Student Services and Academic Records
Advising your graduate students requires understanding academic services and records for graduate students at UCF. This section serves as a guide to policy, processes and related reports and forms so that you can properly advise your students and support their degree completion.
Academic progress involves processes and actions taken by the College of Graduate Studies with regard to graduate student performance. It is expected that graduate students perform at a level substantially higher than expected of undergraduates. Therefore, the academic performance of graduate students is closely monitored through the use of the Graduate Status GPA. The Graduate Status GPA is defined as all UCF graduate-level coursework taken since admission into the graduate program. The Graduate Status GPA does not include transfer courses from another institution, from another UCF graduate program, or any undergraduate or non-degree coursework.
The College of Graduate Studies will review all Graduate Status GPA’s and take appropriate actions on student records including:
- Placing students on probation
- Continuing probation
- Removing probation
- Dismissing students
The Graduate College also provides a series of reports designed to help program directors advise and support their students to give them the best chance for success in their Plan of Study. For more about these reports, please refer to the section on Probation and Dismissal Reports (below).
The College of Graduate Studies will take action to place a student on probation or dismiss a student based on their Graduate Status GPA and the program may also make a recommendation to place a student on probation via the Graduate Probation Recommendation with Conditions Form or dismiss them based on other factors via the Dismissal Recommendation Form.
Any questions regarding academic progress or the submission of a Conditional Retention Plan or Recommendation for probation or dismissal for any graduate student may be directed to Graduate Student Services and Graduation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-823-2766.
The processes are completed and actions are taken immediately following the finalization of grades for the semester.
Students whose Graduate Status GPA drops below a 3.0 but above a 2.0 are placed on academic probation by the College of Graduate Studies. Students placed on academic probation have the next nine semester hours of letter-graded graduate coursework (Grades A-F) to attain a 3.0 Graduate Status GPA. Grades of “U” are also considered unsatisfactory performance and the program may elect to place the student on academic probation.
Students who have been in regular status and have fallen below the required 3.0 graduate GPA will be placed on probation. A report of students placed on probation is provided to the programs in the GradInfo downloads section for Student Services files and an email sent to the listservs when the report is available. Communication will be sent to graduate students and scanned into their permanent records in the following scenarios:
- All students placed on probation will receive an email informing them that they have been placed on academic probation and allowing them up to 9 graduate credit semester hours to improve their graduate GPA to the required minimum of 3.0 or they will be dismissed from graduate status.
- Students admitted in the provisional status will receive a different email informing them that they have been placed on academic probation and that they must attain a 3.0 GPA as outlined in their provisional admissions letter or they will be dismissed from graduate status.
Students who were previously placed on probation and have raised their graduate GPA above the required 3.0 will be removed from probation. An email is sent to the student notifying them of this and a report of students placed on probation is provided to the programs in the GradInfo Downloads section for Student Services files.
Students who have been placed on probation but have not completed 9 semester hours will be continued on probation and a report of these students is provided to the programs in the GradInfo Downloads section for Student Services files and an email notification is sent to the listservs when the report is available. No communication is sent to these students. A report of students continued on probation is provided to the programs in the GradInfo Downloads section for Student Services files.
Being placed on probation by the College of Graduate Studies is not appealable.
Conditional Retention Plans
Graduate programs have the option of being proactive with regard to students who are on probation. If they believe that a student may not be able to fulfill their probationary period satisfactorily and also believe that the student has the ability to succeed in their program, although they have had difficulties that would place them on probation, they may file a Conditional Retention Plan that outlines requirements for them to finish their degree programs. The plan must outline feasible goals that facilitate the student’s successful completion of the program and should be reviewed each semester until the student meets the terms and/or graduates. This plan is an agreement between the student, the program, and the College of Graduate Studies and failure to meet the terms will result in dismissal. Please refer to the academic progress section of the graduate catalog for post-dismissal options at www.graduatecatalog.ucf.edu, under Policies.
