General Policies, Procedures and Requirements


The general policies, procedures and requirements for advanced degrees are stated below; however, each program has specific degree requirements. These specific requirements are detailed in the program descriptions that follow this section. These requirements must be consulted so that the graduate student can be fully apprised of the conditions he/she must meet in order to receive an advanced degree.

The policies and regulations described in this catalog cannot be superseded or invalidated by either oral or written agreement with faculty, staff, or administrators unless a variance is confirmed in writing by the Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs, in consultation with the Graduate Council.


Students may register for courses during the priority early registration period before the beginning of the semester. A student’s first opportunity is based on classification and alphabetic rotation. The early registration period is then followed by regular and late registration.  The registration calendar for any term is published online by the office of the registrar.  Initial registration and any later registration changes are usually completed by students through the registration link of the ULink online portal

Initial registration must be completed by the date announced by the registrar, typically the fifth day of classes. Students may make adjustments to their course schedule until the end of the first week for regularly scheduled fall and spring courses.  For summer courses and courses with atypical duration, the last date to adjust schedules is specified by the registrar in the official registration calendar.  This last day to adjust schedules is referred to as the last day to drop/add.

Students may add courses to their schedules until the last day to drop/add. No signature or other authorization is required if the added course is open for enrollment, if students meet all course prerequisites, and if such additional courses do not raise the students’ credit‐hours for the term above the maximum allowed by the students’ enrollment unit or academic standing.  If the addition increases the tuition cost for the semester, the additional payment must be settled with the university bursar by the last day to drop/add. 

Students can place their names on the waitlist for a course that is closed.  Students are automatically moved from the waitlist to registration in the course as spaces open until the end of the first week of classes.  Students may add their names to the waitlist until the third day of classes for regularly scheduled fall and spring courses, and the first day of classes for summer courses. 

Students may drop a course from their schedule until the last day of drop/add. Courses that are dropped during the regular registration period are not listed on the transcript. Students should consider how dropping a course will affect their progress toward their degree and their financial aid eligibility. Students who stop attending a class but fail to complete the drop process, regardless of the date when they stopped attending the course, will be given the grade of F for the course.

Students who wish to enroll in concurrent courses at another institution should consult their academic advisor before registration to ensure proper enrollment and recording of courses.  Students in good standing who have earned a minimum of twelve hours may be able to cross-register at other universities in the Kentuckiana Metroversity consortium.  Cross registration is permitted on a space-available basis at the discretion of the member institutions.  The combined program of work in all institutions may not exceed the maximum course load permitted for students at the University of Louisville. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in loss of credit or in ineligibility to transfer the credits from the other schools toward the requirements for graduation.

The University of Louisville uses an online web registration system. The schedule of courses for each term may be reviewed at Schedule of Classes.

Students must first contact their graduate advisor or Director of Graduate Studies to discuss course selections. Students in good standing and admitted without conditions may proceed with the registration process. If, however, a student has been admitted with conditions, or is in probationary status, the student must contact the Director of Graduate Studies regarding the implications of the admission status.

Full-Time Study

Full-time study for graduate students is defined as enrollment in:

  1. Nine (9) credit hours during the Fall semester, OR
  2. Nine (9) credit hours during the Spring semester, OR
  3. Six (6) credit hours during the Summer semester, OR
  4. In degree candidacy status.

Full-Time Study for University Fellows and Graduate Assistants

All University Fellows and Graduate Assistants receiving financial support must be enrolled as full-time students during the period for which they are receiving support.

Workload Limitations for Graduate Assistants

Graduate assistants who are supported by an assistantship, either as a GRA (research), GTA (teaching) or GSA (service), are limited to 20 hours of work per week on service related to the graduate assistantship.  However, students may be eligible to work an additional 9 hours per week with the possibility to earn income for the work.  Graduate students are first and foremost students, and the additional work must provide professional development for the student.  The duration of the additional work is typically within one semester, and waivers must be filed every semester the student seeks additional work. 

