course load. With the endorsement of his or her director of graduate studies, a master’s student may request permission to enroll part-time.
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 three years of residency may petition to enroll in an off-Grounds status. Off-Grounds enrollment is reserved for students who will be on faculty-approved research travel away from Charlottesville for at least three quarters of the term or located away from the Charlottesville area, as demonstrated by a permanent residence address in SIS which is located outside of the following counties: Albemarle, Greene, Madison, Orange, Louisa, Fluvanna, Buckingham, Nelson, Augusta and Rockingham. Graduate students approved for the off-Grounds status are enrolled full time and expected to make suitable progress towards their degrees. They are charged the advanced research tuition rate and a reduced comprehensive fee. Off-Grounds research-only students may enroll in the University’s student health insurance plan and may access Student Health services. They may also continue to access the University Library’s services and resources remotely or in person. They may not access other services provided to students who pay the full comprehensive fee, including athletics events, recreational facilities, University Transit services, or Safe Ride. While enrolled in the off-Grounds status, students may not enroll in any non-research credits and are ineligible for graduate teaching and research assistantships.
Students who have completed their degree requirements and must remain enrolled for administrative purposes in order to graduate may petition for Continuous Enrollment. Continuous Enrollment will be granted to a student who is prepared to defend a thesis or dissertation in a given term, but whose committee is unable to schedule the defense in advance of the degree deadline for that term. This status is less than half-time and, as such, accrues no credit hours, provides no access to University facilities and renders the student ineligible for graduate teaching and research assistantships. 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 must achieve a minimum grade point average of 3.00 during each academic term and sustain a minimum grade point average of 3.00 cumulatively in order to maintain good academic standing. 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 or prior to degree conferral if they are graduating that term. Upon identifying a possible error, the student should contact the instructor and director of graduate studies immediately. Errors not noted within the these time limits will not be revised.
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. If nine or more transfer credits are awarded, the student’s date of graduation will be accelerated by one term. If 21 or more transfer credits are awarded, the student’s expected date of graduation will be accelerated by two terms.
No extension, correspondence, home-study, or transfer courses will be counted toward the degrees of Master of Arts and Master of Science. Students who previously enrolled in courses offered through GSAS while completing an undergraduate or graduate degree program at the University of Virginia may count up to six credits of such coursework towards a master’s degree as long as those credits were not used to fulfill requirements for the prior degree.
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 (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 by the degree application deadline.
In the event that a candidate does not complete the degree requirements in the term 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 term 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 during an academic term 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. A student withdrawing after the conclusion of an academic term and before enrolling for a subsequent term need only provide formal notice to his or her director of graduate studies. For more detail, see “University Regulations—Academic Regulations—Voluntary Withdrawal.”
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 may under certain circumstances 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 for a period of up to two academic years and wishes to resume enrollment 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.
Petitions, Appeals and Grievances
Petitions for exceptions to Graduate School policy must be requested by the student through the departmental director of graduate studies to the assistant dean.
The Graduate School does not entertain appeals or grievances of the faculty’s academic evaluation of students.
Students are expected to follow complaint or grievance processes set forth in applicable University policies, including but not limited to those regarding:
For situations not otherwise directly addressed in University policy, graduate students should attempt to resolve concerns or conflicts by working directly with a faculty member, the departmental director of graduate studies, or the departmental chair. Conflicts or concerns that cannot be resolved to the student’s satisfaction within a department should be discussed with the assistant dean.
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 typically 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, offered during the fall or spring term 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. 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 submission requirements are the same as those for the Ph.D. dissertation.
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, offered during the fall or spring term 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.
General Examination A candidate must achieve satisfactory standing in a general examination (oral, written or both).
Candidacy Deadline Each program has articulated a standard term of study in the program by which a doctoral candidate must have completed all requirements for the Ph.D. degree except for the dissertation in order to remain in good academic standing. For a student enrolled in a master’s program in the Graduate School who is subsequently admitted to the doctoral program in the same field, the terms of enrollment in the master’s program will count towards candidacy deadline unless otherwise stated in the letter of admission. A certificate of candidacy may be awarded by certain departments to students who have completed these requirements. 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. For a student enrolled in a master’s program in the Graduate School who is subsequently admitted to the doctoral program in the same field, the terms of enrollment in the master’s program will count towards the seven-year limit for the doctoral degree unless otherwise stated in the letter of admission.
Dissertation The successful defense of a dissertation exhibiting independent research in the candidate’s major subject is required. A primary advisor who is a tenured or tenure-track member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will periodically evaluate the student’s progress on the dissertation. A primary advisor of a doctoral dissertation in the Biomedical Sciences who does not hold a primary or secondary appointment in a basic science department may identify a “co-mentor” of record for the dissertation who fulfills the requirement above and will also serve on the dissertation committee. Written exceptions to this policy must be sought from the assistant dean in GSAS.
