A student’s registration status may change during the course of graduate study and include full-time, part-time and approved periods of non-enrollment. Eligibility for certain registration statuses depends on the student’s program (i.e., Ph.D., DMA, master’s, certificate) and each registration status has different requirements. During approved periods of non-enrollment, students will not have the same access to University services as those available to registered students, such as courses, consultation with faculty, access to laboratories and other campus research facilities, financial aid, University Health Services, and recreational sports memberships.
A student who registers on or after the first day of classes (not including course adds, drops, or changes to an initial registration) will be charged a late registration fee. For information on the registration process, consult the Registrar’s Office Website.
- 3.1 Full-Time Study
- 3.2 Registration and Enrollment for Ph.D. Programs
- 3.3 Registration and Enrollment for Master’s and Doctorate of Musical Arts Programs
- 3.4 Within-Semester Medical Accommodation
- 3.5 Graduate Student Parental Accommodation
- 3.6 Time Limit Extensions for Family Care
- 3.7 Emergency Mental and Physical Health Withdrawal and Reinstatement
- 3.8 Retroactive Withdrawal
- 3.9 Change of Graduate Program
- 3.10 Non-Candidate for Degree Status
Full-time study within the Graduate School is defined as 8 credit hours of course enrollment per term, or 4 credit hours per half term. Some graduate programs or other University policies may have other minimum credit hour requirements for a student to be considered full-time. Graduate students may be required to be enrolled full-time to be eligible for certain University services and to meet the certification requirements of outside agencies, such as the Veterans Administration and US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Ph.D. students should see section 3.2.
Decisions related to enrollment eligibility are the shared responsibility of the graduate programs and the Graduate School. A student who has fulfilled all degree requirements may be prohibited from enrolling.
Note for International Students
US Citizenship and Immigration Services requires that a student who holds a J-1 or F-1 visa be registered full-time in the fall and winter terms to maintain his or her visa status. For this purpose, the Graduate School defines full-time study for international students as follows:
- Master’s, doctoral precandidates, and NCFD students must be registered for a minimum of 8 credit hours each fall and winter term.
- Students holding graduate assistantships with appointments of 0.25 or greater must be registered for at least 6 credit hours each fall and winter term.
- Ph.D. and Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) candidates must be making satisfactory progress towards completion of their degree, and candidates for the Ph.D. are required to be registered in the fall and winter terms.
- Special note for Doctor of Musical Arts students. Immigration regulations require international students to register even after completing coursework. As described below, international students who are master’s students or candidates in DMA degree programs and who are not registered for coursework may comply with this visa requirement by applying for detached study (section 3.3.1) or dissertation/research writing (section 3.3.2).
International students who wish to be registered less than full-time must obtain permission in advance from the International Center or risk compromising their status with US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Students in Ph.D. programs must be registered for each fall and winter term until final completion of all degree requirements unless they have received an authorized leave of absence (section 3.2.2) or have been approved for extramural study (below). Students enrolled in the fall and winter terms have 12-month privileges and are entitled to services during the spring and summer half terms whether or not they are registered. Students in Ph.D. programs are only required to register for the spring or summer half terms to enroll in or audit a course (section 4.3) or to take preliminary exams. Students must register for the full spring/summer term if they are conducting the oral defense of the dissertation and/or finalizing all degree requirements (section 5.4.8).
US student visa regulations require international students to be registered full-time no later than the end of the third week of classes during the fall and winter terms. The International Center should be consulted about any questions concerning immigration status.
Other University policies may have additional registration requirements. Some governmental agencies such as the Veterans Administration and the Department of Homeland Security may also have specific registration requirements. In general, full-time study is defined as 8 credit hours of course enrollment per term, or 4 credit hours per half term. Certain graduate programs may have other minimum credit hour requirements for a student to be considered full-time. Precandidates preparing for qualifying exams may be enrolled in 990, “Dissertation/precandidate,” for the number of credit hours that reflect their effort. Candidates will be registered for 995, “Dissertation/candidate,” which consists of 8 credit hours for a full term.
Students in more than one U-M graduate degree program (section 7) fulfill registration requirements when they are registered in one of the programs on the Ann Arbor campus.
