Policies

College of Sciences: Graduate Policies & Procedures

The UCF Graduate Catalog is the definitive source for information about policies. This page includes additional information about policy implementation and policies within the College of Sciences.

Policies Frequently Cited:

While the degree program that you are pursuing follows the requirements of the catalog under which you were admitted, policies may and do change. Because of this, the policies in the current graduate catalog apply to all graduate students (regardless of year of admission) except where expressly noted. For guidance regarding graduate academic policies, please see the Graduate College’s Policy Guide. For additional information about graduate policies, please refer to the current Graduate Catalog, your Graduate Coordinator, or the College of Graduate Studies.

The Golden Rule is a University handbook specifically created to provide the answers to questions regarding university rules and regulations. It attempts to define a student’s rights and responsibilities as a member of the university community and to give them a better understanding of their role as a student at UCF.

Additional College/University Policies:

+/- Grading

Grades Grade Points Per
Semester Hour of Credit
Grades Grade Points Per
Semester Hour of Credit
A 4.00 C 2.00
A- 3.75 C- 1.75
B+ 3.25 D+ 1.25
B 3.00 D 1.00
B- 2.75 D- 0.75
C+ 2.25 F 0.00

Note: A grade of “B-” while acceptable in a program of study as a satisfactory grade, will negatively impact a 3.00 overall GPA.

  • UCF does not have an “A+”
  • There is no “grade forgiveness” in UCF graduate programs

4000-Level Coursework:

Graduate Studies and the College of Sciences restrict graduate course work that is to be used in a master’s level program. Advised 4000-level coursework taken while completing a master’s degree is allowed as long as the total program consists of at least 30 hours of graduate level coursework. Having met this criteria, credit for degree completion is limited to 6 hours and the grade has to be that of a “B-” or higher

While in graduate degree-seeking status, if a grade of below “B-” is made in a program-approved 4000-level course, the course is not counted toward completion of the program requirement, but it is calculated in the graduate GPA.

Doctoral programs do not allow 4000-level courses to be used toward degree completion.

6000-Level Coursework:

Undergraduate students can only enroll into 6000-level coursework if they are seniors, within nine hours of graduation, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and do not register for more than twelve hours. They may enroll into 6000-level coursework with permission granted by the 6000-Level Course Registration approval form. Exceptions are granted on a limited basis, and must be requested using the same form.

Accelerated BA/MA Master’s Programs

4 + 1 Programs

Admission into Accelerated BA/MA Programs is determined by the department offering this graduate program option. Currently they are History and Liberal Studies.

Students apply directly to the program during the start of their Senior year and formally apply to the affiliated graduate program upon completion of their BA. Admissions criteria are determined by the department. With admission into the Accelerated BA/MA program at the start of the senior year, the benefits to the student are

  1. Ability to enroll into as many graduate courses as advised with application of those courses toward both their BA and MA programs of study
  2. The student is given graduate library privileges
  3. Upon completion of the BA, the student is guaranteed admission into the MA
  4. Bright Futures MAY cover the cost of any graduate courses taken while still an undergraduate (this must be confirmed with the student’s Bright Futures academic advisor)

Continuous Enrollment

Once a student has begun work on their thesis or dissertation:

Doctoral students must be continuously enroll in dissertation course work (XXX7980) until successful defense of the dissertation.

Masters students must be continuously enroll in thesis course work (XXX6971) until successful defense of the dissertation.

In any case, enrollment into one hour of thesis or dissertation, while allowed, does not constitute full time enrollment.

Fellowships & Full-time Status:

Students who are awarded fellowships, during each semester of the award, must be enrolled in at least 9 hours of course work in the Fall/Spring and 6 hours in the Summer. A minimum of 3.0 GPA must also be retained. Please see Full Time Enrollment and Thesis/Dissertation Enrollment sections for more information.

If a student is placed on probation, he or she is no longer eligible to receive fellowship support.

Financial Assistance and Graduate Enrollment:

For those students receiving Financial Assistance, please take note of the following statement:

It is your responsibility to be informed of how you need to be enrolled in order to receive your full financial assistance benefits. Graduate Studies does not dictate the enrollment policies for receiving student financial assistance.

For more information, please contact Student Financial Assistance at (407) 823-2827

GRE 5-Year Waiver:

Effective in 1985, Educational Testing Services (ETS) reports scores only until September 30 following the fifth anniversary of the test date. This means that no scores older than 5 years will be available in official format. Should a department select to accept scores older than 5 years as part of the admissions packet, the following needs to be submitted to the Graduate Admissions office: a memo offering written approval for use of the scores, as well as a copy of the score report, or some reference in the student’s records of the scores.