International students who have an F1 VISA may be eligible for this waiver, but they must abide by UofL policies, which limit the amount of additional work for both domestic and international students to 9 hours per week over the course of the semester, as well as federal regulations governing Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F1 VISA holders.   CPT guidelines suggest the following:

  • Typically, F1 VISA holders who are funded with an assistantship are not eligible for CPT during their first year of study (unless the program requires such a practicum in the first year); 
  • Additional work must be integral to the discipline and the work must be part of the program of study (preferably the student will receive academic credit for the work);
  • CPT requires a signed cooperative agreement or letter from the employer attesting to the curricular nature of the work experience;
  • A Designated School Official (DSO) must provide a new I-20 approving the student for employment. To approve a student for CPT, the DSO must have approval from both the Director of Graduate Studies in the student’s program AND the Dean of the Graduate School, as evidenced by completion and approval of the GA Workload Waiver Form.

The Chair of the student's department or the Director of Graduate Studies must complete the GA Workload Waiver form, which will be forwarded automatically to the Graduate School.  If a student is funded as a GA by an external source, submission of this waiver affirms that the request falls within the student's current funding source regulations on additional aid.  The Dean of the Graduate School, or the Dean's designee, must approve requests for students to perform additional work.

Catalog Year

The university issues a catalog annually in conjunction with the start of the summer term, and the degree requirements stated in the annual issue apply to all students who matriculate during that year.  These requirements constitute the “catalog year” for those students and set their degree requirements as long as they are enrolled without a break of more than two calendar years. In other cases, a student may elect to follow the requirements of a later catalog year.  The student’s advisor will assist in identifying the need and benefit of such an election.  The advisor must record this election in the student’s permanent record. 

Students may petition for a variance from the stated degree requirements of their catalog year.  A variance must be reviewed by the Director of Graduate Studies or Department Chair, and the unit dean or their designee. The final decision is made by the Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs.

Students readmitted after two or more calendar years must reapply for admission.  If readmitted, they are subject to the catalog year requirements in force at the time of their readmission. 

Continuous Enrollment

Continuous enrollment is defined as being registered in both Fall and Spring if registering for course work. If a student has been admitted to either masters or doctoral degree candidacy, continuous enrollment in candidacy status is required for the Fall, Spring and Summer terms (only one term of registration is required in summer terms). Students must be enrolled during the semester in which they wish to graduate.

Course Loads

Normally, the maximum number of credit hours that may be taken in a regular semester is twelve (12). The maximum number of credit hours that may be taken in the Summer session (both terms) is twelve (12), including research hours.


A student who wishes to enroll in more than the maximum number of credit hours must petition the unit dean to obtain permission.

Auditing Courses

Auditing at the graduate-level is available only to students who are enrolled in a graduate program. A student who wishes to audit a course must obtain permission from the course instructor and the director of the program in which the student is enrolled using the proper form provided by the Office of the Registrar. Auditing a course will not satisfy a prerequisite for a graduate course or a degree requirement.

Transfer of Credit

UofL generally accepts transfer credits earned at institutions of higher education accredited by the following institutional accreditors, which are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Association of College and Schools, Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., Commission on Institutions of Higher Learning (NEASC-CHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Western Association of Schools and College, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WASC-SCUC)
  • Western Association of Schools and College, Accrediting Commission for Community Colleges and Junior Colleges (WASC-ACCJC)

To check on the status of an institution's accreditation, please visit U.S. Department of Education website.

The number of credit hours transferable, upon request, is six (6). Up to six (6)  additional credit hours may be petitioned, provided that these additional hours are not credits earned by extension, thesis or practicum and provided also that the residency requirement of 24 semester hours is maintained by the addition of University of Louisville credits to the total program.

Course work taken more than three years prior to the student's application to a graduate program will not normally be considered for transfer; however, such requests will be reviewed by the Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs upon recommendation by the department chair and the unit dean.

The course work being considered for transfer must have been taken while the student was enrolled in an accredited graduate or professional school and must be evaluated for transfer by the Director of Graduate Studies in which the student is seeking additional graduate work. Six (6) credit hours may be transferred from a previously earned master's degree toward a doctoral degree or a second master's degree, subject to the approval of the degree program and the unit dean. Hours earned toward a culminating experience such as a thesis, practicum, or internship shall not be transferable to the second master's degree. Only courses in which the student earned grades of B or better will be considered for transfer. Hours and quality points earned at other institutions are not included in the calculation of a student's grade point average.

