Post-Comprehensive Enrollment

After completing the comprehensive exam, doctoral students are required to be continuously enrolled each semester (including summers) until completion of the degree.  Continuous enrollment for the post-comprehensive student is defined below.  To properly understand this policy, please review each bullet-point carefully. 

  • Post-comp doctoral students must initially enroll in a minimum of 6 hours each Fall and Spring semester and 3 hours each Summer.
  • Post-comp enrollment must include within the 6 or 3 required hours at least one dissertation or dissertation-equivalent hour every term, with the exception of the semester in which the comp exam is taken.  (The Office of Graduate Studies maintains a list of pre-approved dissertation equivalents.  You should speak with your advisors to discern if the department has any approved equivalents and if so which is the appropriate course to enroll in).
  • Hours completed during the semester in which the student takes his or her comprehensive exam count toward the required 18 hours, as long as enrollment during that semester follows the requirements described above (the minimum 6-6-3 formula).  Enrollment that semester does not, however, have to include a dissertation or dissertation-equivalent hour within the required 6 or 3 hours. 
  • A student may, under advisement of the department, enroll in more than 6 hours each semester to achieve the 18 hours more quickly (such as 9 hours in the Fall/Spring semesters).
  • During the semester in which the student is due to complete the 18 hours of post-comp enrollment, he or she may drop down to whatever number of hours is required to complete the 18 (e.g., if the student started the semester with 15 hours of post-comp enrollment completed, only three hours are required).
  • The student must then continue to enroll in at least 1 dissertation or dissertation-equivalent hour each term, including summers, until he or she graduates.   The student's level of enrollment must, however, accurately reflect demands on faculty time and University facilities.  It is imperative that the student consult with his or her department about enrollment needs before reducing hours.  As each students coursework needs are unique, there may be instances where dropping to fewer hours would be detrimental to the student's progress to degree and/or funding, etc.
  • Please note that hours completed in semesters previous to taking the comprehensive exam, even dissertation or dissertation-equivalent hours, do not count toward the post-comp enrollment requirement.

GTA/GRA/GA Post-Comprehensive Enrollment

All of the regulations above also apply to students with GTA/GRA/GA appointments.  The only difference is that these students must be certified to drop their enrollment levels.  To complete this certification, the student or department staff should download a copy of the Certification of Eligibility to Enroll in Fewer Than Six Hours form (see GTA Certification below under Related Policies and Forms), secure the necessary department signatures, and submit the form to Morgan Swartzlander (via campus mail or as a scanned PDF to 

Related Policies and Forms:

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