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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.
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 degree will not be conferred to a candidate who has a notation of “Incomplete” or a blank grade for any courses on his or her transcript.
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 or fails to comply with all applicable University, School, and departmental policies, including but not limited to those governing student conduct, academics, and the Code of Honor. Tuition is charged according to the portion of the term elapsed before the effective date of the enforced withdrawal, and financial support allocated to the student for the remainder of that term is forfeited.
Students are required to register for a minimum of twelve credit hours and as may register for as many as sixteen credit hours by the stated deadline each term. These 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.
Advanced doctoral students who are enrolled full-time, have fulfilled all school- and program-level degree requirements with the exception of the dissertation, and are actively completing a dissertation under continued guidance from the faculty may petition for Doctoral Completion status. Eligible students may request this status for up to four consecutive terms. Please see “University Regulations—Academic Regulations—Affiliated Status” for additional information.
Students who have completed all degree requirements after the graduation deadline for a given term or after ceasing full-time enrollment may petition for Degree Conferral in Absentia. Because a student is eligible for this status for one term only, he or she will not be approved for this status until the satisfaction of all degree requirements has been recorded formally by the department. A student may request this status up to 15 days before the graduation deadline for that term, but in such cases may be subject to late enrollment fees.Please see University Regulations—Academic Regulations—Affiliated Status” for additional information.
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 carrying multiple grades of Incomplete or blank grades at the conclusion of a term are subject to probationary measures for unsatisfactory academic performance.
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.
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 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. A student on leave must file a reinstatement request by April 1 to return in the fall term and by November 1 to return in the spring term.
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.
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 a student’s satisfaction within the department should be discussed with the senior assistant dean. A student who wishes to appeal a particular action taken by a department may do so in writing to the Committee of Associate Deans of Arts and Sciences within ten (10) calendar days of the date on which the decision being contested was communicated to the student.
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 file a reinstatement request by April 1 to return in the fall term and by November 1 to return in the spring term. A student who has been absent for longer than two years must reapply through the standard process to his or her program of study.
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 (and awarded a grade of “B” or higher) toward the 72-hour doctoral requirement. Transfer credits earned prior to matriculation must be requested by the conclusion of the first year of a student’s enrollment in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 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. The Graduate School typically requires students to complete all requirements in residence for the degrees of Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Fine Arts.
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. 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. 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.”
Application for admission must be made on-line by the stated deadlines, which vary by program. A non-refundable application fee of $85 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. Applicants to the MFA programs in Creative Writing and Drama are exempt from the GRE requirement. 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). The minimum internet-based (iBT) TOEFL score requirement is 90 (including sectional minimums of 22 in speaking, 22 in writing, 23 in reading and 23 in listening). The minimum paper-based TOEFL score requirement is 600. The minimum IELTS score requirement is 7.0 in each section. 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.
Application requirements are waived for an enrolled undergraduate at the University whom the faculty wish to admit to a master’s program. The candidate will send a written request for admission to the DGS specifying the first term of planned enrollment. Upon favorable review, the DGS will forward the candidate’s request to the assistant dean indicating that the candidate has been evaluated and approved by the faculty for admission. Such candidates must meet the Graduate School’s minimum academic thresholds for admission stated above.
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.
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 constituted by 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.
A candidate must achieve satisfactory standing in a general examination (oral, written or both).
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.
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.
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.
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 the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will periodically evaluate the student’s progress on the dissertation. 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 the Graduate School 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. A director of graduate studies may petition to permit a reader from outside the University who holds a Ph.D. to serve as one of the four core members of the committee by providing the associate dean with the reader’s CV and a statement regarding the reader’s particular suitability for the committee. This external reader may not serve as the representative of the Graduate School. 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. At the time of deposit, students may elect to make the full content publicly available online or limit access to the contents of the dissertation for up to five years to UVA users who possess valid network access and any member of the public accessing the UVA network on Grounds. Students may also petition the Graduate School for an embargo of the dissertation for up to five years, during which time its contents will not be visible to any audience.
A student who seeks an embargo must submit a statement to the advisor at least six weeks in advance of the LIBRA submission deadline for the semester in which the degree will be conferred. The statement must provide a substantive rationale for the embargo and the desired end date within five years after which the dissertation will become publicly accessible. The advisor and department chair will review the petition and forward it to the Graduate School with their comments. The Arts & Sciences dean’s office will review the petition and notify the student and department of the outcome of the petition and alert the University Library to any approved embargo period. At the conclusion of an embargo period or after five years of limited access, former students may utilize the petition process described above to request an extension of the embargo or limited access period.
