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Academic Affairs | Student FAQ

General Questions

Where can I find official communication/letters from GEPA?

You can log into the Graduate Student Portal at https://gradforms.ucsd.edu/portal/student/.

How do I submit a leave of absence / half-time / in absentia form?

You can access all of these online forms in the Graduate Student Portal at https://gradforms.ucsd.edu/portal/student/.

How do I submit a request to constitute/reconstitute my master’s or doctoral committee?

Please work with your department/program graduate coordinator. The online submission tool is only available to staff. Please see the "Committee Constitution Questions" section below for additional information. 

How do I pay the filing fee / readmission fee / doctoral advancement to candidacy fee?

Fees are assessed directly to your student account after the applicable form has been processed by GEPA. Fees are assessed at the beginning of each month.

I need confirmation that I completed my degree. How can I receive confirmation prior to receiving my  diploma or official transcript?  

All  students will receive a congratulatory letter from the Graduate Dean notifying them of their degree completion. The timing of the letter is determined by a few factors. 

  • All final degree forms and requirements must be confirmed and accepted by the GEPA Academic Affairs advisor. 
  • The student’s registration status in the quarter of filing the degree  
    • students who are not registered may receive their letter sooner as there are no grades pending
    • students who are registered must have all grades posted
  • Typically, students receive their letter by email approximately 2-4 weeks after the end of the quarter if all forms are received and all grades are posted. (*Spring quarter degree letters may take longer due to the amount of Spring graduates)

Please contact your GEPA Academic Affairs advisor with any questions. 

Academic Standing / Probation Questions

My GPA is below 3.0 and I received a letter from GEPA stating that I am on probation. What should I do?

  • If there is no hold on your registration then this is a warning letter. You need to focus on improving your academic performance (check in with your faculty advisor/s to work out an academic plan  ). As long as you continue to improve you will be able to continue registering. 
  • If there is a hold on your registration, see the question/answer below.

I have a hold on my registration due to my probation status. How do I get the hold removed?

Please work with your faculty advisor and your program’s graduate coordinator. They will need to submit a letter to the GEPA dean outlining an academic plan for improvement.

I had an incorrect grade recorded and a hold was placed on my registration. The grade is now corrected. How do I get the hold removed?

Contact your program’s graduate coordinator; they can follow up with the appropriate GEPA staff member who can remove the hold. 

Committee Constitution Questions (master's and doctoral students)

Where can I find the rules on committee constitution?

How do I submit a request to constitute or reconstitute my master’s or doctoral committee?

Please work with your department’s graduate coordinator. You may view the campus policies on committees here. However, your program will have its own policies and procedures to follow to obtain approval for a committee.

The online committee submission tool is only available to staff. All committees require approval first from the home program and then final approval from GEPA. Please contact your program's graduate coordinator with any questions.  

Can I include a faculty member from another university on my committee?

Please check with your faculty advisor first to obtain his/her approval, and then work with your program’s graduate coordinator. Your program may have its own policy on "outside" members that needs to be followed.

Professors from other universities may be eligible to serve as extra members (5th members on PhD committees or 4th members on master’s committees). Your program's graduate coordinator will let you know the policy for your program and if possible, how to request an exception.  

How do I submit a request for an exception to the committee rules?

Please work with your program’s graduate coordinator and your faculty advisor. Your faculty advisor may need to write a letter explaining the need for the exception; your coordinator will upload the letter to the online committee tool. The exception request will be reviewed by the GEPA dean/associate dean.

Degree Completion Questions

Additional information can be found on the Preparing to Graduate page

How do I schedule a preliminary appointment to have my thesis/dissertation reviewed by GEPA?

 Schedule your preliminary appointment at the GEPA Online Calendar. A Zoom link will be emailed to you prior to your appointment. [*Please note this is only required for master's Plan I thesis students and PhD/DMA/EdD students. There are no appointments for master's Plan II comprehensive exam or professional degree (MAS, MBA, MFin, MCEPA, MIA, AuD) students)] 

*Please note: the preliminary appointment is the ONLY meeting you will have with a GEPA advisor. The final review is not a meeting. The advisor will set up the final review with you during the preliminary meeting; it will be conducted by email. 

