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FAQs on all things academic affairs related. If your question is not answered here, then please reach out to the appropriate Academic Affairs staff for answers, or visit the other pages on this site.


Holds can only be removed once the student fulfills the requirements for removal. If the requirement has been met and the hold is still in place, please contact the appropriate Grad Division staff member. If the hold is for the subsequent quarter and the student needs to make a change to the current quarter, please contact the appropriate Grad Division staff member.  

Yes. They must be a final admit (not provisional, not missing any admission documents); major/degree aim cannot be changed for provisional students. It should be noted that for new students, a change major/degree aim form cannot be processed in the first three weeks of the quarter due to its impact on reporting.

Students just need to be enrolled in the effective quarter of the change major/degree aim. If changing to a new department, both the old and new departments must approve the new major.

Enrollment (Half-Time, In Absentia, Leave of Absence, Withdrawal)

The system takes overnight (or longer) to refresh, so the student should be able to submit the form the next day. If the next day is after the deadline, the student needs to alert the department to submit it on his/her behalf ASAP; the dept should provide a brief explanation. 

Students must be enrolled in 12 units of research (e.g., 298 or 299), and no other coursework.

For more details and FAQs regarding in absentia, please refer to the FAQs posted on the Grad Division website.

Withdrawals should be submitted when a student no longer intends to continue in the graduate program. Leaves of absence are typically submitted when a student is taking a break from studies and will not be using university resources, but intends to return to the graduate program in a future quarter (eligible for up to 3 quarters LOA).

The deadline is the end of the second week of the quarter.  However, it is recommended to submit LOAs as soon as possible, as the effective date is based on the day the form is initiated by the student or department. Students who have enrolled are subject to the refund schedule based on the day the LOA is initiated. Students will only receive a 100% refund of tuition and fees if the LOA is initiated on (or before) the first day of instruction; starting from the second day, students will only receive a partial refund.

When submitting an LOA that is initiated after the first day of instruction, if the student is enrolled in any course/s, please do the following before submission:

  1. Determine the refund percentage that the student is eligible for based on the form initiation date and the Registrar’s Refund Schedule.
  2. Confirm with the student that s/he is aware of the refund amount.
  3. In the Comments section of the LOA form, include a statement such as, “Student is aware that s/he is not eligible for a 100% refund” or “Student is aware that s/he is eligible for a 50% refund.”

If the student was not enrolled in classes, then there is no impact.

If the student was enrolled in classes, then a refund or reversal of student fees will be issued to the student’s account. The amount refunded depends on the Registrar’s Refund Schedule. For example, if a 90% refund of student fees will be issued, then the student is billed the remaining 10%. The student is always billed, regardless if the fees are covered by the department or fee remission.  If the department wishes to cover the 10% fee balance due, they must submit exception request to the Financial Support Unit in the Graduate Division.

The effective quarter will be the quarter following the last quarter the student was enrolled or on LOA at UCSD. For example, if the student was last enrolled/on LOA in SP20, then the effective withdrawal quarter will be FA20.

Students retain UCSD email and TritonLink access for the first quarter they go on Leave of Absence. Student accounts are suspended in the second consecutive quarter that they are not enrolled.

Students who will be on Leave of Absence for 2 or more consecutive quarters and want to receive UCSD emails can have emails forwarded to a personal email account for up to 1 year. Email addresses can be updated in TritonLink to a personal email account.

Final Paperwork

All diplomas are awarded at the end of the quarter. It may take the Registrar up to three months to mail the diploma after the end of the quarter. Please see the Registrar's website for more detail. 

Students will receive a Dean's Congratulatory Letter once they have turned in all final paperwork. The letter is signed by the Graduate Division Dean and states that all degree requirements have been fulfilled. In order to receive the letter, the Graduate Division must have received and approved the student's dissertation/thesis, received the Final Report Form with all signatures completed, and must have approved all co-author permission letters (if applicable). Master's students must also have all final grades posted before they can receive the letter.

Students will have their accounts deactivated after they graduate. However, they may have any emails forwarded to their personal email address for 1 year. Students must update their email address to a personal email address in TritonLink. Students may also sign up for UCSD Alumni Email for Life to have permanent forwarding of UCSD emails to their personal email address.  More information can be found on the Alumni Email for Life webpage.

General Doctoral and Master's Committee Rules

There is only one committee membership table. Although the table is listed as "Doctoral Committee Membership Table", it is used for Master committees. The difference is that the column for "One of Four UCSD Members" should be applied as "One of Three UCSD Members" for Master committees.

JDP committees will continue to use the former committee table prior to Fall 21.  They will not be using the new committee table implemented in Fall 21.  The former committee table can be accessed on our website or on this Collab page under "Joint Doctoral Program Committees."