The memo from the department must clearly state that the department is accepting scores that are older than five years, and that the copy is of official GRE scores. It would read something like this: “This department will accept the attached copy of official GRE scores, though they are older than the five years standard limit.”

“I” Grades (Incompletes):

Since degrees will not be certified with an incomplete on the degree audit, “I” grades will be changed to “F” (or a “U” if Thesis, Dissertation, or Research Report) if not resolved by the last semester.

“I” grades are considered “unsatisfactory” grades until resolved for program of study purposes.

NOTE: Incomplete grades are not counted as completed courses or recognized as such by Financial Aid. Therefore, students on financial assistance must check with the Financial Aid office to see if the receipt of an incomplete grade will effect their financial award.

International Students Issues: Taxes and SSN/ITIN Numbers

Dr. Patricia Bishop, Division of Graduate Studies
Effective Spring 2000
Subject: Taxes
Date: 3/30/2000

The university will charge taxes on fellowships to international students which is required by the IRS, starting with this Spring 2000 semester. These students are from countries where the US does not have a currently approved income tax treaty.

IRS regulations require that 14% of the amount of the scholarship/fellowship/award in excess of tuition and course related fees must be taxed. Failure to collect this money puts the university in non-compliance with the IRS and makes it possible for us to be subject to stiff financial penalties.

Gary E. Whitehouse, Provost and William F. Merck, II, Vice President for Administration & Finance
Subject: Required SSN/ITIN Numbers

In order for the University to properly file and report 1098-T information and for consistency in University records, it will be the policy of this institution to require a valid social security number or taxpayer identification number for all students registered for credit courses.

Since the passage of the Hope Scholarship and the Lifetime Learning Credits, the University has been required to file form 1098-T. This form details tuition and fee amounts assessed for credit courses, awards received and amounts paid by students. A single copy of the 1098-T is sent to the student and an electronic media submission is filed with IRS. IRS has established guidelines for electronic filing and requires that an IRS approved taxpayer identification number (TIN) be provided for all students. The TIN is used to associate and verify amounts reported to the IRS with corresponding amounts on the individual’s income tax return. Therefore it is important that the University furnish correct social security numbers (SSNs) or individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs) for each recipient on the forms. Further, federal law provides for penalties for each statement where the SSN or ITIN is not correct.

International Transcript Evaluation Policy:

A transcript evaluation is required of all students whose bachelors degree was earned from non-US institute. The Division of Graduate Studies provides this service to all UCF graduate applicants for degree equivalency. Priority of transcripts evaluations is determined by the program in G-WIS.

UCF will also accept evaluations completed by the following services (fees apply):
World Education Service (WES): http://www.wes.org
Josef Silny: http://www.jsilny.com

The official and English translation of the bachelors transcripts must also be sent to UCF’s Graduate Admissions Office.

If it is determined that the final transcript received is not equivalent to that of a U.S. bachelor’s degree, then the Graduate Studies office will deny the student’s admission.

Exception: If the international applicant has completed a bachelor’s from an international institution, and has alsoearned a U.S. graduate degree by the departmental admission deadline, then the evaluation will be waived; however, the university still needs official, translated bachelor’s transcripts showing the degree earned.

If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact the College Graduate Admissions Counselor at 407/823-5712 or Tracy Jones at 407/823-5815.

Probation and Dismissal

Probation

If a student’s graduate status or program of study GPA drops below 3.000 in any given semester, the student is placed on Probation. In this status, a student is given 9 hours of enrollment to bring their GPA back to 3.000 or better. The student is eligible for an assistantship position and a tuition waiver while completing the 9 hours of the probation period. A student on probation will not be eligible for federal financial assistance.

If the student is unable to attain a 3.000 GPA at the end of the nine hours, the student will be dismissed. A student’s dismissal is processed in consultation with the department.

If it is apparent that the student will be unable to attain a 3.000 by the end of the semester of probation, the student and program must submit a petition for an extension of the probationary period via a Conditional Retention Plan. This retention plan must outline the steps for success, including a detailed program of study for the duration of the extended probation being requested. This retention plan must be submitted and approved before the end of the semester of probation. If the plan is approved, the student must meet the criteria outlined in the approval in order to continue with his or her studies. (See Conditional Retention Plan below).

Dismissal

If a student is dismissed, they are no longer in good standing with the university and are no longer a student with the university. Further, they will be automatically dropped from any enrollment at the time of dismissal for current and future semesters. A student who is dismissed is no longer allowed to enroll in coursework in the degree program from which they were removed. The university can drop program coursework at any time during a semester.

If a student is dismissed, reinstatement to graduate student status in the program from which they were dismissed can only occur through a formal appeal process. The student must file a petition with the department for readmission and this appeal will continue through the Graduate Council.

