Post-Comprehensive Enrollment

After completing the oral comprehensive exam, doctoral students are required to be continuously enrolled each Fall and Spring semester until completion of the degree.  Continuous enrollment for the post-comprehensive student is defined below.  To properly understand this policy, please review each bullet-point carefully. 

  • Post-comp doctoral students must initially enroll in a minimum of 6 hours each Fall and Spring semester.
  • Post-comp enrollment in the Fall and Spring must include within the 6 required hours at least one dissertation or dissertation-equivalent hour every term, with the exception of the semester in which the comp exam is taken.  (The Office of Graduate Studies maintains a list of pre-approved dissertation equivalents.  You should speak with your advisors to discern if the department has any approved equivalents and if so which is the appropriate course to enroll in).
  • Summer enrollment for post-comp doctoral students is optional, with some exceptions: 
    • Students meeting the July Summer graduation deadline must be enrolled in at least 1 dissertation hour or approved equivalent to be approved for graduation
    • Students holding a GTA/GRA/GA appointment in the summer are not required to enroll; however, students who enroll "full time" as defined in the University's definition of full time enrollment  are not assessed federal taxes (medicare, social security, etc.).   Students who enroll in less than full time, or not at all, are eligible for federal deductions and may see a drop in their paycheck.
    • Students who hold an outside fellowship or scholarship that requires enrollment 
    • Students who hold a student hourly appointment in the summer may be required to enroll. See the Student Employee Eligibility Requirements policy for more information.
  • Students who do enroll in the summer may count those hours towards the required 18 post comp hours.  A dissertation hour is not required for those hours to count.
  • Hours completed during the semester in which the student takes their comprehensive exam count toward the required 18 hours, as long as the student was enrolled in at least 6 hours.  Enrollment the semester the comp exam is taken does not have to include a dissertation or dissertation-equivalent hour. Comprehensive exams for doctoral students must meet the following deadlines in order for the student’s credit hours during that term to count toward their post-comprehensive enrollment:
    • Fall - December 31st
    • Spring - May 31st
    • Summer - July 31st 
  • A student may, under advisement of the department, enroll in more than 6 hours each semester to achieve the 18 hours more quickly (such as 9 hours in the Fall/Spring semesters).
  • During the semester in which the student is due to complete the 18 hours of post-comp enrollment, they drop down to whatever number of hours is required to complete the 18 (e.g., if a student enrolls in 15 hours for a Spring term, only 3 hours are required for the following Fall term).
  • After meeting 18 hours, the student must then continue to enroll in at least 1 dissertation or approved dissertation-equivalent hour each fall or spring semester until he or she graduates.   The student's level of enrollment must, however, accurately reflect demands on faculty time and University facilities.  It is imperative that the student consult with his or her department about enrollment needs before reducing hours.
  • Please note that hours completed in semesters prior to taking the comprehensive exam, even dissertation or dissertation-equivalent hours, do not count toward the post-comp enrollment requirement.

Post-Comprehensive Enrollment and "Full Time" Enrollment

Post-comp doctoral students who are enrolled as outlined above meet the University's definition of full time enrollment. This means post-comp doctoral students, including those enrolled in only 1 dissertation hour each term, continue to be considered "full time" for the purposes of federal financial aid, fellowships or scholarships, and for legal status enrollment obligations for international students. 

There is one exception: Watkins Student Health Center maintains it's own definition of full time enrollment.  Students enrolled in fewer than 6 hours in the Fall or Spring, or fewer than 5 hours in the summer, continue to be eligible to use their services, but are required to pay a one-time per semester fee.  Students should call the Watkins Business Office at 785-864-9520, or visit the Watkins Business Office web page for further information. 

GTA/GRA/GA Post-Comprehensive Enrollment

All of the regulations above also apply to students with GTA/GRA/GA appointments, except:

GTA/GRA/GA students must be certified to reduce below 6 hours This process is completed by departments on the student's behalf through the Progress to Degree (PTD) system. Students who are certified to reduce hours continue to meet the University's definition of full time enrollment, as well as the enrollment requirements of their employment contract.