Graduate Policies

Preface

The UNCG Graduate School Handbook contains the policies, procedures, regulations, and deadlines, as created and revised by the Graduate School’s Policy Committee.* Revisions are finalized by the Graduate Council, after a one-month comment period open to Graduate Faculty. It is the student’s responsibility to know and to follow all policies, procedures, regulations, and deadlines. Each graduate program maintains a handbook that describes admission expectations specific to that program and may have additional regulations.

SECTION I: Covers general academic requirements and regulations.

SECTION II: Covers financial information, assistantships, fellowships, and credentialing process for graduate teaching associates.

SECTION III: Provides a summary of Graduate School regulations for all certificates and degrees.

Official University Communication: According to UNCG University policy, e-mail is the official method of communication. All official communications will be transmitted through UNCG University e-mail to students’ official UNCG email addresses at the “uncg.edu” domain. Students are responsible for monitoring this e-mail account at all times while enrolled at UNCG. Failure to monitor this account may result in missing important announcements and deadlines and will not serve as a basis for an appeal or modification of deadlines. For answers to questions about Graduate School policies, contact the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School at 336-334-3287 or e-mail the Dean’s administrative assistant.

*

Last Updated: April 24, 2020.

Section I: Academic Requirements and Regulations

In This Section:

Graduate Admissions and Enrollment

All degree, certificate, or non-degree-seeking students must submit a nonrefundable application fee to the University before the application is processed. The Admissions section of the Graduate School’s website lists current application fees and supplemental documents by program.

Overview

Admission into a UNCG graduate degree or certificate program is a process shared by the Graduate School and the graduate program. To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must meet the requirements of the Graduate School and of the graduate program.

Faculty in the graduate programs recommend students for admission to the Graduate School after they have assessed each prospective graduate student’s potential. Programs have significant discretion in determining admission standards and class size based on factors such as availability of academic mentors, financial support, laboratory space, and student distribution within interest areas. 

Neither an academic record exceeding minimum requirements, nor satisfactory scores on standardized tests, nor professional expertise alone will assure an applicant’s admission in this competitive environment. Rather, the overall record must indicate the strong likelihood that a prospective student will complete graduate study successfully.

Each application to the Graduate School will result in one admission decision. Offers of admission are not official until approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. Official admission decisions are communicated to applicants by email from the Dean of the Graduate School. Prospective students can view the status of the admission application online at the application portal. Click “Manage Your Account” and then “View All Forms.”

UNCG has staff who are charged with international recruitment. Additionally, UNCG uses independent contractors in the recruitment of international students. Agreements between Independent Recruiting Agencies and UNC Greensboro include a statement under the Contractor Responsibilities section that the Contractor shall “Recruit students with requisite academic qualifications who meet or exceed the university’s admission requirements.” UNCG provides those requirements in written materials, such as the UNCG Catalog, and in training sessions conducted by the Director of the Office of International Recruitment. The Graduate School Office of Admission has no direct contact with independent recruiting agencies. Students recruited by any means are showed no favoritism in the admissions process. This information is withheld from programs as they evaluate applicants. The only reason this information is collected is to analysis the efficacy of recruitment efforts

Successful applicants are offered admission for a specific program in a specific term.

Minimum Requirements for All Applicants

  • Applicants must submit a completed online application.

  • $65 nonrefundable application processing fee.

  • Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency (See English Language Proficiency).

  • Applicants who are unable to demonstrate English proficiency may apply for conditional admission and earn their proficiency in the Global Pathway program. (Global Pathway)

  • Per UNC Policy 700.5.1[R], the UNC system requires all applicants to answer questions regarding community standards/campus safety questions. Applicants may be required to submit to a criminal background check, based on their answers to the community standards/campus safety questions.

  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree (if required by the program) from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association or completion of a bachelor's and a graduate degree (if required by the program) that is equivalent to a U.S. degree from an international college or university recognized and approved by the Ministry of Education or Commission responsible for higher education in the country where the degree is earned.

If degree is in process:

  • For U.S. degree, one transcript from all colleges and universities where a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree (if required by the program) is in process 

  • For international degree, a course-by-course evaluation from a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES®) service, showing proof of in process status of U.S. equivalency of a bachelor's and/or a graduate degree (if required by the program), credit hours and current GPA

If degree(s) have been awarded:

  • For U.S. degree(s), one transcript from all colleges and universities where a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree (if required by the program) was earned

  • For international degree(s), a course-by-course evaluation from a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES®) service, showing proof of earned U.S. equivalency bachelor’s degree and/or a graduate degree (if required by the program), credit hours and GPA 

    • Exception - A credential evaluation is not required for the international undergraduate degree program if the applicant earned or is in the process of earning an advanced degree from an accredited U.S. institution. 

The Graduate School reserves the right to verify the accuracy and authenticity of the educational documents submitted.

Specific Graduate Program Requirements

Visit UNC Greensboro's Guide to Graduate Admissions for any additional requirements. Note that some programs may specify additional material (e.g., portfolio, auditions, test scores) which requires preparation.

Disposition of Application Materials

Credentials or supporting materials submitted for admission to the Graduate School become the property of the University and are not returned. No copies will be provided to third parties outside the University except when compelled by legal authority. Copies will, however, be provided to appropriate offices at the University in the interest of academic matters or financial awards relative to the applicant. Applications and supporting documents are retained according to the retention policies of the state of North Carolina.

Admission Decision

Admission into a UNCG graduate degree or certificate program is a process shared by the Graduate School and the graduate program. To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must meet the requirements of the Graduate School and of the graduate program.

Faculty in the graduate programs recommend students for admission to the Graduate School after they have assessed each prospective graduate student’s potential. Programs have significant discretion in determining admission standards and class size based on factors such as availability of academic mentors, financial support, laboratory space, and student distribution within interest areas. 

Neither an academic record exceeding minimum requirements, nor satisfactory scores on standardized tests, nor professional expertise alone will assure an applicant’s admission in this competitive environment. Rather, the overall record must indicate the strong likelihood that a prospective student will complete graduate study successfully.

Each application to the Graduate School will result in one, final admission decision. Offers of admission are not official until approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. Official admission decisions are communicated to applicants by email from the Dean of the Graduate School. Prospective students can view the status of the admission application online at the application portal. Click “Manage Your Account” and then “View All Forms.” If the admitted applicant does not register for the term specified in the admission letter, the admission may be subject to cancellation.

Enrollment Requirements

Your continued enrollment at UNC Greensboro is contingent upon your completion of the following items: 

  • One, final official transcript from all colleges and universities where a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree (if required by the program) was earned in the U.S. This transcript must be issued by the registrar’s office showing the degree awarded, earned credit hours, GPA and no courses in process and must be received before being allowed to register for your second semester.   

  • For international degree(s), an official course-by-course evaluation from a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES®) service, showing proof of earned U.S. equivalency bachelor’s degree and/or a graduate degree (if required by the program), credit hours and GPA.  This evaluation must include degree awarded (verified) equivalency with no courses in process and must be received before being allowed to register for your second semester.

English Proficiency

UNCG accepts the following methods of demonstrating English proficiency:

  • Test Scores
    • TOEFL 79 IBT (use code 5913)
      • **In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are accepting the TOEFL iBT® Special Home Edition score report for tests dates taken up through December 31, 2020 for Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 applications. The same IBT 79 is accepted for direct admission.
    • IELTS 6.5 Band Score (select University of North Carolina Greensboro Graduate Admissions)
      • **In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are also accepting the IELTS Indicator (same 6.5 band score) report for test dates taken up through December 31, 2020 for Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 applications.
    • Duolingo English Test DET 110
    • ELS 112
    • Kaplan English Advanced Level
    • PTE Academic 67

**ELPs must not be more than 2 years old from date of application submission.

  • English Language Proficiency may also be demonstrated by successful completion of the following:
  • An international applicant is automatically considered English Proficient under the following circumstances:
    • The applicant is from a country where English is recognized as the primary, official language.
    • The applicant is or will be a graduate of a U.S. regionally accredited university.
    • The applicant is or will be a graduate of a non-U.S. college/university where English is the primary language of instruction.

Conditional Admission and SOE Global Pathway Program

Applicants who have not met the minimum English language proficiency score may apply for conditional admission.  Simply check the Pathway Program on the graduate application.

If admitted conditionally, applicants must successfully complete the UNCG School of Education Global Pathway Program, which satisfies the English Language Proficiency score requirement.

I-20 and DS 2019 Issuance

For I-20 and DS 2019 issuance, as required by USCIS, international applicants must show evidence of sufficient funds, for a minimum of one year, to support one’s education and living expenses while at UNCG. Financial forms may be downloaded from within the graduate application or on The International Programs Center (IPC) webpage at: https://international.uncg.edu/about-ipc/forms-handbooks-policies/.

Transcripts

Departments/programs may require additional transcripts.

Pursuing Multiple Degree Programs

Students are prohibited from pursuing multiple degree programs at the same time.

Non-credential-seeking (Visiting) Students

Non-degree students who wish to take graduate-level courses (courses numbered 500 – 749*) must have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and must apply through the Graduate School. The Graduate School does not admit an individual as a non-degree student (as if they were in a program). Instead, approved non-degree students will receive notice from the Graduate School that they may register for classes. Visiting students are restricted from registering for any course that is not on a program’s list of approved courses.

Non-degree students who wish to take undergraduate-level courses (courses numbered 100-499) must apply through undergraduate admissions, even if having previously earned an undergraduate degree

Non-degree seeking students must apply for each semester in which they wish to enroll. A non-refundable fee is charged each time a non-degree seeking application is submitted. An undergraduate transcript(s) from the degree-granting institution required with an initial application; this is waived in subsequent applications.

Non-degree students who are permitted to enroll for graduate courses may take courses numbered 500 –749 that have not been restricted by the departments (see Non-degree Seeking Applicants.) With the instructor’s approval, non-degree seeking students may submit a written petition to the Graduate Program Director or the Department Head to enroll in a restricted course; however, independent study is reserved for only degree seeking students.

To pursue a degree at any time, a non-degree student must formally apply for admission to the Graduate School. If the student meets all Graduate School and program standards and is granted admission, a maximum of nine (9) credits earned while in non-degree status may be applied to the academic program. Credit earned must fall within the timeline for completing the degree or certificate.

Non-degree seeking students are not eligible for financial aid.

*

Visiting students are not permitted to enroll in courses numbered 750 or higher.

Public School Personnel

Public school teachers and administrators who wish to take courses solely for licensure renewal credit may do so as non-degree seeking students. Students who meet all requirements for admission as a graduate degree student will also receive the licensure renewal credit.

If credit is to be applied to a graduate degree, the student must submit an application to the Graduate School before the completion of the course.

Deferral of Admission

With permission from the Graduate Program Director, students admitted to a degree or certificate program may defer enrollment for a maximum of one year from the initial term of admission. Deferral is not possible for many degree programs.

To request a deferral of admission, admitted students must select Deferral in the Intent to Enroll form that will be emailed to them once they have been admitted. The request will be sent to the appropriate department's Graduate Program Director for consideration. The deferral request must be for a specific term and may not exceed one year from the original term of admission.

The department will forward the form request to the Graduate School for processing, and the Graduate School will notify the student of the decision. If the student does not request a deferral, or if the department does not approve the requested deferral, and the student does not enroll for the original term of admission, the student will have to reapply for admission. If the requested deferral is approved and the student does not enroll for the approved deferred term of admission, the student will have to reapply for admission.

Financial awards are not deferred.

Military-affiliated students should contact the Graduate School for individual assistance with extended deferrals.

Readmission and Catalog Policy

The University Catalog is the publication that documents all academic policies, regulations, and program requirements for a given academic year for all students and programs.

A student's catalog year identifies the set of curriculum requirements and regulations for program completion. The catalog year is established for the individual student upon declaration or change of the program.

A student may change a catalog year without a change of program or minor only to a more recent catalog. The student may request this change formally through their department.

Any student who has been inactivated must reapply for admission to the University. If admitted, the student will be assigned to the catalog requirements for the program in effect for the re-admit term.

Readmission after Academic Dismissal

A student who is dismissed for academic reasons will be eligible to submit a new application after two semesters or the equivalent and may be admitted only upon the recommendation of the major department head or Graduate Program Director and with the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School. While on academic dismissal, students are not eligible to take courses as a non-degree seeking student.

Accelerated Master’s Programs

An Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP) allows a student to begin accumulating credits towards completion of a UNCG graduate degree while still enrolled as an undergraduate. Successful undergraduate applicants are given an early decision on their graduate application pending successful completion of the baccalaureate degree. These graduate-level courses will count towards both the baccalaureate degree and the graduate degree; the grades will be recorded on both transcripts.

No more than 12 graduate credits taken as an undergraduate may be applied toward the undergraduate degree.

Undergraduate students may apply for admission to the AMP as they enter junior status (60 semester hours). Minimal criteria for admission will include an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.5 in the related major and any additional criteria as determined by the academic unit.  Transfer students may apply if their cumulative GPA from their previous institution was at least a 3.0, or if they have earned a 3.0 (with a 3.5 in courses related to the major) at UNCG during their first semester.

The student must apply for admission to the AMP through the Graduate School. To ensure a timely decision and access to course enrollment, students must apply for admission to an Accelerated Master’s Program by July 1 for Fall AMP course enrollment, November 15 for Spring enrollment, and April 1 for Summer enrollment.

International students who are admitted into an Accelerated Master’s Program should work with the Graduate School and the International Programs Center to apply for a visa extension.

A student enrolled in an AMP program is prohibited from Dual Bachelor’s-Master’s Registration.

Dual Bachelor's-Master's Registration

Students who do not wish to enroll in a UNCG graduate program may register for graduate-level courses if they have no more than twelve (12) credit hours remaining to fulfill the requirements of their bachelor’s degree program. Students must apply for admission to a graduate program before requests for dual registration can be approved, but they do not have to be formally admitted until the end of the semester in which credit is earned. For dual registration status, the approvals of the Graduate School, the University Registrar’s Office, the Graduate Program Director in the appropriate graduate program(s), and the student’s undergraduate major adviser are required.

Total graduate credit obtained in this dual status may not exceed 12 credits. Graduate courses are not applied to the undergraduate degree.

A student enrolled in Dual Bachelor’s Master’s Registration may not be concurrently enrolled in and AMP program.

Faculty as Students

Faculty at UNCG may not pursue a graduate degree or certificate in their home department or degree-offering unit. For exceptions, the unit dean may petition the Dean of the Graduate School.

Eligibility to Remain in Graduate School

The Graduate School may dismiss a student for academic reasons, violation of the academic integrity policy, and/or student conduct violations as described in each program’s graduate handbook.

Academic Good Standing

Students enter Graduate School with no academic standing and are expected to earn at least a GPA of 3.0 in their first semester to be placed in Academic Good Standing. Continuing students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in all graduate course work at UNCG to remain in Academic Good Standing.

Academic Probation

Any student whose cumulative GPA for all graduate courses falls below 3.0 will be placed on Academic Probation, effective for the next term during which the student is enrolled. Probationary status will be removed and the student returned to Academic Good Standing if (1) the student’s GPA for each term during which the student is on probation is 3.0 or better, and (2) the student’s cumulative GPA for all graduate courses is at least 3.0 at the end of the semester in which the student completes nine (9) semester hours after being placed on Probation. If Probationary status is not removed upon the completion of 9 semester hours after being placed on Probation, or if the student achieves a term GPA below 3.0 while on Academic Probation, the student will be dismissed from the program and will be ineligible to continue in the Graduate School.

Students on probation are ineligible for assistantships or fellowships.

