Graduate Student Registration
A graduate student will report to the advisor specified in the acceptance letter and thereafter will follow the registration procedure for all SDSM&T students. The advisor is responsible for counseling the graduate student with respect to programmatic requirements until the student has selected a major professor. In some programs, the advisor may continue to work with the student and the major professor to ensure that all degree requirements have been satisfied.
Definition of Full Time and Half Time Registration
A full time graduate student is defined as a student registered for 9 or more credit hours per semester at any of the universities in the South Dakota regental system during the academic year. All international students must be registered full-time to maintain student status with the U.S. government.
A three quarter time graduate student is defined as a student registered for at least 7 credits but less than 9 credit hours per semester during the academic year.
A half time graduate student is defined as a student registered for at least 4.5 credits and less than 7 credit hours per semester during the academic year.
Two credits are considered full-time during the summer for Office of Graduate Education purposes, including awarding assistantships and fellowships. To qualify for federal student aid or to qualify for in-school deferment status (for federal or private alternative student loans), a student must be registered for at least 4.5 credits during any semester, including summer.
Audited credits do not apply toward the above definitions. Remedial English classes and deficiency courses count toward the determination of full-time status.
Continuing Registration Requirements
Degree-seeking graduate students must be registered on a continuing basis during each fall and spring semester. The number of credits required is specified in the next section, Minimum Academic Load. This applies regardless of whether the graduate student is in residence, is off-campus, or is pursuing a degree on a part time basis. Failure to maintain continuing registration will result in deactivation of the graduate student’s program. Graduate students who fail to comply and subsequently wish to return to their same program of study will be required to obtain written permission from the department head or program coordinator and the dean of graduate education and may be required to reapply. Students may petition for a leave of absence if they are unable to fulfill the continuing registration requirement (See Leave of Absence section). Graduate non-degree seeking (special) students are exempt from the continuing registration rule.
Minimum Academic Load
Degree seeking graduate students must enroll for a minimum of 2 credits during the spring and fall semesters. A student must also register for a minimum of 2 credits during the summer if the student is using departmental or institutional resources or is graduating in the summer semester. Minimum registration is required during any semester in which a student schedules or takes exams, conducts research, or completes a degree. The number of credit hours taken in excess of the minimum should accurately reflect the extent of the graduate student’s coursework and research activities.
Graduate students must meet this minimum registration requirement during the specific semester or summer in which they complete all requirements for their degree and become eligible for graduation. There will be no grace period; hence, students who fail to complete all degree requirements prior to the official closure date for a given semester or summer will be required to register for a minimum of 2 credits during a subsequent semester or summer in order to graduate.
Please refer to the section Funding Policies for additional information on the number of credit hours required during a semester to be eligible for assistantships and financial aid.
Maximum Academic Load
Thirteen credit hours per semester are considered to be the maximum graduate load. Higher loads must be approved by the dean of graduate education and the major professor. Students wishing to take a higher course load must complete a course overload request form. Appropriate course loads should be determined in conjunction with the advisor or major professor and should reflect the effort required for students working as GTAs or GRAs.
Leave of Absence
A student who is unable to continue his/her program of graduate study due to unanticipated circumstances may request a leave of absence from his/her program of study by completing and submitting a request for leave of absence form, available in the Office of Graduate Education and at the graduate education website. The form must be completed and signed by the student, the student’s major professor, department head or program coordinator and then submitted to the Office of Graduate Education. The dean of graduate education will evaluate the request and either approve or deny it. If the request is approved, the student will not be subject to continuing registration, and the leave of absence will not count toward the time limits to complete his/her program of study. A leave of absence is determined on a semester basis and is usually limited to a maximum of one calendar year. International students are not eligible for a leave of absence if they intend to remain in the U.S.