For more information, see the section in the Graduate Catalog for “Academic Progress and Performance” under the General Graduate Policies.

Conditional Retention Plan

Most frequently used when a student is placed on probation due to low GPA, the Conditional Retention Plan will show how and by when the student can realistically regain his/her regular graduate status (GPA 3.0) within a reasonable time (usually one semester). An approved retention plan will extend probation as it is approved.

The Conditional Retention Plan should:

  1. Define the courses to be taken and the timing of the courses to regain regular graduate status
  2. Include other conditions as necessary for continued enrollment in the program such as retaking courses requiring better performance, taking remedial course work in specified areas, or completing special projects to better prepare the student for success in the program.
  3. Include signature of both the student and advisor so that all parties know exactly what conditions are required for the continued enrollment of the student.

If a student fails to meet the conditions outlined in an approved plan, this will result in dismissal without any further appeal of retention. Meeting the requirements of the plan should result is a student being returned to regular student status.

Program of Study GPA

These are the university policies regarding graduate GPA. Please check with your departmental requirements, as some graduate programs have more strict rules regarding GPA.

There is no “grade forgiveness” at the graduate level. Courses negatively affecting a student’s GPA may be retaken, with the consent of the program, however both grades are calculated into the GPA.

Graduate Status GPA:

Your graduate status GPA is calculated from all of the graduate-level courses you complete after entering into graduate status. Your graduate status GPA must be at least 3.000 or higher in order to maintain graduate student status, receive financial assistance, and qualify for graduation. The graduation requirement for a minimum 3.000 GPA in all graduate courses completed since admission into the graduate program cannot be appealed. Additionally, in any given semester, a student should maintain a semester-GPA of at least 3.000 or better.

GPA Minimum Requirements:

Student academic status and progress are monitored by the College of Sciences graduate office and the university’s College of Graduate Studies.

If the graduate status or program of study GPA drops below a 3.000 for any semester, the student will be placed on Probation for a maximum of nine semester hours. Please see the section on Probation and Dismissal for more information.

Only six hours of unsatisfactory grades are allowed while pursuing a graduate program. Unsatisfactory grades are “U” and those of “C+”, “C”, or “C-” or lower.

No graduate-level course with a grade of “D+” or lower can be used to complete a course requirement, but the grade is calculated into the overall GPA.

No 4000-level courses with a grade of “B-” or lower can be used to complete a course requirement.

No transfer course with a grade of “C+” or lower is acceptable in the program of study.

A student whose GPA falls below 2.000 may be dismissed. A student’s dismissal is processed in consultation with the department. Please see the section on Probation and Dismissal for more information.

Certificate Programs:

All graduate courses that are required as a part of a certificate program must receive a grade of B- or better. Courses may be retaken to achieve a better grade, with the consent of the program.

A minimum of a 3.000 GPA in the specified graduate certificate program of study is required to complete the program.

Program of Study and SASS Degree Audits:

A program of study will be placed on file in the Graduate College after completion of the first semester. It can be reviewed and revised as necessary. The graduate committee/graduate coordinator of the program determines what courses are accepted to fulfill the program of study requirements. Courses taken prior to entering a program must be approved for transfer. The student’s advisor, graduate coordinator/director, or department graduate committee will approve which courses are allowable as substitutions or transfers.

The program of study is initially designed to reflect the catalog requirements for the year of admission to the program.

The Final Transcript will show all coursework taken at UCF and any degrees earned. Final Transcripts are available only through the Registrar’s Office.

Registration:

Summer Registration:

If a student registers during early registration (for A, B, or C-term) they will have to pay by the early registration deadline. If they are registered for but do not want to pay for a B-term class until B-term begins, they will have to be registered for these classes during the B-term regular registration period (which occurs after the close of A and C-term registration).

Fall and Spring Registration:

If a student registers during the early registration period (during the summer) they are not held to the early payment deadline. Fees for fall registration are due at the end of regular registration for the fall semester, and fees for spring registration are due at the end of the regular registration for the spring semester.

Registration during the semester of Graduation:

Any graduating student must be registered the semester they are graduating. If course work is complete, but a student will be using university resources (ex. taking a Comprehensive Exam) during the semester of graduation, the student may register for IDS6999, a “no credit, no grade” course for which the student pays the fee for one credit hour. This registration is processed through the College Graduate Office.

Late Registration and Payment Fees:

If students register for the first time during the late registration/add-drop period, they will be charged a $100 late registration fee. Similarly, if students pay for fees after the posted fee payment deadline, they will be charged a $100 late payment fee. To avoid the late registration fee, registering into UCF1500 (an undergraduate course) will provide additional time to work a schedule or gather necessary paperwork for registration. This “class” will automatically drop at the end of the late registration/add-drop period. For fees, the student is responsible to make sure that payments toward tuition and fees are made. This includes loans and tuition waivers. Please be aware of these dates, published in the university’s Academic Calendar.