If the Graduate School determines that it is not possible to return to Academic Good standing within the allotted credit hours for graduation, that student will not be placed on Academic Probation. Instead, that student will be immediately dismissed from the Graduate School.

Students who meet the criteria to be placed on Academic Probation more than once in the same program will not be placed on Academic Probation; instead, they will be immediately dismissed from the Graduate School.

While on Academic Dismissal, students are not eligible to take graduate-level courses as a non-degree seeking student.

Should a student complete or withdraw from one academic program and begin study in another academic program, all grades remain part of the student’s academic record and contribute to the student’s cumulative graduate GPA.

Students may refer to Graduate Grading for a more detailed description of grading policies.

Graduate Exams

Graduate students who fail any written or oral milestone exam must petition their advisory committee for permission to take it again. The Graduate School will dismiss any graduate student who fails two attempts for a milestone exam.

Satisfactory Progress Toward Degree

All graduate students are required to demonstrate satisfactory progress towards degree completion. Department Handbooks shall document the procedure to annually assess students’ progress to degree completion. The Graduate Program Director (GPD) must notify the Graduate School of any student determined not to be making satisfactory academic progress; that student shall be placed on Academic Probation.  A student who subsequently fails to make satisfactory progress towards the degree and be removed from probation shall be dismissed from the Graduate School.

Satisfactory Academic Professionalism

Satisfactory performance in the Graduate School also involves maintaining the professional standards and academic progress expected in a discipline or program. Failure to maintain the standards or progress set out in a student’s departmental or program handbook may result in dismissal from the program.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid

Federal and state governments require each educational institution to define standards of progress for students seeking financial aid. All students who wish to qualify for financial aid while attending UNCG must meet the following standards:

  • Minimum grade point average
  • Minimum semester credit hour completion rate
  • Cumulative completion rate—attempted vs. earned hours
  • Completion of a degree within a maximum number of credit hours

To view the complete SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) Policy click here to view the document.

Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Registration

Rights

Students are entitled to privacy, expression, nondiscrimination, non-harassment, and the opportunity to appeal, petition, or contest university actions pursuant to the procedures referenced below.

Responsibilities

The student is responsible for:

  • observing all university and Graduate School policies, regulations, procedures and academic requirements, including specific requirements of the program; and
  • maintaining a high standard of academic integrity.

Academic Integrity Policy

Academic integrity is founded upon and encompasses the following five values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. First responsibility for academic integrity lies with individual students and faculty members of the UNC Greensboro community. A violation of academic integrity is an act harmful to all other students, faculty, and the entire community. Specific information on the Academic Integrity Policy and obligations of faculty and students may be found here.

Appeals for Academic Decisions

Qualified faculty members are expected to exercise objective judgment in making academic decisions. Under certain circumstances specified below, students may appeal these decisions. Students must submit appeals in writing and include all documented evidence. Students will receive written determinations regarding their appeals.

Students may appeal to the Graduate School under at least one of the following circumstances:

  • The academic decision was applied in a manner inconsistent with University policy.
  • The academic decision was arrived at arbitrarily or the policy was unequally applied.
  • There was a flaw in the student’s right of due process.

The procedure specified below is to be used to resolve grievances against decisions or actions that were made by employees or agents of UNCG that would adversely affect the student's progress toward a graduate degree.

Graduate Student Grievance Procedures (Pending Graduate Council Approval)

Graduate students may use this procedure to file a grievance against an adverse decision made by a University faculty member or program director (“academic officer(s)”) that violates University policy or applicable laws.

What May Be Grieved

  1. Decisions made by academic officers that:
    1. Adversely affect the graduate student; and,
    2. Involve a misapplication or misinterpretation of University policies, regulations, rules, or a violation of state or federal law.
  2. Graduate Student Final Course Grades

What Is Not Covered By This Procedure

Student disciplinary matters and allegations of discrimination or harassment are not covered by this procedure. Please see the Policy on Discriminatory Conduct and the Student Code of Conduct for more information. Other Grievances may be handled using the Grievance Procedures for Students.

Adverse Decisions

Informal Grievance Procedure

Before submitting a formal grievance, the graduate student shall first attempt to informally resolve the issue with the academic officer responsible for the action or decision being grieved. The student shall discuss the problem in a meeting with the academic officer within 15 business days after receiving notice of the adverse action. If informal resolution is unsatisfactory, the student may proceed by filing a written formal grievance with their Graduate Program Director (“GPD”).

Formal Grievance Procedure

  1. The graduate student must submit a written appeal (email allowed) addressed to their GPD within thirty (30) business days following the informal discussion. The Graduate Program Director or the Unit Dean may extend the time limit for good cause shown if the grievant makes a request for extension of time within the thirty (30) day period. If the grievance is against the GPD, then the student should submit the formal grievance to their Academic Unit Dean (“Unit Dean”). Filing occurs when the written grievance is submitted to the GPD or the Unit Dean.
  2. This communication must clearly set forth, in reasonable detail: 1) what decision is being challenged, 2) which academic officer made the decision, 3) how the policy, regulation, rule, or law was misapplied or misinterpreted, and 4) the remedy sought. The graduate student may attach additional documentation or evidence if necessary.
  3. The GPD or Unit Dean shall review the submission, consult with the academic officer involved, and provide a written decision by email to the graduate student within 30 business days after the filing date. An additional extension may be granted for good cause shown, and the need for an extension and the anticipated decision date will be communicated to the graduate student by email. 
  4. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome at this level, the student may submit a written notice of appeal (email allowed) to the Dean of the Graduate School within fifteen (15) business days of receiving the written decision.

Graduate School Appeals

The Dean of the Graduate School will convene the Graduate Appeals Committee after receiving timely written notice of appeal. The Appeals Committee is comprised of members of the Graduate Council who are assigned to this standing committee. The Appeals Committee must review all written documentation in the case, and it must provide the graduate student grievant with an opportunity to appear in person to present testimony and evidence. The student appearing before the Appeals Committee may bring one support person who is not allowed to address the committee. The Unit Dean or their designee shall be invited to the hearing to observe but will not participate.

Appeal Committee Procedure

  1. The Appeals Committee Chair may provide a brief overview of the appeal at the beginning of the hearing. This statement shall be limited to an objective summary of the issues present in the appeal.
  2. The student will state their case. There will be no interruptions, but committee members may ask clarifying questions by asking permission from the Appeals Committee Chair.
  3. The academic officer whose decision is being appealed will state their case.  There will be no interruptions, but Committee members may ask clarifying questions by asking permission from the Appeals Committee Chair.
  4. Committee members may also ask questions of any other involved parties present.
  5. The Student will to respond and ask questions of the academic officer and other involved parties who previously provided information
  6. The Appeals Committee will have the opportunity to ask final questions of both the student and the academic officer.
  7. The members of the Appeals Committee will deliberate in private.
  8. The Appeals Committee Chair will send a written report within fifteen (15) business days to the Unit Dean or designee and the Dean of the Graduate School. This report must describe the facts of the appeal as determined by the Appeals Committee after hearing the evidence and the Committee’s recommendation for the action to be taken.
  9. The Unit Dean or designee and the Dean of the Graduate School shall jointly review the report and consult with the Provost. Then, the Dean of the Graduate School will make the final University decision and provide copies of this decision in writing to all involved parties within 20 business days of receiving the Appeals Committee report. This decision is final.

Grade Grievances

Applicable Circumstances

  1. Graduate students may appeal a final course grade within 30 business days of the posting date, if:
    1. The grade assignment is detrimental to the student; and,
    2. One of the following is true:
      1. The grade was calculated in a matter inconsistent with University policy, the syllabus, or changes to the syllabus; or,
      2. There was an arithmetic or clerical error; or,
      3. The instructor failed to assign or remove an Incomplete (“I”), or to initiate a grade change as agreed upon with the student; or,
      4. A No Report (“NR”) grade caused a student to be placed on probation or dismissed from the graduate school.
  2. This grievance procedure does not apply to test grades, partial grades, or grade changes resulting from Academic Integrity violations that are administered by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Grade Grievance Procedure

  1. If an attempt to obtain an informal resolution is unsatisfactory, then the student may submit a written complaint or email to the instructor who assigned the grade, with a copy to the department head for review.
  2. If the instructor is no longer employed at UNCG, the department head assumes the role of the instructor.
  3. The written complaint must identify the basis of the grade appeal and must state in detail the applicable criteria for the appeal and why the student believes that the grade should be changed.
  4. If the request is approved by the instructor and endorsed by the department head, then the instructor will change the final course grade.
  5. If the appeal is not endorsed by the instructor and department head, then the student may forward the written complaint to the Unit dean for further review, within fifteen (15) business days.
  6. The Unit Dean reviews the written complaint and informs the instructor of the student’s appeal. The instructor may file a written response within ten (10) business days of receiving notice from the Unit Dean. Within a reasonable time, normally no longer than fifteen (15) business days, the Unit Dean sends a written response to the student, with a copy to the department head and instructor. The Unit Dean’s response shall include a recommendation of whether or not the instructor should re-evaluate the student’s work in the course(s).
  7. The instructor determines if a grade change is warranted, and if so, will submit a grade change.
  8. If this outcome is not satisfactory to the student, then the student may file an appeal with the Graduate School by submitting the same written complaint to the Dean of the Graduate School within 15 business days of receiving notice of the unsatisfactory outcome. No additional documents may be submitted.
  9. This appeal is governed by the steps listed in Section above for Graduate School Appeals.

Student/Advisor Responsibilities and Plan of Study

The student is responsible for continuing in satisfactory academic standing and for meeting all degree requirements and deadlines for graduation or licensure. In addition to graduate student policies detailed in the Catalog, graduate students are expected to comply with the general regulations of the University as set forth in the UNCG Policies for Students available online here.

Academic Advisory Committee

The academic program’s Graduate Program Director (GPD) or its Department Head assigns each graduate student an initial academic advisor(s). This initial advisor (documented in Banner) could be the GPD or any other member of the Graduate Faculty. If the Department appoints Academic Advisory Committees, the appointment form must be submitted no later than the close of the registration window for the second semester of study, before the completion of eighteen (18) hours.

Plan of Study

The student is expected to develop an initial Plan of Study (POS) in consultation with the assigned advisor(s). This POS is a guiding document that interprets curriculum requirements and arranges an orderly sequence of activities for the student’s progress toward the anticipated degree. It is evaluated and approved by the Graduate Program Director and then filed with the Graduate School. This must be accomplished no later than the close of the registration window for the second semester of study, prior to the completion of eighteen (18) hours for doctoral and MFA students and before completion of 50% of course work for master’s students. Upon formation of the Thesis or Dissertation committee, the chair of that committee becomes the student’s advisor, documented in Banner. Students are advised to consult with their advisors frequently and to request changes to the POS as needed. Each time a POS is changed, the new POS must be filed with the Graduate School.

Course Credit

Transfer Credit (Graduate)

In some instances, work done in other institutions may be counted toward the degree. Hours only, not grades, may be transferred from other institutions. Please see the Summary of Master’s Requirements the and Summary of Doctoral Requirements in Section III for transfer credit information specific to the type of graduate program.

If transfer credit is to be considered, the following stipulations must be present:

  • All credit offered in transfer must have been taken at an accredited graduate school and not have been used to complete the requirements for a degree.
  • All credit to be transferred must fall within the time limit for the degree/certificate.
  • The student must have earned at least a grade of B (3.0) (or the equivalent) on all transfer credit.
  • The credit must be recorded on an official transcript placed on file with the Graduate School.
  • All credit must be approved both by the Graduate Program Director in the student’s academic program and by the Dean of the Graduate School.
  • Transfer credit must be necessary to meet specific degree requirements.

Quarter-hours do not transfer as semester hours. A fraction of an hour of credit will not be transferred. See equivalent samples below:

  • 2 quarter hours transfer as 1 semester hour.
  • 3-4 quarter hours transfer as 2 semester hours.
  • 5 quarter hours transfer as 3 semester hours.
  • 6-7 quarter hours transfer as 4 semester hours.
  • 8 quarter hours transfer as 5 semester hours.
  • 9-10 quarter hours transfer as 6 semester hours.

Upon recommendation by the student’s academic program, the Graduate School reviews requests for courses to be transferred for credit toward a graduate degree. Such work must represent graduate-level courses relevant to the degree being sought, with course content and level of instruction resulting in student competencies at least equivalent to those of currently enrolled students as determined by the academic program. Students seeking transfer credit should be prepared to submit a syllabus to their academic program.

Undergraduate Courses

Courses approved for undergraduate credit only (100-499), including required prerequisite courses, will not be counted toward academic program requirements, do not count toward full-time enrollment status, do not appear on the graduate transcript, and will not factor into the student’s GPA. These courses are ineligible for financial aid.

Auditing Courses

To audit a course, students must obtain written permission of the course instructor and the academic program chair. Students can request this permission only after the end of the official registration period.

Retroactive academic credit for an audited course is not permitted. If a student requires credit for a previously audited course, the student must enroll for the course and fulfill all assignment to receive a course grade and academic credit.

Registration Status

The Graduate School serves as the Dean’s Office authorization for University Registrar forms.

Full-Time Registration

To be considered full-time, students must enroll in a minimum of nine (9) credit-earning graduate credit hours. There are two instances described below when a student enrolled for three (3) credits is awarded full-time status.

Master’s and MFA - 3 Credits as Full-Time Status

After completing all required course work, a master’s student may be considered full-time while enrolled in a 3-credit hour thesis course (699), DCE 697 or 698, or THE 699. Master’s students may maintain full-time status with 3 credits of 699 for two terms.

Doctoral Candidacy - 3 Credits as Full-Time Status

After entering candidacy status, a doctoral student is considered full-time while enrolled in 3 credits of dissertation (799). Doctoral candidates may maintain full-time status with 3 credits of dissertation enrollment until completion of the number of dissertation credit hours specified by their programs in the University Catalog.

Extension Status

Students who have already enrolled in the maximum number of 699/799 hours but who have not yet completed the requirements for thesis/dissertation enter extension status. To maintain continuous enrollment, extension students are required to enroll in and pay for tuition and fees for at least one extension hour.

The following applies to students in extension status:

  • Students must be enrolled in 9 credit-hours to be considered full-time.
  • The Graduate School will no longer contribute towards the UNCG sponsored health insurance.
  • Students may purchase this insurance if they are enrolled in at least one extension hour.
  • Students in extension status lose eligibility for all state-funded support but may be supported by external funds. Contact the Graduate School for more information on this option.

Permission to enroll in extension courses will require verification by the committee chair that the student is making satisfactory progress. These credit hours will not count toward the degree, may impact eligibility for federal financial aid support, and may adversely impact loan repayment schedules. Official information may be found by clicking here.

Continuous Enrollment

Students pursuing a graduate degree or certificate program are required to be enrolled from the time of matriculation through degree/certificate completion. Continuous enrollment is defined as completing a minimum of one (1) hour of graduate credit (including 699/799/801/802/803) every fall and spring semester, or one semester during the academic year in combination with a summer session. This course work must be approved for the student’s program of study and selected in consultation with the departmental Graduate Program Director and/or advisor or committee chair. State funds may not be applied to support tuition for any course that is not documented on the student’s Plan of Study.

All graduate students must be enrolled for at least 1 credit during the semester in which they are scheduled to receive their degrees/certificates. This may include extension courses (801/802/803).

Any student who breaks continuous enrollment must apply for re-admission to the university.  If re-admitted, the student will be assigned to the catalog requirements for the program in effect for the re-admit term.

Visa Requirement for International Students

Failure to maintain continuous and accurately reported full-time registration can have severe consequences, including, but not limited to, loss of visa status and deportation. Each term, the academic department must supply a letter to the International Programs Center verifying that the student remains in good standing and is making satisfactory progress toward completion of the degree. Official information on maintaining visa status is located here in the International Programs Center.