Candidacy Course Registration
Candidates who register for a course in addition to 995 should seek prior approval from their faculty advisors. Candidates may elect one such course per term in addition to 995. A student who does not elect a course in addition to 995 during a term may elect two courses the next term; no more than one course may be deferred in this manner (an additional course may not be taken in anticipation of taking none in a future term).
A student who enrolls at another institution to pursue study relevant to the Ph.D. a period that overlaps substantially with a University fall or winter term may be eligible for extramural study status (extramural study is not an appropriate status for a student who is engaged in fieldwork or archival research, or who has an internship but is not enrolled in a formal course of study at another institution).
A student may seek approval for extramural study status and will be considered to meet the registration requirement if:
- the graduate chair in the student’s program has approved the course of study as directly relevant to the student’s ability to complete the Ph.D.;
- tuition or fees are being paid to the other institution;
- the course of study is seven weeks or longer during a fall or winter term, but no more than six full terms; and
- the student is in good academic standing after having completed at least one fall or winter term of study.
A student may pursue extramural study more than once, but for no more than a cumulative total of six full terms over the graduate career.
The student must seek authorization in advance from Rackham OARD for extramural study status, providing documentation confirming acceptance to the course of study and assessment of tuition or fees. If a student intends or needs to pursue study at another institution for longer than six full terms, the student would withdraw and seek reinstatement when ready to return. A student not authorized by Rackham OARD for extramural study status and not registered for the term or on a leave of absence will be considered to have withdrawn and will be discontinued from the program.
US visa regulations may constrain extramural study options for international students. International students considering extramural study must consult with the International Center.
A student on academic probation is not eligible for extramural study status.
Events may occur that make it necessary for a student pursuing a Ph.D. to interrupt his or her progress toward a degree. Since students in Ph.D. programs are required to be continuously enrolled, they may ask for a temporary leave of absence when certain life events make impossible continued active participation in the degree program. A leave of absence enables a student to not register during a fall or winter term and remain in compliance with the continuous enrollment requirement. A leave will be granted to students for illness or injury, to provide care or assistance for family and dependents, to meet military service obligations, or for other personal reasons.
A student on a Rackham-approved leave of absence suspends progress toward the Ph.D. degree for a minimum of one fall or winter term. No tuition and fees are charged for the period during which a student is on a leave of absence. A leave of absence may have implications for a student’s federal financial aid and loans. Students should consult with the Office of Financial Aid to determine how a leave status might affect their aid and eligibility to defer loan repayment.
Students on leave have access to limited services that allow them to remain current in their field of study and connected to their program. Students on leave do not have the benefits of registered status, however, and may not use University facilities or services normally available to registered students, including the use of laboratories, equipment, and other research facilities. Students on leave may not use the services of faculty or administrative staff except for planning the transition back to registered status.
A student is strongly encouraged to discuss the impact of a leave on the plan of study with the chair or director of graduate studies and the faculty advisor and develop a strategy for completing the degree program. A student should also discuss alternatives to a leave with the chair or director of graduate studies and the faculty advisor. It is important for faculty to have the opportunity to provide advice and counsel about how to manage the intersection of graduate education and personal situations. As an alternative arrangement, a student may remain enrolled but ask for a within-term accommodation that allows a temporary reduction in coursework, research, teaching or other educational responsibilities, or an extension of time allowed for achieving candidacy and completing the degree (sections 3.4, 3.5, 3.6). Such within-semester accommodations allow a student to maintain eligibility for student services.
Emergency situations may require a student to begin a leave of absence in the middle of a term. In these circumstances, students would withdraw their registration for that term and then immediately begin the approved leave of absence. Adjustments to tuition and fee charges are made according to the schedule set by the Registrar’s Office. Emergency leaves do not reverse the charges set by this schedule.
US immigration regulations may restrict the eligibility of an international student for a leave of absence. International students considering a leave of absence must consult with the International Center, so that the Center can either inform the student that the proposed leave of absence is permissible under immigration regulations and can update the student’s SEVIS record if needed, or, if the proposed leave is not permitted by immigration regulations, advise the student on other possible courses of action.
The following general policies apply to all leaves of absence.
- Chairs or directors of graduate study review and forward all requests for leaves with recommendations to the Dean of the Rackham Graduate School for review and approval.
- A leave of absence is not required for the spring/summer, since students maintain active status during these terms whether or not they are enrolled for courses.