We recommend that a Conditional Retention Plan is designed during the probation period that would avoid the dismissal of the student from the program, for students that you think will ultimately succeed, Programs are not obligated to submit Conditional Retention Plans for any students if in their best judgment the students should not be retained or reinstated. Use the Conditional Retention Plan and include program requirements essential for the student to be successful in their program. These requirements should be ones that can easily be tracked so that the College of Graduate Studies can verify that the requirements have been met.
Students who have been on probation for 9 or more semester hours and have not achieved a 3.0 Graduate Status GPA and have not submitted a Conditional Retention Plan are reviewed and dismissed by the College of Graduate Studies. Also, those who have an approved Conditional Retention Plan but have not met the requirements of their plan, are reviewed and dismissed from their academic program by the College of Graduate Studies. The dismissal will be recorded on the transcript.
A student whose Graduate Status GPA drops below a 2.0 is immediately dismissed from a graduate program.
It is possible for the program to submit a Conditional Retention Plan after a dismissal has occurred. If the program wishes to do this, the program director should submit a Conditional Retention Plan by the first day of classes should a student want to enroll that semester. If the Conditional Retention Plan is approved, the student will be placed on “restricted” status, the dismissal will still show on the transcript, but the student will be allowed to continue with classes in the restricted status. Failure in any semester to meet the conditions of the Conditional Retention Plan will result in dismissal from the program, with no appeal. Some of the requirements of the Graduate College for students in a Conditional Retention Plan that must be met include:
- no withdrawals
- no “U” grades
- no incompletes of courses required in the plan
- no grades below “B” in any of the courses required in the plan
Please refer to the section on Probation and Dismissal Reports (below) for a listing and location of the dismissal report. An email notification is sent to the listservs when the report is available. The College of Graduate Studies then communicates this action to the students via email and a copy of this communication is scanned into the student’s permanent file.
If a student wishes to file a Conditional Retention Plan after dismissal and after a break in enrollment for more than three semesters, the student will have to reapply to the degree program and have an approved Conditional Retention Plan submitted by the graduate program.
Probation and Dismissal Reports
All reports are provided in GradInfo in the Other menu > Downloads > Student Services Files.
Admission Revoke – Lists all students who are removed from active status for not enrolling in their first semester of admission – also referred to as “no show.”
Continued on Probation Report – Lists all students previously placed on probation who still have less than a 3.0 Graduate Status GPA and have not yet completed 9 credit hours since probation placement.
Discontinued for Non-Enrollment – Lists all students who are discontinued for no enrollment for 3 consecutive terms.
Dismissal Report – Lists all students dismissed for the semester based on low Graduate Status GPA. The program may choose to retain a dismissed student by submitting a Conditional Retention Plan.
Enrolled in Dissertation and Not Passed Candidacy – Lists all students enrolled in dissertation hours but not coded as having passed candidacy.
Low Grade Report – Lists all courses in which students have earned a grade of C+ or lower, “I” incomplete, “U” unsatisfactory, “W” withdrawal and “WF” withdrawal failing.
Probation Report – Lists students whose graduate status GPA has fallen below the required 3.0 and have been placed on probation.
Provisional and Restricted Status – Lists all students admitted in either provisional or restricted status. This report is designed to help the program review the students’ academic progress against the terms of their provisional or restricted admission agreement.
Removed from Probation Report – Lists all students previously on probation who have raised their graduate status GPA above the 3.0 minimum.
Forms Associated with Probation and Dismissal
All forms are located on the Graduate website in the Forms and References.
- Conditional Retention Plan
- College Request for Administrative Record Change (must be logged into GradInfo)
- Graduate Probation Recommendation with Conditions Form
- Dismissal Recommendation Form
Student Communications about Probation and Dismissal
The College of Graduate Studies sends communications to the Knights email accounts for all graduate students who are placed on probation or dismissed. The following list indicates when students will receive these communications.
