University of California, Riverside

Graduate Division

General Registration and Enrollment Regulations

Continuous Registration

Unless a Leave of Absence has been granted, students are expected to register for every academic quarter once their graduate studies begin. For the quarter in which the degree is actually awarded, students must either be registered or on Filing Fee Status.

Change Degree Objective

Students who are currently enrolled in a Master's program and wish to move to the PhD within the same program must have the approval of their program faculty and of the Graduate Division to continue for the PhD.  Requests are made via the petition to change degree objective.  International students must submit a new letter verifying financial support for the duration of their studies before approval can be granted. 

Students who are currently enrolled in a PhD program who wish to move to the Master's within the same program will notify their department and complete the change degree objective form.  Most of the time this will accompany the advancement to candidacy application for the master's degree.  International students must also obtain a signature from the International Student Resource Center for the change to be processed.

Filing Fee Status

Students who have completed all degree requirements except for defending and filing the dissertation/thesis or completing the master's comprehensive exams are eligible for Filing Fee Status during the final quarter of residence in lieu of paying registration fees. Students do not have to use Filing Fee status. For students writing a dissertation or thesis, the dissertation/thesis advisor must certify that the committee has read and approved a draft of the manuscript, that only minor revisions need to be made, and no more than 12 hours of faculty time will be required.

Students on Filing Fee Status pay only one-half of the Student Services Fee (approximately $179). Only one quarter on Filing Fee status is allowed. Students who fail to complete their degree programs must register and pay full fees for the following quarter.  Students may use filing fee during Summer if necessary.

Students on Filing Fee Status should contact Student Health Services if they wish to purchase the campus medical insurance.

A candidate on Filing Fee Status cannot be employed with any student employment title (such as GSR, TA, or Associate-In). Since a candidate on Filing Fee status does not pay registration fees nor enroll in units, they are not entitled to University student privileges or use of University facilities except for the Library.

Leave of Absence

A Leave of Absence is intended to allow the temporary interruption of the student's academic program. Leaves are granted for the following reasons:

  • serious illness or other temporary disability
  • the need to concentrate on a job or occupation not directly related to the degree program; or
  • family responsibilities

To be eligible for a Leave of Absence, students must have the approval of their Graduate Advisor, be in good standing, and have been enrolled for at least one quarter. Leaves are not normally granted for more than a total of three quarters. Since students on leave do not pay fees, they may not use University facilities or make demands on faculty time. Students on Leave are ineligible for fellowships, research grants, or financial aid. A student on leave may not normally work on campus and appointments as a GSR or TA, or any other appointment requiring full-time enrollment. Nor may students on leave take qualifying exams or receive credit for academic work done during the leave period.

The University also is fully compliant with AB 2350 Prevention of Pregnancy Discrimination. Students cannot be forced to take a leave of absence due to pregnancy related issues. For additional information on this bill visit our Family Friendly Benefits page.

In Absentia Registration

Students pursuing graduate study or research outside the State of California for an entire quarter may register In Absentia and may receive an 85 percent reduction in Tuition and Student Services Fee. Students registering In Absentia will be assessed the health insurance, non-resident tuition and/or professional school fees if applicable.  Visit the Registrar's Office for more information about fees.

In Absentia registrants should be advanced to candidacy for the doctorate or be writing a Master's thesis. Masters students must have attended at least one year to qualify. Students in this status can be paid as a GSR and receive a fellowship stipend. They may also receive other forms on financial aid. PhD students may enroll for In Absentia for up to two years. However, petitions are only approved for one year at a time.  Master’s candidates are limited to one year.


Students who wish to cancel their registration prior to the first day of classes should contact the Graduate Division. They will receive a full refund of fees minus a processing fee. Thereafter, those who withdraw during the first five weeks of a quarter are entitled to a partial refund of fees. The amount of the refund is determined by the number of calendar days elapsed between the first day of instruction and the date on which a withdrawal form is filed with the Graduate Division. See the Schedule of Classes for the refund schedule. The Graduate Student Health Insurance Premium (GSHIP) is not refunded unless it has not been used. If it has been used then none of the cost of the insurance is refunded, but the student may use the GSHIP for the remainder of the quarter.  Students who are unable to file the necessary paperwork due to illness or emergency should call the Graduate Division for help at (951) 827-3315.


Each quarter, graduate students must pay their fees and enroll in courses by the date indicated in the Schedule of Classes.

All graduate students are expected to carry a full academic course load unless good reasons exist for not doing so. Graduate students are considered to be full-time if they are carrying 12 graduate units. When a study list contains both graduate and undergraduate courses, the following table is used to calculate the appropriate course load:

Full Academic Program

Graduate UnitsUndergraduate Units
0 16
1 15
2 13
3 12
4 11
5 9
6 8
7 7
8 5
9 4
10 3

Half-Time Status and Reduced Fees

Half-Time Status and Reduced Fees is only approved for students who cannot attend full-time for reasons of occupation (full-time employment outside the University), unusual family responsibilities, or poor health. Students approved for Half-Time Status and Reduced Fees cannot enroll in more than six units. The petition must be submitted to the Graduate Division two weeks before fees are due unless the student wants to pay their full fees first. If full fees are paid first, a refund will be processed after the petition is approved. In no event may the student turn in a petition after the third week of the quarter.