- A student may submit a request to return early from an approved leave of absence, which is subject to the recommendation from the graduate program and approval of a Rackham dean
- Leaves of absence will not be approved for prior terms.
- Students are not eligible to request a leave of absence until they have completed one term of study in their Ph.D. program. A newly admitted student who has registered may seek an admissions deferral rather than a leave of absence if the request and approval occur before the end of the third week of classes in the initial term of registration. If the request is made and approved after the end of the third week of classes in the initial term the student will be discontinued and can apply for reinstatement at a later term.
- Students returning from an approved leave must enroll for the next fall or winter term that follows the leave. Students who are at the end of a term of an approved leave and do not either request a new leave or register for the next fall or winter term will be considered to have withdrawn and be discontinued from the program at the end of the term that follows the leave.
- Students on leave may finish work from previous terms, such as completing unfinished work for prior courses in which grades of incomplete have been assigned, but may not complete other academic requirements for their degree (e.g., taking exams for achieving candidacy).
- The time limit for reaching candidacy or for completing the Ph.D. degree will be extended by the number of terms the student is on leave (sections 5.1, 5.4.1).
- With the exception of a leave for military service, a student may be on leave for no more than four consecutive fall and winter semesters.
- A student who has been suspended for academic or non-academic reasons is not eligible to apply for a leave of absence. A student on an approved leave of absence who subsequently is suspended will have the leave rescinded.
Leave of Absence for Medical Reasons
A student will be granted a leave of absence for medical reasons for a serious physical or mental health condition that prevents continued participation in the program. A request for a leave requires a written recommendation from a health care provider.
A student can request a leave for up to two consecutive fall or winter terms, or 12 consecutive months, and may request an extension for up to an additional 12 months, or a maximum leave of 24 months. The program may initiate a request for a leave for medical reasons in the event that the student is incapacitated. Students who are withdrawn under the provisions of the University’s Policy on Emergency Mental Health and Readmission will be granted an approved leave of absence for medical reasons for the duration of the Emergency Withdrawal. The checklist and link to request a leave of absence for medical reasons is available on Rackham’s website.
For some medical circumstances, students should consider whether a within-semester medical accommodation is more appropriate (section 3.4).
Leave of Absence for Family Necessity or Dependent Care
A student may be required to step away from study for a term or more to take care of an urgent family necessity or to provide dependent care. A student will be granted a leave of absence:
- to take care of a serious circumstance that directly affects a family member, such as a death, serious health condition, financial difficulty, or other critical life situation; or
- to provide care for a dependent incapable of self-care because of age or disability.
For family necessity, “family” is defined according to the University’s Standard Practice Guide (SPG 201.11) to include the student’s spouse or domestic partner with whom the student shares living accommodations and expenses, and, without regard to their place of residence, the child, sibling, parent, grandparent or other related individual whose primary care is the responsibility of the student. For dependent care, a dependent is defined as: a biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild, or legal ward who is either under 18 years old; a family member (as defined above) older than 18 years and unable to provide self-care; or a spouse or domestic partner.
A student must explain the reasons why a leave is needed. A student can request a leave for up to two consecutive fall or winter terms, or 12 consecutive months, and may request an extension for up to an additional 12 months, or a maximum leave of 24 months. Students who have become parents through birth or adoption may remain enrolled, with the benefits of this status, but seek a Graduate Student Parental Accommodation within the term (section 3.5). The checklist and link to request a leave for family necessity or dependent care are available on Rackham’s website.
Leave of Absence for Military Service
A student will be granted a leave of absence for the duration of a military service obligation to their country of citizenship. The student must provide documentation confirming induction or authorization for active duty. The checklist and link to request a leave for military service are available on Rackham's website.
Leave of Absence for Personal Reasons
After completing at least one full term in a Ph.D. program, a student may request a one-term non-renewable leave of absence for personal reasons. A student should request this leave before the beginning of the term for which this leave is requested. A leave of absence for personal reasons may be taken only once during the graduate career, even if the student begins a leave in mid-term. A student considering a personal leave is encouraged to discuss other possible arrangements with the advisor and chair or director of graduate studies. Alternative strategies may help the student to continue in the program and to have the benefits of enrolled status. The checklist and link to request a leave of absence for personal reasons are available on Rackham's website.