Please note: Certain restriction may apply on distance and online course enrollments. International students should consult with their graduate program with questions about maintaining full-time enrollment.

Registration while on Assistantship or Fellowships

Each student holding a service (assistantship) or non-service (fellowship) appointment must be registered full-time to hold that position during the fall and spring semesters. Faculty members who wish to request an exception to this requirement may do so by filling out the Reduced Course Load Request Form. International students must also contact the International Program Center if they request a reduced course load. (See Section II: Financial and Employment Information and Regulations for more information.)

Dissertation Registration

Students may not register for dissertation (799) until they have achieved candidacy. Programs with documented external licensing or accreditation requirements that impact the normal progression to candidacy may be exempted from this requirement.

Milestone Exam Registration

Students must be registered in the semester any milestone exams are taken and graded; this is normally a fall or spring semester.  A student who registered full-time in the immediately preceding spring and upcoming fall terms may take comprehensive exams during the summer without registering for summer session. Students who are eligible to take exams over the summer should not expect to receive results of the exam until early in the fall semester.

Changes to Registration

The Graduate School serves as the Dean’s Office authorization for University Registrar forms.

Adding Courses

Courses may be added only during the official add period. Please refer to the University Registrar’s Calendar for official add period dates for the standard semester and summer terms.

In rare cases, the Graduate School may authorize a student to enroll in a course after the census date in a given term. Effective dates are not altered. For courses scheduled outside the standard term dates, proportional deadlines are similarly applied.

Dropping Courses

Drop deadlines for the standard semester and summer terms are given in the University Registrar’s Academic Calendar. To drop a course outside the normal drop period, the student must complete and obtain the required signatures on the registration drop/add from, available through the student’s academic program or the Graduate School.  For courses scheduled outside the standard term dates, proportional deadlines are similarly applied.

No regularly scheduled course may be dropped in the last two weeks of classes in a fall or spring semester or during the last week of a summer session. For courses scheduled outside the standard term dates, proportional deadlines are similarly applied.

Important note: Dropping a course after the census date may have financial and academic consequences. Please refer to Financial Consequences of Academic Actions in Section II.

A student registered for and wishing to drop an interinstitutional course follows the same procedures and deadlines as required for dropping courses at UNCG.

Official withdrawal from the University is required if a student wishes to drop all courses after census date.

Independent Study Registration

Independent study is reserved for degree-seeking students. Non-degree seeking and certificate students are not eligible to register for courses considered to be Directed Student Learning, (independent work with an instructor). No student may register for an Independent Directed Studies course as a substitute for existing courses.

Degree-seeking students must have completed several regular courses of graduate work and be in academic good standing to be eligible for the course type IND (independent study). Registration for independent study must have the approval of the instructor, the Department Head, and the Dean of the Graduate School.

Master’s students may register for no more than 3 credit hours of independent study per semester and may count no more than 6 credit hours of independent study toward satisfying the minimum requirements for the master’s degree.

Doctoral, Doctoral Track, and M.F.A. students may count no more than 15 credits of independent study toward degree requirements.

Cross Registration

The Graduate School participates in the three interinstitutional agreements:

  • Interinstitutional Registration
  • the Greater Greensboro Consortium
  • UNC Online

Students taking courses through a cross-registration agreement must meet the standards for participation in the program as set by their home institution, including the transfer credit policies of the Graduate School, and must follow the rules and policies of both campuses. Students must be registered for at least half of their hours at UNC Greensboro the same semester in which they register through either the Interinstitutional or the Consortium agreement. Under Interinstitutional Registration and the Greater Greensboro Consortium, enrollment and payment of tuition and fees take place on the home campus. For UNC Online, students must pay the appropriate tuition and fees to the visited institution.

Courses taken through cross-registration are considered transfer credit and although the course title will appear on the student’s UNC Greensboro transcript, grades are not recorded or calculated into the student’s overall GPA.

Regardless of modality, no cross-registered course may be taken pass/fail (satisfactory/unsatisfactory, etc.), and all courses must earn a specific grade to be eligible for transfer. Please refer to the Graduate Grading section of this Handbook for the policy concerning interinstitutional grading.

Application forms and information are available at the Graduate School and the University Registrar’s Office. The student must fill complete the application form and obtain their Graduate Program Director’s signature certifying the following requirements:

  • an equivalent course is not available on this campus,
  • the course is appropriate for the student’s degree program, and
  • it is a graduate-level course according to the current numbering schemes in the visited institution’s catalog.

Interinstitutional Registration

The Interinstitutional Registration program with North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, North Carolina Central University, and Duke University allows degree-seeking graduate students at UNC Greensboro, with the approval of Dean of the Graduate School and their Graduate Program Director, to take courses at these specific campuses. Eligible courses are limited to traditional, campus-based courses. Distance learning, extension, and online courses are not eligible through the interinstitutional agreement.

Greater Greensboro Consortium

Through membership in the Greater Greensboro Consortium (GGC), UNC Greensboro also participates in an open-access agreement with North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, High Point University, and Elon University. With permission of their Graduate Program Director and UNCG’s Dean of the Graduate School, degree-seeking students may register for campus-based courses at Consortium Schools.

UNC Online Interinstitutional Agreement

The UNC Online Interinstitutional Agreement allows degree-seeking graduate students at UNC Greensboro to take online courses at the 15 other UNC system schools. This requires approval by the Dean of the Graduate School and their Graduate Program Director. Students must pay the appropriate tuition and fees to the visited institution. Approved requests should be submitted through UNC Online.

Note: Courses taken through cross-registration with another institution are considered transfer credits. Grades do not appear on the UNC Greensboro transcript and are not calculated in the GPA.

Cancellation of Registration

The University will cancel registration under the following circumstances:

Failure to Attend

Students who did not attend or participate in any courses will have their registration cancelled.

* If a student attended or participated in any portion of his/her courses, then Dropping Courses or official Withdrawal from the University processes should be followed. Appropriate justification and approval by the academic program should be included with the cancellation request prior to submission for electronic processing by the Graduate School.

Academic Ineligibility

The Graduate School will automatically cancel the registration of those students who become academically ineligible. (See Eligibility to Remain in Graduate School.)

Nonpayment of Tuition and Fees

A student’s registration will be canceled if they do not pay tuition and fees (or properly arrange for a payment schedule) by the payment deadline given in the University Registrar’s Calendar.

Failure to Submit Immunization Records

North Carolina law requires immunization records. The Certificate of Immunization or record of immunization must be filed within 30 days of first registering for classes. All new, transfer, and readmitted students (who have not attended UNCG during the previous year) must submit a completed immunization record to Student Health Services to avoid registration cancellation.

The Annual Immunization Report is done each fall. The statute applies to all students except students residing off-campus and registering for any combination of:

  • Off-campus courses
  • Evening courses (classes beginning after 5 p.m.)
  • Weekend courses
  • Enrollment in fewer than five credit-hours in Greensboro Campus courses that meet before 5p.m.

 For additional information about the University’s Cancellation policies, please refer to the Office of the University Registrar.

Graduate Grading

Permanent Grades

Permanent grades include all grades except NR, IP and I. The distinction between permanent and temporary grades is used to regulate grade changes.

Grading Scale for Permanent Course Grades

Plus/minus grades are incorporated into the GPA for all graduate level courses according to the following scale:

Grade Grade Points Awarded Per Hour of Credit
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
F/WF 0.0
W 0.0
S/U 0.0

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The grade point average is determined by dividing the accumulated number of grade points earned by the accumulated number of semester hours undertaken. Hours attempted but not passed must be included in this calculation. Courses graded S/U and courses transferred from another institution (except those courses taken through cross registration) may not be used in determining the UNC Greensboro grade point average.

S-U Courses (Graduate)

Grades for the following courses are reported as Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U):

  • Thesis and dissertation courses upon completion (699, 799)
  • 800-level extension courses (801, 802, 803)
  • Other courses as indicated in the departmental listings

Temporary Grades

Not Reported (NR)

The NR grade is assigned by the Registrar’s Office in instances in which the instructor does not report a grade and the semester has officially closed. Failure to submit a grade may cause a student to be placed on academic probation. All NR grades must be removed before final degree clearance.

Incomplete (I)

The symbol I indicates inability, for reasons beyond the student’s control, to complete course requirements by the end of the term in which the course was offered. The Incomplete may be removed by completion of the deferred requirements within six months from the last day of examinations in the term in which the course was taken. An Incomplete not removed within this time limit automatically becomes an F. A grade of I in any course, including work not required for the student’s program, must be removed before graduation. A grade of I cannot be removed with a grade of W.

In Progress (IP)

Extension of thesis, research extension, and extension of dissertation courses may be graded with IP on a limited basis, but faculty advisers are required to provide documentation of the student’s satisfactory progress toward completion of the program. There are other courses that use this grade as well, typically courses that can extend beyond normal semester dates (e.g. an internship, practicum, etc.).

In the case of a thesis, master’s production, or dissertation in progress, a grade of In Progress (IP) will be recorded each semester of registration for credit until successful completion of the thesis, master’s production, or dissertation, when a final grade of Satisfactory (S) will be assigned.

Cross-Institutional Grading

For a cross-institutional course to apply as transfer credit towards a UNCG student’s graduate degree, the cross-institutional course may not be taken pass/fail. Grades earned for courses taken via cross-institutional registration do not factor into a student’s academic eligibility calculation.

Grade Change

Non-temporary course grades are permanent grades. A permanent grade change may be initiated only by the instructor and only in cases of arithmetic or clerical error, and then only with the approval of the department head of the instructor’s academic program. If a student receives a course grade other than incomplete (I), an instructor may not initiate a change of a course grade as a result of reevaluating the quality of the student's performance or as a result of additional work (whether that work is specified in the syllabus or not) performed by the student. Final approval resides with the Dean of the Graduate School.

Such grade changes must be finalized no later than the last day of classes of the next succeeding fall or spring semester.

Repeating a Course for Credit

Except for independent study or where specific provision is made in the Catalog, no student may repeat for credit a course for which he/she has earned credit. If a student repeats such a course, the grade will be recorded on the transcript, but no additional credit will be allowed toward graduation. A failing grade remains on the student’s academic record permanently.

Graduation and Commencement

GPA Requirement for Graduation

For the completion of graduate programs, the GPA for graduate courses taken since matriculation in the program must be at least 3.0, even if they are not required on the Plan of Study. A higher GPA may be required in the major field at the option of the major department.

In the case of a student who has attempted the minimum number of credit hours for the degree or certificate without achieving the required GPA, the Dean of the Graduate School, upon the recommendation of the department, may permit the student to continue taking courses in an effort to earn the required minimum GPA. If permission is granted, a maximum of 25% of the course work hours required for the program may be added to the plan of study, not to exceed 12 credit hours. The additional credit hours may not be independent study.

Commencement Ceremony

Master’s students completing all degree requirements by the end of the spring semester are encouraged to participate in the May Commencement ceremony. Students completing all degree requirements by the end of the fall semester are encouraged to participate in the December Commencement ceremony. Students completing all degree requirements by the end of the Summer Session may participate in either the following December or May Commencement ceremony by applying before required due dates (see Graduate School calendar) to graduate, paying the graduation fee, and notifying the Graduate School. Degree candidates will not earn degrees nor be graduated from the University until they have completed all degree requirements. Participation in a commencement ceremony does not presume graduation from the University.

Doctoral Hooding Ceremony

Only those doctoral candidates who have successfully defended their dissertation may participate in the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony. Students defending in the spring semester are expected to participate in the May ceremony. Students defending in the fall semester are expected to participate in the December ceremony. Students completing all degree requirements by the end of the Summer Session may participate in either the following December or following May ceremony. Students must apply before required due dates (see Academic Calendars) to graduate, pay the graduation fee, and notify the Graduate School.

Students who plan to defend after the cut-off date for graduation may apply to participate in that semester’s hooding ceremony but will not be listed in the program. These students will be listed in the commencement program during the semester in which they complete all degree requirements. Participation in the hooding ceremony does not presume graduation from the University. Doctoral candidates will not earn degrees nor be graduated from the University until they have completed all degree requirements.

Applying for Graduation

Students may not be admitted to and graduate from the same degree program in the same academic term. However, students who are in academic good standing in a degree program may be admitted to and graduate from a concurrent certificate program in the same academic term.

Students must formally apply for graduation (or to participate in the doctoral hooding ceremony) to the Graduate School by the end of the first week of classes during the term in which they plan to graduate. Degrees are awarded at the end of each semester and the second summer session (i.e., in December, May, and August).

All graduate students must be enrolled for at least one credit during the term in which they are scheduled to receive their degree. This may include extension courses (801, 802, 803). (See the Continuous Enrollment policy under Registration Status in Section I.)

Diplomas and transcripts of students owing money to the University will be withheld until their account is cleared. Students may not be admitted to and graduate from the same degree in the same academic term. However, students who are currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program, may apply to and graduate from a certificate program.

Students who do not apply for graduation before the published deadline for any semester may apply for graduation during the next semester. Students who have applied for graduation but fail to meet the requirements must reapply for graduation by the published deadline for the semester in which they will fulfill the requirements. Degrees are conferred only after all requirements are completed and the Board of Trustees has taken official action.

Graduation Fee

The graduation fee is payable in the Cashier’s and Student Accounts Office. Students who do not graduate in the term for which they originally applied must file a new application but will not be assessed an additional fee. Students should contact the Graduate School regarding status.

Degree Name Changes

In the event that the name of a degree changes after a student graduates, graduates will be awarded a degree by UNC Greensboro with the official name and credential of the academic program’s degree at the time of graduation and will not be able to change that degree at a later date if officially changed by the University.

Medical or Personal Issues

Leave of Absence

UNC Greensboro supports a leave of absence policy to assist graduate students who are temporarily unable to continue their programs. The leave of absence may extend for up to one academic year.

Current students who must break continuous enrollment may apply for a leave of absence. Students choosing this option must file a Graduate School Request for a Leave of Absence that states the reason for the requested absence and that they will neither use University resources, nor require faculty communication or interaction during the leave period. If the leave of absence extends beyond one academic year, the student's matriculation is closed, and the student must re-apply for admission to the Graduate School.

International students on F-1 visas must remain continuously enrolled until the thesis, dissertation, capstone project or directed study is completed. International students cannot apply for a leave of absence from the Graduate School.  Those international students who wish to apply for a leave of absence are advised to consult with the International Program Center.

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the proposed leave is compatible with the regulations of any granting agency from which funding would normally be received during the leave period and that such agencies are informed of the proposed leave. Students on student loan programs should inquire with the Financial Aid Office and/or lender regarding any consequences that such a leave may have on their ability to receive future aid or on their repayment status.

Graduate students on assistantship, who are granted a leave of absence, will have their salary and stipend suspended during the period of their leave. If feasible, the remainder of their appointment will be held for them upon their return to the next term. If a graduate assistant and Graduate Program Director disagree on the leave or its arrangements, students may appeal to the Graduate School. (See Appeals for Academic Decisions under Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Registration in Section I.)

Preparing the Application for Leave of Absence

In consultation with the supervising faculty member, the Application for Leave of Absence form is to be completed by the student and signed by both the student and the advisor or supervising faculty member. The application is to be submitted to the Graduate Program Director for review and signature before being forwarded to the Dean of the Graduate School. Whenever possible, application should be made in advance of the anticipated leave or as soon as possible after commencement of the leave.

Withdrawal from the University or a Course

Graduate students who must withdraw from the University for any reason may do so by dropping all courses online through UNCGenie until the last day to drop without academic penalty. Course withdrawals that occur after this date are automatically assigned a WF grade, which is calculated as an F (failing) grade.

