Academic Information

General Requirements for PhD Degrees in Arts & Sciences

To earn a PhD at Washington University, a student must complete all courses required by their department; maintain satisfactory academic progress; pass certain examinations; fulfill residence and Mentored Experience Requirements; write, defend, and submit a dissertation; and file an Intent to Graduate form on WebSTAC. (WebSTAC is the primary academic records and accounts portal for students at Washington University.)

Enrollment and Registration

Students newly admitted to graduate programs in Arts & Sciences receive information on creating a WUSTL Key from the university. The WUSTL Key is Washington University users’ login ID and password for the use of university systems, and it is used (among other accesses) to register for courses online via WebSTAC during open registration periods. All registrations require online approval by the student's faculty advisor and are monitored by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences.

Regular Enrollment

Students admitted to a PhD program in Arts & Sciences must maintain full-time continuous enrollment throughout the approved length of their programs. Most of our PhD programs will be completed within five or six years. During those years, students will be considered full-time if they have one of the following statuses:

  • They are registered for 9 or more course units; or
  • They are registered in a zero-unit course (LGS 9000 Full-time Graduate Research/Study or LGS 9001 Full-time Graduate Study in Absentia) that indicates the student's full-time engagement in research or academic writing. Note: Enrollment in LGS 9000 or LGS 9001 is not viewed as a full-time enrollment status by Veterans Affairs (VA). Students expecting to use VA benefits must be enrolled in 9 credit-bearing units.

During a student's period of regular registration, they may have a need or opportunity to study away from Washington University. Recommendations from departments for students' registration in absentia will be considered by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, on a case-by-case basis. If approved by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, the student will be registered for LGS 9001 Full-time Graduate Study in Absentia. Students may be allowed to register for LGS 9001 for up to four consecutive or nonconsecutive fall/spring semesters. Semesters in which a student is registered in absentia are counted as part of the student's program length.

PhD students in Arts & Sciences who are fully funded, registered full-time, within their program length, and making satisfactory academic progress will receive tuition remission and a 90% subsidy of health insurance, dental insurance and wellness fees. Tuition each semester will be calculated based on the number of registered course units, where applicable.

Enrollment Extension

Students may be permitted to register for one additional year beyond their program length. When recommended by their department and approved by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, these students will be registered in a zero-unit course (LGS 9002 Full-time Graduate Study Extension) that confers full-time enrollment status. Students registered for LGS 9002 may or may not receive stipend support, but they are eligible to receive other benefits available to full-time PhD students in Arts & Sciences, including health insurance and wellness fee subsidies.

Students may be registered for LGS 9002 for a maximum of two semesters. Students who do not complete their programs within this time limit must either withdraw from the program or be designated as Degree Candidacy Extended.

Degree Candidacy Extended

Upon the recommendation of their departments and the approval of the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, students who do not complete their PhD degrees within their program length and potential one-year enrollment extension may remain doctoral candidates for up to five years. Extended degree candidates are not registered for any courses, have no enrollment status, and receive none of the benefits available to registered Washington University students, including student loan deferment.

Part-Time Students

PhD candidates are not admitted as part-time students. Part-time status will be calculated strictly on the basis of registration in fewer than 9 course units without LGS 9000-level registration and will be permitted only in extraordinary circumstances.

Courses and Tuition Remission

The Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, will approve and apply tuition remission for a limit of up to 72 course units. The 72-unit calculation may include courses transferred from other graduate programs, which would then count toward degree completion. 

Students pursuing a certificate or an unrelated master's degree in addition to their PhD must consult the departments and advisors about credit sharing between the programs. Tuition remission for units in excess of 72 will not be provided by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences.

To be eligible for tuition remission, courses must be offered at the graduate level, taken for a grade, and approved in advance by the student's advisor and program as necessary for the student's degree. Graduate-level courses begin with courses numbered in the 500s/5000s. Audited courses are not eligible for tuition remission and cannot count toward full-time status in a given semester. Students should consult their advisors regarding course selection.

