Graduate Policies

This page takes the University policies that define the relationship between the students and the University and highlights those specifically related to graduate students. Any clarification on how these policies pertain to your individual situation can be provided by contacting the Graduate College.

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 cannot 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.

Program Policy Documents

Graduate Program Policy Statements detail specific degree requirements and policies and procedures for graduate degrees offered by the University. The Program Policy Statements are reviewed and approved by the Graduate Senate Committee. The Graduate Program Policy Statements serve as the graduate student's handbook for procedures and policies within the program and/or department.

Access Program Policy Documents

Academic Policies

Academic policies cover matters tied directly to your academic progress and the expectations that you are to meet as a graduate student at UD.

Academic Good Standing

To be considered in good academic standing, a student must maintain a minimum cumulative graduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale each semester. To be eligible for an advanced degree, a student’s cumulative grade point average shall be at least a 3.00 and the student’s grades in courses counted toward the degree requirements of the program shall equal at least a 3.00. A grade below a C- will not be counted toward the course requirements for a degree but is calculated in the student’s cumulative grade point average.

In addition to the University’s definition of good standing, some programs may also require minimum grades in specific courses in the program. These courses are identified in each program’s policy and procedures manual and these unit-specific requirements have been approved by the Faculty Senate.

Performance in graduate lecture courses and seminars is evaluated according to the University’s Grading Policy. When the work required in research (868/968), dissertation (969), master’s thesis (869) or special problem (866) extends beyond the regular semester period, temporary grades of “S” and “U” should be recorded. Final letter grades are to be recorded only at the completion of the project.

The Graduate College monitors the academic progress of all graduate students and notifies students in writing of all academic deficiencies. The cumulative GPA after each nine-hour increment determines academic standing. In addition to the University policy regarding minimum grade point averages, some departments require graduate students to maintain certain performance minima in their programs of study in all or in particular courses. Failure to meet the stated minima may lead to academic dismissal from the program.

If a student is on And earns a cumulative GPA of: The status will become:
Any status (or clear) 3.0 or above Clear
Clear 2.99-2.5 Warning
Clear 2.49-2.0 Probation
Probation Below 3.0 Dismissal
Warning Below 3.0 Probation
Any status Below 2.0 Dismissal

In addition to the University policy regarding minimum grade point averages, some departments require graduate students to maintain certain performance minima in their programs of study in all or in particular courses. Failure to meet the stated minima may lead to academic dismissal from the program.

Students are expected to attend all their scheduled classes and laboratories and not to be absent without adequate reason.

Deficiency in any required work resulting from absence from class must be made up to the satisfaction of the instructor.

A student who is absent from a course without adequate reason may be assigned a failing grade. Students who are registered as auditors are subject to the same attendance regulations as those registered for credit. Those auditors who are reported for their excessive absence from class will receive a grade of LW in the course.

By action of the University Faculty Senate, the responsibility for defining attendance expectations is left to the individual faculty member, subject to the guidelines given below. Thus, it is of great importance that early in each course the instructor make clear to each student what the attendance expectations are, and how absences due to “relatively minor” illnesses, as described below, are to be communicated. Students should check the syllabus for attendance expectations and means of communicating about minor illnesses.

It is the policy of the University of Delaware not to cancel classes on religious holidays. However, students and faculty are encouraged to exercise their own judgment pertaining to their attendance on these days. In addition, faculty are encouraged not to schedule examinations or require the submission of special assignments on the following days: the evenings before as well as the first two days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in the fall term, Good Friday and the evening before and the first two days of Passover in the spring semester.