When should I have my preliminary appointment?

Preliminary appointments should be scheduled *prior to your defense, after you've fully formatted your dissertation/thesis. Appointments may be made at least one full day in advance, but not more than 60 days in advance. Please make every effort to complete your preliminary appointment well in advance of the last two weeks of the quarter. The advisor calendars fill up at the end of the quarter, and the last two weeks of the quarter are reserved for final review. 

*It is recommended that you complete your preliminary appointment prior to your defense. You may have your preliminary appointment after your defense date but before your intended graduation date. Note: Your final document review must be after your defense.

You may find information about degree completion on the Dissertation & Thesis Submission page.

What do I need to prepare for the preliminary appointment?

You must have a complete and fully formatted draft of your dissertation/thesis prior to the appointment (per the requirements in the formatting manual). Upload the formatted PDF to ProQuest at least 1 day prior to the appointment. Complete the contact information tab in the ProQuest submission itself (separate from your account profile). Completing the full submission is not necessary; saving as a draft is sufficient.

The GEPA advisor will review your submission and provide written notes/feedback to you via email. The feedback and next steps will be discussed at the preliminary appointment.

What will happen during the preliminary appointment?

The GEPA advisor will go over any required changes that need to be made to your dissertation/thesis. The advisor will also go over the necessary forms and process for the final completion of your degree, and will schedule your final review. 

*Please note: the final review is NOT an appointment. The GEPA advisor will review your final thesis/dissertation and the final paperwork submitted by your program. The advisor will contact you via email regarding the status of your final degree documents. 

What is the final review? [formerly called final appointment] How do I schedule it?

The final review consists of the GEPA advisor reviewing all of your final degree forms. It is NOT an appointment/meeting; it will be scheduled by the GEPA advisor during your preliminary appointment. 

The final review must take place after your defense. The GEPA advisor will review all of your final degree forms, including the final version of your dissertation/thesis. The advisor will contact you via email regarding the status of your final degree documents (including the Final Report Form, co-author permission letters (if applicable), and the dissertation/thesis). 

To receive your degree in a given quarter, all degree forms and the final review must be complete on or before the last day of that quarter (if the quarter ends on a Saturday, the deadline for GEPA submission is Friday). See the Registrar's Academic Calendar.

If you have any questions about the final review, please email your GEPA advisor directly. Please also see the Dissertation & Thesis Submission page.

I passed my master's comprehensive exam. How do I submit my final forms for degree completion?

Your first point of contact is your program's graduate coordinator. Reach out to them to discuss your progress and intention to complete your program. They know the requirements of your program and can provide guidance tailored to your situation.

Your graduate coordinator verifies that you have met all program requirements. They will initiate the final degree forms on your behalf (you will be copied on the form initiated in DocuSign). 

Prior to graduation, ensure that all financial obligations to the university have been met to prevent any delay in the degree conferral process.

Please note that no appointment is necessary with GEPA staff to file comprehensive exam forms. 

How do I submit my final forms for professional degree completion? (e.g. MBA, MAS, AuD)

Your first point of contact is your program's graduate coordinator. Reach out to them to discuss your progress and intention to complete your program. They know the requirements of your program and can provide guidance tailored to your situation.

Your graduate coordinator verifies that you have met all program requirements. They will initiate the final degree forms on your behalf (you will be copied on the form initiated in DocuSign). 

Prior to graduation, ensure that all financial obligations to the university have been met to prevent any delay in the degree conferral process.

Please note that no appointment is necessary with GEPA staff to file the final degree forms. 

Will GEPA provide a letter confirming that I have completed my degree?

  • Yes, all students receive a congratulatory letter from the dean or senior associate dean of GEPA notifying them of their degree award. The timing of the letter is determined by a few factors. 
    1. All final degree forms and requirements must be accepted by the GEPA Academic Affairs advisor.
    2. The student’s registration status in the quarter of filing the degree  
      • students who are not registered may receive their letter sooner as there are no grades pending
      • students who are registered must have all grades posted 
  • Typically, if all forms are received and all grades are posted, students receive their letter approximately 2 weeks after the end of the quarter .
  • Please contact your GEPA Academic Affairs advisor with any questions. 