Reinstatement after Drop for Non-Payment

If a student is dropped for non-payment, a $200 fee will be assessed before they are allowed to re-enroll or enroll into coursework.

“S” and “U” Grading:

Satisfactory (S) or unsatisfactory (U) grades are used to reflect student progress in thesis (XXX6971), dissertation (XXX7980), and research report (XXX6909) courses. Other grades are not allowed to be given in these courses and are not allowed on the final SASS audit. (In the case of an incomplete for these courses that is not resolved in one calendar year, this grade will be changed to a “U”.) If it is decided that a course other than these should be graded on the S/U scale, a Course Action Request to revise the course must be approved by Graduate Council to do such.

Time Limitation for Degree Completion

7-Year Rule:

Courses older than seven years cannot be applied toward a graduate program of study. In order to allow courses older than seven to be applied toward the program of study, the student must file a petition (please see the section onpetitions for more information). There is normally a limit of 9 hours of coursework which can be petitioned. Waiver of this rule is generally only for a limited period of time, and it is generally waived when the student knows when they will be intending to graduate.

3-Year Rule:

In a graduate certificate program, courses older than three years cannot be applied toward completion of the certificate.

Graduate Assistantship Codes

Class Code Assistantship Category
9181 Graduate Research Associate (GRA)
This
job code is restricted to advanced students who are assigned
research activities. In general, Graduate Research Associates
will be doctoral students with two or more years of
research experience
. Because of their advanced status
and experience, they may be paid at a higher rate than Graduate
Research Assistants; however, this is not a requirement of the
job code. These students are typically paid from C&G funds
and hired on a salaried, contractual basis.
9182 Graduate Research Assistant (GRA)

Graduate Research Assistants are master’s level students
or doctoral students within their first two years who are
assigned research duties
. Because of their level, these
students may be paid at a lower rate than Graduate Research
Associates. These students are typically paid from C&G funds
and hired on a salaried, contractual basis.
9183 Graduate Teaching Associates (GTA)

This job code is reserved for students who have completed at
least 18 hours of course work in the discipline and are
hired as instructor of record
in accordance with UCF’s policy on instructors of record.
Graduate students who are assigned as instructor of record must
be hired in the job code. In order to qualify for assignment to
this position code, students must have completed the Legal Module
(online at http://classroom.fctl.ucf.edu/moodle/) given by
the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL). In
addition, international students may only be hired as a Graduate
Teaching Associate after obtaining a score of at least 55 on the
SPEAK exam. These students will be hired to
teach independently with full responsibility for all pedagogical
aspects of the assigned course(s). Because of their advanced
status an experience, they may be paid at a higher rate than
Graduate Teaching Assistants; however, this is not a requirement
of the job code. These students are typically paid from E&G
funds and hired on a salaried, contractual basis.These students must be able to complete the section on their
graduate contract that refers to the 18-Hours Rule Verification.
This verification must be done by listing specifically which 18
hours of completed courses are eligible to go toward this
requirement.
9184 Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)

Graduate Teaching Assistants are master’s or doctoral
students who have completed less than 18 hours of course work in
the discipline or who are assigned to assist a faculty member
with teaching-related duties
. In order to qualify for
assignment to this position code, students must have completed
the Legal Module (online at http://classroom.fctl.ucf.edu/moodle/) given by the
Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL). International
students may only be hired as a Graduate Teaching Assistant after
obtaining a score of at least 50 on the SPEAK exam. Because of
their level, these student may be paid at a lower rate than
Graduate Teaching Associates; however, this is not a requirement
of the job code. These students are typically paid from E&G
funds and hired on a salaried, contractual basis.
9187 Graduate Teaching Assistant – Grader
(GTA)
Graduate Teaching Graders are masters or
doctoral students who are assigned to assist a faculty member
with grading and other teaching-related duties that require
no contact with students. These students may not
have instructional responsibilities. In order to qualify for
assignment to this position code, students must have completed
the Legal Module (online at http://classroom.fctl.ucf.edu/moodle/) given by the
Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL). International
students may be assigned to this position code without taking the
SPEAK test. Because of their level, these
students may be paid at a lower rate than Graduate Teaching
Associates; however, this is not a requirement of the position
code. These students are typically paid a stipend from E&G
funds on a contractual basis.
9185 Graduate Assistant (GA)
Students hired
on this job code may be assigned general duties related to
research, clerical, or other employment activities. These
students are paid on an hourly basis. These students may be paid
from E&G or C&G funds.
9186 Contracted Graduate Assistant (GA)

Same as above, but hired on a contract.