  1. Absence on religious holidays listed in University calendars is recognized as an excused absence. Nevertheless, students are urged to remind the instructor of their intention to be absent on a particular upcoming holiday.
  2. Absences on religious holidays not listed in University calendars, as well as absences due to athletic participation or other extracurricular activities in which students are official representatives of the University, shall be recognized as excused absences when the student informs the instructor in writing during the first two weeks of the semester of these planned absences for the semester. Absences due to similar events that could not have been anticipated earlier in the semester will be recognized as excused absences upon advanced notification of the instructor by an appropriate faculty advisor or athletic coach.
  3. Absences due to serious illness or death within a student’s family are recognized as excused absences. When needing to validate such absences, graduate students should contact the Graduate College, which will facilitate notification to all appropriate individuals.
  4. Absences due to serious illness of the student, such as hospitalization, surgery or protracted medical illness, or convalescence, shall also be recognized as excused absences. When needing to validate such absences, graduate students should contact the Graduate College, which will facilitate notification to all appropriate individuals.
  5. For relatively minor, short-term illnesses of students, such as colds and flu, where attendance in class in undesirable, or their immediate family, the University system depends upon reasonable communication between students and faculty. If possible, students should report such illnesses before the affected class, following the directions of the instructor as provided at the beginning of the semester.
  6. Absence due to short-term military duty in the National Guard or active reserve is recognized as an excused absence. When needing to validate such absences, graduate students should contact the Graduate College, which will facilitate notification to all appropriate individuals.
  7. Students are not to be penalized if absent from an examination, lecture, laboratory or other activity because of an excused absence. However, students are fully responsible for all material presented during their absence, and faculty are encouraged to provide opportunities, when feasible, for students to make up examinations and other work missed because of an excused absence.

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 Major, Concentration or Degree 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.

Dismissal Policies

The University’s Academic Probation Policy is expressed in the following chart:

The Graduate College notifies students when they are dismissed from graduate programs without completing a degree. Dismissals usually take place at the end of a term. Students may be dismissed for the following reasons:

– Upon the expiration of the five-year time limit for master’s degree programs or for those students in a doctoral program who were admitted with a master’s degree. Upon the expiration of the seven-year time limit for doctoral students who were admitted without a master’s degree.

– Upon the failure to meet the grade point average requirements as stated in the policy on Academic Deficiency and Probation.

– Upon written notice to the Graduate College of voluntary withdrawal from the program.

– Upon failure to pass the preliminary, language or comprehensive/candidacy examination(s), a thesis/dissertation/executive position paper proposal defense or a thesis/dissertation/executive position paper defense.

– Upon the failure to achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 upon the completion of the stated number of required credits for a degree.

– Upon the failure to meet the stated minima in specific course requirements as identified by individual programs when a department has a policy that such failure leads to dismissal from the program.

– Upon failure to satisfactorily conduct research required for the degree.

– Upon the determination by the faculty of the student’s department that the student has failed to meet or has failed to make satisfactory progress toward meeting academic standards required of the student’s program other than the failure to achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 upon the completion of the stated number of required credits for a degree.

–Upon failure of a graduate, research or teaching assistant to perform assigned duties adequately. A student’s stipend may not be terminated without the dean’s approval and the approval of the assistant provost for graduate and professional education. The Graduate College must be informed of a student’s stipend termination prior to the initiation of an HR Employee Termination Form.

At the close of each semester, winter session or summer session, in those circumstances deemed appropriate by the department or program faculty exercising its professional judgment, the faculty of each department or program may evaluate the progress of a graduate student toward meeting the academic standards of the program in which the student is enrolled. In addition to graded course work, academic standards include, but are not limited to, professional, ethical, clinical and other standards required of graduate students.

Students are entitled to know the procedures and standards by which their academic performance is assessed. Each program has a statement of policies and procedures by which student academic progress is monitored and by which comprehensive, qualifying and final examinations/defenses are conducted and graded. If, in the professional judgment of a department or program faculty, a student has failed to make satisfactory progress toward meeting the academic standards of the program in which that student is enrolled, the faculty may vote to dismiss that student from the program.

In the case of dismissal, the program director is required to send a report to the Graduate College that states the faculty vote on the decision causing dismissal and the justification for this action. The Graduate College will notify a student in writing when the student is being dismissed for failure to make satisfactory progress in the program.