Courses in which grades of P were earned must have the approval of the unit dean in order to be transferred.

Transfers of graduate credit from constituent schools and colleges of the University of Louisville are not subject to the above limitations on transfers but require the recommendation of the department chair and the approval of the unit dean. Upon approval of the graduate program, students may apply the coursework from no more than one certificate program towards a graduate degree program.

Satisfactory Progress

All graduate students are expected to make steady and satisfactory progress toward the completion of degrees. Students who are not enrolled for a period of more than 12 months will be considered to have withdrawn from the program. Students who seek to return after such a period of time must contact the graduate program director. Based on the request of the graduate program, the unit dean will consider the student for readmission.

Satisfactory progress also requires maintaining the standards of academic and professional integrity expected in a particular discipline or program and, in some disciplines, may include demonstration of the ability to function as a professional practitioner. Failure to maintain these standards or demonstrate such abilities may result in the student's termination from the program.

Degree Candidacy

Students enter Degree Candidacy upon completion of all course work, qualifying exams, required research credit hours and other co-curricular requirements. Students who are enrolled in degree candidacy are considered full-time students. While in Degree Candidacy, it is the responsibility of both student and mentor to maintain contact to ensure continuous progress towards the completion of the degree. In some cases, a master's student may complete the requirements of a degree program without the need to enter Degree Candidacy.

Although students must complete all required courses before entering Degree Candidacy, they have the option of taking additional specialized courses, e.g., courses offered by visiting or new faculty, while in Degree Candidacy (in those cases payment of both the candidacy fee and the course tuition will be required).

When all other degree requirements are met, students may enroll in Degree Candidacy in order to meet the requirement that all students must be enrolled during the semester in which they wish to graduate.

Degree Programs must inform the Vice Provost of Academic Affairs when students have met all requirements and are ready to enter Degree Candidacy. Once a student is admitted to candidacy, enrollment in Degree Candidacy status must be continuously maintained year round (i.e. Fall, Spring, and Summer) until the degree is awarded. The only exception to this policy of continuous enrollment is if the unit dean and the Vice Provost of Graduate Affairs have granted the student a formal leave of absence.

Once a student initially enrolls in Degree Candidacy, the Registrar will automatically enroll the student in Degree Candidacy until the student applies to graduate, with the exception of the following:

  1. Failure to pay the candidacy fee will cancel a student's enrollment.
  2. If a student has any type of hold on the account, the student will no longer be enrolled automatically in Degree Candidacy. To reestablish enrollment in Degree Candidacy, students will be required to pay the candidacy fee for each semester during which candidacy was voided and/or not maintained. To restore Degree Candidacy, the student must contact the Director of Graduate Studies in their degree program.

Time Limitations for Degree-Seekers

Master's students must complete the degree requirements within six years of beginning the program of study. Doctoral students have four  years after passing the qualifying exams to finish all other degree requirements. While granting an extension of time is rare, requests for extension of time must be submitted in writing to the Director of Graduate Studies of the student's department. Once reviewed by the department, the request is forwarded to the unit dean, and then to the Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs with supporting documentation for review. Students must be considered in good standing for the request to be considered.

Academic Standing

Good Standing

A graduate student is in good standing as long as the graduate grade point average is 3.0 or higher on a 4-point scale. A student must be in good standing in order to receive a degree.

Academic Probation

Any student with a semester GPA below 3.0 will receive an academic warning from the Graduate School. A notification will be sent to the student as well the student's graduate program. Should a student's cumulative GPA fall below 3.0, the student will be placed on academic probation until the student regains a 3.0 average (which is required to graduate). Ordinarily students are not permitted to continue on academic probation for more than one semester, but upon request of the student's graduate program, the unit dean may submit a variance request to the Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs to approve continuation of academic probation beyond a single semester. Students on academic probation for more than one semester risk dismissal from the graduate program.

Graduate programs have the prerogative to establish more stringent criteria for which students may be placed on academic probation.

Academic Dishonesty

Plagiarism, cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty are serious violations of academic conduct and may result in permanent dismissal. Students are expected to be familiar with the various forms of academic dishonesty as explained in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. A plea of ignorance is not a defense against the charge of academic dishonesty.