All students enrolled in graduate degree programs must enroll each regular semester (Spring and Fall) for a minimum of one graduate credit hour. This registration must continue with no breaks in enrollment from the first graduate program course to graduation. This policy does not include Summer sessions.
It is preferable that students enroll in courses relevant to their graduate program to facilitate timely completion. If it is not possible to do so, however, The Graduate School has established a one-credit continuous enrollment course, GRAD 597. The tuition for this course is $50.00. No grade will be assigned for this course. This course allows those students who are not intending to register for any other courses during the current semester to continue in their program in good standing. This course may be repeated as needed.
- Registration for this course must be completed by the stated "ADD" dates for the semester/1st block, or the student will be discontinued from their program.
- Students must remain mindful of their program timeline for degree completion (6 or 8 years), and may be required to reapply to their program if the continuous enrollment extends beyond the timeline.
GRAD 597 – Continuance
The following are circumstances for which GRAD 597 is not appropriate:
- During the graduation semester. A student cannot use GRAD 597 as the enrollment requirement during the semester he or she is scheduled to graduate. All graduate students must be enrolled in a course in their program, such as thesis or dissertation continuance, during the semester they are scheduled to graduate.
- While completing a dissertation or thesis. If a student's graduation must be delayed a semester because he or she is completing a dissertation or thesis, he or she should register for thesis or dissertation continuance. GRAD 597 is not an option since the student will continue to receive feedback from the adviser and committee members while the thesis or dissertation is being completed.
- When an "I" is received in a course during the anticipated graduation semester. If a student is scheduled to graduate but receives an "I" in a course, the student will not officially graduate until the course is completed. Because all course work must be completed by the final date of the student's graduation semester, a student failing to meet the deadline will not officially graduate until the following semester. The solution existing in the first example applies. Students must register for at least one hour of thesis or dissertation continuance, comprehensive continuance, reading and research, or another course option appropriate to their program of study.
It is possible to receive an exemption from the Continuous Enrollment requirement. There are two possible types of exemption from the continuous enrollment requirement:
Leave of Absence from the University
This is granted in individual cases when the student demonstrates sufficient cause such as illness or other personal circumstances. A request for this type of leave indicating the reason(s) is made through the Office of the Registrar, or through the Dean of Students Office if past Registrar's Office deadlines. Visit: http://www.jmu.edu/registrar/students/Leaving_JMU.shtml for more information on this process. When the student is ready to return to their graduate program, they should complete the Graduate School Intent to Re-enroll Form (coming soon) and submit it to The Graduate School prior to the first day of class in the semester in which they wish to return. This form requires the signature of the Graduate Program Director.
Planned Leave of Absence: Continuous Enrollment Exception
This is granted to graduate students for whom the unique design of their graduate program (not the manner in which they choose to complete their program) is such that the offering of courses is not on a continuous semester-to-semester basis. Planned Leave of Absence for students in a program is requested by the Graduate Program Director, via the Request for Exception from Continuous Enrollment Form (coming soon), and must be approved by The Graduate School. Examples of programs suited for Planned Leave of Absence include summer-only programs, programs using a distance-learning format and "executive" programs. It is assumed that these programs will not require the continuous enrollment exemption for the entire length of the program.
Graduate Program Directors whose programs are pre-approved for Planned Leave of Absence: Exception from Continous Enrollment must submit a Request for Exception from Continuous Enrollment indicating each term for which the exemption for students is requested. It is assumed that these students will complete all degree requirements within the time limits established in the Graduate Catalog.
Failure to Continously Enroll:
A graduate student who takes an unapproved break in registration by failing to maintain continuous enrollment or by failing to obtain a Leave of Absence will relinquish their graduate standing in the university. Students who wish to be reinstated will need to file an Application for Graduate Admission and pay the application fee.
Except for extenuating circumstances requiring approval from the dean of The Graduate School, time spent in on-leave status will be included in all time limits pertaining to the student's degree program.
Students in on-leave status may not:
- Use any university facilities
- Make demands upon faculty time
- Receive a fellowship or financial aid