Services Available to Students on Leave
Insurance and Health Care
- may be eligible to purchase an extension of existing health insurance coverage at personal expense;
- are not eligible to begin enrollment in either GradCare or the Domestic Student Health Insurance Plan;
- can have access to the services of the University Health Service (UHS) at personal expense on a fee-for-service basis by purchasing the UHS Prepaid Plan, or through the provisions of any health insurance coverage the student may have.
- retain access to the University’s libraries, including borrowing privileges and remote access;
- are not eligible for University-administered fellowships, grants, temporary student employment or any of the following appointments: Graduate Student Instructor, Graduate Student Research Assistant, or Graduate Student Staff Assistant;
- are not eligible for University grants or reimbursements for supplies, materials, travel or other expenses.
- are not eligible to apply for new student loans intended to span the period of non-enrollment;
- should consult with the Office of Financial Aid for deferral and forbearance options of any outstanding student loans.
E-mail and Computing
- retain access to their University e-mail account, storage space in the IFS home directory, and to University websites that require authentication with a Login ID;
- may be able to retain their University Housing contract, depending on the duration of the leave and its intersection with the contract (students who live in University Housing should consult with the Housing Office to understand their options to continue or cancel their contracts);
- retain access to the International Center; and
- can have access to Recreational Sports with a continuing student pass at personal expense.
A student who withdraws from a Ph.D. program, or is dismissed from the program for academic reasons, is officially discontinued from that program by the Graduate School and the Registrar’s Office. Similarly, a Ph.D. student who is not on an approved leave of absence and who does not maintain registration through a fall or a winter term will be considered to have withdrawn and will be discontinued from the graduate program. Funding commitments made at the time of admission expire when a student is discontinued from the program. A student should consult with the faculty advisor and the director of graduate studies before deciding to withdraw from a Ph.D. program.
A student who withdraws from a non-Rackham portion of a dual degree graduate program during a fall or winter term must be registered in the Ph.D. program by the last day of classes for the term or will be considered to have withdrawn and will be discontinued.
Disenrolling From a Term
Students who have registered for courses but change their plans may disenroll prior to the first day of classes for the term. A student who wishes to disenroll must notify the Registrar’s Office by written notice, e-mail or in person, providing University identification number, graduate program, and term for which the student should be disenrolled. A disenrollment fee is assessed after the first day of classes. To maintain standing in the Ph.D. program, a student who disenrolls from a fall or winter term must obtain a leave of absence (section 3.2.2), seek extramural status (section 3.2.1), or subsequently re-register during that term. Otherwise, the student is presumed to have withdrawn and will be discontinued from the program.
Withdrawing From a Term
Students considering withdrawing from a fall or winter term should consult first with the graduate program to discuss steps required for withdrawal and to review possible alternatives to this action. Students who withdraw from all courses after the first day of classes in a fall or winter term will be discontinued from the Ph.D. program on the last day of the term unless they are appproved for a leave of absence or extramural study status or subsequently re-register during that term.
Students who withdraw from all courses after the first full day of classes in a spring or summer full or half term will not be discontinued from the program. Students who withdraw from courses in a spring or summer full or half term and who do not register in the following fall term will be discontinued from the Ph.D. program.
Students who withdraw after the term begins are responsible for registration and disenrollment fees regardless of their class attendance. Tuition adjustments follow the dates and amounts set by the Registrar. Withdrawing from courses may affect eligibility for federal financial assistance and repayment obligations, and students should consult with the Office of Financial Aid.
International students must consult with the International Center before disenrolling or withdrawing, as this will affect their visa status.
A former student who has withdrawn or has been discontinued from a Ph.D. program while in good academic standing (section 4.6), or was discontinued for failing to show sufficient progress (section 4.7), may seek reinstatement to the same program. A former student who has been discontinued may apply for admission to another Ph.D. program by completing the regular admissions application. A student returning from an approved leave of absence does not apply for reinstatement, but registers for the next fall or winter term that follows the leave (section 3.2.2).
The former student must complete an application for reinstatement and provide supporting materials. No fee is charged for this application. A former student on probation when last enrolled in the Graduate School (section 4.7) must provide reasons for the lack of academic progress, explain how conditions that produced poor performance have changed, and present specific plans for improvement.