- Placed on probation
- Placed on probation – provisional admit
- Removed from probation
- Dismissed by College of Graduate Studies
- Dismissed by College of Graduate Studies – non-degree seeking student
Petitions for Exception to University Academic Policy
Exceptions may be considered to university requirements when compelling reasons are provided and approval does not compromise the quality of the student’s graduate education. When an exception is needed, the program or student should request this exception immediately via submission of the Graduate Petition Form.
Proactive student advising is integral in identifying needed exceptions early in the student’s graduate career. This will afford the student ample time to submit a request and receive a response, well in advance of the finalization of the Plan of Study. When advising students, it is important to consider that the Graduate Appeals Committee generally convenes twice per month during fall and spring terms, and less often during the summer term. Please refer to the Graduate Council website for the meeting schedule. The Graduate Petition form should be submitted by the appropriate deadline along with any relevant supporting documentation.
Exceptions to program requirements, including course substitutions, are facilitated by the graduate program. Approved course substitutions should be clearly indicated on the student’s Plan of Study and GPS audit form, as this is particularly important for graduation certification. Course substitutions for graduate certificate programs must go through the petitions process. Exceptions to college requirements, such as the internship requirements in Education, are facilitated by the college. If an exception is granted for a college requirement, documentation should be provided to the College of Graduate Studies for inclusion in the student’s permanent record. Having this information in the student’s file facilitates the graduation certification process.
If an exception to university policies or procedures is desired, then the request for exception must come to the College of Graduate Studies for a decision, with a recommendation from both the program and the home college. A Graduate Petition Form is completed by the student, clearly explaining the nature of the petition and the specific request that is being made. Students are notified of the final decision after the Graduate Council Appeals Committee has reviewed the case and a decision has been made by the College of Graduate Studies.
If the petition requires an exception to a program policy or rule, the student may request in writing that an exception is made at the program level. Should the student wish to appeal the program decision, the student or program may request in writing that the university reconsider the decision.
The College of Graduate Studies maintains the official graduate student records for the university. Included in this section are listings of documents that will be maintained by the College of Graduate Studies, as well as documents that should be maintained by the programs and colleges. Documents are organized into admission, student services, and financial categories.
Please keep in mind that a student’s file is a public record, which may be reviewed by the student, department, college, or university for petitions and appeals or for other purposes. Personal opinions, comments, and communications related to the student should not be included in the student’s file.
The time limit for document retention for students is:
- Two semesters after the student has graduated.
- One year after the student becomes inactive. Students become inactive when they fail to attend for three consecutive semesters (including summer terms) after having previously enrolled.
- One year after the student has been dismissed or discontinued from the program.
The time limit for document retention for applicants and admits who did not enroll is:
- One year if admission is denied.
- One year if the student is accepted but does not attend.
The College of Graduate Studies maintains the following records for all graduate students and these are available in DocView for each student:
- Applications including readmission and reactivation
- Application supporting documents
- Letters of acceptance
- Letters of denial
- Residency classification forms and supporting documents
Student Services documents
- Petition Forms, supporting documents and Approval/Denial letters
- Plan of Study (POS)
- Advisory committee assignment lists
- Administrative Record Change forms, supporting documents and Approval/Denial letters
- Conditional Retention Plan (CRP) and supporting documents
- eForm submissions (saved as POS)
- Graduate Certificate Completion (Final GPS audit)
- Graduation Certification (Final GPS audit)
- Intent to Graduate Forms
- Academic Probation/Dismissal Letters
- Probation/Dismissal Recommendation Forms
- Name Change/Address Change Forms
- Residency reclassification forms and supporting documents
- Traveling Scholar Forms
- 9-Hour Hold Forms
- Supplemental Assignment Forms
- Financial award letters
- GTA Performance Assessment Forms
- Teaching Qualifications Form – GT Associate 9183
- Application for Parental Leave for Graduate Assistants
- Intent to Return to Assistantship from Parental Leave
Documents that should be retained by the program or college include the following student service documents:
- Contact information (post-graduation)
- Exam results (comprehensive, candidacy, qualifying, and final defense)
- Incomplete grade agreements
- Degree audits
- Thesis/dissertation progress notes
- Independent study agreements
Degree Audit / Graduate Plan of Study
The degree audit system currently in use at UCF for graduate education is called Graduate Plan of Study (GPS). The GPS is an advising tool for students and advisers to track progress toward a degree or certificate completion.
