Graduate Student Appointment
University fellowships and assistants are awarded on the basis of nominations by the graduate departments and programs. All fall and spring semester awards (other than tuition-only awards) carry a stipend and tuition. As of September 1, 1998, the policies for full-time graduate students supported by the University of Delaware as a fellow, teaching assistant, graduate assistant, research assistant, tuition scholar or tuition assistant is as follows:
- Must be classified as a full-time student* registered in graduate level courses during each semester of the award.
- Must be in good academic standing (3.00 cumulative GPA).
- Must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.000 each semester to continue to be eligible to hold the appointment in the next semester.
- Must be classified with regular standing in the program.
- U.S. citizens who are students may work no more than 29.5 hours per week within the University. According to INS regulations, non-U.S. citizens are limited to 20 hours per week within the university and may not work outside the university. (Note: Some fellowships may have restrictions which disallow the recipient to work while holding the fellowship.)
- Federal and state income taxes are withheld from the pay of students who are assistants. According to IRS regulations, federal and state income taxes are not withheld from the stipends of U.S. citizens who are fellows. Non U.S. citizens are required to have federal taxes withheld from the non-exempt portion of the fellowship stipend unless exempt under a foreign country treaty.
- An individual who is at least a half-time** graduate student and who is not a career employee*** qualifies for the Student FICA exemption with respect to services performed at or for institutions of higher education in which they are enrolled. This applies to students on PAF appointment or on Graduate Student Non-contract Pay.
- Payments in summer to students as teaching, graduate, or research assistants or on non-contract payments do not qualify the student for FICA tax exemption unless the student is registered for at least 3 credits (or sustaining, if eligible). Note: Appointments in winter do not provide tuition awards. Appointments in summer session do provide tuition awards if the work is related to the student’s degree program. There are specific summer registration policy and work hour limitations for funded graduate students.
* During fall and spring semesters, full-time status is a minimum of six graduate-level credits for students holding an assistantship or a tuition scholarship and a minimum of nine graduate level-credits for students holding a fellowship. These courses must be for credit and must be maintained throughout the semester. Students with sustaining credit registration are considered as full-time by the University in any semester.
** Half-time status is a minimum of 5 graduate credits for students on non-contract graduate pay during the fall and spring semesters.
*** A “career employee” is defined as an individual who is: 1) eligible to participate in the institution’s retirement plans (or would be eligible if he or she had met the plan’s age and service requirements); 2) eligible for reduced tuition (other than for tuition waivers provided to graduate teaching and research assistants); or 3) classified by the institution as a “career employee.”
Guidelines for Graduate Students on Fellowship or Assistantship Contracts
Students who are awarded a fellowship or an assistantship for the fall and/or spring semester assume a contract with the University and are expected to give their full-time attention to graduate study in those semesters. Students are classified as “on contract” if paid at least 50% of the U.D. minimum stipend in the fall and/or spring semester and are matriculated as a full-time student. Students who receive no stipend but receive a departmental tuition scholarship of at least 50% in the fall and/or spring semester and are matriculated as full-time students are also classified as “on contract.” Students who are classified as research assistants and are paid at least 100% of the minimum stipend in the months of June and July and/or August are classified as “on contract” in the summer months.
- Nine graduate credits or sustaining in the fall and spring semesters is the minimum registration requirement to be classified as a full-time student for those who receive a fellowship.
- Six graduate credits or sustaining in the fall and spring semesters is the minimum registration requirement for students to be classified as a full-time student for those who receive an assistantship. Programs may require that students register in more than six credits if holding an assistantship as stated in the plan of study for that program.
- Three graduate credits in research or sustaining in the 7 1/2-week summer session is the minimum registration requirement for students to be classified as a full-time student for those who receive a 100% research assistantship in the summer.
- Registration is not required in Winter Session for students who are classified “on contract” when the contract is written to include the fall and spring semesters.
- Students classified as graduate or research assistants are required to provide an average of 20 hours of service per week in the winter session as part of their fall and spring award.