Contact one of the Graduate Division advisors. We will verify the faculty's appointment in UCPath. Once the appointment has been confirmed, you can manually enter the faculty's information in the committee tool.

No. For example, if a student would like to have three UC San Diego faculty members and one UC faculty member, the student will be advised to select a fourth UC San Diego member.

Proposing a person to serve in a role s/he is ineligible for based on official job title. See the committee membership table. Example: a lecturer wants to serve as co-chair.

Proposing a person who has a job title that is not listed on the committee membership table. Example: a scientist or professor from a lab/institute; scientist from a university (no professorial title); individual outside of academia, like Google, etc.

Doctoral advancement exam taken before the committee was approved by Graduate Division.

Letters of exceptions are not needed for faculty at other academic institutions. A justification in the committee tool is sufficient.

For an exception for a committee member outside of UC San Diego:

  • CV of the person being proposed.

  • A letter explaining how the person is a good fit for the committee and what efforts have been made to adhere to the campus requirements (i.e. an explanation of why the campus requirements cannot be met). It should be addressed to the Grad Division Dean, written by the Committee Chair and endorsed by the Department Chair or Vice-Chair (either on the letter itself or within the online tool). The letter can include, but is not limited to: what the person will contribute to the research, if currently collaborating with the student, and commitment to serving through the final defense.

For advancing to candidacy without an approved committee:

  • A letter explaining the situation. It should be addressed to the Grad Division Dean, written by the Committee Chair and endorsed by the Department Chair or Vice-Chair (either on the letter itself or within the online tool).

Exception letters and CVs should be uploaded as PDFs directly into the online committee tool. 

Professor of Clinical X includes, but is not limited to, the following title codes: 1453, 1454, 1455. It appears in the Faculty Title Lookup tool as Prof of Clin (see abbreviated title section below).

Clinical Professor includes, but is not limited to, the following title codes: 1732, 1733, 1734, 2000, 2010 2020, 2030, 2040, 2050.  It appears in the Faculty Title Lookup tool as HS Clin Prof (see abbreviated title section below.)

Research Scientists can only be one of four members (Doctoral) or one of three (Master's) if they also have a Lecturer or Educator appointment. The Lecturer/Educator appointment needs to be active, it cannot be pending approval. Both titles will be pulled up in the Faculty Title Lookup tool. If only the Research Scientist title is displayed it means there is no current Lecturer or Educator appointment and the person is ineligible to serve as one of four members (see below).

If the proposed member only has a Research Scientist appointment, then s/he can only serve as a 4th member (Master's) or 5th member (Doctoral).

Abbreviated titles refer to the titles that show up in the Faculty Title Lookup/Faculty Search Tool in the Committee App in Student Database. This search tool pulls the faculty member's appointment information from UCPath. If you believe there are errors you will need to follow up with your academic personnel contact in the department. 

Committee Member Roles and Eligibility effective Fall 2021

The specialty field is now optional. However, JDP committees are still required to input the specialty. 

The temporary COVID-19 authorization will remain in place through the end of Spring 22 quarter to allow remote participation for all committee members and students.

The  attendance policy for Master's defense and Doctoral qualifying exams/defenses is the following:

1. A committee member can participate in one of three ways: physically present (meaning they are in the room), telepresent (meaning they participate by live video teleconference), or in advance (if they must be absent on the exam date, it is permissible to examine the candidate in advance of the exam date).
2. At least half of the committee must be physically present.
3. The committee chair, or one co-chair, must be physically present.
4. The outside member must be physically present or telepresent (doctoral committees only).
5. If an emergency situation arises that affects the number of committee members present, the committee chair (or co-chairs) may decide how to proceed. There must be sufficient expertise among present members (either physically or telepresent) to examine the student.

Yes, unless the department/program has their own rule that requires an internal Chair.

Note: the outside member requirement can never be fulfilled by the committee Chair, as it is the Chair’s primary department that defines whether the other members are “outside”, according to the regulation

No, unless the department/program has their own rule that requires a co-chair in this instance. 

Looking up faculty in the "Faculty Title Look Up" tab in the committee tool will show you all of their appointments. Their primary appointment can be determined by the column "Job Indicator".


Yes, the Co-Chair may fulfill the outside member requirement, if their primary appointment is in a different department than the Committee Chair’s primary appointment. (However, the outside member requirement can never be fulfilled by the committee Chair, as it is the Chair’s primary department that defines whether the other members are “outside”, according to the regulation.)


Yes. Additional external committee members beyond the required 4 UC San Diego faculty members can be requested to serve, including from another UC campus, non-UC academic institutions and industry. Appointment of external members from other academic institutions  must be justified with a written explanation at the time of requesting the constitution and must be approved by the Graduate Division.  External members from industry, labs, etc. need a formal letter and CV at the time of requesting the constitution and must be approved by the Graduate Division.

