Enrollment Policy Statements for Graduate Students

Note: Each program, department, school and/or college may have standards above the general standards listed. The student should consult the major department and academic college for additional requirements.

Continuous Enrollment

  • Minimum registration for a graduate student to meet the continuous enrollment requirement is one (1) graduate credit a term. It is the student’s responsibility to register for the appropriate number of credits to meet departmental requirements.
  • There is a two (2) year limit on completing a thesis, calculated from the date the student passed the Graduate Area Comprehensive Examination. From the time the Graduate Area Comprehensive Examination is taken the student is required to be in continuous enrollment until the degree is earned with the two year limitation.

Course Loads

  • The minimum course load for a full-time graduate student during each semester of the academic year is nine (9) semester hours and the maximum is thirteen (13) semester hours.
  • The course load for the summer session is is nine (9) semester hours.
  • The Master of Social Work degree is an exception, requiring fifteen (15) semester hours.

Leaves of Absence

1.  Eligibility

Under special circumstances such as illness, family hardship or military service a student who is a degree candidate may be given a leave of absence. In order to be considered for a leave of absence the student must NOT:

  • Have registered for any course
  • Have been previously registered for thesis or dissertation credits
  • Have an “I” on his/her record
  • Be scheduled to take any examination (such as language or comprehensive)

2.  Procedure

Leaves of absence will be granted for one semester, or longer, as circumstances warrant. No leave is granted for more than one calendar year. To obtain a leave of absence:

  • The student writes a letter outlining in detail the reasons for requesting a leave. This letter should be addressed to the Chairperson of the student’s major department
  • The Chairperson will determine the appropriateness of giving the leave, adding his/her recommendation to the letter and forward it to the Graduate Dean.
  • After action by the Dean, the Graduate Council will notify the student, the department and the Registrar (the latter only if the leave is granted) of the decision.


  • For Master’s and specialist students the residency is one semester.
  • For doctoral students the residency is one year.

Time Limit

  • All master’s and specialist students must complete their programs within eight years of starting coursework at Jackson State University or elsewhere.
  • Doctoral students must complete their programs within ten years of coursework at Jackson State University or elsewhere.


Formal withdrawal from the University is arranged through the Office of Student Affairs. No withdrawal from the University is official until the student has processed the appropriate forms. If a student cancels the entire registration, even if it only a single course, a withdrawal form rather than a drop/add form must be filed. During the first 15 days from the start of registration, withdrawal from a class or from the University results in No Grade. For the next ten days, it results in “W”. From the 26th day until ten days before the end of the semester withdrawal from the University results in “WP” or “WF”.