- Students who receive 100% of the minimum stipend and a 100% tuition scholarship may not hold additional employment on or off campus. As with any professional appointment, the amount of service may vary from week to week, but the average is usually expected to be no more than 20 hours of service per week for the U.D. minimum stipend. Dean’s permission is required for any exception to this “no other employment policy” and APPROVAL BY THE DEAN must be forwarded to the Graduate College.
- Fellows are expected to give their full-time attention to graduate study and may not engage in any remunerative employment while holding the fellowship. Dean’s permission is required for any exception to this “no other employment policy” and APPROVAL BY THE DEAN must be forwarded to the Graduate College.
- Students who receive less than a 100% minimum stipend and are expected to provide service of less than 20 hours per week may accept additional work on or off campus.
- Students who receive a departmental tuition scholarship only (no stipend) may accept additional work on or off campus.
- Students who are classified as “on contract” are eligible to receive the medical and/or dental insurance reduction benefit.
- Students who withdraw or are dismissed from the University during the time of the contract appointment will become responsible for the tuition in that semester.
- The appointment is for the time period as indicated on the contract form and the unit does not need to report non-renewal to the student.
- Federal and state taxes, if applicable, will be withheld from the stipend check.
- Tuition scholarships are not taxed.
- Attendance at the Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) workshop is required for all first time GTAs. International GTAs must also attend the ELI ITA training program and meet the SPEAK/UDIA score requirements to be eligible for a GTA appointment.
- Students holding assistantships are expected to be at the assistantship site except for times when the University is officially closed or as noted on the contract form in the reporting hours section. Winter session is considered a regular session and graduate and research assistants are required to be at their assignment site during the winter session time period if the contract has been written from 9/1 through 5/31.
- This contract does not provide for payment of the Student fees that are charged by the University each semester unless so noted as part of the contract.
- An offer of continuation of the appointment is contingent upon satisfactory performance of assigned duties each semester, continued academic eligibility in each semester (minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00), compliance with the University’s Code of Conduct, availability of funds and stated policies of the program as to the number of semesters that a student is eligible to receive fellowships or assistantships.
- Any exception to the policies stated must be presented in writing by the appropriate departmental/college office to the Graduate College for consideration and action.
Effective Fall 2010
All matriculated students should register in advance for spring and fall semesters and winter and summer sessions. Registration periods are scheduled for returning full-and part-time graduate students in late April for fall semester and in late November for spring semester. Advance registration periods also precede the summer and winter session. Newly admitted or returning graduate students should register during the appropriate time. Contact the Registrar’s Office or the Graduate College for information on advance registration. For newly admitted students unable to advance register for fall semester, special permission may be sought from the Office of Graduate College to waive the late registration fee.
Candidates Completing Thesis/Dissertation/Executive Position Paper
Once a graduate student who is completing a thesis, dissertation, or education leadership portfolio has completed registration in all required course credits needed for the degree (including the registration of six credits of Master’s thesis  or nine to twelve credits of dissertation ) and all other degree requirements except the submission of the thesis, dissertation, or education leadership portfolio, the student must maintain matriculation in the degree program during the fall and spring semesters by registering for either Master’s Sustaining: Thesis (UNIV 899) or Doctoral Sustaining (UNIV 999). All students, including sustaining students, must be registered in the semester in which the degree is officially awarded. Sustaining registration is required for summer and winter session only if the degree is awarded at the conclusion of the summer or winter session. Students in sustaining status are considered full-time.
Changes in Registration
Authorization for changes in registration after the University’s published deadlines must be requested in writing from the student’s adviser and must be reviewed and approved by the Graduate College. Forms for registration changes are provided by the Registrar’s Office or UDSIS Personal Access.
Change of Status or Change of Graduate Program
A change from one type of degree status to another while remaining in the same program requires a Change of Classification Form approved by the student’s advisor and graduate program director. International students in F1 or J1 status should also consult with the international student advisor.