If the student enrolls in more than the allotted number of units they will be billed the amount that was earlier deducted from their fees (one-half of the Educational Fee and one-half of the Nonresident Tuition, if applicable; for MBA students this may include part of the Professional Fee).

Students may apply for Half-Time Status and Reduced Fees for the entire academic year at the beginning of the Fall quarter. Students are expected to notify the Graduate Division if they terminate Half-Time Status prior to the end of the academic year. Half-time students are not eligible for employment as GSRs or TAs or to hold University fellowships as determined by the Graduate Council.

After advancement to candidacy, all doctoral students will be considered full-time under the Normative Time Policy and for purposes of registering and enrolling. Thus, doctoral candidates who are advanced to candidacy are not eligible for Half-Time Status and Reduced Fees.

University financial aid is not available for students taking less than six units of course work. If approved for Half-Time Status, eligibility for deferment of student loan repayment obligations may be in jeopardy. Students should consult the Student Business Services Office of the University where they incurred their debt for specific information.

Federal regulations governing student visa status require full-time attendance for international students.

If the student is also a career employee of the University, they can use the Employee Reduced Fee Program which is a two-thirds reduction in fees.  More information is available on the Benefits Section of the Human Resources web site. The student/employee should also petition Campus Health to waive the student health insurance if already covered by University benefits.

Transfer of Credit

Petitions for transferring credit will be considered only when the work is necessary to fulfill degree requirements. The total number of units which students will be allowed to transfer onto their graduate record at UCR from other institutions cannot exceed one half the number of units needed for the graduate degree. Students may not transfer in any units from a program that has been successfully completed.

A maximum of 8 quarter units from institutions outside the University of California may be counted toward the Master's degree at UCR. All transfer work must have been completed in graduate standing with a minimum grade of "B." Program and Graduate Dean approval must be obtained before these units can be accepted for credit. These units must be from an institution of recognized standing where the student was enrolled in a graduate program they did not complete. These courses must apply to the graduate program in which the student is registered. Unit credit only is posted on the UCR transcript (grade points are not transferred).

UCR graduate students may use, with the approval of their Graduate Advisor, any relevant 200-level course(s) taken during a UCR bachelor’s program toward a graduate degree at UCR, excluding any 200-level course(s) approved to count for bachelor’s degree, unit, or GPA requirements. Alternatively, the Graduate Advisor may approve waiving degree requirements based on 200-level courses taken as a UCR undergraduate and require the student to complete minimum unit requirements while enrolled in a graduate program.

Students may apply Summer Session course work from any University of California campus toward their graduate degree requirements if they have prior approval of their programs and of the Graduate Dean.

UCR Extension is considered an outside institution, but because "concurrent enrollment" courses (prefix XRC) are regularly offered UCR courses, students may transfer in up to 8 units of concurrent enrollment credit. However, students must have taken these units before their enrollment as graduate students. Matriculated graduate students may not use the University Extension concurrent enrollment mechanism. Graduate students who withdraw before completing their program objectives are required to wait one year before applying XRC courses to their degrees. (Please note that a student could transfer-in 8 additional units from the category 'Non-UC Campuses' described above).


Ordinarily, examinations such as language exams, master's comprehensives, and written and oral qualifying exams may be given only during an academic session for which the student has registered.

In the event of unsatisfactory performance on critical examinations (including comprehensive examinations for Master's or PhD degrees and PhD qualifying examinations) a second exam may be given upon the recommendation of the examination committee. The second examination may have a format different from the first, but the substance should be the same. The second examination will ordinarily not be given until three months have elapsed since the first examination. A third examination is not permitted.

To avoid a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest, when domestic partners or spouses are a majority of the faculty overseeing an exam, another faculty member will be added to that committee.

Satisfactory/No Credit (S/NC) Grading

Graduate students may take course work on an S/NC basis only when the course description indicates that this is an option. Graduate students may not use undergraduate or graduate courses taken on an S/NC basis to complete their master’s or PhD degree requirements, unless the course is only offered on an S/NC basis. Exceptions must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate Division.

All graduate students must be graded on an S/NC basis for any Physical Education activity course (PE1) in which they enroll.

For graduate students, a grade of S is equivalent to a grade of B (3.0) or better. No credit is given for a course in which a grade of NC is assigned.

Repeating Courses

A graduate student may repeat only those courses in which a grade of D, F, or NC was received. Repetition of a course more than once requires the Dean's approval. Only the most recently earned grade is used in computing the student's grade point average.  Courses in which a grade of D or F has been earned may not be repeated on an S/NC basis.


If you have ever registered as a graduate student at UCR, whether you completed a graduate program or not, you must complete all parts of the Application for Admission in order to be considered for readmission. The application fee must be submitted with the application.

Formal application for readmission is NOT required for:

If you fit one of the above two categories and need assistance with returning to UCR, registering and enrolling, contact your department or  Graduate Academic Affairs.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

Graduate Division
University Office Building

Tel: (951) 827-4302
Fax: (951) 827-2238