Official Registration Status


To achieve official registration status (maintain graduate standing) when not officially on leave of absence, a student must be registered in at least one regularly authorized course (minimum of 1 unit) [Senate Reg. 275A]. However, students are expected to enroll in more than one unit per quarter in order to meet academic residency, program requirements, and funding eligibility requirements, as described below.

To maintain eligibility for fellowships, academic appointments, and fee remission during the academic year (Fall, Winter, Spring Quarters), students must be registered in a minimum of 8 units. Eligible students may also register Part Time, with some restrictions. Please read the full policy on part-time registration for graduate students here.

* In order for a quarter to count towards Academic Residency, a graduate student must be registered and enrolled in courses of instruction, research, or study totaling or equivalent to at least four units of upper-division or graduate work during a regular term (fall/winter/spring), or two units of such work in a summer session. In doctoral programs, however, no period of attendance of less than one quarter, except two consecutive six-week Summer Sessions in the same summer, can be used to establish residence [Senate Reg. 275C].

In summary, unless officially approved for Part-Time Status, a graduate student should aim to enroll in a minimum of 8 units each quarter, and possibly more as needed to meet the course requirements of the individual program. Students should consult with their departmental advisors on their program of study.


A student must have an official registration status (graduate standing) in order to complete degree milestones, including:

  • Take or complete a master's comprehensive exam or project
  • Advance to doctoral candidacy
  • File a thesis or dissertation
  • Have a degree awarded

A student who is planning to complete degree milestones during summer, must meet one of the following requirements:

  • If registered or on a Filing Leave of Absence during Spring quarter, no Summer Session registration is required. However, due to immigration regulations, international students who are applying for OPT or who will remain in the U.S. for more than 60 days after the last day of the Spring quarter must either be registered in any Summer Session or on a Summer Filing LOA
  • If on a personal Leave of Absence during Spring quarter, must have completed a minimum of 1 unit during one Summer Session (unless the quarter needs to count towards academic residency)*
  • If not registered (also known as “lapsed”) in Spring quarter, must be officially reinstated to Fall quarter and have completed a minimum of 1 unit* during one Summer Session (unless the quarter needs to count towards academic residency)*

Students who are filing a thesis, dissertation, or having their final degree awarded can be on a Filing Leave of Absence during that quarter in lieu of registering. 



Official registration status is required for the following:

  • Employment in an academic appointment title (TA, GSR, Reader, Tutor)
  • Campus services (e.g., Library privileges, University housing, Student Health Services)
  • Receive financial aid (loans, fellowships)
  • Defer loan repayment
  • International student immigration status

Unfinished Course Work

Unfinished Course Work

Students with an Incomplete grade (I), No Grade (NG), No Record (NR), or In Progress (IP) grade on their record are ineligible to advance to doctoral candidacy or be awarded a master's or doctoral degree until grades are assigned.

However, departments can request an exception to this policy if a student has an I, NG, NR, or IP in coursework that is not needed to fulfill advancement or degree requirements. Please note that if a degree is awarded in these cases, the department will need to obtain a Grade Change Report from the Office of the Registrar in order for the grade to be submitted after the degree has been awarded. 

Incomplete Grade

Students must file an Incomplete Petition with the Office of the Registrar prior to the last day of the quarter to receive an Incomplete (I) grade. If an extension is needed, students should contact their Department Graduate Program Assistant for assistance. 

An I grade on a student’s record at the time of graduation in a course not necessary for the fulfillment of degree requirements may be removed only up to the end of the fifth week of the term following the date of graduation. If not removed, it will not be changed to an For NP but will remain an I grade permanently. At the time of graduation, an I grade in a course taken for a letter grade must be utilized in the computation of the grade-point average. Its effect in that computation is identical to that of an F. (Senate Reg. 20D)

Policy and instructions can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.

