Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Status, Course Load, and Non-Degree Seekers

Full Time Status and Course Load

The Graduate School recognizes nine semester hours during a long semester (spring or fall) and three hours during a summer session as a minimum full-time course load. Individual graduate programs may require more. The three semester credit hour minimum course load for the summer session may be satisfied in one six-week term, or in the nine-week or twelve-week terms. 

Under various circumstances, graduate students must be registered for and must remain registered for a full-time load, including: holders of Graduate School administered fellowships and scholarships; Assistant Instructors, Teaching Assistants, Academic Assistants, Assistants (Graduate), and Graduate Research Assistants; students living in university housing; students receiving certain student loans; and international students.

Agencies that grant loans or provide for educational funding may establish different definitions of full-time status. Students should be familiar with the regulations of any agency to which they have an obligation.

The maximum course load for a graduate student is fifteen semester hours in a spring or fall semester, or twelve semester hours in a twelve-week summer session. Students who wish to exceed the maximum course load must submit a petition letter from their graduate advisor to the graduate dean for approval.

Think about it: You should enjoy your time here, and have a life beyond graduate school. Fifteen semester hours is a very heavy load. Nine hours should do it for you—we recommend that you consider your commitments very carefully. We also recommend that you take at least part of the summer off—burnout is very common among students who go straight through the summer into the following academic year.


Leave of Absence

Graduate students may apply for a leave of absence of no more than two semesters. If the student has not yet been admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree, this request must be approved in advance by the graduate adviser. Granting leaves of absence for students not in candidacy is left to the discretion of the Graduate Advisor and Graduate Studies Committee. A form must be submitted to the Graduate School in advance of the semester for which a leave is granted. A student on an approved leave may reenter the graduate program by filing an Application for Readmission.

Think about it: Leave of absence is sometimes necessary for health or other personal reasons. Make sure to consider it as an option, but remember that a long absence may affect your academic status in terms of progress toward the degree.


Non-degree Seekers

The non-degree-seeker status was created at UT for special circumstances in which applicants wish to take UT courses at the graduate level without seeking a graduate degree (e.g., a high school teacher wishing to take a graduate course as part of his professional development schedule).

DMES rarely admits non-degree seekers. Applications by non-degree seekers are considered only if a very strong case for admission is presented, and it is clear that the applicant, while in a position to function at the graduate level, is indeed not pursuing an advanced degree.  We will not consider, for example, fall applicants who wish to take courses in the previous spring as non-degree seekers with the hope of applying these courses to their degree.  Non-degree seekers admitted to DMES are expected to stay in the program no longer than one academic year.

Interested parties may contact the Office of Admissions to inquire about non-degree seeking status at the Undergraduate level. Individuals who opt for this status are not eligible to enroll in our language courses. 


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