Reinstatement is at the discretion of the faculty admissions committee of the graduate program. Decisions to approve or deny the reinstatement request are based on factors such as the former student’s academic progress at the time of withdrawal as well as his or her readiness to return, the availability of faculty to advise the student, and other considerations such as the availability of funding, space, and research facilities.
If a former student seeking reinstatement was on probationary admission, academic probation, or extended probation, that standing remains in effect if reinstatement is granted, unless the issue is remedied and the graduate program and the Graduate School remove or modify the status. If a student is dismissed or required to withdraw, reinstatement may be granted only by obtaining approval of the graduate program and the Graduate School.
For a former student who was discontinued after achieving candidacy, a graduate program may, at its discretion, ask the Graduate School to reinstate the former student as a candidate or to return him or her to precandidacy status if, for instance, the state-of-the-art knowledge in the field has changed substantially since the student was last active in the program. A reinstated student who is returned to precandidacy status must meet candidacy requirements again. Terms completed before a reinstated student was discontinued are counted toward the time limits for achieving candidacy (section 5.1) and for completing the doctoral degree (section 5.4.1).
If approved for reinstatement by the Ph.D. program faculty, students who were discontinued during or after the spring 2012 term will be assessed a reinstatement fee upon their first registration. The fee will be equal to a quarter of the prevailing Rackham candidacy tuition at the term of reinstatement for each fall and winter term that he or she was discontinued from the program. The maximum reinstatement fee will be equivalent to two full terms of the prevailing Rackham candidacy tuition at the term of reinstatement regardless of the length of absence. When the Ph.D. program faculty approve the reinstatement of a former student who then registers in the program, the program is responsible for paying at least half of the assessed reinstatement fee. A student who faces a severe financial hardship may apply for a grant from the Graduate School to cover his or her portion of the fee.
Registration for the fall or winter terms gives a student access to student services for the term of enrollment. Students who are enrolled full-time during the fall and winter terms and during the spring or summer half terms have access to these services (some at personal expense) during the half term they are not enrolled.
If Master’s and DMA precandidacy students are not on Detached Study, they must be enrolled in the Graduate School at least once within a calendar year (12 months) or must apply to the Graduate School for readmission.
Detached study is a registration status for master’s and DMA students (and students in certain non-Rackham programs) who are not enrolled for courses or directed research, but who are working toward completion of the degree as a primary activity. Ph.D. students are not eligible. Detached study assures the student of return without the need for readmission to the Graduate School at the end of the period and may be used for certification to the student’s employer or to an external agency granting support. Students on detached study may continue to defer or apply for student loans.
Students working as a GSI, GSRA, or in any other capacity at the University, including hourly employment, or who are using laboratory facilities or taking examinations (including preliminary examinations and the oral defense), may not have detached study status.
International students who elect detached study must work full-time on their studies to maintain their visa status and should seek further information on the Rackham website.
While on detached study a student must make work toward the degree his or her primary activity and must not require access to University services beyond library privileges, a computing account and certain forms of financial aid. Detached study may not be used for medical reasons or job search purposes.
To be eligible for detached study, a student must:
- be an active student in a Rackham master’s or DMA program who has completed at least one term;
- have been registered at least one full or half term in the twelve months before applying for detached study, or be a DMA candidate;
- not be registered for the period of requested detached study;
- have a 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA;
- be within the time limit for the degree (i.e., five years for a master’s degree or seven for a DMA). If exceeding the allowed time, the student must petition for an extension of time to degree (sections 5.4.1, 6);
- have submitted to Rackham Admissions a final official transcript with the undergraduate degree (or equivalent) posted and the date it was awarded; and
- where more than one course is incomplete, state when these will be completed.
Only one period of detached study of no more than twelve months can be approved at a time, for a combined total of three years (nine full terms) during the course of study for the degree. Detached study will not be made retroactive for any reason.
A form requesting Detached Study must be submitted to OARD no sooner than five months prior to the beginning of the requested detached study period and no later than the last day of classes for the first term of the requested detached study period.
Students returning from detached study to full-time registration status do not need to seek readmission. Students who enroll for courses while on detached study automatically lose their detached study status.