Spring Evaluations (MFA and Doctoral programs only)

The Spring Evaluation is a requirement set by Graduate Council and overseen by the Graduate Division. The evaluation serves as documentation of the student's progress in the graduate program. They serve as an important tool for students and their faculty advisors in assessing student progress and by providing suggestions for the students’ successful completion of the program. Graduate Council policy states: "This evaluation will indicate: the degree to which students are, over-all, progressing satisfactorily in their studies; their strengths and weaknesses as students and, where applicable, as teaching and/or research assistants. These evaluations should contain cogent and clear advice to students."

All doctoral and MFA students are required to complete an evaluation by the end of each Spring quarter.  

Both faculty and the student are required to provide input on and sign (via SSO) the evaluation.

For students who have not advanced to candidacy, 2 signatures are required: 1) the student’s advisor or faculty designate (chair/vice chair/director of graduate studies); 2) the student.

For students who have advanced to candidacy, 5 signatures are required: 1) the student’s advisor; 2) a committee member; 3) another committee member; 4) the department chair/vice chair; 5) the student.  

It is strongly recommended to complete an evaluation to document the student’s status and plans.  

This depends on when the leave of absence starts and ends. 

  • If the leave is for the entire academic year (Fall, Winter, and Spring), no evaluation is required. 
  • If the leave is for Spring only, an evaluation is due at the end of Fall. A hold will be placed on the student's registration in November to prevent Winter enrollment.  (*Note: if the leave is extended through Fall no evaluation is required)

Please contact the Graduate Division for any other specific scenarios. 

  • A student who has advanced to candidacy in Winter, Spring, or prior to the first day of Fall quarter instruction is exempt. 
  • A student on a leave of absence in Spring quarter will need to submit an evaluation by the end of Fall quarter.
  • A student on a leave of absence in Spring quarter and the following Fall quarter will be exempt.

It is strongly recommended to complete an evaluation to document the progress and expectations. This is particularly important if and when the plans change.

For additional information on Spring Evaluation policy and to link to the online evaluation tool, please see our webpage here.

Master's (Academic)

Progress to Degree, Degree Completion, and Filing for Degree

There is no maximum determined by Academic Senate; students should be encouraged by the department to graduate as soon as they’ve completed the requirements. Some departments do have time limits for master’s students; it would be stated in the program’s  catalog copy.

However, there is an academic residency requirement. The minimum residence requirement is three quarters. Residence is established by satisfactory completion of six units per quarter.

Yes. Graduate Division receives the comp exam pass date from the Plan II Final Report Form, which should be submitted when coursework requirements have been completed and the student wants to graduate. (*Note: A Plan I FRF would need to be submitted for a thesis student.)

For Plan I and III (thesis): Final paperwork to be submitted by the department are the application to candidacy/uAchieve (due by the 3rd  Friday of the quarter in which the student wants to advance), and the Final Report Form (due by the last weekday of the quarter in which the student wants to graduate). Graduate Division will meet with the student regarding all paperwork for thesis submission. The student needs to turn in all paperwork by the last day of the quarter.

For Plan II (comp exam, no thesis): Final paperwork to be submitted by the department is the application to candidacy/uAchieve (due by the 3rd  Friday of the quarter in which the student wants to advance) and the Final Report Form (due by the last weekday of the quarter in which the student wants to graduate). The  enrollment/registration calendar  has these deadlines included.

All students need to successfully complete the courses listed on their APPC, have a GPA at or above 3.0, no more than 8 units of U/F, and pass their comp exam or thesis/defense. Additional paperwork for all Plans are only needed if students need to waive academic residency (if they haven’t been registered for 6+ units for at least 3 quarters), or if they are filing in a quarter in which they are not registered. The Graduate Division advisor will go over the process to submit a General Petition in these cases. 

Degree Audit (uAchieve) and Application to Candidacy (APPC or APP to C)

If there is an error in the encoding, the dept should contact Grad Division (Jessica or Kim) first so we can update our internal curriculum notes (if needed), then we submit a ticket to uAchieve.

If changes are being made to what is in the catalog, then the dept needs to submit a catalog update first; at that point, we would wait for the update to be approved, then we contact uAchieve to make necessary updates.

The audit only needs to be run when the student is ready to submit the application to candidacy. However, the audit can be run prior to the App to C, especially if course substitution exceptions are being submitted. This avoids having to submit all course substitution exceptions right before the App to C deadline.   However, it can be used as an advising tool for students.  They are encouraged to run the audit quarterly to monitor their progress and ensure they are meeting all requirements.