In the case of academic dismissal, the student may appeal the termination by writing to the Graduate College. This appeal must be made within 10 class days from the date on which the student has been notified of academic dismissal. The vice provost will review the appeal and may either uphold the dismissal, grant reinstatement or refer the case to the Graduate Hearing Board for resolution. If the vice provost grants reinstatement, the student must meet the conditions of the reinstatement. Failure to meet these conditions will result in dismissal from the program. A graduate student may be reinstated only once to a given major. The student’s academic transcript will reflect the reinstatement with the appropriate academic probation status.

Exceptions to Policies

Exceptions to policies may be requested of the Graduate College. A request for an exception should cite the policy, justify the request and provide appropriate departmental support for the request from the graduate student’s advisor, the graduate program director and department chair.

GPA Requirements

Students must have a minimum overall cumulative grade point average of 3.0 to be eligible for the degree. In addition, the grades in courses specifically required for the degree program must average at least 3.0. All graduate-numbered courses taken with graduate student classification at the University of Delaware are applied to the cumulative index. Credit hours and courses for which the grade is below “C-” do not count toward the degree even though the grade is applied to the index.

Incompletes

A student who has incompletes (a letter grade of I) in three or more courses may not register in the next regular semester, such as fall or spring, for additional courses without the approval of the associate vice provost for graduate and professioal education.

Official UD Policy 

Graduate Program Responsibilities

Each graduate program that offers graduate degrees or certificates lists the requirements of those degrees or certificates in the Graduate Catalog and in their graduate program policy statements, which are available on the departmental websites. Each graduate program has a faculty member who serves as the graduate program director for overseeing academic matters in the graduate program.

The Faculty Senate Committee on Graduate Studies reviews and considers matters relating to graduate education and shall receive and approve proposals for changes in existing graduate programs as well as new graduate programs. The committee has the power to act on modifications of approved graduate programs and shall make recommendation to the Faculty Senate on courses of study leading to graduate degrees and on matters of policy concerning graduate study. The committee has the authority and responsibility for general policies concerning the judicial system for graduate students. The Faculty Senate Committee on Graduate Studies shall periodically receive from the vice provost for academic programs a review of the status of each department’s program of graduate studies and appropriate recommendations for any action that may be deemed necessary.

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.

Satisfactory Progress toward a Graduate Degree

If a graduate student fails to make satisfactory progress toward all degree requirements, permission may be denied to continue in the degree program. At the close of each semester, winter session or summer session, in those circumstances deemed appropriate by the department or program faculty exercising its professional judgment, the faculty of each department or program may evaluate the progress of a graduate student toward meeting the academic standards of the program in which the student is enrolled. In addition to graded course work, academic standards include, but are not limited to, professional, ethical, clinical and other standards required of graduate students. In the case of dismissal, the program director is required to send a report to the college graduate that states the faculty vote on the decision causing dismissal and the justification for this action. The Graduate College will notify a student in writing when the student is being dismissed for failure to make satisfactory progress in the program and the procedures for the student to appeal the action.

Graduate Program Responsibilities

Each graduate program that offers graduate degrees or certificates lists the requirements of those degrees or certificates in the Graduate Catalog and in their graduate program policy statements, which are available on the departmental websites. Each graduate program has a faculty member who serves as the graduate program director for overseeing academic matters in the graduate program.

The Faculty Senate Committee on Graduate Studies reviews and considers matters relating to graduate education and shall receive and approve proposals for changes in existing graduate programs as well as new graduate programs. The committee has the power to act on modifications of approved graduate programs and shall make recommendation to the Faculty Senate on courses of study leading to graduate degrees and on matters of policy concerning graduate study. The committee has the authority and responsibility for general policies concerning the judicial system for graduate students. The Faculty Senate Committee on Graduate Studies shall periodically receive from the vice provost for academic programs a review of the status of each department’s program of graduate studies and appropriate recommendations for any action that may be deemed necessary.

Registration and Enrollment

Advance Registration

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 sessions. 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 the Graduate College to waive the late registration fee.

Official UD Policy 

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.

Official UD Policy 

Continuous Registration

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.

Official UD Policy 

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.

