Enrollment Policies and Procedures


Consult the UVM Academic Calendar and the Registration Schedule for registration dates. Students should consult with their program advisor before registration. Students register for courses at the time and in the manner designated by the university registrar. Early registration is encouraged for both new and presently enrolled graduate students. Students may not register for courses unless tuition and fees for any current and prior semesters have been paid.

Graduate Course Levels

Courses that may apply towards a graduate program are numbered 5000 and above.

5000-level courses are entry level graduate courses and are open by default to graduate, undergraduate, and Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) students without approval. They are limited to graduate students only when the prerequisite states ‘Graduate student’.

6000-level courses are Master's level courses and are open to all graduate students. Undergraduate and PACE students may enroll with Instructor permission.

7000-level courses are Doctoral level courses. Master's students may enroll with instructor permission. PACE students who hold a baccalaureate degree may enroll with Instructor permission. Undergraduate students may only enroll in specifically approved programs.

Course Loads

Generally, full-time graduate students enroll for 9 to 12 credit hours per semester, with normal maximum enrollment being 15 credits per semester and 9 hours summer. Enrollment in excess of 15 credits requires written approval from the student's advisor and the Dean of the Graduate College.

Catalogue Edition Requirement

Students must comply with the degree requirements as stated in a single catalogue edition in place during the time they are enrolled. The catalogue edition to be followed is the one in effect at the time the student matriculates at UVM. Students who would like to follow an edition that is published subsequently during their enrollment at UVM must submit a request in writing, endorsed by their program director, to the Dean of the Graduate College. Students may not mix requirements from different catalogues.

Auditing Classes

Students wishing to regularly attend a course, but not receive credit, may register as an auditor, with the approval of the Dean of the Graduate College and the instructor.  Auditors have no claim on the time or service of the instructor.  Students must meet minimum levels of performance set by the instructor at the time of registration in order to receive an audit grade.  Tuition is charged at the applicable rate.  Under no circumstances will changes be made after the add/drop period to allow credit for courses audited. Tuition scholarships accompanying graduate assistantships do not cover tuition for audited courses.


Courses may be added through the first 5 instructional days of the semester without instructor permission, unless indicated.  Adding a course between the 6th and 10th instructional day will be at the discretion of the faculty member and will occur by means of a faculty override.  Courses may be dropped through the first 10 instructional days of the semester.  During summer and winter sessions, the add/drop period varies from course to course depending on when the class begins and how long it runs. Withdrawing from a course after add/drop will result in a partial or no tuition refund; being added to a new course after add/drop will result in a tuition charge. Add/drop dates may be viewed on the Academic Calendar on the Registrar's Office website.

For Part of Term courses, add/drop dates vary from full term courses and may be viewed on the Academic Calendar- Parts of Term page on the Registrar's Office website.

Withdrawal from Courses

From the 11th day of instruction until the 2nd business day after the 60% point in the semester, students may withdraw from courses. To do so, students must use the registration system to withdraw from the course. The student’s advisor(s) and dean(s) will be notified. The instructor(s) will be aware of the withdrawal by the Withdraw status on the class roster and the presence of a grade of W on the grade roster.

Between the 2nd business day after the 60% point in the semester and the last day of classes, students may withdraw from 1 or more courses only by demonstrating to the Graduate College Dean's Office, through a written petition, that they are unable to continue in the courses(s) due to circumstances beyond their control. Such petition must contain conclusive evidence, properly documented, of the illness or other situation preventing completion of the course(s). Acceptable reasons do not include dissatisfaction with performance or expected grade, dissatisfaction with the course or instructor, or desire to change major or program. If the petition is approved, a grade of W will be assigned and recorded on the student’s permanent record. If the petition is denied, the instructor(s) will assign a final grade in accordance with the same criteria applied to all other students in the course(s).  Final decisions rest with the Graduate College.  

Withdrawals will be permitted after the last day of classes only when the student was incapacitated before the end of the term and unable to process a late withdrawal request. To be considered, the request must be made within 60 days of the end of the term in which the course was taken, or before the end of the add/drop period of the subsequent term attended, whichever is sooner.  Final decisions rest with the Graduate College. 

In all instances, withdrawal grades remain on the permanent academic record, but will not affect the grade-point average.  Withdrawn courses are included in the number of credits used for billing purposes.

Definition of a Credit Hour

The Faculty Senate has defined a University of Vermont credit hour as follows:

  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester hour of credit or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
  3. “Direct faculty instruction” must include regular and substantive faculty/student contact regardless of delivery mode (for example, face-to-face, hybrid, distance/online).