When will I receive my diploma?

The Office of the Registrar handles diplomas. It can take 3-6 months after the end of the quarter for diplomas to be sent out. Please visit the Registrar's website for more details regarding diplomas.

Doctoral Advancement to Candidacy Questions

I have a hold for not advancing to doctoral candidacy but I passed the exam. When will the hold be removed?

Please work with your program’s graduate coordinator to see what the status of the advancement form is in DocuSign. It may be missing faculty signatures. Once the form is signed completely and is in GEPA’s queue, the hold will be removed within a few days. GEPA is aware of the various deadlines and works hard to remove holds as quickly as possible once we receive the form.

I am an international student who has advanced to doctoral candidacy/or will advance soon; when will I be eligible for the non-resident supplemental tuition reduction?

  • Once you’ve advanced to doctoral candidacy (the form has been fully processed by GEPA and the Registrar’s Office), the supplemental tuition reduction is effective in the next quarter of registration. For example, advancement during Fall quarter results in the reduction for Winter quarter. 
  • If your form is received by GEPA on (or before) the 1st day of instruction, the tuition reduction is effective for that quarter. Please allow a few days for the Registrar’s office to make the adjustment on your billing account. 
  • Please contact your program’s graduate coordinator if you have any questions.

Can I complete my doctoral advancement to candidacy/qualifying exam during the summer?

Yes, if your committee approves of it. The advancement will be recorded as a Fall advancement (the Office of the Registrar does not record advancements in the summer except for EdD students). You must be enrolled in Fall quarter in order for the advancement form to be fully processed. 

Can I complete my advancement to candidacy exam while registered in absentia?

No. Completion of advancement to doctoral candidacy exams are not allowed during in absentia registration. You must complete your exam prior to the quarter of in absentia. 

This would go against the UC policy that interaction with UC faculty during in absentia must involve only indirect supervision appropriate to evaluating the student’s academic progress and performance (e.g., correspondence via e-mail or review of written work). There must be no significant studying or in-person collaboration with UC faculty during the in absentia period. See the in absentia policy.

Exception to Policy Questions

How do I submit a petition or request for an exception to policy?

All petitions must be approved and submitted by the student’s program / department, on the student’s behalf. Students may not submit petitions directly to GEPA. 

Please work with your program's graduate coordinator to ensure that the department supports the petition and that they have the details and supporting documentation (if applicable) needed for the exception request.  

What are the steps to submit a petition / request for an exception?

If the department / program supports the request, the program's graduate coordinator will submit the petition, along with any supporting documentation, to GEPA staff to prepare for the Graduate Dean's (or Senior Associate Dean's) review. GEPA may ask the department for clarification or additional documentation prior.

The Graduate Dean (or Senior Associate Dean) will review the petition and render a decision to approve or deny the exception request. GEPA will notify the department of the decision, and the department will notify the student.

Please note that many petition types will also require review and approval from the Educational Policy Committee (EPC). EPC meets once per month during the academic year.

The petition review process can take several weeks, and especially if EPC review is required, the process may take longer. 

Students should check with the graduate coordinator in their home program / department for the status of any petition. 

What supporting documentation is needed for a petition?

In order for a petition to be considered, the circumstances should be unusual and/or generally out of your control.  Make sure that you provide your department with a clear explanation of the circumstances surrounding your case and the justification for an exception to policy. The explanation should include things such as:

  • why/how the situation occurred
  • why you were unable to meet the deadline, etc.
  • a timeline of events, including specific dates, and any documentation that supports your request

When applicable, provide supporting documents such as:

  • email to or from program staff or faculty
  • a screen capture of an online form
  • a letter from a health care provider

Work closely with your department to provide the necessary background/documentation to present a clear case in the petition. 

Make sure you are familiar with UC San Diego Educational Policies, published deadline dates, and student responsibilities related to your request (see resources below).