Official UD Policy 

Degree Time Limits

Time limits for the completion of degree requirements begin with the date of matriculation and are specifically expressed in the student’s letter of admission. The University time limit is 10 consecutive semesters to complete the degree requirements for students entering a master’s degree program. Students completing the requirements for the master’s degree who are subsequently granted permission to continue toward the doctoral degree are given an additional 10 consecutive semesters. Students entering a doctoral program with a master’s degree are given 10 consecutive semesters to complete the requirements. Students entering a doctoral program without a master’s degree are given 14 consecutive semesters to complete the requirements. Students who change their degree plan and have transferred from one degree program to another degree program are given 10 consecutive semesters from the beginning of the first year in the latest program.

Degree Time Limit Extension

Requests for time extensions must be made in writing and approved by the student’s advisory committee and the chair of the department’s graduate committee. The department will forward the request to the Graduate College. The office will determine the student’s eligibility for a time extension and will notify the student in writing of its decision to grant an extension of time.

Drop-Add procedures

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.

Official UD Policy 

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.

Official UD Policy 

Full- and Part-time Status

Students enrolled in at least nine credit hours or in sustaining credit are considered full-time students. Those enrolled for fewer than nine 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 seven 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 six credits for the accelerated seven-week MBA Online 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.

Official UD Policy 

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 Mary Martin, associate vice provost for graduate and professional education and associate dean of the Graduate College.

Complete UD Policy 

Summer Registration

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.

Official UD Policy 

Transfer Credit

Students who complete graduate credits with the classification of CEND (Continuing Education Nondegree) at the University of Delaware may use a maximum of nine graduate credits earned with this classification toward their graduate degree. Up to nine 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.

Official UD Policy 

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.

Official UD Policy 

Students on Contract

Appointments such as fellowships and assistantships are a common way for students to fund graduate education. For thsese students, there are additional guidelines and responsibilities to be aware of during their time on contract.

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 UD 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 UD 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 Sept. 1 through May 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, and 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

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 Sept. 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 that 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 nonexempt 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 three 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.

University of Delaware Policy for Management of Graduate Student Assistantship Appointments**

Graduate teaching assistantships, research assistantships and graduate assistantships provide an apprenticeship experience that includes financial support and tuition scholarships to graduate students in pursuit of graduate degrees.  These assistantships are viewed as a student position by the University and are a unique form of university appointment that allow graduate students to gain valuable training and professional experience in teaching, research or administrative related offices.  This apprenticeship complements formal instruction and gives the student experience that can be gained only by performing instructional, research, or administrative activities.  It is expected that assistantship responsibilities will not interfere with a student’s reasonable progress toward the completion of the graduate degree.

Appointments are awarded with a specific start and end date within a semester, within the academic year, or for a 12 month-time period.  Appointments are typically referred to in percentages.  Students with 50% appointments are expected to average 20 hours per week.  Students with 25% appointments are expected to average 10 hours per week.  (Students appointed as assistants are not eligible to accrue vacation and sick leave.)

Graduate students should plan with their supervisors to schedule their work hours and to define when they are expected to be on task in the unit.  Generally, assistants are not expected to be on task on holidays and days when the University is officially closed, although there may be exceptions.   Assistants who are required to be on task to maintain a specific research-related function on a holiday or when the University is official closed must be given an alternate day off. (*See Holidays) Absences (either sick or personal) should be accommodated when possible and the work schedule adjusted to enable the graduate student to complete their academic and assistantship commitments.  Supervisors should communicate with the graduate student the procedures to be followed when a student needs to request to be off task due to an absence from the normal work schedule.

Teaching assistants (TA) assist faculty in the teaching mission, may assist faculty in teaching graduate courses including assignments with laboratory teaching,  grading of examinations, problem sets and/or lab assignments, setting up displays for lectures and laboratory sections, and preparing or maintaining equipment used in laboratory sections.  The pay schedule for teaching assistants is spread across the academic year (9/1-5/31) unless the appointment is written from 9/1 through 12/31 or 2/1 through 5/31 so that pay is received during Winter Session.  The home unit should define what responsibilities relate to the academic year (9/1-5/31) TA appointment in Winter Session.  In particular, the tasks in Winter Session must be related to instructional activity.  If the TA is required to be on task in Winter Session without additional pay, the student is eligible for 20 hours of vacation time agreed upon with the supervising instructor during the time period of 9/1 through 5/31, or pro rata for appointments other than 50%.  Students appointed as teaching assistants are generally not eligible for time-off beyond when the university is officially closed during the academic semester of the teaching appointment, including term breaks when classes are not in session.   UD does not close during Spring and Fall breaks.  If the supervisor permits time-off during Spring or Fall breaks or during Winter Session, the time-off is considered vacation time.

