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Graduate School
The University of Mississippi

Graduate Program Coordinators Handbook

Section 3

Academic Progression Policies and Procedures

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Students are expected to maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better on all graduate level work. The Graduate School reviews the academic progress of all students at the end of each semester and identifies those who have a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0. Students with Provisional standing are reviewed at the end of their first nine hours of graduate work. Failure to achieve good standing can lead to a hold on enrollment or a drop to Non-Degree status. If a hold is placed on enrollment, the student must visit the Graduate School to discuss matters and to possibly have the hold overridden. Academic holds require the Graduate Program Coordinator to contact the Dean of the Graduate School and the Assistant to the Dean to grant permission to remove the hold.

Where a student has three I or IP grades outstanding, the student is not permitted to enroll in additional courses.


All doctoral degree students must successfully complete a comprehensive examination. The rules related to eligibility to take the exam are given in the Graduate Catalog. Included in the Appendix is a form to be used to request authorization for taking a comprehensive exam. Once a student has passed the comprehensive exam, they become a candidate for a doctoral degree. A candidate is required to be continuously enrolled for at least 3 hours during two semesters within a calendar year.


Prior to graduation, every doctoral student must complete 18 hours of dissertation credit (note, the Ed.D. requirements vary slightly). After a student is admitted to candidacy, enrollment – in course work or dissertation – must be continuous, including an enrollment of at least 3 hours in the term in which the degree is granted (1 hour of enrollment during the summer will suffice for graduation, if the summer semester is not to be used to fulfill the continuous enrollment requirement). Continuous enrollment is defined as enrollment for at least three semester hours during two of the three terms of the calendar year. The calendar year includes the fall and spring semesters and the summer session, enrollment in one of the two summer terms constituting a summer session enrollment. A doctoral student failing to maintain continuous enrollment will be assessed a fee equal to three (3) hours of tuition for each semester of their suspended enrollment. In departments requiring an internship for the doctorate, continuous enrollment is not considered to be interrupted by enrollment in the internship. However, 18 hours of dissertation must still be presented, including 3 hours of enrollment during the Fall or Spring semester the degree is awarded.


Thesis committees of the University of Mississippi must consist of at least three faculty members from the discipline in which the degree is sought; each must be a member, Associate or Full, of the Graduate Faculty.

Dissertation committees of the University of Mississippi must consist of at least three faculty from the discipline in which the degree is sought, plus one-member external to the discipline; each must be a member, Associate or Full, of the Graduate Faculty, but the Chair must be a Full member or have received the special and specific consent of the Graduate Council.

Members of thesis and dissertation committees, as described above, may continue their involvement with those committees after leaving the University; Chairs of thesis and dissertation committees who leave the University may serve as Co-Chairs.

Only appointed members of thesis and dissertation committees may be identified on the signature page even if they cannot be present at the thesis or dissertation defense.

Auxiliary members of thesis and dissertation committees who are not members of the University of Mississippi faculty may be appointed to committees as non-voting members but may not be identified on the signature page.


The following set of guidelines is also given in the Appendix as a form. There must be at least four (4) months between the successful defense of the prospectus and the defense of the dissertation.

  1. A written dissertation prospectus will be required of every doctoral student.
  2. An oral defense of the prospectus will be required.
  3. A committee will be formed to evaluate the merit of the prospectus. This committee will also serve as the dissertation committee.
  4. The committee should consist of at least four members. One member, nominated by the dissertation chairperson, will be external to the discipline. All members of the committee shall have equal voting rights.
  5. A single negative vote in the committee will require negotiation among the committee members in order to achieve reconciliation of the point(s) of objection.
  6. Only if the committee cannot agree on the merits of the prospectus and, through reasoned discussion, accept the prospectus unanimously, a review process by a committee of the department/school will be invoked.
  7. Although a unanimous vote of the committee is necessary in order to accept the prospectus, a majority vote only will be required on the final dissertation defense.
  8. An approved copy of the prospectus will be filed with the Graduate School immediately following the defense. An email from a member of Committee approving prospectus and a PDF copy of prospectus should be emailed to
  9. Any research involving human subjects must be approved by the Institutional Review Board. Any research using animals must be approved by the IACUC. To determine if these provisions apply, please contact the IRB or IACUC through the Office of Research at x7482 for applications and assistance.
  10. When any member of the committee believes that a substantial change in the research plan has been made, the committee will be reconvened. Unanimous approval of any substantial revision is required. A report of substantial changes will be filed in the Graduate School.
  11. Any committee member who does not sign the final dissertation must file an objection with the Graduate School.


Final oral or written examinations for a masters or doctoral degree must be scheduled no later than 14 days prior to the intended examination date. These exams must be scheduled on or before the last day of class (i.e., a final exam cannot be scheduled during the regular University testing period or between semesters). See the Graduate Catalog for additional regulations. The form is available on the Graduate School website on the Forms Library page.


A student who expects to complete all degree requirements by the end of a particular semester must submit Form GS8-Application for Graduate Degree to the Records Coordinator in the Graduate School. The deadline for submitting this application form is approximately one month after the beginning of a fall or spring semester; actual deadlines are posted on the Registrar’s Academic Calendar.

When a student completes and submits Form GS8-Application for Graduate Degree, the Registrar will email a diploma application to the student.  Detailed information is available to the student about the required format for the dissertation or thesis, fees for binding and microfilming, and fees and procedures for applying for copyright on the Graduation Preparation page of the Graduate School’s website.  Doctorate of Philosophy students are required to complete a Survey of Earned Doctorates.



A student can request to apply toward a degree up to nine hours of course work taken while enrolled in a Non-Degree II status. Students enrolled in our Program for Accelerated Advanced Degree may count up to 15 hours, depending on the graduate program (these undergraduate students should consult the Graduate School webpage for relevant policies and practices). Students who complete a graduate certificate at the University of Mississippi may apply those hours towards a graduate degree (though they may not count them toward another certificate).



Grades for all courses taken by Graduate students will remain a permanent part of their transcript. Except for courses identified in the catalog as “may be repeated for credit,” no course may be repeated more than once, and no more than two courses may be repeated and applied toward a degree. In instances of repeated courses, the second grade will be used to determine eligibility to graduate. Departments may impose higher standards.
The Graduate School does not have a “forgiveness policy.” However, if a graduate student repeats a course for credit, only the second (or last) grade is used in determining eligibility to graduate.



Under certain conditions, the University of Mississippi allows advanced undergraduate students to enroll in courses for graduate credit. Undergraduate students and faculty should consult the General Academic Regulations for Graduate Students policy in the University Policy Directory for details about such opportunities.



As explained in the Graduate Catalog, a maximum of six credit hours can be recommended for transfer credit from another institution for a student pursuing a master degree (twelve hours for a student pursuing an MFA or Specialists degree). The Graduate School does not accept transfer credit toward the doctoral degree. However, University of Mississippi transcripts for doctoral students may include statements as to the number of credits completed at other institutions, by name of institution and number of credits earned, but will not list the specific course numbers or titles. Click for the GS3 – Request to Accept Transfer Credit from Another Institution.



All work applying to a master degree must be completed within a six year period of time, including any transfer hours.

Time Limit: All required formal course work and the comprehensive exam should be completed within four calendar years of initial enrollment into degree seeking (Conditional or Full-standing) status, whether a student begins the doctoral program following completion of a bachelor’s or a master’s degree and must complete all remaining requirements, including the written dissertation and its defense, within five calendar years. If a candidate does not complete all requirements within this time the Graduate School will change the student’s status to non-degree seeking.


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