4.5.1 General Requirements
Any graduate student utilizing the assistance of a faculty member or
any facility of The University of Alabama in relation to a degree
program must be registered in an appropriate course reflecting that
activity. This includes such activities as coursework, thesis and
dissertation advising and reading, comprehensive examinations, and
other degree requirements. Registration in courses numbered 599
(Thesis Research), 699 (Dissertation Research), 598 (Master's
Research), and 698 (Doctoral Research) may be repeated.
If the student's undergraduate preparation in either the major or
minor subject is considered inadequate, certain preliminary
(undergraduate and/or graduate) courses will be prescribed by the
department or school concerned. These courses become prerequisites
and do not carry graduate credit. They must be taken, if possible,
during the first semester of enrollment.
Plan of Study
The student's plan of study is determined in
consultation with the head of the major department or the
chairperson of the graduate committee and is approved by that person
and the dean of the Graduate School.
The normal course load for a fall or spring semester is 12
credit hours; the maximum course load for a semester is 15 credit
hours. Full-time enrollment for graduate students is 9Ė15 hours per
Students may register for a maximum of 6 semester hours in a summer
term or 12 hours during an entire summer dual session. No more than
3 semester hours may be taken during the Interim session. Taking
more than 12 semester hours in a summer dual term can be justified
only in extraordinary circumstances and requires written approval of
the Graduate School. A student who is employed part-time is expected
to take a reduced load. The course load of a fully employed student
will be evaluated according to the individual graduate program.
Fully employed students should be registered in no more than one
course plus thesis or dissertation research.
Failure to Register for Three Years
If a student fails to register for three consecutive years, the
student must reapply for admission. If readmission is granted,
previous credit earned may be out of date and therefore not
applicable toward a degree. See sections titled "Time Limits" for
each degree in this catalog.
4.5.2 Assistantships: Admission
Status, Class Hours, and FTE Level
Students with regular or conditional admission status may hold
graduate assistantships. A minimum GPA of 3.0 must be maintained
while holding any assistantship, except during the first 12 graduate
semester hours earned at UA. Students who have earned academic
warning or are in non-degree status may not hold graduate
assistantships of any kind.
A conditionally admitted student
whose graduate GPA falls below 3.0 at any time during the
conditional status will not be allowed to hold a graduate teaching
assistantship until such time as the GPA has increased to 3.0 or
better. A student with provisional language admission status may
hold only an assistantship that is externally funded through a
contract or grant; he or she may not hold a permanently budgeted UA
The FTE from ALL assistantships,
plus any other on-campus employment, must be combined when
determining FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) status.
Each graduate assistant must be a
full-time graduate student. Full-time status here means 12 or more
graduate semester hours of classes; however, the FTE level of the
assistantship assignment is converted to equivalent credit hours and
combined with actual class hours in order to meet the full-time
requirement. A quarter-time assistantship (0.25 FTE) equates to 3
class hours and a half-time assistantship (0.50 FTE) equates to 6 class
hours. This means that a student who has, for example, the
typical 0.50 FTE assistantship needs to register for only 6 class
hours in order to meet the full-time requirement (6 assistantship
equivalent hours plus 6 actual class hours).
Overloads Involving Just Courses
The Graduate School does not need to approve overloads involving
just courses, unless the number of course hours exceeds 15 (which is
the maximum Banner will permit without special approval by the
Overloads Involving Assistantship FTE
The Graduate School also does not need to approve
combined FTE + course hour loads that are within the table
The table below includes the Graduate Councilís maximum recommended
combinations of FTE plus course hours, as
modified by the University in 2013 in accordance with Health Care
Reform Act requirements. Combinations of
assistantship FTE in excess of 0.50 are prohibited.
Combined FTE of All Assistantships
Recommended Range of Graduate Course Hours the Student is
The Graduate School continues to
urge caution when considering large course loads and will
continue to monitor overloads even though prior approval is not
needed. We especially monitor whether or not academic warnings
and suspensions increase and, if they do, we track the
studentís and departmentís overload history for signs of a
correlation. We hope and expect that student loads will be designed
intelligently to provide meaningful yet not burdensome GTA and GRA
experiences, while allowing students to move efficiently through
their degree programs.
Caution also is urged when considering an underload, i.e., course
hours below the recommended minimum for a particular FTE level in
the previous table. Underloads risk the studentís not making
adequate progress toward degree completion. Underloads typically
occur only in the final semester and only to avoid taking needless
extra course hours to meet the minimum number of hours normally
expected for a particular FTE level.
For fall and spring semesters, a
graduate student must be enrolled in classes to hold an
assistantship. For interim and/or summer, it is not required that a
graduate student be enrolled in classes to hold an assistantship.
Please note that full-time status
here is not the same as that required for other registration and
financial situations. For example, fellowships, financial aid
regulations, resident visa rules, the UA System Cooperative Exchange
Program, INS and IRS regulations, and other academic policies use
different status definitions with regard to full-time. For more
information, please refer to the department(s) administering these
Part-Time Temporary Instructors
A graduate student employed as a
part-time temporary instructor (PTTI) to teach a credit-bearing
course must meet the SACS 18-hour requirement. Such PTTIs do not
receive tuition waivers, must pay taxes on the income they earn as
PTTIs, and must comply with
Personnel Policies for Student
Employees of The University of Alabama.
Graduate students are subject to the same rules regarding class
attendance, the performance of assigned tasks, and course
examinations as undergraduate students. Since graduate work
presupposes specialization and thorough investigation, students will
not be permitted to overload themselves with courses.
Continuous Registration for Doctoral Students
See graduate catalog (Section
for details on the requirements for continuous registration for
A student must be admitted to the Graduate School and must register
as a graduate student in order to receive graduate credit.
Approval for graduate registration must be obtained from program
advisors prior to registration.
Noncredit Experiences for Graduate
All course credit used toward a
UA graduate degree must be taught at the graduate level. No
graduate credit may be earned by correspondence study or for
experiential learning not conducted under the direct supervision of
graduate faculty of The University of Alabama. The UA does not
offer graduate credit for noncredit workshops, seminars, continuing
education experiences, professional development, internships,
work/life experience, and so forth.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements for Federal Financial
All students at The University of Alabama who receive federal
financial aid must make satisfactory academic progress toward
completion of their degrees within a reasonable period of time.
Satisfactory academic progress criteria may be obtained from the
Office of Student Financial Aid, Box 870162, 106 Student Services
Center, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0162; phone (205) 348-6756, fax (205)