|Policies > Summary of University Regulations and Requirements
University of Houston regulations and requirements for graduate, post-baccalaureate, and professional students are established as minimal standards for graduate studies. Requests for exceptions to any university requirement must be made on a Graduate and Professional Student Petition, approved by the student’s advisor, chair, and college dean, and then forwarded to the Graduate School for review and decision.
Each individual college or graduate and professional program may have entrance requirements and degree requirements that exceed those established by the university. Each student must contact the individual department or college for information concerning its graduate or professional requirements. Refer to the General Information webpage for all university regulations and requirements. Contact your graduate advisor or department chair for additional regulations regarding your specific degree program, department, and college.
Summary of University Graduate Regulations and Requirements
The following list of statements is not intended to be comprehensive. It represents, however, a summary of regulations and requirements of most critical concern to graduate students. A detailed description of these items can be found in subsequent pages of this document.
- Upon admission a graduate student must submit an official transcript showing that a prior bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) has been conferred, must be on file at the University of Houston.
- A graduate student is normally entitled to graduate under the degree provision of the catalog in effect at the time of the first completed semester of enrollment.
- Each graduate program has one or more members of the faculty/staff who serve as graduate advisors/counselors. New graduate students must be in continual contact with these individuals, and this relationship should persist until the student has completed the program and is awarded the degree.
- There is no uniform foreign language requirement for graduate degree programs. Students are advised to contact the department of their major for specific requirements.
- Certain categories of graduate students are required to be enrolled full-time (at least 9 semester credit hours in Fall and Spring semesters). Doctoral students shall not be required to register for more than nine hours except for the following:
- Special professional students;
- Doctoral students enrolled in programs with core curricula requiring 12 hours of organized classes during long semesters; and
- Doctoral students enrolled in nine credit hours of organized classes who are conducting research related to their dissertation. Students in this category may be required to register for up to three hours of research or dissertation for a total of twelve credit hours during each long term. Students should contact the department of their major to determine the expected semester credit hour load.
- International students (or those on the F-1 or J-1 visa) must be enrolled as full-time students.
- A student with a post-baccalaureate status (PB) is not a candidate for a graduate degree. If the student is accepted as a graduate student, hours taken as a PB may or may not count toward a graduate degree. It is imperative that PB students check with their intended graduate program to determine if courses count towards a prospective graduate degree.
- All graduate programs have a residency requirement and a minimum course hour requirement. Students should consult with the department of their major to determine if there are exceptions to the following generalizations.
- For the master’s degree with thesis option (Plan I), normally a minimum of 24 hours of course work is required and up to six additional hours of thesis course work (6399 or 7399) may be applied toward the degree. At least 21 semester hours of credit must be earned in residence at the University of Houston.
- For the master’s degree with the non-thesis option (Plan II), normally a minimum of 36 hours of course work is required. At least 27 hours of credit must be earned in residence at the University of Houston.
- For a doctoral degree, a minimum of 24 semester hours beyond the master’s degree is required. The minimum residency requirement is one academic year of continuous fulltime enrollment.
- Students pursuing a master’s degree must complete all requirements within a five year period of enrollment.
- Students who enroll as doctoral candidates must complete their degree requirements within ten years of the date of first enrollment with a doctoral degree objective. Failure to comply will result in the candidate being ineligible for that doctoral degree.
- Doctoral students must be continuously enrolled in each long semester unless they have a leave of absence (as approved by the dean of their college). A doctoral student not on campus, and who is not using University resources, may be permitted under certain circumstances, to carry a reduced course load.
- All doctoral students who accumulate more than ninety-nine doctoral semester credit hours at any Texas public institution of higher education will be charged the nonresident tuition rates irrespective of student residency status or any appointment, fellowship, or other circumstance that would normally entitle them to resident tuition rates. See section on 99-hour Cap for additional information including exceptions.
- Not all colleges/departments/programs have formal candidacy procedures and students are advised to contact their advisor or department chair of their major for specific requirements.
- Doctoral students in their last semester are only required to enroll for the number of hours appropriate to their course of study, but not less than three hours.
- A graduate student may be employed in a graduate student appointment for no more than six long semesters (3 years) while classified as a master’s student, and no more than 10 long semesters (5 years) while classified as a doctoral student. The total number of semesters a student may be employed in a graduate student appointment is twelve semesters (6 years) assuming the student has pursued both the masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Houston.
- In order to hold a graduate student appointment, students must be hired by the University to hold the appointment, maintain a GPA of 3.0, be enrolled full-time, and be in good academic standing.
- In order to serve as classroom instructors or in other roles that require communicating with students in spoken English (Teaching fellow, Teaching Assistant, Instructional Assistant), graduate applicants must demonstrate proficiency by passing the Test of Spoken English (TSE), the Spoken Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) with a score of at least 50, or other approved assessments.
- A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 (B) for all graduate courses attempted is required for all graduate degree programs at the University of Houston. Failure to maintain a 3.00 GPA may result in a warning, probation, suspension, loss of financial support, or dismissal. Students with a conditional admission status must earn a minimum GPA of 3.00 during the first 12 hours of graduate level course work attempted at the University of Houston.
- Each program/department/college has specific requirements for the preparation of the thesis or dissertation. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain information from the department or college regarding these specific requirements.