When certain conditions apply, graduate students may be permitted to register for Arts & Sciences courses numbered below 500/5000, but those courses will not be covered by tuition remission and will not count toward the student's degree requirements. These courses, then, will require that the student pay tuition for them unless the courses are taken along with 9 units of approved graduate course work during the relevant semester. Arts & Sciences graduate students are not allowed to take courses in the School of Continuing & Professional Studies. Further, Arts & Sciences graduate students may only enroll in Summer School courses with the approval of both their academic advisor and the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences. Tuition remission may be available for Summer School courses if the courses are approved by both the department and the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, and if they fall within the 72-unit limit.

Outside of the stipulations noted above, graduate students in Arts & Sciences may enroll in English Language Program (ELP) courses. The Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, will allow tuition remission to cover a maximum of 6 units of ELP courses throughout a student's graduate degree. Students who want to enroll in more than 6 units of ELP courses must cover the cost beyond the first 6 units.

Online Courses

Online courses are not applicable to Arts & Sciences degree programs. Therefore, students may not enroll in online courses offered by other schools at Washington University nor attempt to transfer courses, taken at other institutions, that were delivered online.

Grades

Credit-conferring grades for graduate students in Arts & Sciences are as follows:

  • A: outstanding (an A grade may be modified by a plus or minus)
  • B: good (a B grade may be modified by a plus or minus)
  • C: conditional (a C grade may be modified by a plus or minus)
  • CR: credit awarded, work not given finer evaluation (CR is used with the Pass/Fail grade option)
  • S: satisfactory (the S grade is used almost exclusively for credit units earned by doing research)
  • NCR: no credit awarded due to unsatisfactory work (NCR is used with the Pass/Fail grade option)
  • U: unsatisfactory (the U grade is used almost exclusively for credit units earned by doing research)
  • F: failing
  • X: final examination missed
  • I: incomplete

In the rare event that an instructor is unable to submit a grade by the grade deadline, an N, signifying that the grade has not yet been submitted, may temporarily appear as a transcript notation on the student's record. Grades that are not posted within 120 days of the last day of the semester for which the N notation was posted will result in these temporary notations being automatically changed to a grade of F (or, in the case of a course taken as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, to a grade of U).

Grades cannot be changed after the sealing of a student's transcript, which follows the conferral of the student's degree.

The Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, uses a 4-point scale for calculating grade point averages:

  • A = 4
  • B = 3
  • C = 2

A plus adds 0.3 to the value of a grade, and a minus subtracts 0.3 from the value of the grade.

Zero-unit LGS 9000-level courses will have only the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade option. 

Grade Appeals

If a student believes a grade they have received — whether referring to a single assignment or to the course grade as a whole — is inappropriate, arbitrary, or assigned for nonacademic reasons, they have the right to discuss any grade(s) with their instructor and to request a change of grade(s). (Students wanting to discuss the possibility of appealing their grades are welcome to do so with their advisor or the Office of Graduate Studies academic affairs team. Connect with the Office of Graduate Studies at artscigrads@wustl.edu.)

Grade appeals should be filed as soon as possible after the grade is assigned and must be addressed in a timely manner. Grade appeals are not allowed after one semester has passed since the grade has been awarded. Grade appeals during the semester prior to the student's graduation must be raised immediately and addressed on a truncated timeline from what is outlined below in order for the appeal to be addressed prior to the conferral of a degree and the sealing of the student's transcript. If a grade appeal is submitted after a student has graduated, it will not be reviewed as no grade changes will be made to the academic record following the conferral of a degree.

