Jul 17, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Academic Policies: College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Colleges  > College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences  > Academic Policies: College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Continuous Enrollment

A graduate student who cannot enroll in a given semester must apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences for a leave of absence in order to remain in good standing.

A student who interrupts enrollment in a graduate program in the college for more than 13 months and does not have a pre-approved leave of absence petition for that time period must petition to re-enter the program for the appropriate semester. The program of the student who is accepted will be governed by the catalog in effect at the time of the student’s reentrance to the graduate program.

Postbaccalaureate Course Work

A postbaccalaureate student is a student who has earned one or more baccalaureate or higher degrees at an accredited institution. An applicant seeking this classification rather than graduate status must apply to the Office of Admissions.

Individual departments set policies regarding postbaccalaureate study. Students are responsible for contacting the unit in which they wish to take courses prior to registration in order to determine whether that department allows postbaccalaureate students to enroll in graduate courses; how many such courses the students may take; and whether advanced courses taken while students are classified as postbaccalaureates may be applied toward a graduate degree. Some units do not allow courses taken by postbaccalaureate students to be credited toward a graduate degree. The maximum number of semester hours that a department may approve for credit toward a graduate degree is 12.

Academic Grievance Policy

In the normal conduct of education at the University of Houston, justifiable grievances may arise concerning the violation of university, college, or department academic policies or procedures. The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences is committed to resolving these grievances in a fair, orderly, and expeditious manner. To that end, the college has established informal and formal procedures beginning at the department level for settling academic grievances.

An academic grievance refers to an action taken against a student by a member of the faculty (including part-time instructors and teaching assistants), staff, or administration that either violates a university, college, or department academic policy or procedure or prejudicially treats the student on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, handicap, veteran status, or any other non-academic status or characteristic.

Because assigning a grade or evaluating a student’s work performance involves the faculty’s professional judgment and is an integral part of the faculty’s teaching responsibilities, disagreement with an instructor concerning a grade or evaluation is not a justifiable grievance to be considered under this policy unless factors such as those mentioned in the previous paragraph can be shown to have affected that grade or evaluation. A student with a justifiable grievance that can be substantiated should initiate academic grievance proceedings as soon as possible after the action in dispute occurs.

Any student who believes he or she has an academic grievance involving the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences should first try to resolve the grievance informally with the faculty member or other involved parties. In some cases, the student may have to discuss the grievance with the department chair, the college officer designated by the dean, or both before obtaining a satisfactory resolution.

If the informal discussions do not resolve the academic grievance, the aggrieved student may initiate a formal grievance by submitting a written complaint to the chair of the department involved (or the college officer designated by the dean if the chair is the focus of the grievance) within 60 days of initiating informal proceedings.

The aggrieved student who does not obtain a satisfactory resolution at the departmental level may file a formal appeal first with the office of the dean and then, failing to obtain satisfaction, with the Graduate and Professional Studies Council and the office of the senior vice president for academic affairs.

The procedures a graduate student must follow to file an academic grievance in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences are available at the CLASS website and in the Dean’s Office (402 Agnes Arnold Hall).

Incomplete Grades

The grade of I (incomplete) is a conditional and temporary grade given when students are passing a course but, for reasons beyond their control, have not completed a relatively small part of all requirements. Students are responsible for informing the instructor immediately of their reason for not submitting an assignment on time or for not taking an examination. The grade of I must be changed by fulfilling the course requirements within one year of the date awarded, or, in conformity with university policy, the grade will be changed automatically to F or U (in S-U graded courses).


In a 30-hour degree, at least 24 semester hours of credit must be earned in residence at the University of Houston campus. In a 36-hour degree, at least 30 semester hours must be earned in residence. Students enrolled in doctoral programs must have a minimum of one academic year of continuous enrollment to satisfy the college’s residence requirement.

Time Limits

A master’s degree program must be completed within the period specified by the department, but under no circumstances in more than five years of the date of enrollment in the master’s program.

Students who enroll as doctoral candidates must complete their degree requirements within the length of time specified by the department, but in no circumstances more than 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 who fail to complete the dissertation within five years after passing the comprehensive examination must retake the examination. Leaves of absence that have been granted do not extend the above time limits.

Transferred Courses

No more than nine semester hours of transferred courses may be applied to a master’s degree. Determination of course equivalency of transferred work resides with the proposed major department. Refer to the university’s Transferred Courses  rule for more information.

Ad Hoc Interdisciplinary Doctoral Degree Option

Departments granting Doctor of Philosophy degrees may modify their Ph.D. course requirements in individual cases to permit a larger share of course work to take place outside the department. When course requirements are modified, the department must submit the design of the ad hoc interdisciplinary curriculum and the names of the sponsoring department and supporting department graduate faculty members, who are responsible for directing the student through the curriculum and dissertation to the dean for approval. If the dean approves the curricula, a copy of the dean’s written approval will be forwarded to the Office of the Senior Vice President/Provost. Doctoral students interested in this option should talk to the director of graduate students in the student’s department about the possibility of modifying course requirements.