A change from a degree in one graduate program to a degree in another program in another department or college requires the student to submit a completed admission application form to the Graduate College and follow the same procedures for admission as any other applicant.
Graduate students are required to maintain continuous registration each fall and spring semester to be eligible to continue in a graduate degree program. Failure to comply with the requirement of maintaining continuous registration in the fall and spring semesters either in courses, in sustaining credit, or with approved leave of absence will be taken as evidence that the student has terminated his/her graduate program, and the matriculated status to the graduate program will be terminated. The date of termination will be recorded on the student’s record in the student record system.
Course Load Requirements for Full-Time Students Holding an Assistantship or Fellowship
A student must be classified as full-time to be eligible to hold an assistantship or fellowship. Students holding a teaching assistantship, a research assistantship, a graduate assistantship, or a tuition scholarship must register for at least 6 credit hours of graduate-level courses each fall and spring semester to meet full-time status. (Note: Some programs may require students to be registered in more than six credits.) Students holding a fellowship must register for at least 9 credit hours of graduate-level courses each fall and spring semester to meet full-time status. These graduate-level courses must be taken for credit and must be maintained throughout the semester. Listener or undergraduate-level courses may be taken in addition to the minimum of 6 or 9 hours of graduate-level courses in each semester that the student is on contract. Students on contract in fall or spring semester who are completing a thesis or a dissertation and who have not submitted it to the Graduate College may register in sustaining status to meet full-time status.
Credit for 400-level Courses
Some 400-level courses may be completed for graduate credit if the graduate student does additional work. Students must register for the course at the graduate level using the departmental number of 666. For example, a graduate student who attends PSYC 425 and fulfills additional graduate level requirements to earn graduate credit should register for PSYC 666, not PSYC 425. The student may process a titling form for the 666 numbered course.
Students who advance register and wish to change their registration by either dropping courses or adding others may do so within the free drop-add period during the first two weeks of classes using UDSIS personal access. After that period and until the end of the first six weeks of classes, a fee is charged for each drop-add form processed. Approval of the Graduate College must be sought for all changes after the free drop-add period.
Expiration of Credit
Graduate course credits expire five years after the course has been completed if a student has not maintained continuous registration in their degree program. Students who gap out of a graduate degree program and are subsequently approved to be readmitted to the program will find that courses older than five years will not continue to apply to the degree. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the program and the Graduate College.
Full and Part-time Status
Students enrolled in at least 9 credit hours or in sustaining credit are considered full-time students. Those enrolled for fewer than 9 credit hours are considered part-time students, although students holding assistantships are considered full-time with six credits. Generally, a maximum load is 12 graduate credit hours; however, additional credit hours may be taken with the approval of the student’s adviser and the Graduate College. A maximum course load in either summer or winter session is 7 credit hours. Permission must be obtained from the Graduate College to carry an overload in any session. Some University graduate programs have different thresholds for full-time status due to the shorter and accelerated nature of those programs. For example, enrollment in 6 credits for the accelerated 7-week MBA On-Line program terms is considered to be full-time.
Students who are permitted by special arrangement to conduct a portion of the research for their thesis in governmental or other laboratories off campus must register for this work so that it may count toward degree requirements. This work must be under the direct supervision of a member of the faculty of the University. The amount of credit earned is determined and approved by the student’s advisory committee.
A student who has incompletes (a letter grade of I) in three or more courses may not register in the next regular semester (i.e., fall or spring) for additional courses without the approval of the Associate Vice Provost for Graduate and Professioal Education.