The below steps outline the grade appeal process:

  • The student must first request the grade change from the instructor. The request should be in writing and outline the reasons the grade change is being requested. The instructor must respond to the student in writing with detailed justification for the grade given within two weeks of the student’s request.
  • If the student is not satisfied by the instructor's justification for the grade, they may appeal the grade in writing to the appropriate department chair or program director (based on the home department or program of the course and not on the student’s program of enrollment) within one week of the instructor’s response. The student's statement should respond to the instructor's detailed justification and explain why the student believes there remains cause for appeal. The appropriate chair or director will review the appeal and provide a written response to the student within three weeks.
  • A graduate student’s last opportunity for appeal is to the Vice Dean of Graduate Education. If a student wants to pursue a grade appeal to this level, the appeal must be in writing and be submitted within one week of the written response from the chair. The student's statement should acknowledge both the instructor's and the chair's responses and explain why the student believes there remains cause for appeal. The Vice Dean of Graduate Education must respond within four weeks of the student’s appeal, and the response must be in writing.

If a student believes that the grade is the result of identity-based discrimination, they should make a report through the Bias Report and Support System.

Incomplete Grades

A student may be eligible for a grade of Incomplete if they experience medical or acute personal challenges that make the satisfactory completion of course work difficult or unlikely. The student may request a grade of Incomplete (I) from one or more instructors and must take the following steps with each instructor:

  1. The student should meet with the instructor before the final examination or due date for the final paper/project to request the Incomplete. 
  2. If the instructor grants the Incomplete, the student and instructor should agree on the scope of the work remaining to complete the course and a date when it will be submitted. This date should be within 120 days of the last day of the semester in which the course is being taken. The instructor should confirm with the student, in writing, the details of the work with respective deadlines.

Whether or not to grant an Incomplete is at the instructor’s discretion. When determining whether to do so, the instructor should consider whether the student has consistently attended and engaged with the course (for example, whether the student has submitted all assignments except the final assignments/assessments) and made satisfactory progress in the course. Incompletes should not be granted unless the student has completed at least two-thirds of the assignments/assessments for the course.

If sufficient work has not been completed, the grade of Incomplete will not be feasible. In such situations, the instructor will submit whatever final grade the student has earned. The student may repeat the course at a later time if they choose. (For information about repeating a course, see below.)

If an Incomplete is granted, the work should be completed in the time frame agreed upon with the instructor. However, this time frame should not extend more than 120 days from the last day of the semester in which the Incomplete is granted/the course for which the Incomplete is granted is taken.

Failure to submit completed work and for the earned grade to be posted within 120 days of the last day of the semester in which the Incomplete was granted will result in the grade of Incomplete being automatically changed to a grade of F (or, in the case of a course being taken as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, to a grade of U).

Further, students cannot have a grade of Incomplete on their transcripts when their degrees are conferred. Thus, students who are expecting to graduate at the end of the semester in which the course being considered for an Incomplete was taken should not request or be granted a grade of Incomplete.

Any student who does have an Incomplete on their transcript at the time of certification and degree conferral will have the Incomplete changed to a grade of F (or, in the case of a course being taken as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, to a grade of U).

Grades cannot be changed after the conferral of a student's degree.

Note: If an Incomplete is granted, students cannot be added to the Canvas shell of a subsequent offering of the course in order to complete the previous enrollment. Instead, at the instructor’s request, the student can be given access to the original course shell, and the instructor can reopen assignments within that course shell. All work for an Incomplete should occur within the original course’s Canvas course shell or outside of Canvas entirely.

Retaking a Course

Graduate students may be allowed to retake a course once with prior permission from their department or program. The department can refuse the student's request. If permission to retake a course is granted, both registrations will show on the transcript. The grade for the first enrollment will always be updated to include the symbol R, which will cause the grade calculation for the first enrollment to be removed from the grade point average calculations. Whether or not it is lower than or equal to the original grade, the grade for the second enrollment will be used to calculate the grade point average. The grade for the first enrollment will not be replaced with an R until the second enrollment is completed and its grade has posted. A student who retakes a course without prior permission might not receive permission retroactively. No student may use the retake option to replace a grade received as a sanction for violation of the Academic Integrity Policy. The R option may be invoked only once per course, and the original grade option must be retained.

Transferred Credit

Students who have completed graduate-level course work or a graduate degree at an institution prior to joining Washington University may request to transfer a portion of that credit toward the course work in their Washington University degree program.