Semester courses must span the full term (15 weeks in fall and spring) of the semester in which they are offered, with a minimum of 45 hours of total effort per credit. Part-of-Term courses in the semester or summer must span the full part-of-term in which they are offered and distribute the 45 hours of effort per credit over a shorter time window.

Undergraduate Student Course Enrollment for Graduate Credit (non-accelerated master's students)

UVM Senior undergraduates may enroll for up to 6 graduate credits (5000- or 6000-level) at UVM that can transfer into a UVM graduate program after completion of the bachelor's under the following circumstances: the student must be enrolled in 12 credits (per semester) that are required for their undergraduate degree; courses must be graded and cannot be independent study, practicum, internship, or research credit courses. This graduate level credit can be used as transfer credit into a UVM graduate program if the course is deemed appropriate by the student’s advisor for the particular graduate program and the student earned a grade of B or better. The transfer is credit only (not grade) and does not count towards the minimum graded credit required after matriculation into the graduate program.  Other institutions may not accept such credit, earned before award of the bachelor's degree, in transfer to their graduate programs. 

Non-Degree Student Course Enrollment for Graduate Credit

Graduate Credit earned at UVM after completion of the Bachelor's Degree but prior to admission to a graduate program is transfer credit; only the credit and not the grade is transferred and is subject to the transfer of credit policy.

Non-degree students who enroll in graduate-level courses may transfer the credits into a graduate degree provided they meet the transfer of credit policy.

Distance Education Student Status

A distance education student is a student whose primary affiliation with UVM is as a student matriculated in a distance education degree or academic certificate program where the majority of content is delivered at a distance. There may be a minimal residency component of the program that is exclusively available to the matriculated distance education students. A distance student may not register for an on-campus course; however a residential student may register for courses offered through a distance program on a space availability basis.

Students are billed according to their primary affiliation with UVM. These categories are residential or distance and may be program specific. When tuition differs between these categories, tuition is billed according to the primary affiliation of the student for any courses taken.       

Academic Probation and Dismissal on Academic Grounds

The Graduate College expects students to make satisfactory progress toward their degrees by enforcing minimum standards. Students not making satisfactory progress are subject to academic probation.

Criteria for Satisfactory Academic Progress

The Graduate College sets the minimum standards for satisfactory academic progress. Programs may impose additional criteria beyond the Graduate College’s for determining a student’s academic standing.

There are four sets of criteria that the Graduate College considers in determining whether or not students are making satisfactory academic progress:

  • Grades and cumulative GPA: A student whose overall (cumulative) grade average is below B (3.000 GPA), who has two or more grades below a B (3.00), or who receives a U (Unsatisfactory) or UP (Unsatisfactory Progress) in Thesis or Dissertation Research, Seminar or Clinical Practicum, is not making satisfactory academic progress and will be placed on academic probation by the Graduate College. Individual programs may have stricter criteria and can determine independently from the Graduate College that a student is not meeting grade and/or cumulative GPA requirements in the program and should be placed on program-level academic probation or be considered for dismissal from their graduate program with the concurrence of the Graduate College.
  • Milestone deadlines: Ph.D. students who have not been admitted to candidacy (have not passed the qualifying exam) by the end of their third year, or who have not completed the dissertation proposal (prospectus) by the end of the fourth year are not making satisfactory academic progress and will be placed on academic probation by the Graduate College. For students on an approved leave of absence, the degree deadline will be extended accordingly. Individual programs may have earlier deadlines or additional milestones and can determine independently from the Graduate College that a student is not making satisfactory progress toward milestones.
  • Annual Review for Ph.D. students: Ph.D. students who receive an “unsatisfactory” rating in their annual academic progress review will be placed on academic probation by the Graduate College.
  • Program length: Ph.D. students must complete all requirements for the Ph.D. within nine years of initial registration in the Graduate College. Master’s students must complete all requirements for the master’s degree within five years of initial registration. For students on an approved leave of absence, the degree deadline will be extended accordingly. Students who do not complete degree requirements by the established deadlines will be placed on academic probation by the Graduate College. Individual programs may have stricter criteria for timely degree completion and can determine independently from the Graduate College that a student is not making satisfactory progress toward degree completion.

Programs may have criteria beyond the Graduate College’s criteria for determining a student’s academic standing. Examples of these additional criteria could include, but are not limited to: unsatisfactory performance in classes, unsatisfactory performance on qualifying exams, unsatisfactory research progress, unsatisfactory progress in writing the dissertation, failure to communicate with program and/or advisor, or failure to meet additional requirements outlined in a program’s handbook or annual progress communications.