Leaves of Absence and Parental Accommodation
The University of Delaware recognizes the importance of having a leave policy for graduate students. The policy helps balance the responsibilities of graduate studies and personal, medical or professional circumstances. The University’s policy encourages graduate students to initiate a dialogue with their advisors and immediate supervisors so their career paths can be maintained while assuming the added responsibilities of a temporary leave or parental accommodation. Graduate students are expected to inform their advisors as early as possible when considering a potential leave of absence. In many circumstances, it is possible to reach an arrangement that permits the student to continue with academic work without requiring a leave of absence. The Graduate College encourages you to explore the complete UD Policy using the link below. Other issues such as Accommodations for Parental Responsibilities, Medical Leave of Absence and Personal or Professional Leave of Absence are addressed in full in the complete policy. Any questions pertaining to how these policies apply to you can be addressed to Dr. Mary Martin, Associate Vice Provost for Graduate and Professional Education and Associate Dean of the Graduate College.
Master’s Candidates Pursuing Non-Thesis Degree Option
Once a master’s student pursuing a non-thesis option has registered for all required course credits needed for the degree, but has not completed other non-thesis degree option requirements such as a portfolio, research option paper, comprehensive examination, art show or exhibit, or incomplete grades, the student is required to maintain his/her eligibility for the degree program during the fall and spring semesters by registering for Master’s Sustaining: Non-thesis (UNIV 895). All students, including sustaining students, must be registered in the semester in which the degree is officially awarded. Sustaining registration is required for summer and winter session only if the degree is awarded at the conclusion of the summer or winter session. Students in sustaining status are considered full-time.
Students who decide not to attend any of the registered courses before the end of the first 10 days of classes must complete withdrawal procedures using UDSIS Personal Access. The approval of the Graduate College is not needed, but the student is required to give notice in writing to the department and the Graduate College. If the notification is received before the end of the first 10 days of classes, the registration is cancelled.
Resignation from the University
A graduate student wishing to resign from the University (i.e., terminate his/her association with the University and a specific degree program) may do so by submitting a letter to the Graduate College indicating the reasons for the resignation. The Office will cancel the student’s matriculation and indicate the effective date of the resignation on the student’s transcript.
Students who are supported by the University as research assistants during the summer months are required to be registered in at least three credits during the 7 1/2 week summer session under the following guidelines: the work must be related to the student’s degree program, and the funding amount must meet the minimum requirement per month in June and July. Students may register in 868-800 (research), 869 (thesis), 964 (pre-candidacy study), 969 (dissertation), 864 (internship), sustaining, or a regular graduate course needed for the degree and offered in the 7 1/2 week summer session. Except for 864, 869, or regular courses, all courses are graded pass/fail.
Students who complete graduate credits with the classification of CEND (Continuing Education Nondegree) at the University of Delaware may use a maximum of 9 graduate credits earned with this classification toward their graduate degree. Up to 9 graduate credits earned at another institution will be evaluated at the written request of the student. The credits, but not the grades or quality points from other institutions are transferable to University of Delaware graduate records.
All requests for transfer credit should be directed to the student’s major department using a Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit form. Transfer credits will be accepted provided that such credits:
- Were earned with a grade of no less than B,
- Are approved by the student’s adviser and the chair of the student’s major department,
- Are in accord with the specific degree program of the student as specified by the unit’s Graduate Program Policy Statement,
- Are not older than five years,
- Are graduate level courses, and
- Were completed at an accredited college or university.
Graduate courses counted toward a degree received elsewhere may not be transferred into a degree at the University of Delaware. Credits from institutions outside of the United States are generally not transferable to the University of Delaware.
Withdrawal after the free drop-add period
If the notification of the intention to withdraw from all registered courses is made after the free drop-add deadline, the student must request in writing permission to be withdrawn by the Graduate College. A tuition rebate is made only for course withdrawals made before the end of late registration in the fall and spring semesters and before the end of the first week of classes in either summer session. If a student withdraws unofficially, registration is continued until the end of the term and the student receives failing (Z) grades in all courses. Rights to any rebates to which the student might have otherwise been entitled are also forfeited.
Having Trouble Finding Something?
The policies at the University of Delaware are constantly being updated and added to as we try to improve our community. If you can’t find something specific you are looking for on the Graduate College site, try looking in the Student Guide to University Policies or the University of Delaware’s General Counsel Site.