Graduate-Level Courses Completed Prior to Joining Washington University

A student may transfer graduate-level course credits amounting to a maximum of up to 35% of the course work requirement in the Washington University PhD program and a maximum of up to 10% of the course work requirement in the Washington University master's degree program. For example, in a PhD program that requires twelve 3-credit courses, a student could transfer, at most, four 3-credit courses toward their Washington University degree. Individual departments may choose to allow the transfer of fewer credits than the maximum percentage allowed by the Office of Graduate Studies. Individual departments retain the autonomy to decide which specific courses can transfer from a previous institution and which courses will need to be completed at Washington University.

Please note that the Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) is an exception. It allows the maximum transfer of 15 credit units from institutions that have entered into special cooperative agreements with Washington University for this purpose.

Credit for previous graduate-level courses will be transferred to a student’s Washington University record only to fulfill departmental course requirements. Students may not transfer credit for other program requirements (e.g., qualifying exams, mentored experiences, prospectus defense). In addition, graduate-level course work that has been applied toward an undergraduate degree may not be transferred for credit in a Washington University PhD or master's degree program.

Transfer requests will be reviewed by the Office of Graduate Studies and the Washington University department offering the student's degree program. The total number of credits transferred may impact the duration of funding the student receives from the university as well as the expected time to degree completion; these details are determined by the department of the student's program of study and the Office of Graduate Studies.

Joining a Graduate Program Through Faculty Recruitment

Faculty members recruited to Washington University may have students at their prior institution who would like to join the faculty member at Washington University. Those situations will be addressed through a separate process. Please contact the Office of Graduate Studies Admissions for further information.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory academic progress for students in Arts & Sciences PhD programs is monitored by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, as well as by the degree program. Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress may result in a student's placement on academic probation or their immediate dismissal. Most financial awards — and all federally funded awards — are contingent on the maintenance of satisfactory academic progress. Moreover, satisfactory academic progress is a prerequisite for service on any committee authorized by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences. The following are minimal standards of satisfactory academic progress for PhD students; degree programs may set stricter standards but must not relax these standards.

  1. Students are expected to proceed at a pace appropriate to enable them to finish within the time limits discussed below. Students are expected to have completed all PhD requirements except for the dissertation by no later than the end of the fourth year of full-time graduate study.
  2. Students are expected to maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Note that plus and minus marks alter the numerical value of a letter grade.
  3. Students are expected not to carry, at one time, any more than 9 credit units for which an I (incomplete), X (final examination missed), or N (grade not yet submitted) is recorded. The Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, may deny a student with more than 9 unfinished credits permission to register.
  4. After four years of full-time graduate study, doctoral students who cannot identify three faculty members who are willing to serve on their Research Advisory Committee (RAC) are not considered to be making satisfactory academic progress. A student must file an RAC form during their fourth year of study in order to identify membership of the RAC.
  5. A student's Title, Scope and Procedure form must be filed before the fifth year in order to identify the composition of the dissertation work.
  6. A one-year extension beyond a student's designated program length is available if circumstances warrant. Extensions are obtained by application by the student to the degree program, endorsement by the degree program to the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, and approval by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences.

Qualifying Examinations

Progress toward the PhD is contingent upon the student passing examinations that are variously called preliminary, qualifying, general, comprehensive, or major field exams. The qualifying process varies according to the program. In some programs, it consists of a series of incremental, sequential, and cumulative exams over a considerable time. In others, the exams are held during a relatively short period of time. Exams may be replaced by one or more papers. The program, which determines the structure and schedule of the the required examinations, is responsible for notifying the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, of the student's outcome, whether successful or unsuccessful.

Residence Requirement

Each student must spend at least one academic year enrolled full-time at Washington University. Any exceptions must be approved by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences.

