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Graduate School FAQs

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Toggle through the sections to find answers to frequently asked questions. If you are not able to find the answer to your question(s), please reach out to the Graduate School directly.

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How many credits do I need to be enrolled in to be considered full-time? Half-time? 
To qualify for full-time enrollment, graduate students must be enrolled in 9 credit hours per semester. Half-time students are required to take a minimum of 5 credits. Students on an assistantship should reference the table below to determine full and part-time status requirements.

                                             All Terms       

25% time assistantship            7                              

49% time assistantship            5                             

How many credits do I need to be enrolled in to qualify for financial aid? 
Domestic students must be enrolled at least half-time (5 credits) to receive Federal Aid. Loan deferment may also require full or part-time status. Eligibility varies with financial aid programs and students should contact their lender for requirements. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional questions (605-688-4695 or email).

Do I need to be a full-time student? 
Domestic students are not required to maintain full-time status to complete a graduate degree. Domestic students must be enrolled in a minimum of 1 credit each semester (fall/spring) to stay active. International graduate students are required to pursue a full-time course of study to maintain non-immigrant status in accordance with the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. International students must seek the approval of the International Student Affairs office for authorization to drop below full-time status per semester.

Do I need to register during the summer semester to maintain my student status? 
No, unless one of the following apply:

  • You are completing your final oral exam or other degree requirements and plan to graduate
  • You are serving as a graduate assistant over the summer
  • You are an international student and the summer term is your first semester; full-time enrollment is required

I am trying to enroll in a variable credit course (thesis, dissertation, internship, etc.), but the system is only allowing me to enroll in 1 credit. How do I enroll in multiple credits? 
To adjust a variable credit course, students should first enroll in the desired course. Once added, the student will need to go to the Schedules and Options tab and click on the course credit (hyperlinked) that needs to be adjusted and change as necessary. The submit button at the bottom of the page will need to be clicked to save changes.

I have made changes to my committee. What do I need to do to formalize those changes?
A change in Adviser/Committee form (found on the Graduate School forms) should be completed for any changes made to a student’s committee.

I have tried contacting my GFR, but they are unresponsive to phone calls, emails, etc. What can be done?
Students who have made sufficient effort over time to contact their GFR and have not received a response from them may either choose their own GFR replacement (someone with graduate faculty status who sits outside of the student’s home department/discipline), or the Graduate School can randomly assign a new GFR.

My GFR no longer works at SDSU. What can be done?
A student may either choose their own GFR replacement (someone with graduate faculty status who sits outside of the student’s home department/discipline), or the Graduate School can randomly assign a new GFR. It is recommended that a student find their own replacement when possible to ensure availability.

My adviser has left SDSU. Can they still be on my committee?
Faculty who are no longer employed by SDSU cannot serve as a major adviser on a student’s committee. Departed faculty members can still serve on committees, however, and may serve as co-chair. All official paperwork must be signed by a faculty member employed by SDSU.

I am working with people outside of SDSU for my research. Can they be on my committee?
Faculty from other universities and people who work in industry may serve on a student’s committee if the minimum committee member requirements have been met (4 – DNP/PhD, 3 – Master’s). If minimum committee member requirements are not met, outside committee members may still serve on a committee but would need to obtain Associate Graduate Faculty status. Please contact the Graduate School for more information.

I want to submit my plan of study. How do I know what courses to include? 
Students should reference the Graduate Catalog to determine program-specific requirements. A meeting with the student’s adviser/committee prior to plan of study submission is highly encouraged.

Who needs to sign my plan of study? 
When submitting a plan of study, master’s students must get approval from their major adviser. Doctoral students should obtain approval from their entire committee, GFR included.

I need to make some changes to my plan of study. What do I need to do?
Students making any changes to their plan of study should submit a Change in Plan of Study form found on the Graduate School forms.

I have taken courses at a different University. How do I know if they will qualify for transfer to SDSU? 
Transfer courses must meet all transfer requirements outlined on page 8 of SDSU Policy 2:17.

If courses taken at a different University meet SDSU’s transfer requirements, how do I have them formally added to my SDSU transcript? 
All transfer work must first be approved by the student’s department/major adviser for inclusion on the plan of study. If approved, a student should include that coursework on the plan of study and submit an official transcript to the SDSU Graduate School. The Graduate School will process any transfer that is on the plan of study and meets all transfer requirements outlined in policy 2:17.

I have a date selected for my exam. Is there a form I need to fill out?

Yes, students must submit the exam request form for any comprehensive oral and final oral exam (found on the Graduate School forms). A request is not needed for the written comprehensive exam. This should be scheduled internally with the student’s department. Exam requests should be submitted at least 2 weeks before the scheduled exam.

I have submitted my exam request form online. Is there anything else I need to submit to the Graduate School before my exam?

Students are not required to submit any additional documentation to the Graduate School prior to their comprehensive or final oral exams once the request is submitted. Students should ensure they have sent all presentation materials and a copy of their thesis/dissertation to the committee for review prior to the exam date.

I have determined an exam date that works for my committee, but my GFR is not available at that time. What can be done?

All committee members, including the GFR, must be present at all exams. A new GFR may be selected if there are no dates that will work in the time frame a student requires to meet degree requirements.

I or someone on my committee is not able to attend my exam in person. Is it possible to remotely conduct an exam?