It provides a record of a student’s academic progress toward completion of their academic degree or certificate program. This feature permits the student to review courses they have taken, monitor in-progress courses, and assess the number of courses needed to complete their degree. The report also shows students and advisers a student’s progress toward non-course requirements such as publications, qualifying exams, and dissertation steps. The GPS can also assist students and advisers in planning for current and future courses as they pertain to the student’s degree requirements.
The requirements on the GPS are determined by each college and mirror the requirements published in the Graduate Catalog each year. New curriculum requirements go into effect each summer with the publishing of the Graduate Catalog.
Students follow the requirements of the “catalog year” during which they are admitted to the program. For example, a student admitted in summer 2014, fall 2014, or spring 2015 will be following the requirements outlined in the 2014-2015 Graduate Catalog.
The GPS is also used to track some university-level requirements that apply to all students regardless of their entry date. Please refer to the Graduate Catalog policies to view all of the university-level degree requirements.
In addition, the GPS is used for certifying degree completion. Colleges review the GPS at the beginning and end of the graduation term to ensure that the student has met all degree requirements. The College of Graduate Studies does a final review and certification of all graduating students.
Students can access their GPS by logging into the myUCF portal and selecting the gray Graduate Plan of Study (GPS) link found under the Home Page. There is functionality to produce a “What-If” audit to assist students and advisers in determining how a student’s courses would apply if they are admitted to another program. This tool does not take into account transfer credit minimums between programs. Students should seek advising by the new program before making any decisions.
Faculty and staff who are officially designated as advisers in the PeopleSoft system have access to the GPS through the myUCF portal and navigating to Faculty/Advisor Self-Service – Advisors – View Any Student and then choosing the Graduate Plan of Study (GPS) from the drop-down box under Academics. A help guide is also available for faculty/advisers.
Staff members who are not officially designated as advisers must become designated advisers from the College of Graduate Studies by completing the GRD 001 training course.
If you have questions or concerns, please e-mail the Student Services and Graduation staff in the College of Graduate Studies at email@example.com.
GPS Training Information
Administrative Record Changes
Colleges may request Administrative Record Changes after the add/drop deadline to rectify errors made during the initial registration process. Requested actions include late adds, drops, and withdrawals as well as “swaps” of doctoral research hours for dissertation hours during the term as long as the student passes candidacy prior to the midpoint of the term. The College Request for Administrative Record Change form is available in GradInfo in Downloads > Student Services Forms. The request should include justification of the need for the change, a copy of the student’s schedule and the dean’s signature.
Students wishing to request an Administrative Record Change for extenuating circumstances that are not a result of college/department error must email firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries on the process and to request the forms.
The Golden Rule is the university’s policy regarding non-academic discipline of students and limited academic grievance procedures for graduate (grade appeals in individual courses, not including thesis and dissertation courses) and undergraduate students. Information concerning the Golden Rule can be found at www.goldenrule.sdes.ucf.edu. Student conduct (academic integrity issues not involving thesis/dissertation, behavior, etc.) should be filed through the Student Rights and Responsibilities Office and not through the College of Graduate Studies. The College of Graduate Studies only handles academic issues and integrity in thesis/dissertation.
Grade appeals are handled by the Golden Rule process, section 5 (UCF-5.016). The program director will review the three criteria for grade appeals in the Golden Rule handbook and determine whether the appeal meets one of the three criteria. The appeal cannot go forward unless the basis for it is one of the three criteria. The appeal written by the student should specifically identify the academic action that is being appealed as well as the resolution being sought.