Students whose registration for all courses is cancelled by the University must seek reactivation or readmission through the Graduate School to return to school in subsequent terms.

Withdrawal After Drop Deadline Due to Extenuating Circumstances

Graduate students with appropriate cause as determined by officially documented military deployment, medical, psychological, or unanticipated personal life events, or administrative reasons, may petition the Graduate School for an exemption from the published Withdrawal from a Program or a Course Policy.

The Graduate School shall be responsible for authorizing exemption requests in consultation with the instructor of every course, and with other departments or agencies as needed. If a Course Withdrawal Request After the Drop Deadline is authorized, all requested courses will be indicated on the transcript with a grade of W.

A course abandoned with insufficient reason for withdrawal is assigned the grade of F. In certain cases, faculty may initiate the withdrawal procedure for cause.

If a student withdraws from all courses, the student is considered officially withdrawn from the university.

Retroactive Withdrawal Policy

In very rare cases, students who have experienced extenuating circumstances may request to retroactively withdraw from all courses in a term up to one year following the term in which the courses were taken. Students may not request to withdraw from specific courses; the request to withdraw must be for all courses a student enrolled in for the requested withdrawal term. If a Retroactive Withdrawal Request is approved,  the student will be withdrawn from all courses in the requested term and receive W grades on their transcript for those courses. A grade of W will not negatively affect GPA or academic standing at the University. In accordance with the Academic Integrity Policy, a request to retroactively withdraw from courses will not be approved for a course(s) in which an academic integrity violation has resulted in a F grade. Students must initiate the Retroactive Withdrawal Request by contacting the Graduate School.

Health Insurance Plans

As stipulated by the UNC Board of Governors, all students enrolled at UNCG are required to have verifiable health insurance coverage. To ensure that this requirement is met, all students will automatically be billed for the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) each semester through their Student Account. Students who have a creditable health insurance plan and do not wish to participate in SHIP must submit their active health insurance information by completing an on-line waiver request through the Student Blue portal prior to the posted deadline each semester. A student who fails to submit a waiver request is required to pay the amount posted to their account.

Criteria for Graduate Students to be Eligible for SHIP

  • Enrolled in a degree-seeking program
  • Enrolled in one (1) or more credit hours, including extension credit. (Online Program students are not eligible for the plan.)

Conflict of Interest

Student-Faculty Relationship

It is essential to the promotion of high academic standards and maintenance of sound professional practice that the student-faculty relationship be free of real or apparent conflicts of interest based on familial relationships. To this end, a member of the faculty shall not serve in any capacity that will involve evaluating the academic performance of a graduate student when there exists between them a relationship in the first or second degree of affinity or consanguinity or when they otherwise are so closely identified with one another as to suggest a possible conflict of interest.

Students as Faculty

Graduate students should not be assigned to graduate assistantships that generate conflicts of interest. Graduate students may not teach any course at the 500-level or higher.  

A student pursuing a graduate degree at this institution may not be appointed as a member of the General Faculty, except under both of the following conditions:

  • the appointment begins in the same semester that the degree is awarded.
  • the conditions of employment are approved by the Graduate School, the Department Head and Unit Dean, of the program in which the student is pursuing a degree, and the employing academic Department Head and Unit Dean, if appropriate.

Graduate students should not be assigned as an instructional assistant for any course at the 500-level or higher. In these situations, the Graduate Program Director must file the Conflict of Interest Form with the Graduate School for evaluation.

Graduate students normally do not teach other graduate students from the same academic program. However, there are times when a graduate student must enroll in an undergraduate pre-requisite course with another graduate student serving as Instructor of Record. In these situations, the Graduate Program Director must file the Conflict of Interest Form with the Graduate School for evaluation. In such cases, a full-time faculty member must be designated as the graduate student’s teaching supervisor and be responsible for grading the graduate student’s work.

 

Section II: Financial and Employment Information and Regulations

In This Section:

Tuition and Other Charges

Tuition for Graduate Students

All students must pay tuition and fees according to the schedule printed in the University Registrar’s Calendar unless they qualify for a deferment. Refer to the University Cashier’s Office for current cost of attendance information. Financial aid cannot be used to satisfy balances carried forward from a prior academic year.

Residence Status for Tuition Payment

As a state-supported institution, the tuition rate for legal residents of North Carolina is less than the tuition rate for nonresidents. All students claiming North Carolina residency must file through the North Carolina’s Residency Determination Service.

Students classified as in-state pay only the resident tuition rate. Students classified as out-of-state pay the out-of-state differential and the resident tuition.

Information regarding residency requirements is also available on the Residency Determination Service website. A new application for residence status for tuition purposes may need to be submitted with all reapplication or readmission requests.

Fees for Graduate Students

University fees support non-academic services for students. The University works to keep fees competitive with peer institutions and only charges students what is defensible in covering costs associated with the services provided. For a list of required fees for graduate students, see the Cashier’s and Student Accounts Office. All graduate students are responsible for paying student fees.

Payment methods

The Cashier’s and Student Accounts Office details student billing information, payment due dates and methods, payment plans, and fees. Graduate assistants are eligible for the payment plans that are described on the Accounting Services website under Payment Plans.

Late registration service charge

A student has not completed registration until all required steps have been taken, including payment of tuition and fees. Any student failing to complete registration on the published deadline dates will incur a late enrollment charge. See the Registrar’s Registration Guide for deadlines.

Past due accounts

Any indebtedness to the University which becomes past due immediately jeopardizes the student’s enrollment, and no such student will be permitted to enroll for an ensuing semester or summer term. Billing fees and/or collection costs may be added to the indebtedness. Further, any student who fails to pay all indebtedness to the University, including collection costs, may not be issued a transcript or diploma. Unresolved debts may be turned over to a collection agency, reported to a credit bureau, and/or deducted from state income tax refunds.

Debts include, but are not limited to, parking violations, library fines, residence hall fees, academic fees, and others. Disputed settlements of University fees, returned checks, EFTs, and credit card payments are determined by the Cashiers Office.

Refunds

Refunds of tuition and fees, and the policies governing them, are described on the Refunds page, with additional details at the Student Financial Services page.

Doctoral Student Status

Doctoral Students are placed in one of three categories, pre-candidate, candidates, or extension. Graduate School Benefits are different for each status.

Assistantships

The term Graduate Assistant is the umbrella term that encompasses all types of graduate student service appointments.

All assistantships are administered by individual units (departments, colleges, centers, etc.). Any student interested in an appointment as a graduate assistant should make direct contact with the department, college, or unit of interest. Each unit may have deadlines for applying for positions and/or specific requirements for the assistantship.

Students may also consult the Graduate Assistantship Applications listed in UNCG Human Resources Spartan Talent search postings found here.

All policies on graduate teaching assistants adhere to the UNC System policy Guidelines on Training, Monitoring, and Evaluating Graduate Teaching Assistants (400.3.5.1[G]).

Acceptance of an Offer of Financial Support

UNCG is a member of the Council of Graduate Schools and adheres to the following resolution:*

Acceptance of an offer of financial support* (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor. In that context, the conditions affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties.

Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this Resolution. In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15, and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer. It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution or a link to the URL should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer.

~ Council of Graduate Schools, Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees and Assistants. Renewed October 2014.*

*

This resolution applies to offers of financial support only, not offers of admission.

Eligibility for Graduate Assistantships

UNC Greensboro recognizes that Graduate Assistants are students first; Graduate Assistants have remunerated responsibilities to the institution, but those duties should support the educational aspirations of the student’s academic program.

To qualify for a graduate assistantship, students must be fully admitted and enrolled full-time in a graduate degree program. On rare occasions, an international student who is conditionally admitted may receive an assistantship if enrolled in the SOE Global Pathway and they are close to meeting the UNCG proficiency standard. Departments must seek approval from the Dean of the Graduate School prior to making such an award.

Students who are employed in full-time positions either inside or outside the University are not eligible for assistantships.

The primary objective for graduate assistants is to pursue their individual course of study. However, these students are also employed by the University to teach, conduct research, or assist with administrative duties. Graduate assistantships are mutually beneficial to both students and the University. Assignments should be directly related to the student’s field of study or provide the opportunity to develop transferable, professional skills.

Graduate Student Assistantships benefit the student by providing:

  • financial assistance to graduate students while they pursue their degree
  • teaching and research experience for graduate students
  • training in high impact practices in pedagogy
  • opportunities to develop professional skills

Graduate Student Assistantships benefit the university by providing:

  • instruction for critical teaching needs
  • research support for our research active faculty
  • administrative support for many areas of the university in support of our mission

Regardless of the source of funding, the responsibility for administering all graduate student financial support resides in the Graduate School in the office of the Dean of the Graduate School. The Graduate School closely monitors the state dollars budgeted as tuition support. Units are solely responsible for supplying stipend funds. Units may also provide additional tuition support to that allocated by the Graduate School or may supplement the Graduate School’s contribution towards student eligibility for health insurance support.

Open Graduate Assistantships are expected to be used to recruit new students to UNCG. In the case of a documented retention issue, or an identified personnel need, please contact the Graduate School.

Types of Appointments

The term Graduate Assistant is the umbrella term that encompasses all types of graduate student appointments. The following titles are used for graduate students at UNCG to help identify those students with duties that require higher levels of experience for the position held. (SACSCOC) Graduate Assistants who serve in multiple capacities should be given the title representing the preponderance of the assigned work. In all cases, a student who is serving as an Instructor of Record must be assigned as a Graduate Teaching Associate (GTA).

Graduate Teaching Associate

The Graduate Teaching Associate (GTA) is a graduate student, enrolled in accordance with their plan of study, who serves as Instructor of Record for an undergraduate course in the discipline. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires that all Graduate Instructors of Record (GTA) have “earned at least 18 graduate semester hours in their teaching discipline, be under the direct supervision of a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, receive regular in-service training and be evaluated regularly”. This student has full responsibility for a course, including leading the class and assigning grades. Associates may also lead discussion sections, grade papers and exams, or supervise laboratory sections. Graduate Teaching Associates may NOT teach graduate-level courses.

Graduate Instructional Assistant

The Graduate Instructional Assistant (GIA) is a graduate student, enrolled in accordance with their plan of study, who may assist with grading and other administrative responsibilities related to a course, but they are not responsible for final grades. GIAs may be listed in the schedule for labs, recitations, tutorials, etc. that are linked to a course with a credentialed Instructor of Record. These courses are designated with an R or an L after the course number and are linked to the Lecture course taught by the faculty member. This may include lab assistance and set-up, serving as a lab supervisor, meeting students in office hours or group settings to provide tutorial assistance, lead recitation sections, or other duties, but does not deliver new course content. GIAs serve under the direct supervision of the faculty member who is instructor of record and a member of the graduate faculty, participates in pre-service training, and receives regular in-service training as well as planned, periodic evaluations.

Graduate Research Assistant

The Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) is a graduate student, enrolled in accordance with their plan of study and assigned to work in a faculty member's lab or provide fundamental support for a faculty member’s research. The supervising faculty member may or may not be the student's main advisor. Duties of research assistants vary by discipline and lab but include all tasks needed to pursue research in a given area, such as: data collection, entry, and analysis; reviewing the literature and other library work; writing reports; copying, filing, and collating; organizing and/or cleaning the lab or office.

Graduate Clinical Assistant

The Graduate Clinical Assistant (GCA) is a graduate student, enrolled in accordance with their plan of study and engaged in clinical teaching, research, or clinical practice under the supervision of or in collaboration with a member of the graduate faculty. These students may be assigned case-loads, group counseling, crisis intervention, outreach programming, personality assessments, maintaining clinical records, or other clinical duties as assigned.

Graduate Office Assistant

The Graduate Office Assistant (GOA) is the title given to graduate assistants when there are no expectations of classroom teaching or grading. This individual may staff an open laboratory, studio, or workshop, where students complete assignments or work on projects; provide non-graded, individual instruction or tutoring; or help faculty prepare and manage classroom materials. The office assistant may also perform academic duties such as assisting in non-central roles of faculty research.  An office assistant may also be assigned to a wide variety of other responsibilities that are not related to instructional or research processes but support the mission of the University. Graduate students who have appointments in non-academic units are always classified as office assistants.

The Graduate School reserves the right to withdraw an assistantship appointment at any time because of failure to meet basic eligibility requirements, including maintaining adequate academic performance (3.0 GPA) and satisfactory progress toward degree, or for violation of University policies. Units may also withdraw an assistantship based on failure to follow guidelines or for substandard performance in assistantship duties.

Graduate Assistant Training

Hundreds of graduate students serve as teaching or lab assistants or graders each semester, supporting the mission of excellent undergraduate education at UNCG. To ensure high-quality experiences for undergraduates as well as our new teaching associates and instructional assistants, the Graduate School requires each student appointed as grader, lab assistant, instructional assistant, clinical assistant, or graduate instructor of record to attend Graduate Assistantship Training. This comprises a series of online tutorials to be completed over the summer and a full-day workshop on the Monday the semester opens. These are appointments as GTA, GIA, and GCA. If a GRA is working with undergraduate students in any capacity, they are required to take the online training.

The Graduate School’s program covers pedagogy, University Policies, (e.g., FERPA, Title IX, access and equity, etc.), mentoring students from diverse backgrounds, knowledge of human development appropriate to instructing undergraduate students, assessment, and other areas the faculty deem important. Waivers requesting a student be exempt from or delay training may be considered in unusual circumstances. Approval of the Unit Dean (or designee) and Graduate School Dean is required.

Training for newly assigned GTAs and GIAs occurs on the Monday before classes begin each fall. Programs may require additional teaching assistant training that is more specific to the discipline. The Graduate School maintains an active roster of all students who have successfully completed Assistantship Training.

Credentialing Process for Graduate Teaching Associates

SACSCOC requires that Instructors of Record be credentialed by the course. The GPD must file the initial credentialing form no later than the start of the semester before a Graduate Teaching Associate may be added to the schedule of courses. Any time a Graduate Teaching Associate receives a new course assignment, the GPD must credential that student for the new assignment. Departments are expected to maintain accurate records documenting the SACSCOC mandated faculty supervision and observations. Graduate Instructional Assistants do not need to be credentialed, but they must attend mandatory TA training. To credential a Graduate Teaching Associate, click http://go.uncg.edu/gta-credentialing.

Appointment Process

All appointments for assistantships must be processed at least annually through the Graduate School. Selection of assistantship recipients, notification of the appointment, duration, and the stipend amount are the responsibilities of the department or unit making the offer. The appointing unit must use the approved graduate assistantship hiring proposal in Spartan Talent. The hiring proposal must include a clear description of the expectations of the assistantship, the anticipated beginning and ending dates (not more than 12 months per appointment letter), stipend amount, average hours of service per week, the work schedule (where appropriate), and the conditions for reappointment, if any.

In addition, the graduate assistant must be apprised of the financial penalties related to academic fees that may be incurred if the assistantship starts after the beginning of the semester or is terminated before the end of the semester or session. Units making the appointment may include an attachment to the standard hiring proposal where it is necessary to specify duties and other requirements and terms of the appointment but may not alter the language of the standard hiring proposal.

Where students are to be continued (reappointed) for the next fiscal/academic year, each contract should be revised to reflect expectations for the coming year starting each July 1 (or in the case of appointments of less than 12 months, the start of the contract).

Specifying duties

Work assignments for students should be clear and specific and should reflect a relationship to the student’s academic program. Duties to be accomplished by any graduate assistant must be agreed upon in writing by the student and the faculty advisor (or supervisor).