All programs must clearly and directly reference in their materials (in a printed handbook and/or on their website) any program-specific standards, requirements, and disciplinary policies to the extent that they differ from the Graduate College’s policies.

Failure to make satisfactory academic progress as determined by either the Graduate College or the program will result in academic probation or dismissal on academic grounds.

Students will be dismissed from their graduate program if they fail the comprehensive examination or a thesis or dissertation defense on both the first and second attempt.

The Graduate College's Academic Probation

When a student fails to meet any of the sets of criteria established by the Graduate College for maintaining satisfactory academic progress, the student will be placed on academic probation by the Graduate College.

The Graduate College will notify the student, as well as the director of their graduate program, in writing. The student will be given until the end of the semester following the semester when probationary status was triggered to resume satisfactory academic standing. Programs are expected to provide tailored support to students on their path toward remediation. During the Graduate College-imposed probationary period, students other than those who have exceeded their degree deadline will remain eligible to receive federal and institutional funding. At the end of the probationary period, progress will be reviewed by the Graduate College. If a student does not re-establish satisfactory academic standing during the probationary period and does not successfully petition for an extension of the probationary period, the student will become ineligible to receive financial aid and will be dismissed from the Graduate College.

Petitioning the Graduate College for an Extension of the Probationary Period

Students who have not achieved the Graduate College’s minimum GPA requirement or exceeded the Graduate College’s milestones or degree deadlines and do not remediate within the probationary period may petition the Graduate College for a one-time extension of the one-semester probationary period. Extensions of the probationary period will be granted only in exceptional circumstances when there are extraordinary reasons beyond the student’s control that have been discussed in advance of the initial probation deadline between the student and their program (faculty advisor and Program Director).

The petition must include:

  • The specific length of the extension including the exact date by which the requirement(s) will be met. The extension time frame should be realistic, as there is no opportunity for additional extension of the probationary period.
  • A rationale for the extension that explains the extraordinary reason(s) the requirement(s) could not be met by the deadline or within the initial probationary period. Detailed personal information is not required, but some explanation of the delay is necessary for the Graduate College to consider a petition.
  • A detailed timeline for meeting the requirement(s) including what work remains to be completed and the specific timeline, with proposed deadlines by which that work will be completed within the extension period.
  • A detailed letter of support for the extension from the student’s academic/research advisor that endorses the length of the extension and the timeline for meeting requirements and addresses the plan’s feasibility.
  • Signatures from the student’s academic/research advisor and the Program Director.

The petition must be submitted for the attention of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Graduate College, no later than seven (7) calendar days before the grading deadline of the initial probationary period. Incomplete and/or late petitions will not be accepted.

Program-Level Academic Probation

As noted above, programs may have additional or more strict criteria beyond the Graduate College’s sets of criteria for determining a student’s academic standing and may have their own probation process. When a program determines that a student is not making adequate academic progress, the program may place the student on probation in accordance with the probation process and for a period of time outlined in the program’s handbook and in direct written communication to the student. When a program decides to place a student on probation, the student and the Graduate College must be notified in writing. Students who are placed in probationary status by their program are not eligible to change their degree objective or transfer to another academic program within the Graduate College. Programs are expected to provide tailored support to students on their path toward remediation.

Dismissal on Academic Grounds

A student who is on academic probation with the Graduate College and fails to resume satisfactory academic standing at the end of their Graduate College probationary period will be dismissed from the Graduate College on academic grounds. The dismissal decision is final when the Graduate College dismisses a student who does not meet one or more of the Graduate College’s sets of criteria for satisfactory academic progress and who has failed to remediate within the Graduate College’s probationary period. In such cases, there is no process for appeal and the dismissal will take effect immediately.

A student who has failed to make satisfactory academic progress according to program-specific criteria, or failed to remediate during a program-specific probation period, may be dismissed by the program with the concurrence of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the Graduate College. A program can initiate a student’s dismissal on academic grounds when:

  • the criteria for dismissal have been stated clearly by the program, either in a handbook or via direct written communication to a student, and have been disseminated to students effectively; and
  • the decision to dismiss is made by the program faculty or a subset of faculty which includes the Program Director. No individual faculty member may dismiss a student.

Funding will cease on the effective date of the dismissal. When a student is dismissed by the program, the student has an opportunity to appeal the decision to the Graduate College. When a student appeals the program’s decision, the student remains an active student while the appeal is under review. In the event the appeal is denied, the dismissal takes effect after the appeal process has concluded.