Students appointed as a research assistant should be granted a minimum of  two weeks (40 hours) of vacation leave with pay in a 12 month contract period beyond the dates when the university is officially closed in accordance with the procedures to request time-off and as stated by the research advisor or pro rata for appointments other than 50%.  Graduate students on funded projects must also comply with the terms of the funding agency.  The funding agency policy takes precedence over the UD policy in terms of effort reporting requirements.***  The period between semesters is considered an active part of the research training and is not considered a vacation or holiday. As a student, all research activity is for the academic purpose of completing the degree as well as to build skills and gain valuable experience for research or project roles after graduation.  The research work required for the RA is determined by the funding source and can be beyond research done for academic credit toward the student’s degree.  The University permits students to be compensated for research related activity up to 20 hours per week; however, the research activity expected for progress toward the degree in the program may require more than 20 hours per week to accomplish.

Students appointed as graduate assistants provide academic and program support to faculty or departments or university related offices.  GA responsibilities may be administrative in nature and consist of duties unrelated directly to teaching or research such as academic advising, program planning, advising student groups, or assisting with the administration of student services offices.  GAs are expected to be on task during the contract dates when the University is officially open.  Should graduate assistants be permitted to take time-off by the appointing unit, the time-off must be made up in the unit at other times as determined by the appointing unit.  UD does not close during Spring and Fall breaks.  If the supervisor permits time-off during these breaks, the hours should be made up at another time during the contract period or the time-off is considered vacation time.

Sick Leave Accommodations:  If a TA, GA, or RA becomes ill, sick leave should be supported collegially, up to 40 hours for the 12 month contract period.  After four consecutive days of sick leave, the student is to provide a letter from a physician or other licensed health-care professional that is confidential and states (1) that the student can or cannot return to the appointment for health reasons; and (2) the duration of the required sick leave.  This letter should be submitted to the Graduate College who will verify the approval of the leave with the student’s supervisor.

*Holidays:  For the Fall Break week and for the Holiday Break week when the University is closed for a portion of the week, assistants may prorate their hours for the week but should develop a holiday schedule with their assistantship supervisor.  

**The contract form (GSCRF) should note any specific requirements of exceptions in the reporting hours.

***Any conflicts between the funding agency policy and the UD policy need to be reported to the Graduate College for collaboration on resolving the conflict.

****Any conflicts between the student and the supervising faculty resulting in denial of leave time requested within the guidelines of the policy should be reported to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College.

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 six 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 nine 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 six or nine hours of graduate-level courses in each semester that the student is on contract. Students on contract in the 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.

Official UD Policy 

Payment as a Fellow or an Assistant

All payments to graduate students require the approval of the Graduate College.

All graduate students (full time and part time) are paid on semi-monthly payroll. In fall and spring, students are paid on a JED if tuition is connected to the payment. If there is no tuition connected to the work, graduate students are paid semi-monthly using Time and Attendance Additional Assignment Form. All graduate students must use direct deposit for their salary payments.

U.S. citizens who are students may work no more than 29.5-hrs/week within the University.

Non-US citizens, according to INS regulations, are limited during the fall and spring semesters to working 20 hours per week within the University. During winter session, holidays and summer session, non-U.S. citizens may work up to 29.5 hours per week on campus.

