Course Load Policy
The graduate course load requirements and regulations apply to all graduate students with the exception of those students specified under special course load requirements show below. Graduate student assistants should also consult the section entitled University Policies for Graduate Student Assistantships.
Nine semester hours is considered as a minimum full-time course load for a fall or spring semester for master's students. Nine semester hours is considered a full-time course load for doctoral students registered during any fall or spring semester, unless they are required to register for more than nine hours under the Special Course Load Requirements. A full time course load during the summer is six semester hours.
Special Course Load Requirements
Greater than Nine Hour Course Load Requirement Doctoral students shall be required to reigister for more than nine hours if they are in the following categories:
- professional students;
- doctoral students enrolled in programs with core curricula requiring 12 hours of organized classes during long semesters;
- doctoral students enrolled in nine credit hours of organized classes who are conducting research related to their dissertation. This last category of students (c.) may be required to register for up to three hours of research or dissertation for a total of 12 credit hours during each fall and spring term.
Required Full-time Enrollment
Full-time enrollment is expected of the following categories of graduate students:
- Students receiving financial support from the University of Houston campus in the form of academic fellowships, graduate student appointment, or other forms of support.
- Students making significant use of such campus resources as the library, the computer center, office space, laboratory space, other research facilities, and faculty time.
- Students meeting residency requirements.
- Students holding visas (F-1 or other temporary visas requiring full-time enrollment). (Contact the office of International Student and Scholar Service for more information concerning this requirement.)
Consequences for Not Meeting the Required Full-time Enrollment
Students described in the required full-time enrollment section above who fail to meet the full-time enrollment requirement may forfeit financial assistance and other privileges.
Graduate Students in their Last Semester of Enrollment
Graduate students in their last semester are required to enroll for the number of hours appropriate to their course of study, but not less than three hours unless otherwise approved by the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies.
Reduced Course Load:
- There are certain situations where F-1 nonimmigrant graduate or professional students may request approval for a reduced course load. These situations are defined by federal laws and regulations and are consistent with the Graduate and Professional Studies Catalog.
- When unusual circumstances exist, the dean of the college may, upon recommendation of the department chair, certify full-time equivalency for a master's student taking fewer than nine semester hours, or a doctoral student taking fewer than nine semester hours, in a fall or spring semester. This certification will require notification to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies.
- Requests for a reduction in course load or medical leave requires prior approval. International Student & Scholar Services Office (ISSSO) cannot authorize a student for reduced course load or medical withdrawal retroactively. Students who reduce course load without prior authorization from ISSSO will have to apply to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through ISSSO for reinstatement.
- A doctoral student not on campus, and who is not using university resources, may be permitted by the Dean of the College and the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies, under certain circumstances, to register for as few as one hour.
Maximum Course Load:
Each college will determine the maximum course load for a graduate and/or professional student in that college.
Catalog Publish Date: July 27, 2012
This Page Last Updated: May 8, 2012
Effective Date of Archive: January 14, 2013