At no time may a graduate assistant receive academic credit for the work assigned for the assistantship. Supervisors should make a clear distinction between the work to be performed for the assistantship and the work being performed toward completing the degree. For example, it would be unusual for time spent completing class assignments to be part of the duties of an assistantship. Hours spent on thesis or dissertation research would not routinely be considered part of assistantship duties unless the research and the assistantship are part of an externally funded research project and that research directly supports the work of the project.

Where duties require students to work outside the hours typically expected according to the appropriate University calendar (e.g., nights, weekends, holidays), the appointment letter should specifically describe these expectations.

Maximum work hours

A typical graduate assistantship will require an average of 15–20 hours of service per week and this must be clearly described in the appointment letter. Projected hours per week should be in line with the stipend.

To remain in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Graduate School recommends that students should not normally conduct service work (research or teaching assistantships) more than 20 hours per week. This recommendation enables them to work on their own studies and research for at least the remaining 20-hours per work week. Requests for hours above 20 require approval from the Dean of the Graduate School. In no case will students be permitted to conduct service work on campus for pay more than 29 hours per week.

Graduate Program Directors in each graduate program are best informed to make these service assignments on an individual basis and should be responsible for monitoring that service expectations do not impede any student’s significant progress toward their degree.

A student may have multiple graduate assistantships or hourly appointments by the University; however, it is the responsibility of the secondary employer to receive permission of the primary employer and the Graduate School prior to assignment of any additional work, and to ensure that the maximum work load of 29 hours per week (20 hours per week for F-1 visa holders) is not exceeded.

Graduate assistants are not permitted to accept off-campus employment without permission from the Graduate Program Director and Dean of the Graduate School.

Graduate Assistants requesting to work more than 20 hours per week must fill-out the Exemption to 20-hours Requirement form.

Work calendar, University holidays, and leave

Graduate assistants are expected to develop a plan with the department of employment in which they will meet the service obligation to which they have agreed.  As with all professional employees, graduate students are expected to communicate with their employer in a timely manner if absences occur or if they are unable to fulfill their responsibilities.

Graduate assistants will be expected to work their average hours during the typical nine-month Academic Calendar, including during the exam period. Graduate assistants holding nine-month appointments are entitled to the official University holidays and/or breaks accorded nine-month faculty. Graduate assistants with 12-month appointments are entitled to the official University holidays accorded to 12-month administrative staff.

Graduate assistants are not required to work during the following circumstances:

  • Fall Break, Spring Break and the holiday break between fall and spring semesters
  • State holidays such as Thanksgiving (Thursday and Friday), Memorial Day, 4th of July, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, etc.
  • When the university is officially closed for emergencies

Any expected deviation from the typical calendar must be specified in the offer (e.g., being present to feed lab animals during holidays, working on weekends or at night, etc.) Graduate assistants do not accrue leave. They are expected to work typical hours per week according to the calendar specified by their program.

Leave without pay

Graduate assistants may request up to four weeks of leave without pay per semester and one week of leave without pay per summer session for illness of a close family member, death in the immediate family, or personal illness or hardship. If leave without pay is not approved by the supervisor of the graduate assistantship, the graduate assistant may petition the Dean of the Graduate School for approval.

Parental leave

A graduate assistant is eligible for up to six weeks of parental leave. The request for parental leave must be made to the department at least one month in advance, with notification provided by the department chair to the Dean of the Graduate School. The Graduate School encourages the department and student to work together to enable the student to maintain enrollment and employment status during this time. The Graduate School can help explore options on an individual basis.

Stipends

At no time may a graduate assistant be paid less than the North Carolina Minimum Wage. The Graduate School does not currently regulate or cap assistantships as long as they exceed the minimum threshold. We expect that stipends should be commensurate with market, experience, and skills, and should be equitable with other stipends within the department that involve similar responsibilities.

Payroll, I-9, and First Day of Work

Graduate assistantships typically start at the opening of the semester, usually a week before classes begin. However, there may be good reasons why an assistantship should start before the semester begins, such as to provide preparation time for teaching a class, to provide training, to accommodate the timeline of a research project, to address administrative tasks that need to be completed prior to the start of the semester, etc. Appointments for new fall semester assistantships may therefore start as early as July 1. Regardless of start date, a student may neither begin a work assignment, nor be added to payroll unless an I-9 is on file.

Continuing graduate students enrolled and employed in the spring, who plan to continue their education in the fall, can remain in a student worker status during the summer, employed as either a graduate assistant or graduate hourly.

Important Note: The start of the fall semester (August Payroll) is the busiest time of the year to process payroll. Students assigned a start date and the student produces the mandatory I-9 prior to August 5 of any given year, that graduate assistant will not receive a paycheck until the end of September.

A new incoming graduate student may be hired as a temporary employee student prior to July 1. On July 1, that student will convert to Graduate Assistant status.

Fees as a graduate assistant

A student on an assistantship must pay fees for graduate students as listed on the Cashier’s Webpage.

Student Responsibilities to Maintain a Graduate Assistantship

Minimum enrollment

To hold a graduate assistantship, a student must maintain full-time status. (Faculty advisors may request an exception to this policy by clicking here.) Students on assistantship are not required to enroll in summer courses.

  • Undergraduate courses required by the program of study will not be considered to satisfy this requirement.
  • The Graduate School reserves the right to disallow a student who is not enrolled full-time to receive an assistantship.
  • Summer school is not supported by state appropriations; therefore, no tuition support is available for summer enrollment, nor are students expected to enroll.

Performance and good standing

To remain eligible to continue receiving assistantship support, students must be in compliance with all policies contained in the Graduate School Policies & Procedures section of the Catalog and policies from the department/program awarding the assistantship.

  • Students must maintain minimum enrollment levels, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, make satisfactory progress toward the degree, perform at a high level in the assistantship duties, and follow all other expectations of conduct appropriate to a graduate student.
  • Failure to comply with these expectations can result in loss of support and other sanctions outlined in the Catalog. Conduct, ethical, and integrity violations can lead to immediate termination of the assistantship as well as other sanctions outlined in the Catalog.

Health Insurance Contribution

As determined by the UNC Board of Governors, all students enrolled at UNCG are required to have verifiable health insurance coverage.  Students who have private health insurance should visit Student Blue for information on opting out of the UNCG Plan. Graduate Assistants who receive the minimum stipends listed below AND are receiving full tuition support are eligible for a Graduate School contribution towards their premium if they have elected NC Student Blue.

  • The amount available fluctuates each year.
  • Minerva Scholars are automatically eligible for a minimum 75% contribution towards their premium. The remaining funds are then applied equally to all eligible Graduate Assistants.

Minimum Stipend Levels to Trigger Health Insurance Support

  • $6,000 per year for Master’s students
  • $8,000 per year for MFA students
  • $9,700 per year for Doctoral students

Renewal of Assistantships

Although programs try to support graduate students through the average length of program, graduate assistants have no right to continuing support beyond the term of a current appointment. Renewal of an assistantship can only occur where funds are available, and where performance during the prior appointment has been reviewed and found to be acceptable.

When graduate assistants are not performing within acceptable standards, we encourage supervisors to communicate feedback to students in writing early and often during the appointment.

Because graduate students often rely upon support from assistantships, it is ideal to communicate intent to renew or to not renew an assistantship as early as is practical.

International Student Employment

International graduate students are required to hold proper immigration status before any assistantship can be paid or attending benefits ensue. Special employment regulations for international students are governed by the Code of Federal Regulations and the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To ensure compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations, detailed information about international student employment and procedures for applying are available in the International Programs Center.

Speaking Proficiency for International Graduate Teaching Associates

UNCG complies with North Carolina System requirements to assure that all instructional activities are conducted by individuals possessing appropriate proficiency in written and oral use of the English language. Instructional activities include lectures, recitation or discussion sessions, and laboratories. The individuals to be certified include graduate students for whom English is not the first language. (See English Proficiency under International Applicants in Section I.)

Social Security Card for International Students

Every student with an F student visa or M student visa who is granted employment authorization by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), needs a Social Security Number. For information on how to apply for a Social Security Number, click here. International Students shall not begin work until they have obtained a Social Security Number and produced this for I-9 verification. Please visit the International Program Center for more information.

New international graduate assistants assigned as an instructor of record may not be eligible to work at the start of the semester. The student should notify their supervisor if there is need to cover instructional duties for a short period of time.

Hourly Off-Campus Employment for International Students

Permission for off-campus employment must first be requested through the International Programs Center. Off-campus employment generally is unavailable to international students during the first academic year and should not be considered as a means of financial support.

Students with F-1 visas may apply to the USCIS for limited off-campus work authorization after their first year of study.

Fellowships

Fellowships are monetary awards that require no service or work from the student. Fellowships may be institutionally awarded (through the Graduate School or through one of UNCG’s graduate programs) or they may be externally awarded and brought to UNCG. Fellowships are awarded by government agencies (federal, state, local), private foundations, industries, professional groups, and others. The Graduate School maintains a list of available fellowships on its website that includes information on many prominent external fellowships.

Students do not apply for UNCG Graduate School Fellowships; they are nominated for consideration by faculty. Typically, fellowships are awarded on merit and some require demonstrated financial need.

Unless otherwise stipulated by the grantor and/or donor, holders of fellowships or traineeships are required to maintain full-time status.

Fellowship recipients are eligible for appointment as graduate assistants. For students simultaneously holding fellowships or traineeships and assistantships, the normal department stipend should be provided. The non-service fellowship is in addition to the stipend.

Most UNCG Graduate School Fellowships are for one year only. Departments may request that the total amount of the fellowship be paid out over a specified number of years. Fellowships may be withdrawn at any time for failure to maintain satisfactory academic status or for violating University policies.

Please see the Graduate School Webpage on Fellowships.

Minerva Scholars

This is the highest recognition doctoral and MFA students can receive at UNC Greensboro. Minerva Scholars are chosen by the department; there is no application process. The co-curricular program available to Minerva Scholars provides a unique opportunity for students to be involved in their own professional development while building a sense of community among diverse disciplines.

Minerva Scholars can explore and gain a better understanding of the inner workings of an institution of higher education. As part of the professional development aspect of the program, Minerva Scholars further learn and develop a variety of project management skills, advanced critical thinking, and research and writing skills. A variety of cultural opportunities are also be provided for Minerva Scholars.

Minerva Scholars are guaranteed 75% of health insurance coverage provided they select the UNCG graduate student health insurance plan. Minerva Scholars have priority for additional health insurance support if funds become available. Only Minerva Scholars are eligible to apply for a Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Although most Graduate School Fellowships are for one year only, students will retain the Minerva designation throughout their time at UNCG.

Tax liability

Tax laws change every year and in unpredictable ways, at both the federal and state/local level. Students receiving any financial aid, including assistantships and fellowships, fee waivers, and other support, should consult a qualified tax liability tax advisor. The Internal Revenue Service offers guidelines for tax responsibility for fellowship and other stipend awards under the topics “Scholarships, Fellowship Grants, Grants, and Tuition Reductions” (for U.S. citizen students) and under the topic “Taxation of Non-resident Aliens” (for non-U.S. citizen students). The Graduate School is not authorized to provide tax advice.

Tuition Support

Requests for tuition remission and in-state tuition awards are initiated by the academic program in which the student is enrolled. Tuition remission and in-state tuition awards are available fall and spring semesters only. No summer awards are made.

Units making GA appointments may, at their discretion, recommend partial tuition support in proportion to the hours worked (e.g., a 10-hour assistantship may be assigned a 50% tuition award; a 15-hour assistantship may be assigned a 75% award, etc.). This must be communicated as part of the hiring proposal and contained in the appointment letter signed by the student.

Out-of-State Students

Out-of-State students must be awarded a fellowship or assistantship appointment of at least $2,000 to be eligible for a Tuition Remission Award, which reduces tuition to in-state rates. If awarded, the out-of-state tuition differential will be paid on the student’s behalf for the first year of an assistantship. Students are expected to make a good faith effort to obtain NC residency by the end of the first year. International students on an F1 Visa are exempt from this expectation.

Out-of-State students who are awarded a Tuition Remission Award may also be eligible for an In-State Tuition Award. The combination of these two awards covers all tuition, but students remain responsible for University fees.

Out-of-State students may not be awarded an In-State Tuition Award unless they have already been awarded a Tuition Remission Award.

In-State students

In-State students are not required to hold an assistantship or fellowship appointment to be eligible for an In-State Tuition Award. The amount awarded may range from covering the cost of 1 credit hour through full-time. The amount indicated on the hiring proposal is placed on the students account. If a student registers for more credits than the award covers, the student will be billed for the difference. These are non-service awards.

Additional financial policies and procedures can be found on our Financial Information website.

Eligibility

Students must meet the following criteria to qualify for tuition remission and/or in-state tuition awards:

  1.  Students must be degree-seeking and full-time. Certificate students are ineligible.
  2.  Out-of-State Students enrolled in doctoral, doctoral track, or stand-alone master’s programs must receive at least the state-mandated minimum stipend of $2,000.
  3. Students must maintain academic good standing, 3.0 GPA or above.

Important note: Students determined at any point in the semester to no longer meet the eligibility requirements to receive a tuition remission and/or in-state tuition award will have the full amount of any tuition remission and/or in-state tuition award rescinded and are then personally responsible for paying the full cost of tuition for that semester.

Duration of Graduate School Support

  • Stand-alone master’s program students should not expect tuition remission and/or in-state tuition awards beyond four semesters.
  • MFA students should not expect tuition support beyond the expected number of semesters to completion. Some programs are four semesters, others six semesters.
  • Doctoral students (or students in doctoral track sequence programs) should not expect tuition remission and/or in-state tuition awards beyond ten semesters. (Departments with students who complete a stand-alone master’s program and are subsequently admitted to a doctoral program may petition the Graduate School for additional semesters of support.)

Individual programs are permitted to grant additional semesters of tuition support provided Graduate School funding sources are not used. Semesters in which the student does not receive a tuition award from the Graduate School do not count toward the semester limits.

Students who are enrolled in an academic program, do not complete the degree, and later enroll in a different program are only eligible for the maximum semesters of eligibility as noted above during their enrollment at the University.

Financial Consequences of Academic Actions

Termination of Assistantships

Termination of an assistantship is different than non-renewal. Non-renewal of an assistantship refers to a situation in which a student completes an appointment and is not offered another. Termination of an assistantship refers to a situation where an assistantship is ended prior to the end of the appointment. Termination may be initiated by the Department, the Graduate School, or the student. Termination of an assistantship can have significant and permanent consequences for a student and should only be undertaken after clear feedback on deficiencies and attempts to assist the student in meeting expectations.

Financial Liability From Loss of Assistantship

Stipend payments will cease immediately upon termination of an assistantship, regardless of the reason for termination. Any pay received erroneously more than the contracted amount or after termination of the assistantship must be returned to UNC Greensboro.

Students who have received a tuition remission and/or in-state tuition award who resign or are terminated from their University assistantship prior to the end of the semester (for personal, financial, medical, or any other reason) will have the full amount of their tuition remission and/or in-state tuition award rescinded and are then personally responsible for paying the full costs of tuition for that semester. Tuition remission and/or in-state tuition awards are not prorated.

Appeals to the above policy must be directed to the Graduate School, along with a written recommendation from the Dean, Department Head, or Graduate Program Director for the student’s academic program, and a letter of confirmation from Student Health Services if the resignation is for medical reasons.

For international students who are required to have an assistantship to maintain immigration status or students required to maintain an assistantship for other reasons, loss of an assistantship may change the ability to continue studies at UNCG. Loss of an assistantship may also change eligibility for certain forms of financial aid. It is the student’s responsibility to understand these implications and work with appropriate offices where necessary.