It is encouraged for students to run the audit and review it after grades have been posted. If they see any issues, they should reach out to their graduate coordinator to resolve the issue before graduation.  It is not required for faculty to check degree audits, however, they should check that they have access to uAchieve if they want to check them. Graduate Coordinators only have to run the degree audit once the when the student has all coursework for the degree IP/complete  so it can be submitted as an App to C (APPC) .

No, they just need to be registered.

Not always, it varies by program. In some programs, the Advancement happens after the defense/comp exam.  Some programs have the students advance prior to the comp exam and continue their coursework. In all cases, the APPC should be submitted by the 3rd Friday of the quarter in which all degree requirements will be completed or IP (finishing that quarter).

That does happen sometimes (GPA is below 3.0 and 3.0+ is needed to graduate) - please still submit the APPC by the deadline, and it will be held it until the end of the quarter when all final grades are in. If the GPA is 3.0+ by the end of the quarter, then it will be processed (and backdated to the 3rd Friday deadline). If the GPA is still below 3.0, the student will need to keep registering until the 3.0 is reached, and the APPC could be held until that happens. The red "NO" for GPA is the only time we accept an APPC with a red "NO" - and it is held for later.

Yes. Some programs assign Vice Chairs, MS Program Directors, Associate Deans, etc. as the Dept Chair signer. It would be the same person who you would enter as the final signer on Final Report forms, for example.

Ken Keziah (from the Registrar’s office) offers one-on-one training, and there is also a  general uAchieve training website  and info on our  Collab page.

Yes, please submit an updated Plan II APPC via DocuSign; we do not send it to the Registrar because the student has already advanced in the system/records, but we keep it internally for Graduate Division records.

Master's (Professional)

  1. In the 4th/5th week of instruction please submit a list to Sara Miceli (via email or Excel) of your students expected to graduate that term.
  2. After the term is over and grades are posted submit the final degree audit via DocuSign cover sheets.
    • The most common reason final degree audits are returned is due to grades not being posted

       If a student receives an incomplete* in the final term:

    • If the incomplete is in the capstone, the degree will be posted in the term in which the final passing grade is assigned.
    • If the incomplete is in a NON-capstone course, the final passing grade is assigned in the quarter immediately after the incomplete is assigned the degree will be posted in in the term of last enrollment. (In the case where the student receives an extension on an Incomplete and the final passing grade is assigned more than 1 quarter following the quarter of enrollment, then the degree will be posted in in the term in which the final passing grade is assigned).

       *All incompletes should follow the campus policy on assigning and extending incompletes.


All advancement forms turned in during Summer Quarter will count for the following Fall Quarter. During this time, Graduate Division will still review advancements and send out the advancement letters.  After receiving the letter, students will be assessed the $50 advancement to candidacy fee on their next TritionLink billing cycle. Please note that the advancement forms will sit in the Graduate Division’s Docusign queue as they cannot be fully processed until the first day of Fall instruction.   It is important that students remain enrolled in Fall in order for the advancement to be processed.  If a student takes a leave of absence or withdraws the advancement will be processed in the student's next eligible quarter.

Students who are eligible for the Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition waiver will have it applied for the following Fall Quarter.

JDP EDD students are an exception and may receive a Summer advancement.

It is at the discretion of the department (student’s advisor, committee, department chair) if the student should re-advance.  Before the student is accepted into the program, it is advised that the department review the student’s coursework and research to determine if departmental standards for advancing to candidacy have been met. If it is determined that the student will re-advance, it is an internal process with the department.  The student doesn’t need to pay the candidacy fee again or re-submit an advancement form.

The student’s committee should also be reviewed and reconstituted if it does not meet departmental requirements.

Joint Doctoral Programs

Students in Joint Doctoral programs with SDSU enroll at both campuses during the course of their study. Students in the Joint-Doctoral program with CSUSM only enroll at UCSD during the course of their study.

For students in JDPs with SDSU, each year (typically July/August) an enrollment survey is requested asking which campus students will enroll at for the academic year.  There are 3 options:

  1. Enrolling and paying fees at SDSU only.
  2. Enrolling at both campuses and paying all fees at UCSD (not common).
  3. Enrolling at both campuses and paying all fees at SDSU.

*If a student has a break in enrollment at UCSD while taking courses at SDSU the student will need to be reactivated – please be sure to update your departmental list as soon as possible so the JDP advisor can activate the individual student’s enrollment options.

Students are expected to meet a 36-unit academic residency requirement at UCSD prior to advancement to candidacy (a minimum of 6 units in a minimum of 3 quarters) i.e.: 3 quarters of 12 units, 6 quarters of 6 units.

There are general guidelines for JDP committees, but each program has specific committee requirements. Please allow for additional time for the approval process as there are multiple reviewers at both campuses. The committee form is initiated with UCSD via Student Database.

When submitting the final dissertation, the student submits to both campuses.  The details of this process are explained to students during their preliminary appointment with UCSD.

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