Dissertation research/writing is a designation for DMA candidates who are working full-time on their degrees but are not enrolled for coursework. Ph.D. students are not eligible. International students actively engaged in dissertation research and writing, but not enrolled for coursework, may apply for this designation in order to maintain their visa standing. With this designation, DMA students have access to services provided to students on detached study. Those who are US citizens are not eligible for loan deferment. Students may not hold GSI, GSRA, or GSSA appointments or other positions related to their academic program, but may, with prior permission from Rackham OARD, have other part-time University employment.
DMA Students may apply for the dissertation research/writing designation for a period of three consecutive terms, or twelve months. Students may not be on dissertation research/writing for more than a total of three years, or nine full terms, during the course of study for their degree. The Dean of the Graduate School and the Dean of Music, Theatre & Dance (or their designates) must approve the application.
The University extends some services to DMA candidates who are not enrolled for courses and not on Detached Study. Non-enrolled DMA candidates have library privileges for up to two years beyond any term of enrollment, and may have a recreational sports membership at the continuing student rate while working toward their degree. DMA students must contact the appropriate office to learn about their conditions of eligibility for computing services, library privileges, access to University Health Services, financial aid, recreational sports memberships, and parking.
Disenrolling From a Term
Students who have registered for courses but change their plans may disenroll prior to the first day of classes for the term. A student who wishes to disenroll must notify the Registrar’s Office by written notice, e-mail or in person, providing University identification number, graduate program, and term for which the student should be disenrolled. The Registrar assesses a late fee for disenrollment after the first day of classes for the term.
Withdrawing From a Term
After the first day of classes, students who wish to withdraw from the current term must obtain a signed Term Withdrawal Notice from their graduate program and present this to the Registrar’s Office. A student who is away from campus or otherwise unable to present the notice in person should contact the graduate program for assistance.
Students who withdraw after the term begins are responsible for registration and disenrollment fees regardless of their class attendance. Tuition adjustments follow the dates and amounts set by the Registrar. Withdrawing may affect eligibility for federal financial assistance and repayment obligations, and students should consult with the Office of Financial Aid.
International students in master’s or DMA programs must consult with the International Center before disenrolling or withdrawing, as this will affect their visa status.
Master’s and DMA precandidacy students who have not been enrolled in the Graduate School for more than one year (12 months) and are not enrolled by the end of a certified period of Detached Study must apply to the Graduate School for readmission. Students who have been placed on probation after exceeding the time limit for reaching candidacy or completing the degree, and who are subsequently dismissed for failing to demonstrate sufficient progress, may be allowed to seek readmission (sections 4.7, 5.1, 5.4.1, 6). Readmission is dependent upon approval by the graduate program and upon availability of space and facilities for the term in which readmission is requested. International students seeking readmission will need to certify proof of adequate funding in order for Rackham Admissions to issue the appropriate documents to obtain a visa.
A student who seeks readmission after withdrawing for health reasons (section 3.7) may be asked by the graduate program to provide a physician’s certification of readiness to return to active status. If a student seeking readmission was on probationary admission, academic probation, or extended probation, that standing will continue in effect if readmission is granted, unless the graduate program and the Graduate School remove or modify the status. If a student is dismissed or required to withdraw, readmission may be granted only by obtaining approval of the graduate program and the Graduate School.
Students who have a brief illness or other health-related difficulties during the term should expect faculty and graduate programs to make reasonable accommodations for course-related work and other academic deadlines. Consultations about health-related services are available at University Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Psychological Clinic and Services for Students with Disabilities.
Graduate student parental accommodation allows a student to maintain registered full-time student status immediately following the birth or adoption of a young child, along with all the benefits of such status, while facilitating the return to full academic participation. Eligible students may be granted a parental accommodation of up to six weeks, with extension of certain time limits. Rules of research funding or external fellowships may require suspension of payments during the parental accommodation period. In this instance, the Rackham Childbirth Accommodation Fund may provide salary or stipend, and benefits.
A student must submit a Request for Graduate Student Parental Accommodation after consultation with her or his advisor, principal investigator, and graduate chair. The form with appropriate documentation of the anticipated birth or adoption (a letter from the student’s medical provider with an estimate of delivery date or from the adoption agency with an estimate of placement date) must be submitted to the student’s graduate program office for approval and to Rackham OARD for authorization.
For other family care issues affecting time to degree, see section 3.6.