No Grades and No Records

Graduate students may carry No Grades (NG) and No Records (NR) for one quarter after the course was originally taken. At the end of the next quarter, the NG or NR will automatically revert to a failing grade unless the instructor assigns a grade.

Lapsed Status

Unregistered (Lapsed) Status

Graduate students who fail to register (lapse) relinquish all student privileges including:

  • Preexisting offers of departmental financial support (i.e., graduate student academic appointments and fellowships)
  • Use of Student Health Services
  • Library access
  • U-Mail (access is terminated after 13 months of lapsed status)
  • Ability to defer repayment of student loans
  • International students immigration status (may be asked by the U.S. Immigration Service to leave the United States)
  • Non-resident tuition reduction is not deferred by the number of lapsed quarters (non-resident tuition reduction is effective for 3 calendar years regardless of registration status)

Quarters in lapsed status still count towards normative and time-to-degree deadlines.

Registration After Lapsed Status

A student not registered for at least one quarter, must submit a Reinstatement Petition to regain graduate student status. Please note that reinstatement is at the discretion of the department and is not automatic.

For detailed information about the reinstatement process, please refer to the Petition for Reinstatement to Graduate Status.

Registration Forms
and Petitions

Graduate students use GOLD to make routine schedule adjustments.  The policy for specific schedule changes are outlined below:

  • Change Grading Option
    • Graduate students have until the last day of instruction to change the grading option via GOLD. Please note that some courses are only offered on a letter grade basis or S/U basis and can't be changed.
    • After the last day of instruction, students must use the Retroactive Schedule Adjustment Petition-Graduate Students.

Graduate Division approval is not required unless the request is retroactive (submitted after the last day of instruction.

Once instruction has ended for a quarter, changes to student transcripts are considered retroactive and are considered on a case-by-case basis with final approval resting with the Graduate Dean.  To request a retroactive change, please submit a Retroactive Schedule Adjustment Petition.

Retroactive schedule adjustments will be approved only when the student can prove there was a legitimate clerical or administrative error, or serious change in circumstance that prohibited completion of the action by the deadline. Graduate Council Policy stipulates that students cannot request retroactive schedule adjustments because they are dissatisfied with their grades or want a more presentable transcript. If you are unsatisfied with your final grade, please see the procedures for a Grade Appeal.

Students may repeat a course to earn a better grade (in some cases to meet departmental degree requirements). When students earn a better grade in their second attempt in the same course, with department approval, they may petition to withdraw retroactively from the first attempt. If total units for the quarter drop below 8, financial aid, employment, and fellowship awards will be affected. International student visas require full time enrollment status (minimum of 8 units).

Graduate students are not allowed to repeat a graduate-level course (numbered 200 or higher) in which a grade of B or better was received.  Graduate students are not allowed to repeat an undergraduate-level course (numbered 1-199) in which a grade of C or better was received. More information on course repeats can be found in the General Catalog.

If a student is not enrolled in at least one course by the registration deadline (third week of the quarter), a Late Registration Form must be completed. The Late Registration form requires approval from individual course instructor(s), Department Graduate Advisor, and the Graduate Division Dean.

Students who have registered and paid fees/tuition, but need to withdraw from all of their courses must file a complete Graduate Withdrawal Petition to request a refund of fees and to cancel class enrollments. Before completing a Withdrawal Petition, students must discuss their options with their department and a Graduate Division Academic Services staff member as withdrawing has many implications on fellowships, employment, housing, and financial aid.

For more information about refunding of fees, please see the Registrar's Refund Schedules

Reduced Nonresident Tuition for Doctoral Candidates

Effective Fall 2006, the quarterly nonresident tuition fee is reduced by 100% for graduate doctoral students who have advanced to candidacy. The waiver period is for nine registered quarters, and begins with the first academic quarter following advancement to candidacy. A student who continues to be enrolled or who re-enrolls nine registered quarters after advancing to candidacy will be charged the full nonresident rate in effect at the time.