Academic Grievance Procedure
The College of Graduate Studies follows the procedures outlined in the Golden Rule, section 5 (UCF-5.017). Academic matters are those involving instruction, research, or decisions involving instruction or affecting academic freedom. The academic grievance procedure is designed to provide a fair means of dealing with graduate student complaints regarding a specific action or decision by a faculty member, program or college, including termination from an academic program. Academic misconduct complaints associated with sponsored research will invoke procedures outlined by the Office of Research and Commercialization.
Students who believe they have been treated unfairly may initiate a grievance. The procedure provides several levels of review, and at each level of review the participants are further removed and have a broader outlook than where the grievance originated. Procedures for initiating an academic grievance can be found in the Golden Rule at www.goldenrule.sdes.ucf.edu.
Once students are enrolled, the program or college may submit an eform to request changes to a student’s sub-plan, catalog year, and admission status (i.e., change from restricted to regular status).
It is not necessary to submit a Status Change eform for changing conditional and provisional admits to regular status. The College of Graduate Studies will change the admission status to regular once the student has met all the requirements.
Course substitutions should be finalized early in the student’s graduate career to provide clear expectations and help prevent graduation delays. Included are the deadlines by when students must complete the process to substitute courses into their Plan of Study.
Certificate students may not substitute courses into a certificate Plan of Study. The only time that a course substitution can be made is when a student is enrolled in two graduate certificate programs where the courses overlap and a substitution must be made for one of the certificate programs in order for the total hours to be earned.
Master’s and Specialist students should finalize any course substitutions by the end of the second major term of enrollment – no later than the term prior to graduation. This should precede or coincide with the submission of the finalized Plan of Study.
Doctoral students must finalize transfer credit by the end of the third major term of enrollment – no later than the change to candidacy status. Again, this should precede or coincide with the submission of the finalized Plan of Study.
Course substitutions for elective courses are approved at the discretion of the program adviser for students in master’s, specialist, and doctoral degree-seeking programs, and do not require a petition. Simply place them on the Plan of Study for the student.
However, course substitutions for required courses are generally discouraged. There are some instances in which it is appropriate to substitute for a required course, and if this is done, this needs to be noted in the comment section of GPS. Those instances in which it would make sense to substitute for a required course are:
- The student is in an earlier catalog that required a course that is no longer taught and a substitution must be made of a comparable course that is currently taught.
- The course was offered as a special topics course before the course action request was approved and a common course number was determined by the state.
- The course is not offered in term of graduation. This ordinarily would not be a good reason to approve a substitution, because required courses should be offered as needed for students to graduate, but there are rare instances where faculty have left the university suddenly, or other circumstances are such that the course could not be offered. This should be rarely ever used as a reason for a course substitution of a required course.
- The course number was recently changed to a new number from what is listed in the Graduate Catalog and the students took the course listed under the new number.
- The student took the same course elsewhere and has either had the course waived or transferred to UCF as part of the Plan of Study. In this instance, the student needs to make up the hours of the required course with an appropriate course determined by the program.
There are circumstances under which a course substitution of a required course is strongly discouraged. These situations are:
- Substitution of a research course for a required course (this includes directed research, doctoral research, thesis research, and dissertation research).
- Substitution of a formal course that is outside of the discipline for a required course in the discipline.
Frequently, requests are received for substituting a thesis for directed research or vice versa. These requests should be submitted to the Graduate Council Appeals Committee for review because even though they appear to be like courses, the lack of formal assessment outcomes for these particular courses often makes it difficult to determine if the substitution is warranted. The rationale as part of the request for substitution should include what was actually delivered as part of this coursework, so the Graduate Council Appeals Committee can determine if the substitution is appropriate.
Substituting thesis or dissertation hours for formal coursework is not allowed. Thesis hours cannot be used in the 24 hours of core and elective coursework required for master’s programs. Dissertation hours cannot be used in the 27 hours of formal coursework requirement in doctoral programs, but can be used in the remaining discretionary hours of the Plan of Study, should the program wish.