Mentored Experience Requirement

Doctoral students at Washington University must complete department-defined Mentored Experience Requirements. The Mentored Experience Requirement is a doctoral degree milestone that is notated on the student's transcript when complete. Each department has an established Mentored Experience Implementation Plan in which the number of units that a student must earn through Mentored Teaching Experience(s) or Mentored Professional Experiences is defined. The Mentored Experience Implementation Plans outline how doctoral students within the discipline will be mentored to achieve competencies in teaching at basic and advanced levels. Some departments may elect to include Mentored Professional Experiences as an avenue for completing some units of the Mentored Experience Requirement. Doctoral students will enroll in LGS 6XXX Mentored Teaching Experience or LGS 7020 Mentored Professional Experience to signify their progression toward completing the overall Mentored Experience Requirement for the degree.

The Doctoral Dissertation

A Research Advisory Committee (RAC) must be created by the end of the student's third year. As evidence of the mastery of a specific field of knowledge and of the capacity for original scholarly work, each candidate must complete a dissertation that is approved by their RAC.

A Title, Scope, & Procedure form (PDF) for the dissertation must be signed by the committee members and by the program chair. It must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, at least six months before the degree is expected to be conferred or before beginning the fifth year of full-time enrollment, whichever is earlier.

A Doctoral Dissertation Guide & Template that give instructions regarding the format of the dissertation are available on the website of the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences. Both should be read carefully at every stage of dissertation preparation.

The Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, requires each student to make the full text of the dissertation available to the committee members for their review at least one week before the defense. Most degree programs require two or more weeks for the review period; students should check with their faculty.

Dissertation Defense

Approval of the written dissertation by the Research Advisory Committee is necessary before the student can orally defend their dissertation. The Dissertation Defense Committee that observes and examines the student's defense consists of at least five members, who normally meet these criteria:

  1. Three of the five must be full-time Washington University faculty members or, for programs offered by Washington University-affiliated partners, full-time members of a Washington University-affiliated partner institution who are authorized to supervise PhD students and who have appropriate expertise in the proposed field of study; one of these three must be the PhD student's primary thesis advisor, and one may be a member of the emeritus faculty. A fourth member may come from inside or outside the student's program. The fifth member must be from outside the student's program; this fifth member may be a Washington University research professor or lecturer, a professor from another university, or a scholar from the private sector or government who holds a doctorate and maintains an active research program.
  2. Three of the five normally come from the student's degree program; at least one of the five must not.

All committees must be approved by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, regardless of whether they meet the normal criteria.

The committee is appointed by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, upon the request of the degree program. The student is responsible for making the full text of the dissertation accessible to their committee members for their review in advance of the defense. Faculty and graduate students who are interested in the subject of the dissertation are normally welcome to attend all or part of the defense but may ask questions only at the discretion of the committee members. Although there is some variation among degree programs, the defense ordinarily focuses on the dissertation itself and its relation to the student's field of expertise.

Submission of the Dissertation

After the defense, the student must submit an electronic copy of the dissertation online to the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences. The submission website requires students to choose among publishing and copyrighting services offered by ProQuest's ETD Administrator. Students are asked to submit the Survey of Earned Doctorates separately. The degree program is responsible for delivering the final approval form, signed by the committee members at the defense and then by the program chair or director, to the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences. Students who defend their dissertations successfully have not yet completed their PhD requirements; they finish earning their degree only when their dissertation submission has been accepted by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences.

Graduation Information

Students are responsible for filing an Intent to Graduate form in order to have each earned degree conferred. The Intent to Graduate is available online through WebSTAC. Deadlines for filing an Intent to Graduate are listed on the website of the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences. No degree will be awarded if this form has not been filed. Students who do not complete their degree requirements by their intended graduation date must refile for the next graduation date. Students who are completing a master's degree en route to the PhD must file for their master's degree upon completion of the master's degree requirements in order to have the degree conferred; master's degrees completed en route to PhD degrees are not automatically conferred.

Specific Circumstances

Changes in Program of Study

Students are usually admitted to graduate programs in Arts & Sciences to study toward specific degrees. Therefore, a change in the degree objective (e.g., from AM to PhD) is subject to the approval of both the student's program and the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences. A request for a change in the subject of study (e.g., from economics to history) requires the approval of both programs concerned as well as that of the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences. Students may be required to fill out a new application for admission before making such changes, but they will not be charged a second application fee.