En Route Master’s Degree
A doctoral student in a program that offers a master’s degree may petition for that degree upon completion of the master’s degree requirements.
A doctoral student who wishes to receive a master’s degree en route to the Ph.D. in a program other than the one to which the student was admitted must submit a proposal to the assistant dean that is endorsed by the DGS from each of the participating programs. The en route master’s degree should be co-curricular with the doctoral degree. As such, the proposal will outline prospective coursework to fulfill the requirements of the master’s degree, noting to what extent this coursework will also satisfy course requirements for the doctoral degree. The proposal will establish a schedule for the completion of master’s requirements and doctoral candidacy requirements that neither extends the standard length of the doctoral program nor requires additional financial support to complete both degrees. Up to six credits of coursework in the proposed master’s discipline may be completed before the proposal is approved.
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.
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.
The School of Law and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS) offer J.D./M.A. dual degree programs in the fields of English, Environmental Sciences, Foreign Affairs, Government, History and Philosophy that are designed to accommodate the interests of students who desire to complement their training in law with theoretical, historical, empirical and interpretive methods derived from respective disciplines in the arts and sciences.
Administration of the Program
The Program will be administered by a program committee (“Program Committee”) composed of faculty from the School of Law and faculty from the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, as designated by the respective deans.
Admission to the Program
The student is obligated to secure separate admission to both the School of Law and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Application to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences may be made prior to entrance or while the applicant is a first-year student at the School of Law. In either case, applicants to the Program will be held to the same standards as other applicants to each school. Applicants’ status as a candidate for the Program will not be considered in the admission process. Once admitted independently to each school, the student may make application to the Program Committee for admission to the Program. Admission to the Program will be judged according to criteria developed by the Program Committee and will not be guaranteed by virtue of acceptance at both schools.
With the exception of the J.D./M.A. program in History, which is completed during six terms in residence solely in the School of Law, the Program will take a minimum of seven regular semesters to complete (summer semesters do not count) and may not be accelerated. In brief, the Program consists of the complete first-year curriculum in the School of Law (two semesters) followed by semesters of courses taken from the curricula of the two schools and, in appropriate cases, from other graduate offerings at the University.
Students must comply with all of the policies and meet all of the requirements set by both schools for the award of both the J.D. and the M.A., including the required curriculum and minimum academic standards. The student must complete a minimum of 86 credits in the School of Law and a minimum of 30 credits in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
With the approval of the School of Law representative on the Program Committee, students may earn one residency semester and receive up to 12 of the 86 credits required for the J.D. degree in appropriate graduate-level work in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences or other departments at the University. Students must receive approval from the School of Law representative on the Program Committee prior to enrolling in any courses outside the School of Law. Similarly, with the approval of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences representative on the Program Committee, a student may receive up to six credits toward the M.A. degree through the successful completion of coursework from an approved list of courses that are taught at the School of Law. Students should consult with the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences representative on the Program Committee prior to enrollment to identify these approved courses. NOTE: In accordance with ABA standards, J.D. degree candidates may not receive credit toward the J.D. degree for more than 17 credits total in any given semester. In addition, credit towards the J.D. degree cannot be granted for course work completed prior to matriculation at the School of Law.
Change of Status
At any point in the Program, students may terminate plans for a dual degree and continue toward a single degree at either school. The student then must satisfy the normal requirements of the selected program, which may include credits completed in the other school, as determined by the appropriate officials in the selected program. Students put on probation or suspended for academic reasons from one program will be evaluated by the other program to verify their good standing for continued enrollment. Students must remain active in both programs to be awarded dual degrees.
Tuition and Fees
With the exception of students enrolled in the J.D./M.A. program in History, the student will pay tuition to the School of Law according to its tuition schedule during the first five semesters of the Program and to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences according to its tuition schedule during the final two semesters of the Program. Students enrolled in the J.D./M.A. program in History will enroll in and pay tuition to the School of Law according to its tuition schedule in all six semesters that comprise the Program.
Financial aid (including loans and scholarships) will be provided by the school to which the student is paying tuition in a given semester. Financial aid is not guaranteed and is subject to individual school and University regulations and availability. Students must meet the satisfactory academic progress standards of the school providing the financial aid in a given semester.
Students are eligible to participate in the extracurricular activities of both schools to the extent that time permits. Because of the possibility of over commitment, however, counsel of the Program Committee is recommended.