In master’s programs, the 24 hours of core and elective courses can consist of both formal coursework and independent study. However, for doctoral programs requests to substitute the independent study for the requirement of 27 hours of formal coursework will not be allowed.
Credits taken prior to the admission into a graduate program are considered transfer credits. Transfer credit should be finalized early in the student’s graduate career. Only a limited number of transfer credits may be used to satisfy program specific requirements and it is important that students know what can or cannot be transferred as soon as possible after they have been admitted into their degree program. Included are the guidelines and deadlines by when students must complete the process to transfer credits into their Plan of Study.
Internal transfer work is defined as those courses taken at UCF prior to enrolling in the program for which the degree is sought. For external transfer requests of credits from another institution first, check the records for conflicts with the university limitation for external transfer hours. If there is no conflict and the student is currently enrolled, please send transfer requests to the College of Graduate Studies through the eform process.
Courses with a grade of “B-” (2.75) or higher may be transferred to a graduate program.
Please refer to the Transfer Credit policy for a full description of the rules that govern transfer credits:
The College of Graduate Studies would be happy to address any questions you might have at email@example.com or 407-823-2766.
Program-Specific Guidelines and Deadlines
Certificate students may only request to transfer internal credit hours into a certificate program. Students must have courses approved for transfer into a certificate only if they are part of the certificate’s official course listing in the graduate catalog. Credit hours taken at other institutions may not be applied to a graduate certificate program at UCF.
Graduate credit hours taken at UCF from a prior baccalaureate, master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree may be applied toward a certificate, with the consent of the program, provided they are no more than three years old in the expected completion term and that they are part of the certificate’s official course listing in the graduate catalog.
Master’s and Specialist students should finalize transfer credit by the end of the second major term of enrollment – no later than the term prior to the term of graduation. This should precede or coincide with the submission of the finalized Plan of Study.
In master’s programs, students can transfer up to 9 hours of external transfer credits and up to as many 50 percent of the program requirements consisting of 9 hours of external transfer credits and the remainder as internal transfer credits.
Courses completed in the last seven years are normally accepted.
A petition, approved by the program director must be submitted for any courses older than 7 years.
Doctoral students must finalize transfer credit by the end of the second major term of enrollment – no later than the change to candidacy status. Again, this should precede or coincide with the submission of the finalized Plan of Study.
For students without an earned master’s degree in doctoral programs that require a master’s degree for admission:
- Transfer up to 9 hours of external credits; the total transfer hours cannot exceed 15 credits with no more than 9 hours of external transfer credits and the remainder consisting of internal transfer credits.
For students who have an earned master’s degree in doctoral programs that do not require a master’s degree:
- Up to 30 hours of waived or transfer credits from an earned degree in the same discipline
- Up to 9 hours of external transfer credits
- Total (external and internal transfer credits up to but not exceeding 50% of the program requirements
A course-by-course transfer request of the earned master’s degree is required if the degree is not in the same discipline.
All transfer work should be finalized by the dates given above. These deadlines apply to all students, regardless of their catalog year, and are not appealable. Please submit Plans of Study, including transfer credits to the College of Graduate Studies within these timeframes.
Finalizing students’ Plans of Study early will pave the way for increased retention of your students. Students are more likely to successfully complete their degree if they are aware of what is required and have an understanding of expectations early on.
Advisers may choose to transfer up to 9 external graduate credit hours of graduate coursework OR an earned UCF graduate certificate. If the graduate certificate coursework exceeds 50% of the program requirements, all credits in the certificate program will be transferred as the sole transfer work. Therefore, no other internal credits and no external credits will be transferred.
For those programs that award a master’s along the way as a student is working on a doctoral program, the credits used in the master’s along the way are not considered to be transfer work and are dealt with separately. If you have questions about this, please call the College of Graduate Studies for more information.
If courses are part of an earned graduate degree, the 7-year rule does not apply.