Student Grievances: Guidelines and Procedures  

Students may encounter experiences in which they have legitimate complaints regarding academic matters or an interaction with a faculty member, staff member, or fellow student. It is important that students and faculty have a common understanding of how such complaints may be expressed and resolved.

Students with complaints regarding academic matters or interactions with a faculty member, staff member, or fellow student should initially seek resolution from their faculty advisor, then from their director of graduate studies, and finally from the chair of their degree program. Complaints that remain unresolved may be addressed to the Vice Dean of Graduate Education in the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) in Arts & Sciences. The Vice Dean may follow up with the complainant, with faculty in the student’s degree program, or with other stakeholders on campus to review and investigate the grievance and to work toward a resolution. Faculty involved in the process of receiving or reviewing a complaint should treat the information and relevant conversations as highly confidential.

Students with complaints regarding nonacademic matters (including but not limited to unprofessional behavior, a hostile learning environment, and abusive or offensive language and/or behavior) — whether by faculty, staff, or fellow students — are first encouraged, depending on the severity of the alleged behavior, to seek resolution with the alleged offender(s). If a complainant is not comfortable with doing so or if the problem persists after they have done so, they should seek resolution from their faculty advisor, then from their director of graduate studies, and finally from the chair of their degree program. Complaints that remain unresolved may be addressed in several ways:

  • By the Ombuds: The Offices of the Ombuds serve as confidential, independent, and impartial resources that offer assistance in the informal resolution of university-related conflicts and advocate for fair treatment and process.
  • By the OGS: The OGS does not adjudicate matters of nonacademic student grievance. However, it can and should be used as a source of support, mediation, and advising for such matters.
  • By the Office of University Compliance: Students with such complaints have the option of reporting suspected violations of the University Code of Conduct using the online form on the Office of University Compliance webpage.​

All complaints regarding academic and professional integrity should be first addressed to the respective department head(s). The department, with the counsel of the OGS, can submit a report of academic and professional integrity through the appropriate mechanism (i.e., the OGS for master’s student concerns and the Vice Provost for Graduate Education Academic and Professional Integrity Officer for PhD concerns).  ​

Washington University policies state that members of the university community can expect to be free from discrimination and harassment. Students, faculty, staff, and outside organizations working on campus are required to abide by specific policies prohibiting harassment. ​An allegation of discrimination or harassment may be appealed to the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, who will determine whether to convene the Title IX Grievance Committee to hear the case. Allegations of bias, prejudice, or discrimination should be reported using the Bias Report and Support System. Visit the Discrimination and Harassment page on the Human Resources site for more information.​

Leaves of Absence

A student may request and be approved for a leave of absence during their regular registration period if they are not registered in absentia (LGS 9001). Leaves of absence must be endorsed by the degree program and approved by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, for up to one year. Extensions must be reapproved.

Approved leaves of absence are not counted as part of a student's program length and will not be approved for semesters beyond the program length, including enrollment extension. While on a leave of absence, the student is not registered and has no student status at Washington University. Students who begin a leave during any semester will be dropped from all course registration for that semester and will receive no course credit for work completed during that semester prior to the leave.

Leaves of absence may be personal or medical. In the case of a medical leave, the student must present an authorization from the Habif Health and Wellness Center at the beginning and again at the end of the leave. At the end of any leave of absence, a student is reinstated into the School of Arts & Sciences under the conditions prevailing at the time the leave was granted. Being on leave suspends student status and financial support from the university. Therefore, taking a leave may adversely affect loan deferment, visa status, the right to rent university-owned housing, and so on. Most visa types would prevent international students from remaining in the United States while taking a leave of absence; international students should consult the Office for International Students and Scholars as well as their faculty advisor, their program's director of graduate studies, and the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, before taking a leave of absence.