Termination by Student

Graduate students who decide to terminate their assistantship appointments should consult with the assistantship supervisors as soon as possible — and if possible, at least two weeks prior to termination — to ensure a smooth transition in hiring a replacement graduate assistant. The notice of termination, prepared by the student, should be both verbal and written. Withdrawing from the University (that is, withdrawing from all classes) will result in the termination of an assistantship. International students should consult with appropriate offices relating to immigration/visa status if considering this option.

Termination for Academic Deficiency

An assistantship may be terminated for academic deficiency if a student drops below the minimum credit hour requirement or  fails to meet other academic requirements as described under Academic Good Standing under Eligibility to Remain in Graduate School in Section I. Any student placed on probation will be terminated from their assistantship by the Graduate School. Students may lose their assistantship without being dismissed from the University.

Termination for Failure to Perform Duties

If, in the opinion of the immediate supervisor of the graduate assistant, a student is not carrying out the duties of their assistantship satisfactorily, the supervisor will immediately provide feedback to the student and attempt to resolve the problem. All conversations and feedback will be documented and placed in the student’s written record with a copy provided to the student. If the student’s performance remains unsatisfactory, the student will receive a written warning from the department chair (or designee) delivered through official UNCG email detailing the nature of the problem.

If, after this formal warning, the student fails to improve to reasonable standards, the department chair will give the student a written notice of termination of assistantship. This letter of termination will be sent to the student through official UNCG email and will specify the date of termination and any requirements for vacating the position. At least two weeks should elapse between the written warning and the notice of termination. The Dean of the Graduate School will be notified of the termination.

Termination for Cause

An assistantship may be terminated without notice for serious violations of UNCG’s community norms and values, including violations of the Academic Integrity Policy. Allegations regarding violations of this nature should be referred to the appropriate disciplinary body. If a student is unable to perform their duties resulting from violations such as these, their assistantship shall be suspended pending completion of due process. A student suspended from their assistantship but found not to not be guilty of the alleged violations shall be reinstated in good standing and reimbursed for lost assistantship revenue.

Termination Due to Loss of External Funding or Financial Exigency

A sudden or unexpected loss of funding from either an external funding source or (in very rare cases) a dramatic change to the University budget environment may result in the termination of an assistantship. While the University works diligently to reduce the probability of this outcome, it is possible that unexpected developments could require this step. Unexpected loss of external funding cannot be used to justify termination of assistantships not directly funded by that project.

Should the University receive notification that research funding will be discontinued, the affected graduate students will be notified with as much advance notice as possible. Departments shall make every effort to secure funding to enable affected students to continue throughout the current semester.

Adding a Course

Students who have received a tuition remission and/or in-state tuition award that is less than nine (9) credit hours and registers for more than the amount awarded may contact their Graduate Program Director to see if funds are available to cover the additional costs. If funds are not available, the student will be billed and is responsible for paying for the additional credits.

Dropping a Course

Students who have received a fellowship, tuition remission, and/or in-state tuition award who drop a course at any point in the semester will be re-evaluated to ensure that they still meet the eligibility requirements to receive financial support.

Students who meet the eligibility requirements and for whom the reduction in credit hours occurs before the census date (generally two weeks after classes begin) may have their financial account adjusted with no penalty.  Please consult the Graduate School about the consequences of dropping a course after the census date.

Withdrawal

Withdrawal from the University constitutes an immediate termination of support. (See Termination by Student above.)

Hourly on-campus Employment

Nonacademic employment opportunities are available on-campus on a first-come, first-considered basis. Once all appropriate requirements are met, applications may be made directly to the hiring source.

Protections

Graduate students at UNCG are future colleagues and should be treated with respect befitting that status. Students are entitled to a workplace free from harassment and/or discrimination. If students feel they have been subject to a hostile work environment, harassment, discrimination, abuse, or have any other concern about working and academic conditions, they should contact the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion,  Office of Human Resources, or the Dean of the Graduate School.

It is considered misconduct for individuals to enter into a romantic or sexual relationship with any student for whom they currently serve in an evaluative, directing or supervisory role, or in circumstances where the student is part of a group of students whom they oversee, regardless of whether the relationship is consensual.

UNCG Policy on Discrimination and Harassment

UNCG is committed to equal opportunity in education and employment for all persons and will not tolerate any discrimination against or harassment of persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, genetic information, veteran status, disabling condition, or age.

Section III: Summary of Graduate School Regulations for All Certificates and Degrees

In This Section:

Graduate Certificates

A graduate certificate provides a credential to document the acquisition of skills and knowledge in a narrowly focused subset of a broader field. Certificates may provide a credential in the focus area with as few as nine (9) and as many as twenty-seven (27) credit hours.  Certificates may be pursued independently, or degree-seeking students may choose to embed a certificate within their plan of study.

Students may be interested in gaining both a graduate degree and a certificate credential. Students must be admitted to both programs. A matriculated, degree-seeking student who is concurrently pursuing a certificate may apply academic credit to both the certificate and degree programs. The certificate functions as an area of specialization, like a minor. Enrolled students do not have to pay the application fee to pursue a concurrent certificate.

All students must apply to and be accepted by Certificate Programs.

Students who have graduated and then later discover they have fulfilled requirements for a certificate may neither apply for that certificate, nor be awarded it.

Graduate certificates do not automatically qualify for federal financial aid unless the certificate has been approved through the gainful employment requirements.

Summary of Requirements for Certificates

  • Full admission to a certificate program.
  • A plan of study submitted to the Graduate School when applying for graduation.
  • Satisfactory completion of all course requirements.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 in all certificate courses and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0.
  • Payment of the graduation fee.

Semester Hours Required for Certificates

In general, certificate programs range between twelve (12) to eighteen (18) semester hours of graduate courses with at least half of this course work at the 600-level or above. No certificate may require fewer than nine (9) hours. A certificate program may petition for a 9-credit program if that number of credits is associated with external demands. No more than three (3) semester hours with a grade of C+ (2.3) or C (2.0) will count towards a certificate.

All courses for a certificate will be letter graded except for internships, practicums, independent projects, or clinical work.

Plan of Study for Certificates

The course work comprising the certificate program must be an integrated and organized sequence of study.

Independent Study for Certificates

Independent Study is not permitted for certificate students.

Transfer Credit for Certificates

Subject to time limits, a maximum of three (3) semester hours of transfer credit will be accepted toward a certificate upon recommendation of the department. (See Transfer Credit under Course Credit in Section I for more information.) 

Master’s Degrees and Specialist in Education Degrees

Summary of Requirements for Master’s and Specialist Degrees

  • Full admission to a master’s degree program.
  • Submission of plan of study to the Graduate School prior to 50% of program completion.
  • Satisfactory completion of all course requirements.
  • Achievement of the required B (3.0) GPA overall: for courses listed on the plan of study, and, if required by the department, for the major.
  • Minimum requirements for the degree: no more than six (6) semester credit hours evaluated as C+ (2.3) and/or C (2.0).
  • Completion of all milestone requirements: as required by degree program (foreign language, comprehensive exams, etc.).
  • Capstone Experience:  at the discretion of individual programs, may include some combination of (a) comprehensive written or oral examination, (b) thesis or research paper, (c) portfolio, (d) creative work, and/or (e) internship experience.
  • An application for graduation and the final Plan of Study: filed with the Graduate School by the end of the first week of classes of the term in which the degree will be granted.
  • Payment of the graduation fee.
  • Payment of all accounts owed the University:  diplomas and transcripts of students owing money to the University withheld until the account is cleared.

All the requirements above must be met by the deadlines stated in the Academic Calendar. Some special programs may have additional requirements not listed above but explained in materials supplied by the major department or school.

Requirements for Master's and Specialist Degrees

Plans of Study for Master’s and Specialist Degrees

The Plan of Study sets the specific requirements for the degree as determined by the advisory committee, consistent with the specific program guidelines and Graduate School policy. These credits constitute the core of each student’s graduate degree curriculum.

The Plan of Study must be signed by the student and Graduate Program Director/designee at the earliest practical time following the student’s admission to the Graduate School, but no later than 50% of the program’s completion. The plan must indicate the following:

  • All courses the student is expected to complete as a minimum requirement, including courses required for the major, supporting courses, number of elective hours, and courses recommended for transfer.
  • Courses required by the department but not counted toward the degree, including prerequisite courses.
  • No more than six (6) semester hours of independent study.
  • No more than six (6) semester hours of credit evaluated as C+ (2.3) and/or C (2.0) applied toward the minimum hours required for the degree.
  • Capstone Experience.

Credit earned for STA 667 Statistical Consulting is not applicable to a graduate plan of study.

Undergraduate courses or courses not required on the POS are not eligible for financial aid or state funding.

Language Requirements

The following degree programs require demonstration of foreign language proficiency: History M.A., English M.A., Music M.M. (voice and conducting), and French/Spanish M.A., M.Ed. and M.A.T. Specific requirements are stated under the respective departmental program description in the University Catalog and further defined in department handbooks. Exceptions to any language requirement are made at the discretion of the major department.

Capstone Requirement

A capstone experience is a complex assignment that involves many steps and serves as a culminating academic and intellectual experience at the end of an academic program. Typically, capstones provide evidence of synthesis and evaluation. The capstone experience may comprise a comprehensive written or oral examination, thesis or research paper, portfolio, creative work, internship, or some combination of these courses. 

Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is required for research involving human subjects. In addition, both the supervising faculty member and the student researcher must have a current CITI certificate on file with the Office of Research and Engagement. For students whose research involves animals, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval is required. Required approval must be obtained prior to initiating any such research with these populations.

Capstones should be completed in the final stages of the master’s degree.

If a failing grade is given on the first attempt to satisfy the capstone requirement, the student may be allowed one additional attempt, with permission of the Graduate Program Director. If the student fails to meet the department’s minimum criteria for the capstone experience on the second attempt, the GPD shall notify the Graduate School will subsequently send the student a letter of dismissal from the program.

Maximum credit allowed for Capstones is six (6) hours. Additional extension hours may be required to maintain continuous enrollment but do not count toward the degree, do not qualify the student for graduate school support, and are ineligible for financial aid.

Specific Requirements for Thesis Students

Students propose and prepare a thesis under the guidance of a thesis committee comprising a chair and at least one other member appointed by the Graduate Program Director. The chair must be a full member of the Graduate Faculty; other committee members may be adjunct members. Although all members of the committee may come from the major department, appointment of one member from another department is allowed.

An oral examination on the thesis may be required at the discretion of the major department or school, either for the individual or all students in a thesis program.

The process for submitting the approved thesis to the Graduate School has two components: 1) Submitting the approval copy and 2) Submitting the final copy. Specific instructions affiliated with each step are available on the Graduate School's website; deadline dates are available in the Academic Calendar.

Students submit their thesis via the online submission system available on the Graduate School’s website. The submission must conform to UNC Greensboro’s formatting requirements and must be uploaded by the deadline dates as specified in the Academic Calendar. The Graduate School requires all approved theses to be published through UMI Dissertation Publishing/ProQuest Information and Learning. There is no charge for basic publishing; however, optional services requested by the candidate during submission may have associated charges.

Examinations

If the capstone for a master’s or specialist program is a written or oral exam, the student register during the semester(s) in which exams are graded. The Graduate School permits examinations to be rescheduled or held via distance technologies in cases of extreme hardship. The department head will ensure that all participants agree with the chosen format.

Transfer Credit and Cross-registration for Master’s and Specialist Degrees

(See Transfer Credit under Course Credit in Section I for more information.)

At the master’s and specialist levels, credit may be given for graduate work taken at other institutions, but certain conditions must be met:

  • It must be approved both by the student’s major department and by the Dean of the Graduate School.
  • It must be necessary to meet specific degree requirements.
  • Transfer credit may not exceed one-third of the minimum number of hours required by the student’s program not including thesis or capstone hours.
  • Cross-registration at other UNC institutions, in combination with transfer credit, may not exceed 50% of the total hours required by the student’s program.
  • All credit offered in transfer must have been taken at an accredited graduate school and not have been used to complete the requirements for a previously-earned degree.
  • Such work must have been taken within the five-year time limit.
  • The student must have earned a grade of B (3.0) or better on all transfer credit. In a four-letter grading system, only credit earned with either of the top two grades is transferable. The transfer of credit where a grade of P or its equivalent is received in a two- or three-letter grading system (such as P-F, S-U, or H-P-F) reduces hour for hour the number of C grades earned that may count toward the minimum requirement for the degree.
  • The credit must be recorded on an official transcript placed on file with the Graduate School.

Hours only, not grades, may be transferred from other institutions. When grades are provided for cross-registered courses, the grade will factor into the GPA. Quarter-hours do not transfer as semester hours. A fraction of an hour of credit will not be transferred. See sample below:

2         quarter hours transfer as 1 semester hour.

3-4     quarter hours transfer as 2 semester hours.

5         quarter hours transfer as 3 semester hours.

6-7     quarter hours transfer as 4 semester hours.

8         quarter hours transfer as 5 semester hours.

9-10   quarter hours transfer as 6 semester hours.

Students must secure approval from their major advisor and the Dean of the Graduate School in advance of registration at other universities. In general, however, not less than two-thirds of the total program for the master’s and specialist degrees must be completed at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

All credit to be transferred must come within the time limit described above and must be supported by filing an official copy of the transcript with the Graduate School. No credit will be transferred unless it is required to meet specific degree requirements.

No more than three (3) semester hours of institute and workshop credit may be counted toward satisfying the minimum requirements for the master’s and specialist degrees.

Master of Fine Arts Degrees

M.F.A. programs are specialized graduate programs that focus on the actual practice of a creative skill. This concentrated professional degree is intended to provide the student with an advanced education prior to becoming a practicing professional. MFA students produce creative work throughout the program; capstone projects are expected to demonstrate a high level of professional competence and maturity.

M.F.A. degrees are typically sixty (60) credit hours. Admission is based on a combination of undergraduate academic history, professional experience, and demonstrated creative skill.

UNCG offers M.F.A. degrees in Creative Writing; Dance with a concentration in choreography; Drama with concentrations in Acting, Directing, Design: and Theatre for Youth; Interior Architecture; and Studio Arts.

M.F.A. Requirements

Plan of Study M.F.A. Degrees

The Plan of Study will determine specific requirements for the degree as determined by the advisory committee, consistent with the specific program guidelines and Graduate School policy. These credits constitute the core of an M.F.A. graduate degree curriculum. The Plan of Study must be signed by the student and Graduate Program Director at the earliest practical time following the student’s admission to the Graduate School, but no later than the registration period during the second semester of enrollment. The plan must indicate the following:

  • All courses the student is expected to complete as a minimum requirement, including courses required for the major, supporting courses, number of elective hours, and courses recommended for transfer.
  • Courses required by the department but not counted toward the degree, including prerequisite courses.
  • No more than six (6) semester hours of independent study.
  • No more than six (6) semester hours of credit evaluated as C+ (2.3) and/or C (2.0) applied toward the minimum hours required for the degree.
  • Capstone Experience.
Capstone Requirement for MFA

Each candidate for the M.F.A. should be required to present a final body of work or culminating performance demonstrating professional competence in the field. A written document or thesis that demonstrates a student’s ability to think critically and contextualize their work historically and/or theoretically and within the landscape of contemporary practices is a requirement of some programs, but the focus of the capstone experience should be creative or visual work.

Unless otherwise specified, M.F.A. students are subject to the academic policies associated with master’s and specialist degrees.

Doctoral Degrees

A doctoral degree is the highest degree a student can earn for graduate study. Course work leading to the doctoral degree is planned to give students a comprehensive knowledge of their field of specialization and a proficiency in the methods of research. The final basis for granting the degree is their grasp of the subject matter across a broad field of study, their competence in planning and conducting research, and the ability to express themselves adequately and professionally both orally and in writing. Only the dissertation committee can certify that they have earned this degree.