Tuition Scholarships for Research, Teaching, Assistants and Fellows

The University of Delaware may provide tuition scholarships to full-time graduate students who are awarded stipends for an entire semester/academic year as a research, teaching or graduate assistant or fellow. These scholarships are generally available in graduate programs that admit students with funding, regardless of funding source; details of commitment and duration are provided in offer letters. Graduate departments and programs select the recipients of these awards, where available, based on the students’ qualifications. The stipulations of the tuition scholarship policy are:

  • The stipend must be at least equivalent to the University minimum graduate stipend:
    • $21,000 for Ph.D. students for 2020-2021; $20,000 for master’s students for 2020-2021
  • A tuition scholarship is awarded with the stipend.
  • Should a student leave the University after the free drop/add period of the semester of an appointment, the stipend will be immediately terminated. The tuition scholarship originally accompanying the stipend will become the responsibility of the student unless an appeal is presented in writing and approved by the Graduate College. If the appeal is approved, the tuition scholarship will continue to be applied to the student’s account and will not be available to be awarded to another student in that semester;
  • Students who receive 100% of the minimum stipend and a 100% tuition scholarship are limited to an average of no more than 20 working hours per week within the University and may not hold additional employment on or off campus. The dean’s permission is required for any exception to this policy. Students who receive a departmental tuition scholarship only (no stipend) may accept additional work on or off campus.
  • The recipients of these awards are eligible for coverage by the University’s student health insurance at a significantly reduced cost.

Revised 07/27/2020

Tuition and Finance

Taxes

The federal government requires the University to withhold state and federal income taxes on all salary paid to graduate students. (Fellowships are an exception, and stipends from fellowships are not assessed state and federal income tax.) FICA and Medicare taxes are not withheld if a graduate student is registered at least half time in the semester of the payment. Half time is defined as a minimum of five graduate credits in fall and spring and three graduate credits in summer. Payroll taxes are not withheld or charged on the value of a tuition scholarship.

Graduate students who are less than half time, and any graduate students paid during a time when not attending classes are subject to all payroll taxes, including FICA and Medicare.

Per-Credit Graduate Tuition Policy

Effective with the 2013-14 academic year, University of Delaware graduate students will be billed by the credit, as approved by the Board of Trustees this spring.

The new structure will provide improved transparency in graduate student tuition rates at UD, allowing the deans of each of the University’s seven colleges to clearly communicate the cost of an entire graduate program. Colleges will continue to have the flexibility, as they do now, to offer tuition scholarships to select graduate students.

Please note that, based on a review of active registration in the spring 2013 semester, this change affects less than 10% of current enrolled graduate students.

Effective 2013 Fall

Varying Graduate Tuition Rates

The University is differentiating its practices between research-oriented degrees, such as the Ph.D. and many M.S. and M.A. programs, and professional programs, such as the MBA, MPA. and some M.S. and M.A. degrees. The policy states that tuition will be set at the graduate tuition rate for research-oriented programs. However, with Board of Trustees’ approval, UD colleges may set varying tuition rates for professional programs. Deans may offer tuition-paying students in any program scholarships as appropriate. Deans may also utilize negotiated site-based rates for distinct cohorts at a particular off-campus location for a fixed period of time.

Graduation Policies

For a graduate student, the University degree requirements are those identified in the Graduate Catalog and the departmental requirements as stated in the program policy statement effective at the time of admission. If the requirements change during the time the graduate student is enrolled, the graduate student can choose, but is not required, to abide by the “new” requirements.

Application for Advanced Degree

The Graduate College is the official degree audit officer for all graduate degrees and certificates that are awarded. All graduate students must file an Application for Advanced Degree in order for the degree to be awarded. The deadline for degree application is Sept. 15 for December degree conferral, Dec. 15 for winter degree conferral, Feb. 15 for May degree conferral and May 15 for August degree conferral. Submit the completed and signed degree application form to the Office of Graduate and Professional Education with payment. You may attach a personal check made payable to the University of Delaware or pay at the Cashier’s Office. The master’s fee is $50; Ph.D., D.P.T. and Ed.D. fees are $95.

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 [869] or nine to 12 credits of dissertation [969], 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.

Official UD Policy 

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.

Official UD Policy 

Thesis and Dissertation

The final version of the thesis/dissertation/executive position paper must be submitted electronically as an ETD to the Graduate College as stated by the official deadline. The student should follow the procedures given in “GRADUATION: Step-by-Step”