The student is required to meet the grading standards of both schools independently to remain in good academic standing. Each school retains the right to drop students from its degree programs following its usual academic standards and procedures. Problems that arise in translation of different grading scales resulting from the dual program will be dealt with by the Program Committee. Grades for each course will be recorded on students’ transcripts under the system in effect at the school in which the course is taken.
The Program Committee will oversee the academic advising of students in the Program and approve appointments of individual faculty advisors on behalf of the Dean as needed.
If applicable, shared credits must appear on the official transcript for both programs to indicate the total number of credits required for each degree.
The degrees of Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Fine Arts 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.
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. 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 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.
Master’s students must be enrolled in a minimum of two semesters of full-time study.
All requirements for the master’s degree must be completed within five years from the first term of enrollment.
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.
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.
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.
Graduate support is awarded upon admission to provide a secure basis for doctoral students to complete degree requirements over an extended period of enrollment. Students are strongly encouraged to seek funding from sources outside the GSAS to support their research and dissertation writing. Such awards confer distinction on the student and can augment the funding available from the GSAS. When alternate sources of funds become available, GSAS resources must be conserved. At the same time, the GSAS wishes to recognize students’ efforts to secure such funding by allowing for an enhancement to their standard level of support.
Any institutional award of funds to a student from sources within or outside the University beyond the standard support offered upon admission is regarded as an external award and is subject to the policy and procedures outlined below, except in cases where the combination of external funds and graduate support commitment is determined by an agreement between the GSAS and the funding entity (e.g., the Jefferson Scholars Foundation).
A student who receives an external award is required to report the award to his or her DGS, who will, in turn, inform the GSAS. Failure to report such an award constitutes misconduct on the part of the student and is subject to disciplinary action. The DGS will develop a revised support plan for the student in consultation with the assistant dean for graduate programs and in compliance with the following guidelines. External support awarded to fund an itemized budget of research-related expenditures unrelated to general living support will typically result in no reduction to the standard living support provided by the GSAS.
Any portion of an external award designated to cover costs of education will be applied to the student’s University fees, University-provided health insurance, and GSAS tuition in that order and to the maximum extent allowed by the funding source.
A student is eligible to receive GSAS fellowship stipend and assistantship wages in combination with externally awarded living support up to a maximum threshold of 130% of the standard living support offered by the student’s program that academic year. For example, a student who would normally receive living support of $20,000 would be eligible to receive up to $26,000 in GSAS fellowship stipend, assistantship wages and external living support during that period with no reduction in the support provided by the GSAS. Should the combination of all sources exceed the 130% threshold, fellowship stipend from the GSAS will be reduced and, under certain circumstances, wage-earning appointments may be reduced. Combined awards involving funds disbursed directly to the student in a non-U.S. currency may be recalculated during the academic year in the event that the value of the award in US$ fluctuates more than 10%.
It is expected that the student will continue to be appointed to teaching and research assistantships in a manner that is consistent with the terms outlined in the offer of admission and typical to other students in his or her cohort. However, if GSAS fellowship stipend has been withdrawn entirely (or if there is no GSAS fellowship stipend award to reduce) and the combination of wages and external living support continues to exceed the 130% threshold, then the student’s appointments as a graduate teaching assistant or as a graduate research assistant can be reduced until the 130% threshold is reached. Both the DGS and the student must agree that the reduction of these obligations is in the student’s and the program’s best interests. In cases where a stated purpose of the external award is to enable the student to focus entirely on the completion of degree requirements and both the DGS and the student deem the external living support to be sufficient, the student may forego the standard support offered upon admission in order to eliminate obligations as a teaching or research assistant during the funding period.
A student who has satisfied all requirements for doctoral candidacy and will be fully supported by an external award for the purpose of conducting dissertation research away from Charlottesville may petition to defer up to two terms of the financial support awarded upon admission while enrolled with off-Grounds status. The Graduate School will fund the student’s tuition during the period of deferral. The student and his or her department must identify a source external to the Graduate School to fund the student’s University fees and University student health insurance premium during the period of deferral.
A student who receives a multi-year award that provides both sufficient living support and full payment of the student’s tuition, fees and health premium for an entire academic year may defer one year of the funding commitment offered upon admission. Such a deferral cannot extend beyond the conclusion of the sixth year of enrollment. In instances where the student’s standard support or the external award does not cover the entire aid year, the maximum combined award will be determined by prorating the 130% threshold according to the period when the standard support and external awards overlap.
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.
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.