Notification of "Dismissal on Academic Grounds"

When the Graduate College determines that a student is to be dismissed, both the program and the student will be informed in writing (email communication is considered to be “in writing”) within five (5) business days of the determination.

When a decision to dismiss a student is initiated by the program and enacted with the concurrence of the Graduate College, the student must be informed in writing within five (5) business days of the decision.

Dismissal notifications must include the effective date of the dismissal, a clear statement of the reason(s) for dismissal, and details of any applicable appeals process.

Appeal Process for Dismissal Initiated by Program with Concurrence of the Graduate College

Students wishing to appeal a dismissal decision related to program-specific standards may appeal the final program dismissal decision to the Dean of the Graduate College. To appeal a program decision, students must submit an appeal in writing to the attention of the Dean of the Graduate College within fourteen (14) calendar days of the date of the program’s final written determination of dismissal to the student. The appeal must specify the basis for the appeal and include any supporting materials. If no appeal is filed within the fourteen-day appeal period, the program’s decision becomes final and not subject to appeal.

The only grounds for appeal are as follows:

  • procedural errors within the program’s dismissal process that may have materially and unfairly affected the dismissal decision;
  • new information discovered after the program’s dismissal decision that could not have reasonably been available at the time of the dismissal and is of a nature that could materially change the outcome;
  • program’s decision to dismiss the student was manifestly contrary to the weight of the information presented (i.e., obviously unreasonable and unsupported by the great weight of information) and/or showed clear abuse of discretion.

Appeals of program dismissals are reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate College who may request additional information from, or a meeting with, the student and/or program before making a final decision. Students may have a support person accompany them to any meetings related to the appeal; this person may not be legal counsel. If the Dean does not find that any of the aforementioned grounds for appeal are present, the Dean will uphold the outcome of the program. If the Dean finds that grounds for appeal are valid, they may amend the decision of the program. The Dean’s decision will be made within thirty (30) calendar days of the submission of the appeal and will be communicated in writing to both the student and the program. When resolution cannot be achieved within thirty (30) calendar days, students and programs will be informed in writing of the delay and the final disposition will be achieved as quickly as possible. The Dean’s decision is final.

Dismissal on Professional Grounds

Students whose professional integrity is deemed unsatisfactory at any time may be dismissed from the Graduate College by the Dean upon consultation with the student’s department or program. Breaches of professional integrity include, but are not limited to, violations described in the Misconduct in Research Policy, violation of the Code of Academic Integrity, and actions that violate the professional standards for conduct, integrity, and ethics in an academic discipline and profession or in duties associated with an assistantship.

FERPA Rights Disclosure

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review one's own student education record within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access. Written requests for access should be submitted by the student to the university registrar, or, if appropriate, the dean of students, the dean of the student’s college or school, or other school official with control over the student education record they would like to inspect and review. The written request must contain sufficient detail to identify the record(s), as well as the identity of the person(s) who may be provided access, other than the student, if any. If the records are not maintained by the school official to whom the request is submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct school official to whom the request should be addressed. The school official with control over the requested records will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  2. The right to request amendment to one's own student education record if the student believes such record to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. To seek amendment of a student education record, the student must write to the school official responsible for the record at issue. The written request must clearly identify the part of the student education record they want changed, specifying why it is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy rights under FERPA. Following review of the request, if the university decides not to amend the student education record, the university will notify the student in writing of the decision and advise them of their right to a formal hearing regarding the request. Information about the hearing procedures for such an appeal will be provided to the student as part of the written decision letter. After the hearing, if the university decides not to amend the student education record, the student has the right to place a statement with the applicable portion of their student education record setting forth their view about the contested information.
  3. The right to provide written consent prior to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in one's own student education record, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. Common exceptions to written consent include, but are not limited to:
  4. The disclosure of a student education record to a school official, within or otherwise acting on behalf of UVM, with a legitimate educational interest.
  5. The disclosure of a student education record to officials of another institution of post secondary education where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled, so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer. 
  6. The disclosure of a student education record to outside law enforcement officials, mental health officials, and other experts in the community in the event of a health or safety emergency, or to assess a potential threat. Student education records may also be disclosed to a parent or legal guardian when their student is experiencing a health or safety emergency.
  7. The disclosure of student disciplinary records to a parent or legal guardian when a student under the age of 21 has violated the law or university policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
  8. The disclosure of the final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted by the institution, regardless of whether the institution concluded a violation was committed, to an alleged victim of any crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense. 
  9. The disclosure is to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  10. The information is considered “directory information” and the student has not taken formal action to restrict its release.
  11.  The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University of Vermont to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5920

More detailed information is available on the FERPA Policy webpage.