Please note: For an exception to policy to be approved, a clear and compelling case needs to be demonstrated. GEPA and EPC carefully evaluate each petition individually and often cases do not meet the criteria for approval. As outlined in the EPC policy (link provided in the question/answer below), students are expected to know and adhere to campus policies and deadlines, and students are responsible for monitoring their academic record regularly and maintaining its integrity. The petition process is available to address cases where a student faces unusual circumstances and there may be good cause for an exception.

What if my request is denied? May I appeal the decision?

If a petition is denied, an appeal will only be considered if all 3 of the following criteria are met:

  1. The program / department faculty must support the appeal
  2. New information or documentation relevant to the request is provided 
  3. The appeal is submitted to GEPA no later than 1 quarter following the initial decision

Please note that all appeals denied by GEPA and/or EPC are final.

Where can I find UC San Diego academic policies and related resources?

Academic Policies and Procedures

Academic Senate Educational Policies

  • See "Graduate Student Petitions Requesting Exceptions to Academic Senate Regulations"

Registrar's Enrollment Calendar (including deadlines for course withdrawal and form submission)

 

Joint Doctoral Program Questions

What do I need to do if I can't enroll at UC San Diego?

Check for holds on your student account. Holds can be placed for various reasons: such as outstanding fees, incomplete paperwork, or other administrative matters. The hold text on your account will include who to contact about the hold. Clearing any existing holds is the first step towards resolving enrollment issues.

If there are no holds on your student account but you are still unable to enroll, please reach out to your UC San Diego departmental  graduate coordinator. They may need to contact GEPA staff to ask for your enrollment to be activated (for example, if you are returning from a leave of absence).

Do I need to be registered to complete my degree?

Registration requirements and procedures vary between UC San Diego and SDSU, as well as across different programs within these institutions.

Please note that you must declare graduation at SDSU and be registered at SDSU in your graduating term.

To ensure a smooth degree completion process stay in close communication with both your UC San Diego graduate coordinator and your SDSU departmental coordinator/advisor. They will provide you with the specific guidance and information you need to meet all necessary registration and graduation requirements for your program.

What are the deadlines to file my final degree forms?

The degree deadlines for joint doctoral students are aligned with the UC San Diego calendar. Please visit the following webpages to view the deadlines:

 Office of the Registrar Enrollment and Registration Calendars

GEPA page: Enrolling at UC San Diego

Can I receive a master's degree or Candidate in Philosophy degree through my joint doctoral program?

UC San Diego does not offer a master's degree along the way to the PhD in any of the joint doctoral programs, nor do any of the programs offer the Candidate in Philosophy (CPhil) degree.

In certain instances SDSU may allow the award of a master's degree as part of the joint doctoral program. Students should contact the joint doctoral program coordinator at SDSU for more information. 

I pay tuition and fees at SDSU. Why are there fees assessed on my UC San Diego account?

Please contact your UC San Diego program's graduate coodinator. They may need to request a fee waiver from GEPA. This exemption removes all standard tuition and fees from your student billing account.  Please note that this request needs to come directly from the program's graduate coordinator.

Please allow for processing time. The exemption process involves multiple offices and therefore takes time to fully process. Please follow up with your program's graduate coordinator with any questions. 

There are a variety of fees that may be assessed. Please see Explanation of Registration Fees for more detail. Please note that not all fees are waived through the joint doctoral program fee exemption. 

Off-Campus Study Options

Are there opportunities to take classes at other universities?

UC San Diego offers the Intercampus Exchange Program (ICEP) with all other UC campuses. 

  • Allows UC San Diego graduate students to take courses at other UC campuses. 
  • Eligibility: students must be in good standing, must have completed one quarter of study prior to ICEP, must be enrolled full-time (minimum 12 units; can be a combination between both campuses).
  • Requests to register in ICEP must be submitted 4 weeks before the desired ICEP quarter.
  • Review the ICEP procedures to correctly collect approvals on the ICEP form.
  • It is students’ responsibility to adhere to registration and fee deadlines at either campus. If canceling ICEP registration, please inform both campuses as soon as possible.  Students may be subjected to cancellation fees at either campus.
  • Full information on intercampus exchange can be found here.
  • Other UC campuses may implement limits to the number of quarters allowed for ICEP enrollment.
  • Please note that ICEP is not offered during the summer.