A petition, approved by the program director must be submitted for any courses older than 7 years that are not part of an earned graduate degree.
Failure to enroll in three consecutive semesters is considered non-continuous enrollment. Students who do not maintain continuous enrollment will be discontinued, dropped from any future enrollment, and must file for readmission to the university. Readmission is not guaranteed. A student who breaks continuous enrollment will lose the option of fulfilling the degree requirements originally listed in the official Plan of Study already on file, and will instead fulfill the degree requirements listed in the graduate catalog in effect at the time the student resumes his/her attendance.
Additionally, all (domestic and international) students taking thesis or dissertation hours are required to be continuously enrolled (including summers) until the thesis or dissertation is completed.
The Traveling Scholar program enables UCF graduate students to take advantage of special resources available on another campus that are not available at UCF. Scenarios include:
- Special course offerings
- Research opportunities
- Unique laboratories
- Library collections
Requests for traveling scholar work should be made as far in advance as possible using the Traveling Scholar Form. UCF should receive the transcript from the traveling institution as soon after the term is completed as possible, to finalize the process well in advance of graduation certification.
A traveling scholar must be recommended by his or her own graduate adviser, who will initiate a visiting arrangement with the appropriate faculty member of the host institution.
A traveling scholar will normally be limited to a total of six credit hours.
Students must submit the Traveling Scholar Form prior to the add/drop period of the semester they will attend the traveling scholar institution.
Credits earned at another institution while in Traveling Scholar status will be considered resident credits and are not counted as transfer credits under the nine-hour rule.
Traveling Scholar courses to be used in a graduate Plan of Study must be graduate level (5000 or higher).
Traveling Scholar credits are guaranteed to be accepted as earned UCF credits, as long as the grades obtained are B- or higher.
Students engaged in Traveling Scholar status cannot receive UCF resources such as tuition waivers to be used at the other institution.
Graduate students may not be traveling scholars in their final term. Once the student has completed the course, they must request that a transcript be sent to the UCF College of Graduate Studies. Please note that degrees cannot be certified until the final transcript is received from the Traveling Scholar institution.
Special Leave of Absence
A Special Leave of Absence may be granted to a student in order to temporarily waive the continuous attendance requirement. A student may request such a leave in cases where the student can demonstrate good cause (e.g., illness, family issues, financial difficulties, personal circumstances, recent maternity/paternity, and employment issues). The specific reason for the Special Leave of Absence request must be indicated by the student on the Special Leave of Absence Form.
A Special Leave of Absence will be granted only after approval from the Graduate Program Director for the student’s Plan of Study, College Graduate Coordinator, International Services Center (required for international students), and College of Graduate Studies.
Students may request up to 3 consecutive semesters away from graduate study. It is highly recommended that the application for a Special Leave of Absence must be filed by submitting the Special Leave of Absence Form prior to need. Some instances can be an emergency and the leave request can be submitted after the fact.
Time spent in a Special Leave of Absence will stop the time limitation for degree completion (see the policy regarding Time Limitation for Degree Completion in the master’s, specialist, and doctoral policies in the Graduate Catalog). For instance, a 2-semester leave will give the student an extra 2 semesters – if needed – to complete the degree beyond the 7-year limit.
Students who intend to graduate must complete the online Intent to Graduate Form in their myUCF Student Center by the appropriate semester deadlines. Deadline dates are published in the Academic Calendar each term.
Once the online form is completed, students will receive e-mail communications from the College of Graduate Studies at various stages of the review process. Students can also check the status of their Intent to Graduate at any time by logging into myUCF Student Center – Intent to Graduate: Status.
Designated faculty advisers and staff within the program and college have access to review the Intent to Graduate forms for individual students within PeopleSoft. These designated individuals can also produce queries to find students within a particular college who have filed the form.
The Student Help Guide in order to assist students in completing the online form. A few key things to note when assisting students with graduation questions:
- The online Intent to Graduate form is available for both degree and certificate programs.