Yes, students may make accommodations to utilize zoom or other electronic capabilities to complete an exam or other committee meetings. Information on utilizing zoom can be found on MyState under the Resources tab.

My committee cannot meet before the exam deadline. May I have an extension?

An extension is only granted for extenuating circumstances. Any student requiring an extension should contact the Graduate School. Extension requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

I am ready to submit my thesis/dissertation. What do I need to do?

Students submitting their thesis or dissertation must ensure they have successfully passed their final oral exam and have incorporated all committee changes to their document. Students will then submit their document on ProQuest. Step-by-step formatting and submission instructions can be found on the Graduate School website.

I have submitted my thesis/dissertation on ProQuest. Do I need to submit any other documents?

Yes, all students completing a thesis or dissertation must also submit the electronic acceptance page, pay the library binding fee, and complete the electronic copyright form. Links to all additional requirements: submission instructions.

I want to delay the release of my thesis/dissertation. What do I need to do?

Students wanting to delay the release of their thesis or dissertation must indicate so on ProQuest and complete the thesis/dissertation hold request. This form must be approved by the student’s major adviser and reasonable justification included.

ProQuest is asking that I purchase copies of my thesis/dissertation through the ProQuest site. Is that required?

You may choose to order copies of your thesis/dissertation through ProQuest, but it is NOT required! You may purchase personal copies of your document through the Briggs Library at a reduced cost.

I will not be able to meet the thesis/dissertation deadline. May I have an extension?

An extension is only granted for extenuating circumstances. Any student requiring an extension should contact the Graduate School. Extension requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

I am submitting a petition, who needs to sign?

The student’s academic advisor should always sign all petitions. If the petition involves a specific course or courses, the course instructor(s) should also sign. Department head approval is typically not required unless the petition is requesting more than adding or dropping a course. International students should always request a signature from International Affairs.

I have submitted my petition, now what? How will I know when the petition has been processed?

Once a student has submitted a petition, the form will automatically route to the appropriate individuals for signatures. Once all parties have signed, the Graduate School will forward the petition to the Registrar’s Office for processing. If approved, the Registrar’s Office will make the appropriate adjustments based on the request. Changes will be viewable in the course schedule once processed. Students will not personally be able to make the changes. If there are any issues with a petition, students will be notified via email.

How long does it take for a petition to be processed? 

Typical processing time for a petition is 1 week. At the start and end of each semester when the most requests come in, students should allow up to 2 weeks for a petition to be processed by the Registrar’s Office. Petitions are processed in the order in which they are received but may also be prioritized based on the request.

I am graduating in the summer. Do I need to register for a credit?

All graduate students must register for at least 1 credit in the semester in which they plan to graduate.

What are the deadlines for graduation this semester?

Graduation deadlines for a given semester may be found: Graduate School deadlines.

The graduation application is asking for a curriculum term, what does this mean?

The curriculum term is any semester in which the graduate level program was active. The curriculum term may be different than the graduation term. Graduation term will be verified on the following page.

When selecting a curriculum term, I receive an error message saying, “no curriculum term available”. What should I do?

Students who applied to graduate in a previous semester should verify that they do not have an existing active graduation application (see question below for instructions). If no existing application exists, students should try all curriculum terms in which the program was active. If the message persists, please contact the Graduate School.

How do I know my graduation application was submitted? 

Students should access their Student Profile through MyState (same location as course registration). Graduation Information will be listed in the center of the page. If a student has an active application a hyperlink will be available to view the application. If not, ‘None’ will be listed.

What happens if I apply to graduate and am not able to meet the deadlines for graduation? 

Students who do not meet graduation deadlines for the semester in which they apply have a hold placed on their student account and a $50 fee is required before that hold can be removed. The charge will NOT appear on a student’s bill and must be paid separately. Payment can be made online or a cash/check payment made at the Graduate School.

I missed the deadlines for the semester I had originally applied to graduate, do I need to wait for the following semester to complete my degree requirements? 

There are only 3 official graduation dates (one for each semester – Fall, Spring and Summer). Students who missed initial graduation deadlines would need to apply for a subsequent semester graduation date. However, if a student can complete all degree requirements (coursework, exam, thesis/dissertation) prior to the start of the next semester, the registration requirement would be waived.

When will my transcript and diploma be available? 

Transcripts are available roughly 1 month prior to the official graduation date of the semester. Diplomas are ready 2-3 months following the official graduation date. Dates per semester can be found on the Graduate School deadlines page. Students needing verification of their degree prior to transcript availability should contact the Graduate School to obtain a letter verifying degree requirements.

I am interested in the GPA. How do I enroll?

  1. On your D2L homepage, select Discover.
  2. Type the course name in the search bar - 'Graduate Student Professional Development Series'
  3. Select Course, and click 'Enroll in Course'

I would like to participate in the GPA. What do I need to do to earn the certificate?

Students must complete 7 workshops, 1 from each core competency area. The GPA will be available completely online through D2L. More information regarding the GPA can be found: Graduate School GPA. Students should contact the Graduate School if they have any additional questions.

I have completed all requirements for the GPA. When will I get my certificate?

The GPA certificates are awarded at the Graduate Student Recognition Event in April. Students unable to attend can request a hard copy be mailed to them. Electronic copies of the certificate will be emailed to all those that have completed following the GPA deadline in April.