Washington State University

Graduate School

2. Continuous Enrollment for Degree-seeking Students

All full- and part-time degree-seeking graduate students at all campus locations must maintain continuous enrollment in the Graduate School, registering for each semester, excluding summer sessions, from the time of first enrollment until all requirements for the degree are completed. Continuous enrollment is maintained by registering for a minimum of 2 graduate credits per semester (excluding the summer). International students who enroll for fewer than 10 credits must be approved by OISS, in consultation with the Graduate School, prior to part-time enrollment during the academic year. Exceptions to the continuous enrollment policy are noted in Section A.2.b. Continuous doctoral status (CDS), explained in Section A.2.a meets the continuous enrollment requirement.

a. Continuous Doctoral Status (CDS)

Typically, doctoral students are able to complete their doctoral studies in a timely manner after completing their coursework and preliminary requirements.  However, on occasion, doctoral students who have completed their coursework, preliminary exams and most of their research requirements do not have funding to continue to register for research credits; consequently, they must leave campus to finish their dissertation work. To meet the continuous enrollment requirement, doctoral students who have successfully completed their coursework and their preliminary exams and who DO NOT enroll for credit automatically will be placed into Continuous Doctoral Status. Students must complete their degree within three years of the date of the successful completion of their preliminary exam. CDS is not intended to replace a student'€™s 800-research credit requirements.

  1. Students in CDS are not enrolled for credit. Students should contact the Financial Aid Office if they have questions regarding their financial aid/federal loan requirements. International students must consult with the Office of International Students and Scholars before going into CDS because of their immigration status and to complete the necessary departure paperwork. Also, CDS may apply during Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) if the student has met the CDS criteria and has not defended. Once students defend, they are no longer eligible for CDS.
  2. Doctoral students will be charged a $50 administrative fee each semester they are in CDS.  CDS allows students limited access to academic resources (i.e., faculty and staff counsel) and the University libraries. Students in CDS are eligible to apply for WSU health services for up to one year.  Payment of a health fee will be required at the time of application at the beginning of each semester. CDS also allows the student to maintain eligibility for student health insurance on a self-pay basis for up to 12 months, if the student was a participant in the student health insurance plan for the semester immediately preceding CDS. 
  3. Doctoral students who enroll for a minimum of two credits will not have to pay the CDS fee that semester.  When a doctoral student who has been in CDS enrolls for credit, the $50 administrative fee for that semester will be used to offset their tuition costs.
  4. Students in CDS do not have to complete a reenrollment form or pay a reenrollment fee to register for two credits to defend.
  5. Students who do not want to be in CDS have the option of dropping from the Graduate School. If they want to reenroll after being officially dropped, they will need to reapply to the Graduate School and their program. Readmission is not guaranteed.
  6. Students are responsible for all fees charged to their account. If the $50 administrative fee is not paid by the student after two consecutive semesters (excluding the summer), the student will be dropped by the Graduate School. If the student chooses to reapply, he/she will need to pay the unpaid administrative fees to be readmitted.
  7. CDS may be waived for medical reasons, military service, Peace Corps service, or required internship leave. This period of leave from continuous doctoral status is considered official leave and the appropriate documentation must be submitted and approved in advance of the semester the student wishes to be on leave (see Section 6, Official Leaves of Absence and Section 7, Internship Leave). Graduate leave does not extend the time limitations to complete the doctoral degree (see Chapter 6, Section E).
  8. CDS is included in the time limitations to complete a doctoral degree. Specifically, students have three calendar years from the date of successful completion of the preliminary exam to complete their degree. Consequently, students may not be in continuous doctoral status for more than 5 consecutive academic semesters (excluding summer). After 5 semesters, the student must enroll for 2 credits and defend to complete their program. Students who have an approved extension may continue in CDS until the final semester of their extension.

b. Exceptions to Continuous Enrollment

Typically, degree-seeking graduate students enroll in credits every semester until degree completion; however, sometimes circumstances are such that degree-seeking students are unable to enroll for credits. Such circumstances may include illness, family issues, financial need, work, or other obligations.

The exceptions to continuous enrollment discussed in this section address circumstances in which a degree-seeking student must be away from campus and cannot enroll for credits. These students must complete the appropriate graduate leave or internship leave paperwork, obtain approval from their faculty advisor and program chair, and submit the paperwork to the Graduate School in advance of the semester they will be away. Official leaves of absence, internship leave status, and absences not approved under this policy are included in the time limits to complete a degree.

  1. Graduate Leave of Absence. Degree-seeking students in active status and in good academic standing who must be away from campus for reasons such as medical issues (EFML), family obligations, job obligations, military service, and Peace Corps service, and who cannot maintain continuous enrollment in any given semester, may apply for an official graduate leave of absence. See Section A.6 for additional information and procedures.  Only graduate leave for medical reasons (EFML), military service, and Peace Corps service is available to doctoral students in continuous doctoral status.  Students who are approved for graduate leave while in continuous doctoral status will not be charged the $50 administrative fee.
  2. Internship Leave. Degree-seeking students who wish to go on an internship approved by their program and who do not need to register for credits for the internship may apply for internship leave status.  See Section A.7 for information and procedures. Only internship leave required by the student'€™s program is available to doctoral students in continuous doctoral status.  Students who are approved for internship leave while in continuous doctoral status will not be charged the $50 administrative fee.

3. Reenrollment for a Degree-seeking Student

(This reenrollment policy does not apply to doctoral students in continuous doctoral status). A degree-seeking graduate student (who is not in continuous doctoral status) who does not maintain continuous enrollment or who is not on approved graduate leave or internship leave status, and who is absent for one semester or two consecutive semesters (excluding the summer) must complete the reenrollment form before the student can register for classes. Reenrollment requires a nonrefundable processing fee because the student is returning from an unapproved absence. In addition, students must list any university-level coursework taken since they were last enrolled at WSU.  Reenrollment also requires departmental approval and is not guaranteed. Students enrolling after being in continuous doctoral status, or on approved graduate leave or internship leave, do not have to complete the reenrollment form or pay the reenrollment fee.

4. Readmission for a Degree-seeking Student

A degree-seeking graduate student who fails to maintain continuous enrollment or approved graduate leave or internship leave, and who is absent for three or more consecutive semesters (excluding the summer) is required to reapply and pay a nonrefundable application fee to the Graduate School if he/she wishes to be considered for readmission to a program. Readmission is not guaranteed. Doctoral students who drop out of continuous doctoral status are also required to reapply and pay a nonrefundable application fee to the Graduate School for readmission to a program.

Graduate School, PO Box 641030, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-1030, 509-335-6424, FAX: 509-335-1949 Contact Us