Apr 16, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Course Load Policy

Policies  > Degree Requirements > 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 shown below. Graduate student assistants should also consult the section entitled Graduate Student Assistantships .

Full-time enrollment is defined as:

  • Fall Semester - 9 Credit Hours Minimum
  • Spring Semester - 9 Credit Hours Minimum
  • Summer Semester - 6 Credit Hours Minimum

A full-time graduate student is a student who has full time enrollment in consecutive Fall and Spring semesters.

Nine semester hours is considered a full-time course load for doctoral students enrolled during any Fall or Spring semester, unless they are required to enroll for more than nine hours under the Special Course Load Requirements (see below). 

Students on fellowships or assistantships, or receiving financial aid, should verify the conditions of their awards with respect to required enrollment.

Students failing to meet the full-time enrollment requirements may forfeit financial assistance and other privileges.

Special Course Load Requirements

Students shall be required to enroll in more than nine hours if they are in the following categories:

  1. Professional students;
  2. Doctoral students enrolled in programs with core curricula requiring 12 hours of organized classes during long semesters;
  3. Doctoral students enrolled in nine credit hours of organized classes who are conducting research related to their dissertation. These students may be required to enroll in up to three hours of research or dissertation for a total of 12 credit hours during each Fall and Spring term.  

Graduate Students in their Last Semester of Enrollment

Students who are in their final graduating semester, and need fewer than nine (9) credit hours to complete their degree program, may hold an assistantship during that semester upon the approval of the dean of the college or their designee.  These students must meet any minimum enrollment requirements in the Graduate Catalog.  International students must complete a Reduced Course Load request prior to any such approval.  Students who fail to complete their degree requirements in that graduating semester will be required to take nine (9) credit hours in the subsequent Fall and Spring semesters in order to hold an assistantship. 

Reduced Course Load

  1. 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 Catalog.
  2. 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 UH Graduate School. 
  3. Requests for a reduction in course load or medical leave requires prior approval. The International Student and Scholar Services Office (ISSSO) cannot authorize a student for reduced course load or medical withdrawal retroactively. Students who complete a reduced course load without a prior authorization from ISSSO will have to apply to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through ISSSO for reinstatement.      
  4. A doctoral student not on campus, and who is not using university resources, may be permitted by the Dean of the College and the Dean of the UH Graduate School, under certain circumstances, to enroll in as few as one credit hour. 

Maximum Course Load

Each college will determine the maximum course load for a graduate and/or professional student in that college.