Prior to taking a leave of absence, students should also consider their need for health insurance coverage. The continuation of student health insurance and access to the Habif Health and Wellness Center depends on such factors as the type of leave (medical or personal), the length of time the student has already been covered during the current insurance year, and the student's location during the leave. Students should consult the Habif Health and Wellness Center website for current policies related to leaves of absence; these policies may change annually if insurance carriers change.

Withdrawals

Students wishing to withdraw from their programs must give notice in writing by filling out the withdrawal form available on the Forms page of the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, where it can be found under the "Change to Enrollment Status" heading. This form must include the date upon which the withdrawal should be considered effective. Without such information, there may be serious financial repercussions for the student and/or the university. International students should contact their advisors in the Office for International Students and Scholars before taking this action so that they can understand all potential visa and student status implications. 

Dismissals

A program may wish to dismiss a student for a number of reasons, including willful misrepresentation to gain admission to graduate study, breaches of academic integrity, academic failure, or behavior destructive to the welfare of the academic community. Dismissals are recommended by the degree program and are not final until approved by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences. Any student who believes their dismissal was undeserved may appeal to the Vice Dean of Graduate Education within 14 calendar days. Except for circumstances justifying immediate dismissal, a student may not be dismissed on the basis of academic performance without the opportunity to return to good standing during an identified period of probation.

For details of these or any other policies of the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, please visit the Policies & Procedures page.

Interdisciplinarity

Interdisciplinary Courses

PhD students can discuss with their advisors individual courses available outside of their school that may advance their research or professional goals. A university tuition agreement signed by all of the deans of the university's graduate and professional schools fosters interdisciplinary study across the schools and allows enrollment in courses outside of the student's home school. Many courses are available for graduate student enrollment, subject to the following eligibility guidelines:

  • Students must be enrolled full-time in graduate degree programs and have the approval of their faculty advisor or administrative officer to take a course outside of their home school.
  • Courses will be open to students outside of the discipline only if the students have met the required prerequisites and have the approval of both their department and the course instructor.
  • Finally, courses in the evening divisions, including the School of Continuing & Professional Studies, are not part of this agreement. Courses that require individualized instruction and/or additional fees (e.g., independent studies, individual music lessons) are also excluded.

Dual Degree Programs

The university has set up numerous programs that permit students to earn two graduate and/or professional degrees at the same time. One of these programs includes a PhD:

  • Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD in various disciplines)

The Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, uses the term dual degree to identify instances when two separate programs of study share some common curricular elements and may allow a specified amount of double-counting, which means that certain courses or credits can count toward the requirements for both programs. These programs have been designed and approved by either a cross-departmental or cross-school faculty committee or separately by both schools' committees who have agreed on the common elements.

Students wishing to pursue dual degrees other than the Medical Scientist Training Program may be permitted to do so, but such requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Admission to an individualized dual degree program between two School of Arts & Sciences disciplines on the Danforth Campus must be recommended by the directors of graduate studies for both disciplines and approved by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences. Admission to an individualized dual degree program involving another school of the university must be recommended by the directors of graduate studies for both disciplines and approved by the deans of both schools. Recommendations should address a variety of academic and administrative concerns, including the timeline for the completion of both degrees and the responsibility for funding the student and remitting the tuition. Students should not undertake study toward an individualized dual degree program until it has been fully approved.

Graduate Certificates

The certificates offered to full-time students in the School of Arts & Sciences are all interdisciplinary in nature:

Graduate certificates are open to students in PhD programs in Arts & Sciences and require the completion of 15 to 18 credit units. Interested students must fill out an application for admission to a certificate program (PDF) and receive the approval of their degree program's chair, the certificate program's director, and the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences. The application form is also posted on the website of the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences. Tuition remission may be available for the credit units required to complete a certificate program if the student's total units do not exceed 72. Earning a certificate should not increase a student's expected time to degree or the amount of support from the School of Arts & Sciences. No student will be admitted to, given tuition remission for, or awarded more than one graduate certificate.

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