Graduate Student Policies

Advising | Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Course Option | Incompletes | Obtaining Florida Residency Graduation Procedures Moving from the M.A. to the Ph.D. | Progress Toward Degree

For information regarding important dates in the current semester associated with many of the policies outlined below, please consult this list


As noted on the graduate studies homepage, both graduate degrees (M.A. and Ph.D.) are awarded within one of four "tracks" or "fields of study." Once accepted into one of these four tracks, students are informally advised by the team of faculty in their area. In conversation with this team, students will eventually choose a formal thesis/dissertation committee.

Graduate students should consult regularly with their advisors about plans for coursework, publishing opportunities, and progress toward a degree. Students are encouraged to have a thesis or dissertation topic in mind early on in their graduate work, to prepare themselves as well as they can for future job possibilities, and to conceptualize their study each semester as part of a larger, holistic endeavor.

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Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Course Option

A student may enroll in as many as six (6) semester hours during the master’s degree program or up to nine (9) semester hours during the doctoral program on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. A student’s registration in a course under the S/U option must be indicated on the proper form to the Office of the University Registrar from the chair of the student’s major department. A student may change to a letter-grade (A, B, C) or S/U basis during the first seven weeks of a term. Please note that some courses are offered for S/U grade only and are not available for a letter grade.

Semester hour restrictions as stated above on the S/U option do not apply to courses normally offered on the basis of the S/U grading system, including courses in the College of Law for students of other graduate programs. Such hours are exempt from the total stipulated as permissible in the preceding paragraph.

In individual study, thesis, dissertation, recital, supervised research, and internship credit, as well as for courses taken on the S/U option, the assigned grade will be "S" (satisfactory) or "U" (unsatisfactory). Although course hours with a grade of "S" will be credited toward a degree, the "S" and "U" grades are not used in determining grade averages for admission to candidacy or for conferral of a degree.

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A student who is passing a course but has not completed all of the required work in the course at the end of the term may, with the permission of the instructor, be assigned a grade of "I". Unless the instructor notifies the Office of the University Registrar of an extension in time, an "I" or an "NG" not removed by the end of the next term in which the student is enrolled will be recorded as "IE" or "GE". Both "IE" and "GE" compute as an "F" in grade point average calculations. When that IE is eventually changed, the original I remains on the transcript.

It is the student's responsibility to contact the instructor to pursue these matters. Grade changes and extensions must be processed at least one week before grades are due each term. 

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Obtaining Florida Residency

Students who are not granted state resident status at the time of their admission must petition for a change of that status through the Registrar's Office at the end of their first year (usually in June). Procedures for reclassification of residency include:

  • Evidence of legal ties to the State of Florida

Declaration of Domicile (REQUIRED) obtainable in person from the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the County Court House of the Florida County in which the student claims permanent domicile. (The fee in Leon County is currently $15.00.) 

Copies of driver’s license, voters and vehicle registration. Legal ties with a previous state of residence must be switched to Florida within 30 days of filing your Declaration of Domicile. 

  • Official confirmation of Graduate Assistantship by the School or College with which you have been on appointment. The graduate assistant verification form must be completed by your department representative. 
  • Proof of financial independence. In most cases the formal STATEMENT OF INDEPENDENCE, which is included on the graduate assistant verification form will be sufficient. 
  • Proof of twelve months’ continuous physical presence in Florida; immediately prior to the first day of classes for the semester you wish to apply for residency. Documentation may include: Florida lease agreements, utility bills, bank records, etc. 

Graduate students not on assistantship during their first year of enrollment should contact the Registrar’s Office as soon as possible, as this information does not apply.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact:

Office of the University Registrar
The Florida State University
A-3900 University Center 32306-2480
PHONE: (850) 644-1050 FAX: (850) 644-1597

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Graduation Procedures

In the first week of the semester in which degree completion is expected, the student must apply for graduation at the Registrar’s Office. A 3.0 gpa is required for graduation clearance. In addition, the PhD student must undertake the dissertation clearance process through the Office of Graduate Studies, noting the deadlines listed in the Directory of Classes.

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Moving from the M.A. to the Ph.D

Students wishing to obtain a Master’s degree and continue on in the doctoral program must apply for readmission at the Registrar’s Office at the same time they submit their application for graduation at the Master’s level. Within the department, students must submit a written statement of intent to pursue doctoral training and three letters of recommendation from current faculty. The Graduate Studies Committee will vote each spring on students' applications for admission to the doctoral program. The completion of the requirements for the M.A. degree provides no guarantee that a student will be accepted into the Ph.D. program.

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Progress Toward Degree

Comprehensive exams usually begin after all course requirements (including languages) are completed. It is strongly recommended that all exams be taken within a semester following the completion of course requirements and in all cases must be taken within a calendar year. By demonstrating progress toward the degree and satisfactory performance of duties, Ph.D. students are eligible, in most cases, for teaching assignments and financial support for two academic years following successful completion of their comprehensive exams. All decisions about teaching assignments and financial support will be based on Departmental needs and resources.

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