Students may also take classes through UC San Diego / San Diego State Exchange Program

  • Eligibility is the same as for ICEP - see above.
  • Application must be completed and filed with GEPA at least four weeks prior to the Exchange quarter.
  • Full information on the UC San Diego / San Diego State Exchange program can be found here.

There are opportunities for students to study abroad through UC Education Abroad Programs.

  • Allows UCSD graduate students to study abroad at host institutions. 
  • Eligibility for UCEAP: students must be in good standing, must have completed one quarter of study prior to UCEAP.
  • Full information on UCEAP can be found on the GEPA website and Study Abroad website.

Do I have to pay for ICEP or the SDSU Exchange program?

Students enrolled in ICEP or SDSU Exchange pay the standard amount of tution and fees assessed at UC San Diego.

What is In Absentia registration?

Graduate students who have an academic need to conduct research outside of our local campus region or California for the entire quarter may file for in absentia registration and have their tuition/fees reduced. The research must be directly related to the student’s degree program as evidenced by UC faculty approval and must be of a nature that makes it necessary to be completed outside of the designated local campus region.

Eligibility for in absentia:

  • must be in good academic standing
  • must be enrolled in full-time research (12 units)
  • must be conducting research outside of the designated UC San Diego campus region (see details here)
  • master’s & professional students must have completed one year of coursework
  • doctoral students must have advanced to candidacy
  • no significant in-person studying or collaboration with UC faculty during the in absentia quarter/s
  • supervision from faculty must be indirect (e.g. email correspondence or review of written work) and only to evaluate academic progress and performance

Doctoral students are limited to 6 quarters of in absentia (see your program's graduate coordinator for questions on exceptions to this limit).

Master's and professional degree students are limited to 3 quarters of in absentia (see your program's graduate coordinator for questions on exceptions to this limit).

Full information on in absentia can be found here, including FAQs from the UC Office of the President.

What are the tuition and fees for In Absentia registration?

Students will be assessed 15% of the combined tuition and Student Services Fee. This reflects that students in absentia have less access to UC resources than do other UC students, but continue to utilize some level of advising and other University resources to facilitate timely academic progress toward degree completion.

The full health insurance fees are assessed (unless evidence of alternative insurance coverage is provided according to customary campus practice). Students registered in absentia will have access to all benefits associated with their student health insurance plan.

Campus-based fees, as determined by each campus. are assessed.

Nonresident Supplemental Tuition, if applicable, is assessed.

Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition, if applicable, is assessed. [This only applies to students in graduate professional programs subject to this charge]

Can I complete my doctoral advancement to candidacy exam while registered In Absentia?

No. Completion of advancement to doctoral candidacy exams are not allowed during in absentia registration. The advancement exam must be completed prior to the quarter of in absentia.

This goes against UC policy that interaction with UC faculty during in absentia must involve only indirect supervision appropriate to evaluating the student’s academic progress and performance (e.g., correspondence via e-mail or review of written work). There must be no significant studying or in-person collaboration with UC faculty during the in absentia period. See the in absentia policy.

Spring Evaluation Questions (Doctoral and MFA students only)

How do I start my evaluation?

Your program's graduate coordinator will alert you once the evaluation is open/ready for you. You can access it via the Graduate Student Portal at https://gradforms.ucsd.edu/portal/student/. 

Who is required to fill out and sign my evaluation?

  • Both you and your faculty advisor are required to provide input and sign (via SSO) the evaluation.
  • For students who have not advanced to doctoral or MFA 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 faculty advisor; 2) a committee member; 3) another committee member; 4) the department chair/vice chair; 5) the student.

What if I don't have a faculty advisor yet?

Check with your program's graduate coordinator. Some programs have a designated faculty member complete evaluations for students who don't yet have an advisor. (It could be the program's director of graduate study, the program chair/vice chair, or other faculty designate.)

I am defending in Spring (or Summer). Is an evaluation still necessary?

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