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 to enroll. 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. Students are responsible for obtaining permission from prospective publishers to submit published content as part of a dissertation that will be accessible to the University community and may ultimately reside within an open-access environment. Students should consult with their advisors and committee members when selecting venues for published work and determining how such work will be included in their dissertations.
Completed dissertations 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 tenured or tenure-track members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. One member of the committee will serve as a representative of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to affirm that the student has been assessed fairly and with due rigor. This representative is appointed by the student’s director of graduate studies and must hold a primary appointment outside of the student’s department. This representative may be drawn from the tenured or tenure-track faculty of other graduate schools at the University, but must hold a Ph.D. 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 1 for May graduation, August 1 for August graduation, and December 1 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.
A dissertation that has been successfully defended must be deposited with the University’s digital repository, LIBRA, by the respective graduation deadline cited above. The full text of the dissertation will be available to members of the University community and members of the general public who physically access the Library; the meta-data and abstract of the dissertation will be accessible online to a global audience. A student may elect to make the full text of the dissertation available online immediately or after an embargo period of various increments up to five years.
GSAS, in conjunction with other Schools at the University of Virginia, offers several dual degrees at the master’s level and one at the doctoral level. Students in a dual degree program must meet the minimum stated academic and residency requirements of GSAS as well as the individual requirements of the participating Arts and Sciences degree program.
Business GSAS and the Darden School of Business offer the MBA/MA in East Asian Studies. Students in this program will enroll full-time in GSAS during their third and sixth semesters. With the approval of the program in East Asian Studies, up to six credits of coursework completed at the School of Business may count toward the master’s degree.
GSAS and the Darden School of Business offer the MBA/MA in Government or Foreign Affairs. This program requires one term of full-time enrollment in GSAS (typically upon completion of the M.B.A. requirements). With the approval of the Department of Politics, up to six credits of coursework completed at the School of Business may count toward the master’s degree.
GSAS and the Darden School of Business offer the MBA/MPH in Public Health. Dual-degree students generally enroll full-time in the MPH Program for two semesters and complete their MPH courses while enrolled in the School of Business. With the approval of the Department of Public Health Sciences, up to nine credits of coursework completed at the School of Business may count toward the master’s degree.
Leadership and Public Policy GSAS and the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy offer the MPP/MPH in Public Health. Dual-degree students generally enroll full-time in the MPH Program for two semesters and complete their MPH courses while enrolled in the School of Leadership and Public Policy. With the approval of the Department of Public Health Sciences, up to nine credits of coursework completed at the Batten School may count toward the master’s degree.
Law GSAS and School of Law offer JD/MA programs in English, Foreign Affairs, Government, History and Philosophy. This program typically takes three-and-one-half to four years to complete, with six terms of residency required in the School of Law. With the approval of the participating Arts and Sciences department, up to six credits of coursework completed at the School of Law may count toward the master’s degree.
GSAS and the School of Law offer the JD/MPH in Public Health. Dual-degree students generally enroll full-time in the MPH Program for two semesters and complete their MPH courses while enrolled in the School of Law. With the approval of the Department of Public Health Sciences, up to nine credits of coursework completed at the School of Law may count toward the master’s degree.
Medicine GSAS and the School of Medicine offer the MD/MPH in Public Health and the MD/MS in Clinical Research. Dual-degree students generally enroll full-time in the MPH Program for two semesters and complete their MPH courses while enrolled in the School of Medicine. With the approval of the Department of Public Health Sciences, up to nine credits of coursework completed at the School of Medicine may count toward the master’s degree.
GSAS and School of Medicine offer the MD/PhD in Biomedical Sciences. Students typically enroll for two years in the School of Medicine and then enroll full-time in GSAS while completing doctoral coursework and research. Up to eight credits of coursework completed at the School of Medicine count toward the PhD.
All doctoral students are admitted with five years of financial support through a combination of fellowships, assistantships and a health insurance subsidy. For a student enrolled in a master’s program in the Graduate School who is subsequently admitted to the doctoral program in the same field, financial support is typically awarded for a period of six terms beyond the expected date of the qualifying examination. Fellowships and assistantships are awarded with the provision that the student remain in good academic standing. Students are expected to enroll in 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 enrolled full-time are expected to limit their employment, including assistantships and other wage appointments through the University, to twenty hours per week. A student who wishes to work beyond twenty hours per week must petition his or her director of graduate studies, 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. If the director of graduate studies endorses the request, he or she will forward it to the assistant dean for review.
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.