- Graduate students writing a thesis or dissertation and who are graduating within the next three semesters should refer to Thesis and Dissertation for university policies, requirements and instructions for properly preparing their thesis or dissertation for final submission to the College of Graduate Studies.
- Students must be registered in the term they are graduating.
Additionally, please refer to the Policies section the Graduate Catalog for specific information regarding degree or certificate completion.
Information regarding the commencement ceremony is available here.
If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to e-mail the College of Graduate Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thesis Advisory Committee
Before a master’s student can enroll in thesis hours, a Thesis Advisory Committee Form must be submitted and approved, so the committee is recorded in the student’s record in the university system. Also, any time changes in committee members and/or their roles on the committee occur, a Thesis Advisory Committee Form must be resubmitted and approved.
The Committee must contain the following:
- Chair (Graduate Faculty member)
- Minimum of three committee members (All must hold Graduate Faculty or Graduate Faculty Scholar appointments)
- A majority must be members of the Graduate Faculty
- At least one member must have served previously on a thesis or dissertation committee that graduated a student, either at UCF or at another accredited institution. If the Chair does not have this experience, another graduate faculty member who has this experience may serve in this role as Vice Chair. Under certain circumstances (see below), a graduate faculty scholar who serves as co-chair and has previous committee experience may serve as Vice Chair.
For the policy, see Master’s Program Policies.
Form: Thesis Advisory Committee Form. (Remember to resubmit this form anytime there are changes to the student’s committee.)
Dissertation Advisory Committee
After a doctoral student has passed candidacy, a Doctoral Committee/Candidacy Status Form must be submitted and approved to record the change to candidacy status and receive approval of the student’s Dissertation Advisory Committee. Also, the Form must be resubmitted and approved anytime changes occur in committee members and/or their roles on the committee.
The Committee must contain the following:
Chair (Graduate Faculty member who is eligible to chair a dissertation committee)
Minimum of four committee members (All must hold a Graduate Faculty or Graduate Faculty Scholar appointment)
- At least three, and a majority of the committee, must be members of the Graduate Faculty
- At least one member must be from outside the department (or college, if a college-wide program)
- At least one member must have served previously on a thesis or dissertation committee that graduated a student, either at UCF or at another accredited institution. If the Chair does not have this experience, another graduate faculty member who has this experience may serve in this role as Vice Chair. Under certain circumstances (see Graduate Faculty and Graduate Faculty Scholars policy), a graduate faculty scholar who has previous committee experience may serve as Vice Chair.
For the policy, see Doctoral Program Policies in the Graduate Catalog.
Form: Doctoral Committee/Candidacy Status Form. (Remember to resubmit this form anytime there are changes to the student’s committee.)
Candidacy is the time when doctoral students have demonstrated that they have successfully passed their coursework and have a plan for their research. It is important that students be advised to start working on their research in the first year of doctoral study and to transition to more research as they progress in their program. Programs have reported to us that this transition between coursework and research is a point at which attrition can occur because students feel somewhat disconnected from the department activities. Programs that can offer regular meetings for seminars or other activities will help to keep students engaged while they are beginning their research.
In order to establish candidacy for an individual student, please ensure that the student has completed all coursework and has prepared or will shortly prepare a dissertation prospectus. As program director, please tell faculty to let you know when a student will be ready for candidacy. Many faculty do not know the sequence of events that should happen or the proper forms to use to make this a smooth transition for the student.
Once a candidacy exam has been successfully passed, the program should submit a Doctoral Committee/Candidacy Status Form to inform the College of Graduate Studies of the passing of the exam and the formation or revision of the dissertation advisory committee. Students who fail to do this before the first day of classes for the semester in question will not be allowed to enroll in dissertation hours in that semester. Students enrolling in dissertation hours for the first time during the summer must have their paperwork submitted prior to the first day of classes for Summer C, regardless of which summer session they will enroll in.
For the policy, see “Candidacy” in the Doctoral Program Policies in the Graduate Catalog.