UNCG offers two classifications of doctoral degrees. The Ph.D. is classified as doctoral degree of research and scholarship. The D.N.P., D.M.A., and Ed.D. are classified as a doctoral degree of professional practice.

Many doctoral programs require students to have previously earned a master’s degree. Some doctoral programs allow students with a bachelor’s degree to matriculate directly into the doctoral degree program; others are admitted through a doctoral track program.

Master's Doctoral Track Permission to Proceed

A student admitted to the Graduate School into one of the doctoral track programs is required to earn a master’s degree. Upon completion of 30 credit hours, the Graduate Program Director must evaluate each doctoral-track student and submit the Recommendation to Proceed Beyond Master’s Degree Form to the Graduate School for each student who is considered qualified and recommended for doctoral study. Students who are recommended to continue in the doctoral program are not required to file a separate application with the Graduate School. Students recommended to continue are subject to the same examination policies of all doctoral students. Students are coded into Banner as master’s students until the master’s degree is awarded. At that time, students who have been recommended to continue will be moved to doctoral pre-candidate status in Banner.

Doctoral Degrees of Research and Scholarship

These are doctoral degrees that require advanced work beyond the master's level, including the preparation and defense of a dissertation based on original research, or the planning and execution of an original project demonstrating substantial artistic or scholarly achievement. 

Doctor of Philosphy (Ph.D.)

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is conferred upon those students who have completed, with high distinction, a prescribed period of intensive study and investigation culminating in an original dissertation offering a significant new contribution to knowledge in their subject.

A Ph.D. may be earned in Business Administration, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Communication Sciences and Disorders; Community Health Education; Computational Mathematics; Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies; Counseling and Counselor Education; Economics; Educational Research, Measurement and Evaluation; Educational Studies; English; Environmental Health Science; Geography; History; Human Development and Family Studies; Information Systems; Kinesiology; Music Education; Nanoscience; Nursing; Nutrition; Psychology; Social Work, and Special Education.

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)

The Doctor of Musical Arts degree program is a performance-oriented degree offered only in the School of Music. The requirements of the Graduate School apply to the Doctor of Musical Arts; however, due to the highly specialized nature of the degree, the student should consult the Graduate Program Director in the School of Music and the D.M.A. Graduate Handbook for specific requirements and procedures.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

The major premise of the Doctor of Education degree program is that students receive depth in subject matter as well as professional development. Therefore, the program is purposely flexible, allowing the students to develop, with their advisory committee, a course of study best suited to their ability, experience, and major professional goal. It is expected that each student will make a significant research contribution to the discipline culminating in a scholarly dissertation. An Ed.D. may be earned in Educational Leadership or in Kinesiology.

Doctoral Degrees of Professional Practice

These are doctoral degrees that are conferred upon completion of a program providing the knowledge and skills for the recognition, credential, or license required for professional practice or teaching. Dissertations for these doctoral degrees require the planning and execution of an original project demonstrating substantial artistic or scholarly achievement following disciplinary norms.  They often focus on applying existing knowledge and theories in original ways. The dissertation for the D.M.A. comprises live performance with written scholarship.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.)

The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program is an applied degree offered only in the School of Nursing. The requirements of the Graduate School stated below apply to the Doctor of Nursing Practice; however, due to the highly specialized nature of the degree, students should consult the University Catalog for information regarding the specific requirements and procedures for the Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Minor

Certain doctoral programs may permit, encourage, or require a minor, which is a formalized curricular sequence of advanced work in one or more areas outside the major field but cognate to it. Students should ask the chair of their advisory/dissertation committee if a minor is appropriate or required. The minor must consist of at least 12 hours of study. The student’s advisory/dissertation committee approves the minor, and it must appear on the doctoral plan of study.

For information concerning the doctoral minor in educational research and methodology, human development and family studies, information systems, and statistics, see the relevant academic programs.

Concurrent (embedded) Certificates

Students may pursue a graduate certificate concurrently with their doctoral program. Courses taken as part of a certificate program may also satisfy degree requirements. Certificates function similarly to a cognate, which is a minimum of nine (9) hours of course work organized around a narrow subfield. Certificates provide doctoral students with the ability to earn enhanced credentials. Enrolled students do not have to pay the application fee to pursue a concurrent certificate.

Summary of Requirements for all Doctoral Degrees

  • Admission to a doctoral program, including the removal of any deficiencies identified at the time of admission.
  • An initial academic advisor: assigned upon receipt of the intent to enroll form.
  • An approved advisory committee: filed in the Graduate School by the end of eighteen (18) semester hours.
  • An approved plan of study: signed by the GPD and all other committee members and filed in the Graduate School by the end of eighteen (18) semester hours.
  • Completion of all milestone requirements (e.g. language, research, exams).
  • Completion of the immersion requirement.
  • Completion of any required diagnostic qualifying examination.
  • Completion of all course requirements in the student’s approved program of study.
  • Completion of the preliminary written and oral examination and any required additional work resulting from this examination.
  • Formation of an approved dissertation/project committee with an assigned chair/document mentor: filed in the Graduate School before a student may defend the proposal.
  • Acceptance of a dissertation/project proposal: the approved topic filed in the Graduate School.
  • Admission to candidacy upon the satisfaction of the requirements above (formal application to be made in the Graduate School).
  • Submission of a dissertation/document acceptable to the dissertation/project committee.
  • Satisfactory public oral defense of the dissertation.
  • Acceptance of the dissertation by the Graduate School. (Submission requirements differ for each type of doctorate; students should consult their Graduate Program Director.)
  • Application for graduation with the Graduate School: filed by the end of the first week of classes of the term in which the degree will be granted.
  • Payment of the graduation fee.
  • Payment of all accounts owed in the University: diplomas and transcripts of students owing money to the University withheld until the account is cleared.

The requirements above are the minimal requirements of every doctoral program at UNCG and must be met by the deadlines stated in the Academic Calendar. Detailed explanations of these minimum requirements follow. Some programs may have additional requirements not listed above but are explained in detail in the specific doctoral program handbook. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with all program requirements.

Admission to Doctoral Programs

Admission to a doctoral program may occur in one of three ways:

  • Some programs may permit admission to a doctoral-track program directly from an undergraduate program in the case of exceptionally well-qualified applicants. The department will notify students if they are to move seamlessly into doctoral-level course work. The Graduate Program Director must file the Permission to Proceed to Pre-Candidacy Status. The decision to continue (or not) must be made no later than the completion of thirty (30) credit hours. Students in doctoral-track programs who are not allowed to continue may be awarded a master’s degree if the student has completed all requirements of the stand-alone master’s degree.
  • A student who has been awarded a master’s degree from UNCG, but is not in a doctoral-track program, must file an application and be admitted to a doctoral program.
  • A student who has been awarded a master’s degree from another institution must apply and be admitted to a doctoral program. The program will either administer a set of diagnostic exams, or carefully examine syllabi to determine which courses from the master’s degree may apply to the doctoral plan of study.

In addition to satisfactory entrance examination scores and recommendations (explained in the application materials), final approval of the major department or school and of the Dean of the Graduate School are required.

Admission to doctoral programs is highly competitive. At times, academically qualified applicants may be denied due to program capacity constraints.

Admitted students are placed in Pre-Candidate Status. Pre-Candidates acquire knowledge and tools needed to undertake original and independent research. They are exposed to the breadth of content in their discipline and learn the associated research theories and methods to focus intensively on a narrow and original area of research. A student achieves candidacy [all but dissertation (ABD)] upon completion of all pre-candidacy milestones.

Academic Advisor(s) and Committees

The Graduate Program Director is assigned as the initial Academic Advisor and is expected to guide the student in the selection of course work until the academic advisory committee is formed.

Academic Advisory Committee and Chair

The Academic Advisory Committee must be appointed, and the appointment form submitted, no later than the close of the registration window for the second semester of study (prior to the completion of eighteen (18) hours. The Academic Advisory Committee is appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the major department head and must be mutually acceptable to the student and all committee members. This committee may be comprised of only one member of the Graduate Faculty. Any other members of the department who are also members of the Graduate Faculty may serve on an Academic Advisory Committee. The Academic Advisory Committee may mentor the student in all aspects of the program until the Dissertation Committee is formed and approved.

Doctoral Committees

The minimum number of faculty required for all doctoral committees is three, with the majority from the program. The chair must be from the department and a member of the graduate faculty; adjunct members may serve but may not chair. Individual programs handle committee assignments in the manner that best suits progress to degree completion for that discipline. It is not unusual for a student to have an academic advisory committee who guides the student in the pre-candidacy phase and a final dissertation committee with the expertise to guide and mentor the specific topic of dissertation research. 

Faculty serving on committees are expected to approve the Plan of Study; evaluate any diagnostic or qualifying exams; rule on special programmatic decisions and policy applications; prepare, approve, and evaluate the preliminary (written and oral) examination; guide the dissertation; and, serve as the examining board for the oral defense. Depending on department culture, these responsibilities may be extended beyond the student’s committee. However, only the approved Dissertation Committee has the authority to determine if the proposal has been accepted and the dissertation defense has passed.

Dissertation Committee and Chair

The Dissertation Committee, comprising at least three graduate faculty (with a suggested maximum of five), should be finalized prior to the defense of the dissertation proposal. The Chair serves as the primary mentor and in consultation with the committee, guides the student in the preparation of the dissertation proposal, the dissertation itself, and conducts the final oral examination (dissertation defense). Only the Dissertation Committee may accept the dissertation proposal and determine the results of the dissertation defense.

Programs will determine whether a member outside of the discipline is required or not. The Dean of the Graduate School appoints this committee upon the recommendation of the major Department Head or Graduate Program Director and must be mutually acceptable to the student and all committee members. Of the three members, the chair must be from the program department, and at least two must be Members of the Graduate Faculty. An appointment as a Courtesy Member of the Graduate Faculty must be made for any member from outside the University.

Individual doctoral programs may have additional dissertation committee requirements. Students should consult the program handbook for specific details.

The Graduate Program Director coordinates committee appointments and adjustments and is ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with Graduate School policies. (See Policy on Appointment to the Graduate Faculty for further details).

Students and Faculty may wish to consult the document Best Practices in Advising and Mentoring Graduate Students. This document contains the formal policies and procedures that govern these relationships and conveys general expectations for both faculty and students.

Doctoral Requirements

Research Competence

Research and innovation are central to doctoral education. Therefore, competence in research is required of all doctoral students. Whereas the specific requirements will vary from field to field and according to the student’s professional objective, the plan of study must provide for proficiency in techniques of research that not only are appropriate to the field of study but also will help prepare prospective holders of the doctorate to continue their intellectual and professional growth.

Language Requirement for the Ph.D. in English, History and the D.M.A. in Music

Doctoral students in English, History, and Music (voice and conducting) each have foreign language requirements. Students should consult their program handbook for detailed information on how to satisfy this requirement.

The language requirements must be passed prior to the comprehensive examinations and prior to admission to candidacy.

The language or languages used to satisfy a language requirement must be approved by the student’s major advisor. French, German, and Spanish are most frequently used. A student whose native tongue is a language other than English may use English, but not the native language, to satisfy a language requirement. When English is offered, the Department of English or the student’s major department in consultation with the Department of English will administer the examination. A statement certifying the candidate’s proficiency in English must be filed in the Graduate School before the comprehensive examination may be taken.

Doctoral Students and Immersion Within a Community of Scholars

The Graduate School expects all graduate programs to encourage and provide opportunities for immersion of doctoral students in scholarship.  Immersion goals can be achieved by multiple means, including, but not limited to, individual and group research training; providing access to resources such as libraries, research equipment, scholarly materials, and laboratories; providing networking opportunities with UNCG and external scholars and graduate students; participation in scholarly seminars presented by scholars from UNCG or elsewhere; assisting with developing applications for external funding of scholarly endeavors; participation at scholarly conferences; and publications or other forms of scholarly dissemination.

Doctoral students are expected to satisfy an immersion requirement, which provides them the opportunity for an extended period of intensive study and intellectual and professional development among a community of scholars.

Immersion “allows students to concentrate focused time on their degree, acquire the necessary habits, attitudes, skills, and insights” (CGS, 2005) required for contributions to scholarship and have opportunities to work closely with other scholars, including faculty and other graduate students. These scholarly skills, attitudes, and experiences go beyond acquiring knowledge in classes and in experience in professional practice.

The Immersion Requirement for doctoral degree programs (Ph.D., Ed.D., D.M.A., D.N.P.) can be accomplished through one of two mechanisms:

  1. Two consecutive semesters of six-credit-hour enrollment on campus. Programs will be expected to provide opportunities during those two semesters to cultivate immersion in scholarship and achieve the goals of residency. Students completing residency via full-time enrollment should understand residency goals and plan not only to complete required courses, but also to sustain scholarly engagement and immersion in research, scholarship and professional development.
  2. Program-specific alternative immersion plan. Academic degree programs may propose alternative methods by which enrolled students in the program will achieve immersion goals to be approved by the Graduate School. The approved plans will be documented in the Catalog as well as on the program’s Plan of Study template. Program-specific alternatives may be proposed for doctoral degree programs offered online or for site-based programs.

Courses taken by UNCG degree students via interinstitutional registration earn immersion credit as if they were courses on UNCG’s campus.

Credit Requirement's for Doctoral Degrees

The minimum credits required for direct-entry doctoral programs are forty-five (45) hours inclusive of dissertation hours. Doctoral programs that award a master’s degree as part of the doctoral program must comprise a minimum of sixty (60) total hours, with thirty (30) earned post-master’s. Students entering a program with an earned master’s in a related field must complete at least are thirty (30) course hours before enrolling in dissertation hours and an additional twelve (12) credits minimum must be dissertation hours. 

A minimum of eighteen (18) credit hours of didactic course work and a minimum of twelve (12) hours of dissertation research are required for any doctoral degree.

Transfer Credit for Doctoral Degrees

In some instances, work done in other institutions may be counted toward the degree, particularly work culminating in a master’s degree from an institution accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), or the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and representing an appropriate area of study. If the student proposes the transfer of credit from another graduate school, the work for which credit was received must be covered by the preliminary examination, and the transfer must be recommended by the student’s advisory/dissertation committee before the Graduate School will credit the work to the student’s doctoral program.

A maximum of one-third of non-dissertation course credit hours may be transferred to a doctoral program.

The following conditions apply to transfer credit for doctoral program:

  • All credit offered in transfer must have been taken at an accredited graduate school.
  • Such work must have been taken within the time limit described above.
  • The student must have earned a grade of B (3.0) or better on all transfer credit. In a four-letter grading system, only credit earned with either of the top two grades is transferable.
  • The credit must be recorded on an official transcript placed on file with the Graduate School.
  • The credit must be approved by both the student’s doctoral advisory/dissertation committee and the Dean of the Graduate School.
  • The credit must be necessary to meet specific degree requirements.

Hours only, not grades, may be transferred from other institutions. Quarter-hours do not transfer as semester hours. A fraction of an hour of credit will not be transferred. See sample below:

2           quarter hours transfer as 1 semester hour.

3-4       quarter hours transfer as 2 semester hours.

5           quarter hours transfer as 3 semester hours.

6-7       quarter hours transfer as 4 semester hours.

8           quarter hours transfer as 5 semester hours.

9-10      quarter hours transfer as 6 semester hours.

Students must secure approval from their doctoral committee and the Dean of the Graduate School in advance of registration at other universities.

To ensure that the courses fall within the time limit permitted, the transfer credit will be accepted finally and posted to the transcript only at the time of completion of the degree requirements.

(See Transfer Credit under Course Credit in Section I for more information.)

Milestones for Doctoral Programs

Doctoral education comprises a set number of credit hours earned through graded courses as listed in the course requirements above, an original dissertation, and a series of scholarly requirements and exams that are referred to as milestones.