The demands of caring for immediate family (such as children, ill or injured partners, or aging parents) may seriously affect the time and energy graduate students can devote to educational responsibilities. Because of the difficulty of combining educational pursuits with such dependent care demands, a graduate student may, upon written request to the relevant graduate program chair and the Dean of the Graduate School, be granted a one year extension to the maximum time limits for achieving degree and candidacy (section 5.1, 5.4.1, 6) and the time limits for fellowship eligibility. “Family” is defined according to the University’s Standard Practice Guide (SPG 201.11) to include the student’s spouse or domestic partner with whom the student shares living accommodations and expenses, and, without regard to their place of residence, the child, sibling, parent, grandparent or other related individual whose primary care is the responsibility of the student. Students should write a memo or use the Rackham OARD Petition for Modification or Waiver of Regulation form with a note requesting a one year extension for dependent care and explaining the reasons for the request. The graduate program chair determines the outcome of this petition with input, as needed, from Rackham.
The University reserves the right to request or require students to withdraw from the University for reasons pertaining to mental or physical health when mental or physical health-related behavior significantly disrupts the ability of the student or other students, faculty or staff to participate in the educational programs or employment opportunities of the University. A student who withdraws at the request or requirement of the University will have the opportunity to engage in a structured and supportive process of withdrawal and subsequent re-entry that is designed to facilitate the student’s likelihood of success. Students who withdraw or are withdrawn under this policy may be considered for reinstatement following a determination by the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee that the behaviors requiring withdrawal have been, for the most part, eliminated. Visit the Policies for Students website for full details of this policy and procedures.
Ph.D. students have the option of seeking a Leave of Absence for medical reasons (section 3.2.2).
A retroactive withdrawal is defined as a request made to withdraw from a course or term after the last day of classes. Any changes to the student’s enrollment record after the last day of classes are retroactive and should be considered an exception to University and Rackham policy. The University has a fiduciary responsibility to maintain and report an actual accounting of class and student enrollment totals to state, federal and other agencies. As such, at no point after the term has ended will a class be removed from the student record. It will remain on the record with a grade of “W,” if the exception is approved. Any request to retroactively withdraw from the term must be reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School and must meet the following conditions to be considered:
- Changes will be considered only within twelve months from the end of the term.
- There must be a compelling case with sufficient documentation to support the appropriateness of the exception, which includes a justification for why the student did not seek an incomplete or withdrawal during the term.
- The retroactive withdrawal must apply to all classes in the term unless a physical or mental health problem prevented the student from finishing a particular class.
Students may apply to change from one graduate program to another within the Graduate School. This change requires full consideration by the new program’s admissions committee. The student must submit a new full application and should contact the new program for information about the supporting materials that may be needed. International students must supply documentation of additional funding if a change of field will result in an extension of the expected study period.
While doctoral students who receive a master’s in their field on the way to the doctorate do not need to apply for this degree, students who wish to change from one degree program to another within the same field of specialization, such as from the master’s program in Economics to the doctoral program in Economics, must apply for a change of program following the procedures described above. Candidates applying to another doctoral program will revert to precandidacy status. Students wishing to add a new degree program should see the policy pertaining to dual degree programs (section 7).
Non-candidate for degree students (NCFD) who have been admitted to a specific graduate program normally are limited to no more than two terms of enrollment. NCFD students admitted to Rackham more generally may elect no more than two courses and may continue for an additional term only upon successful completion of their courses and with permission of Rackham Admissions. NCFD applicants are required: to have an average cumulative GPA of at least a B (3.0 on a 4.0 point scale); to obtain written approval of the instructor on an election worksheet for each course to be taken; and, for those seeking admission to Rackham generally, to not register for a pattern of courses which indicates a field of specialization (i.e., usually not more than two courses in one field).
A student who has been admitted to a graduate program with NCFD status and wishes to change to degree status within the same program must submit a new full application. The student should contact the program office directly for information about supporting materials that may be needed. Courses elected by students with NCFD status cannot be counted toward a Rackham degree program unless the student receives regular admission and the graduate chair of the degree program and the Graduate School determine that the courses are acceptable. An international student must submit documentation of additional funding to Rackham Admissions if a change of degree level will result in an extension of the expected study period.
 Adjustments to tuition and fee charges for an emergency leave that begins after the start of a term are made according to the schedule set by the Registrar’s Office. Emergency leaves do not reverse the charges set by this schedule.