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Registration Requirements When Course Work Has Been Completed



To define the requirements for graduate students to register after they have completed all required course work and are nearing completion of their degree program.


Academic Goal

To ensure that students are appropriately registered with the University when they are no longer taking classes.



All graduate students.

Policy Statement

  1. A candidate for the Ph.D. degree is required to register continuously for each fall and spring semester from the time the comprehensive examination is passed and the two-semester residence requirement is met until the dissertation is accepted by the doctoral committee and the final oral examination is passed, regardless of whether work is being done on the thesis during this interval. (See GCAC-513 Registration and GCAC-514 Continuity of Registration).
    1. Post-comprehensive Ph.D. students can maintain registration by registering for credits in the usual way, or by registering for noncredit 601 or 611, depending upon whether they are devoting full-time or part-time to thesis preparation. Note that the least expensive way for a student to maintain full-time status while working on research and thesis preparation is to register for 601. This clearly is the procedure of choice for international students who need to maintain status as full-time students for visa purposes.
    2. Students may take 601 plus up to 3 additional credits of course work for audit by paying only the dissertation fee. Students wishing to take up to 3 additional credits of course work for credit, i.e., 590, 602, etc., with 601 may do so by paying the dissertation fee and an additional flat fee. Enrolling for either 3 credits for audit or credit will be the maximum a student may take with SUBJ 601 without special approval by the Graduate School. NOTE: Registration for additional credits above this will incur an additional charge at the appropriate tuition per-credit rate (in state or out of state).
    3. Students wishing to take more than 3 additional credits of course work must register for 600 or 611 (i.e., not for 601, which is full-time thesis preparation).
    4. If a Ph.D. student will not be in residence for an extended period for compelling reasons, the director of Graduate Enrollment Services will consider a petition for a waiver of the continuous registration requirement. The petition must come from the doctoral committee chair and carry the endorsement of the department or program chair.
  2. Although there is no continuous registration requirement for professional doctorate degree candidates and master’s students, individual programs may require it. It should be noted, moreover, that:
    1. proper registration is expected of all graduate students (see GCAC-513 Registration);
    2. graduate assistants must carry the prescribed credit loads (see GSAD-501 Credit Loads and Academic Status for Graduate Assistants); and
    3. because of visa considerations, international students typically will register every semester, no matter what their degree objectives (see GSAD-502 Credit Loads for International Students).
  3. A master’s candidate who has completed all course work requirements for the degree is not required to register for the final semester in order to graduate or in order to make minor revisions to the thesis and/or to take a final examination for the degree, unless required to do so by the program.
  4. Students who only need to submit their intent to graduate should not complete an application to resume study. These students should contact their graduate program to have their records activated in order to submit their intent to graduate.
  5. This policy only applies to students who have already satisfied all course requirements. Students who still need to enroll in courses must complete an application to resume study. (See GCAC-514 Continuity of Registration).

Revision History

  • Adapted from Graduate Bulletin: June 2018
  • Updated: 6/21/17
This page was generated on May 24, 2024 at 10:10 PM local time. This may not be the most recent version of this page. Check the Penn State Graduate School website for updates.