To support the philosophy and practice of the Graduate School to respect disciplinary norms and expertise, the Graduate School does not concern itself with the process by which milestones are accomplished. Your program is expected to adhere to the overarching purpose of each milestone. Information on how these milestones are accomplished must be clearly documented in each Doctoral Program Handbook, which is the authoritative source for the procedures for satisfying milestones. All students shall be subject to these processes. Failure to do so may be grounds for a student grievance.

Diagnostic Exams (optional)

The Graduate School does not require programs to administer diagnostic examinations. However, some programs require that new students take a diagnostic exam given and evaluated before the close of the drop/add period. Diagnostic exams serve to identify deficiencies requiring pre-requisite course work, acceptability of any transfer credit, and/or inform the Plan of Study.

Plan of Study and Permission to Continue in a Doctoral Program

A Plan of Study for the doctoral degree must be filed with the Graduate School no later than the close of the registration window for the third semester of study for approval by the Dean of the Graduate School. This is generally before the completion of eighteen (18) credit hours. The Plan of Study requires the signature of the Graduate Program Director and all other members of the academic or dissertation advisory committee. The Dean of the Graduate School reserves the right to refer any or all plans of study to the Graduate Council for review and recommendation.

Filing the plan of study by the end of the first year signifies permission to continue in the Graduate School. Students who fail to file the Plan of Study upon completion of eighteen (18) hours will have a registration hold placed on their account. This hold will remain until an approved Plan of Study is filed with the Graduate School.

Copies of the approved Plan of Study must be filed in the student’s permanent academic record in the Graduate School, in the department’s files, with the chair and each member of the advisory/dissertation committee, and with the student. Any subsequent changes in the Plan of Study must be submitted to the Graduate School for approval.

The Plan of Study must indicate the following:

  • Major and minor fields of study.
  • All prerequisite or leveling course work.
  • Specific courses the student is expected to complete as a minimum requirement with at least eighteen (18) hours of didactic course work and a minimum of twelve (12) hours of dissertation. (If the topic for a Seminar or Topics Course is not yet determined, the GPD may indicate just the Course Number or other such placeholder.)
  • All specific course requirements, language, and research requirements of the major department.
  • No more than one quarter of the course work credited to the degree, exclusive of the dissertation, at the 500 level.
  • No more than 15 semester hours of independent study. (See additional requirements above to pursue Independent Study.)

The following constraints apply:

  • No credit evaluated lower than a B (3.0) may be applied toward satisfying a degree requirement.
  • Additional hours must be taken for any hours earned with a grade of B- (2.7) or less.
  • Credit earned for STA 667 Statistical Consulting is not applicable to a graduate plan of study.

Qualifying Examination (optional)

The Graduate School does not require programs to administer qualifying examinations, which are typically taken at the end of the first year. In such cases, qualifying examinations are intended to provide an early, general assessment of a student’s proficiency in content and/or conceptual understanding of the research process. They may also serve to inform the Plan of Study. If a student is recommended for withdrawal, the Graduate School must be notified.

Milestones Examinations Required for All Doctoral Programs

A committee of at least three members of the graduate faculty must participate in the preparation and holding of all milestone examinations. Although other members of the program may provide input, it is the sole decision of the established committee to determine the result of a milestone exam. A unanimous decision is required to pass.

A student who fails any milestone examination is terminated from graduate work at UNCG unless the committee unanimously requests a re-examination. Only a single re-examination will be allowed; it can encompass written, oral, or both components as determined by the advisory committee. If the GPD or the Graduate School denies the request, the student’s program is terminated, and the Graduate School will send the student a letter of dismissal from the program. In all cases, a student will be dismissed from the Graduate School if any required or option milestone exam is failed a second time.

The Graduate School must be notified in a timely manner upon completion of all milestones.  

Comprehensive Examination

The written and the oral comprehensive examinations together constitute a comprehensive examination of the student's command of the field. This is the exam of breadth. The definition of “comprehensive” varies by academic program, but here means an examination whose thoroughness in all ways conforms to the best accepted practices within the discipline. The form of the comprehensive examination in any degree program is described in that graduate program handbook and all students shall be subject to the written policy and procedures.

The overarching purposes of the comprehensive exam are to:

  • evaluate the student’s overall proficiency in a body of knowledge and skills after most of the program of study is completed;
  • test the candidate's knowledge of all transferred courses;
  • discover any weaknesses in the candidate's knowledge that need to be remedied by additional courses or other instruction; and
  • determine the candidate's fitness to continue work toward the doctorate.

Each doctoral student is required to pass the doctoral comprehensive examination. A student may attempt the comprehensive examination only on the recommendation of the advisory committee and only after a student has satisfactorily completed all prerequisite course work, removed identified deficiencies, satisfied language requirements, and completed most of the course work contained in the program of study. Individual departments may have additional requirements. The exam should be taken one or two semesters before the semester of anticipated candidacy to allow the committee to make changes to the Plan of Study if necessary.

The written part is scheduled and prepared based on what is indicated in the program handbook. The questions may cover any aspect of the course work taken by the student during the period of this graduate study or any subject logically related and basic to an understanding of the subject matter of the major and minor areas of study. Any transferred course work is subject to examination at the time of the preliminary examination. The questions are designed to measure the student’s proficiency in their field and the adequacy of preparation for research. The result of the written exam must be filed with the Graduate School before the oral portion may be held.

The written exam may result in one of three determinations:

  • Pass
  • Conditional (Put conditions in writing and be clear on a due date)
  • Fail

Any requirement for re-writes of any portion (or all) of the exam constitutes a Conditional result. Conditional grades must be reported to the Graduate School indicating the conditions and due date. If the committee so determines, any identified weaknesses may be addressed during the oral portion of the exam, which constitutes a Pass. In the case of a Non-Pass, the student must petition the committee for permission to retake the exam. If granted, the student must wait until the following semester to ensure enough preparation time.

The oral portion of the preliminary examination should be scheduled within one month following the passing of the written examination. The purpose of the oral examination is to explore in greater depth questions on the written exam and to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the field of specialization and related areas. Many programs also require students to present and/or defend the dissertation proposal as part of the oral preliminary exam. In such cases, the dissertation committee must be formally appointed and in attendance for the oral portion of the preliminary exam.

The oral exam may result in one of three determinations:

  • Pass
  • Conditional (Put conditions in writing and be clear on a due date)
  • Fail

Any requirement for re-examination constitutes a Conditional result. Conditional grades must be reported to the Graduate School indicating the conditions and due date. In the case of a Non-Pass, the student must petition the committee for permission to retake the oral exam. If granted, the student must wait until the following semester to ensure enough preparation time.

Any student who fails either portion of the comprehensive examination twice or whose petition for a re-examination is denied will be dismissed from the program.

Dissertation Proposal Approval (required)

The Graduate School encourages and supports the wide range of dissertation topics and methodologies generated in the programs. The dissertation proposal represents a formal understanding between the Dissertation Committee and the doctoral student. The proposal approval along with the final oral defense of the dissertation constitute the exam of depth. This agreement outlines the work to be done and the intellectual rigor the Committee expects from the student. The proposal functions as a map, guiding the student towards the effective completion of the dissertation project.

The dissertation proposal should substantially advance the doctoral candidate toward completion of the dissertation.  In many cases, it takes the form of the preliminary chapters of the dissertation. The proposal should contain detail enough to describe the significance, background, and rationale for the dissertation and the work the Candidate will perform for the dissertation. Proposal approval is initiated often as part of the oral portion of the preliminary exam. Some programs expect a proposal defense that is a scheduled and announced public event.  However, the deliberations of the Dissertation Committee shall be private. Program handbook must have clear processes as to how proposals are accepted.

Multiple Authored Dissertations

In situations where dissertations have multiple authors, it is the responsibility of the advisory/dissertation committee chair to identify the percentage of proposed work to be developed by each of the contributors and submit it to the Graduate School for approval. To be submitted as part of a student’s dissertation, the student must be primary author. This must be done at the proposal stage and again at the final defense if the original plan has been revised. (See Dissertations with Multiple Authors form.)

Admission to Candidacy

In general, students should advance to candidacy no later than three calendar years after the first enrollment in a UNCG doctoral program, a doctoral track student may often take four years. A student who does not achieve candidacy within three years and is not making satisfactory progress may be recommended for academic probation or dismissal.

Students must apply for candidacy by the deadline specified in the academic calendar during the semester they expect to complete all requirements for candidacy. The Graduate Program Director must submit the Admission to Candidacy form and a final plan of study to move a student to candidacy status. This will certify that the requirements for candidacy will have been met by the end of a given semester. As soon as grades are filed for that semester, the Graduate School will inform the GPD and the student if they have been moved to candidacy status. Normally, the enrollment status of a student who achieves candidacy will be changed for the start of the next semester. However, students who achieve candidacy after the start of a semester but prior to census, will have their status moved to candidacy. Candidacy allows students to retain Graduate School benefits and eligibility for financial aid by enrolling in three (3) credits of 799.

No changes to a Plan of Study are permitted once a student is admitted to candidacy. Students admitted to candidacy are considered all but dissertation (ABD) and may only register for 799.

The Dissertation

The dissertation is the product of a thorough investigation of a basic and significant problem or question within the major area of study. An appropriate plan of research must be developed and executed by the student under the general guidance of the chair and the dissertation committee. Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is required for research involving human subjects prior to acceptance of a dissertation based on such research. The same holds true for dissertations involving animals.

The dissertation requirement is designed to develop the capacities of originality and generalization in the candidate. It should foster and attest to the development in the candidate of ability in scientific inquiry, understanding and proficiency in the techniques of scholarship, and the art of exposition within the field of specialization.

The dissertation committee, with such other professors as may be appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School, shall examine the dissertation. No dissertation shall be accepted unless it secures unanimous approval of the dissertation committee.

It is expected that the dissertation will serve to demonstrate the student's ability to contribute to the development of research or scholarship within the discipline. As such, a successful defense certifies that the dissertation is a demonstration of the student's ability to identify a problem, develop a methodology, carry out the necessary steps to gather data, analyze the findings, and form a defensible conclusion.

In the case of non-traditional dissertations that may contain chapters or sections with multiple authors, it is necessary to clarify the contribution of the dissertating student and others who may contribute to the dissertation. (See Dissertation Proposal Approval under Milestones for Doctoral Programs.)

It is expected that the dissertating student will be identified as the primary author of each of the chapters. The introduction to the dissertation must be solely authored by the dissertating student and must contain the theoretical framework that unifies the chapters that follow. The dissertating student also must be the sole author of the concluding chapter in which the significance of the various articles is explained. It is also expected that within the dissertation, appropriate attribution will be given to the other authors who contribute to the chapters.

Oral Defense of the Dissertation

The doctoral candidate who has successfully completed all other requirements for the degree must defend the dissertation orally in a public format. The defense will be scheduled by the chair of the dissertation committee in consultation with the other committee members. Without permission from the entire doctoral committee, the final oral defense may not take place during regularly scheduled University holidays and breaks. Students must submit the dissertation title, date, time and location of the oral defense at least two weeks prior for publication by the Graduate School. Defenses should not be scheduled during holidays, or at other times faculty and students are not regularly expected on campus.

The dissertation committee administers the oral defense according to program guidelines. The defense is open to all members of the University community who may wish to attend, as required by state laws on public meetings. However, the deliberations of the Dissertation Committee are private. The results of the defense are to be reported in writing to the Dean of the Graduate School.

It is not uncommon for a student to be required to complete additional work on the dissertation after a successful defense. The Doctoral Committee Chair should sign the dissertation approval page only after the student has satisfied the required additional work. Committees should not pass a student on a defense if the additional work required is significant.

Filing the Final Approved Dissertation

Students file the dissertation electronically via the online submission system available on the Graduate School’s website. The dissertation must comply with the rules prescribed by the Graduate Council in the Guide for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations. The approved electronic submission must be uploaded by the deadline as specified in the Academic Calendar.

Students submit their dissertation via the online submission system available on the Graduate School’s website. The submission must conform to UNC Greensboro’s formatting requirements and must be uploaded by the deadline dates as specified in the Academic Calendar. The Graduate School requires all approved dissertations to be published through UMI Dissertation Publishing/ProQuest Information and Learning. There is no charge for basic publishing; however, optional services requested by the candidate during submission may have associated charges.

The Graduate School requires students to publish their dissertation with UMI Dissertation Publishing/ProQuest Information and Learning. All students' dissertations are also published on NC DOCKS. There is no charge for traditional publishing; however, optional services may incur charges.

The process for submitting an approved dissertation to the Graduate School has two components: 1) Submitting the signed approval copy and 2) Submitting the final copy. Specific instructions affiliated with each step are available on the Graduate School's website; deadline dates are available in the Academic Calendar.

Important note: Dissertation hours vary according to the program but are never fewer than twelve (12) semester hours, normally taken in units of three (3) semester hours. Students who have exhausted all available dissertation hours but remain unfinished will be placed in extension status.

Time Limits for Graduate Degrees

Time Limits for Certificates

Certificates awarded from UNCG indicate that our students have current, usable knowledge in their field; therefore, the certificate curriculum, including the optional capstone, must be completed within three academic years, from the date of the first courses carrying graduate credit applicable to the student’s program are begun. Students who are concurrently enrolled in a degree program and certificate must complete the certificate during the time limits of that degree.

Time Limits for Master's and Specialist Degrees

Advanced degrees awarded from UNCG indicate that students have current, usable knowledge in their field; therefore, the master’s curriculum, including the thesis, must be completed within five academic years, from the date the first courses carrying graduate degree credit applicable to the student’s program are begun.

Time Limits for Master of Fine Arts Degrees

Advanced degrees awarded from UNCG indicate that students have current, usable knowledge in their field; therefore, the M.F.A. curriculum, including the capstone, must be completed within five academic years, from the date the first courses carrying graduate degree credit applicable to the student’s program are begun.

Time Limit for Master's Doctoral Track Programs

Advanced degrees awarded from UNCG indicate that students have current, usable knowledge in their field; therefore, doctoral track curriculum, including the dissertation, must be completed within ten academic years from the date the first courses carrying graduate degree credit applicable to the student’s program are begun.

Time Limits for Doctoral Degrees

Advanced degrees awarded from UNCG indicate that students have current, usable knowledge in their field; therefore, all requirements for the doctorate, including the dissertation, must be completed within seven academic years. Post-master’s (or equivalent) credit that is to be applied to the student’s doctoral program must be no more than seven years old when the degree requirements are completed. This means that all course work to be credited to the student’s doctoral program must fall within a seven-year period beginning with the date the first courses carrying graduate-degree credit applicable to the student’s program are begun.

If credit to be transferred was earned before enrollment at this University, the seven-year period commences with the beginning date of the term in which the transfer credit was earned.

The seven-year time limit does not apply to students who are admitted to a Doctoral Track Program (combined master’s/doctoral). In this case, the time limit is ten years.

Semester Hours Required for Graduate Degrees

Consistent with regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), UNCG requires a minimum of thirty (30) hours beyond the bachelor’s degree for any master’s degree, sixty (60) hours for doctoral programs that award a master’s as part of the doctoral degree requirements, and forty-five (45) credits minimum for direct entry doctoral programs that do not require a student to earn a master’s degree.

  • Minimum semester-hour requirements, which vary by the program, are stated under the respective departmental program description in the University Catalog.
  • Credit that is applied toward completion of one degree cannot be applied to another degree.
  • No course below the 500 level will be counted towards graduate degree requirements.
  • In all programs, at least one half of the work credited toward the degree must be in 600-level courses or above.
  • Doctoral students must enroll in 700-level courses or above.