Miscellaneous Rules

The majority of rules relating to graduate students are to be found in the General Information Catalog, the Graduate School Catalog, and in each semester's Course Schedule. Some rules are in less accessible places or are unique to this department or the Cockrell School of Engineering and need emphasis.

Course Load

The following policy regarding minimum course loads for graduate students is in effect for the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering.

A. Every full-time graduate student is required to register for at least 9 semester hours each long semester. Full-time registration is required for:

  • Students with University-administered fellowships
  • Students holding TA/GRA/AI appointments
  • International students on a student visa
  • Students in Married Student Housing

A one-time exception to the 9 hour rule is allowed in a student’s last term. Students, who have completed all other requirements for the degree except completion of thesis, report, or dissertation and his/her supervising professor estimates the work yet to be done on it will require less than six weeks for submission of final copy to the Graduate School, can register for only 698B, 398R or D, or 399W. This exception can only be used for one semester; if another semester is required, the student will be required to register for 9 semester hours of credit. This one-time exception does NOT apply to students with a GRA/TA/AI/Grader appointment.

B. Part-time students in the graduate program with quarter-time or more employment outside of the university may register for a minimum of 3 hours each semester.

C. Students must maintain continuous registration to remain in a degree program unless prior approval is granted by the Committee on Graduate Studies for the student to not register on specified occasions. Normally, a student must register for the summer session, an exception being made only in those cases in which the student will neither spend a significant portion of his/her time on the research problem nor be obtaining advice from the supervising professor. Any student having a break in his/her registration sequence without prior approval who seeks reinstatement in a degree program must petition the Committee on Graduate Studies for approval.

Credit/No Credit

No courses may be taken on a Cr/NC basis to satisfy conditional admission entrance requirements. In addition, MS candidates must take all courses in the major area on a grade basis. Up to two minor courses (supporting work), or fifty percent of the minor courses, whichever is less, may be taken on a Cr/NC basis.

Incomplete Grades

Graduate students have only one long semester to finish an Incomplete (X) course. At the end of one long semester after an Incomplete is issued, the Incomplete grade will become permanent on the student’s record unless a grade change form has been submitted by the instructor. Permanent incomplete grades will appear on a student’s transcript as an (I). Permanent Incomplete’s cannot be changed. Therefore, students must make every effort to complete the required coursework in the semester following the issuance of an Incomplete. Students with two or more incompletes cannot be appointed.

Special Studies Courses

Research courses (CE 397S) are not counted toward MS or PhD degree requirements but do count in satisfying the course load requirements. If a seminar course or special studies (CE 397) course is intended to be counted toward the degree, arrangements must be made with the Graduate Advisor prior to registration. Seminar courses are always taken on a Cr/NC basis; anyone registered for a letter grade will automatically be changed to Cr/NC by the department unless other arrangements have been agreed upon.

Transfer of Credit for the MS Degree

Up to six hours of credit may be transferred from another university toward the MS degree if the courses were graduate level, not counted toward any other degree, and if the student received grades of A or B. Transfer credit requests should be made early in the student’s program. See the Graduate Advisor or Graduate Coordinator for additional information.

Undergraduate Courses Allowed for the MS Degree

Students writing a thesis may count up to nine hours of upper-division undergraduate courses toward the degree requirements with no more than six hours in either the major or the minor. Students writing a Graduate School Report may count up to 6 hours of upper-division undergraduate coursework, while students in the No Thesis/Departmental Report or No Thesis/No Report options may count only 3 hours of upper-division undergraduate coursework toward the MS degree. As of fall 2008, grades in upper division undergraduate courses count in the graduate GPA. In order to request registration for upper-division undergraduate courses, CAEE graduate students must fill out a request for registration

Continuous Registration - Thesis, Dissertation or Report

-As soon as work is begun on the thesis or report, or the PhD candidate has been admitted to candidacy, the student should begin registering for 698 (thesis), 398D (departmental report), 398R (graduate school report) or 399 (dissertation). A MS student doing a thesis would register for 698A the first semester and 698B every semester thereafter until graduation. Students doing a report should register for 398D or 398R in their final semester. Doctoral candidates should register for a special studies 397S titled Dissertation Research until they are officially admitted to candidacy. Once admitted to candidacy they should register for 399R (or 699R or 999R) the first semester ONLY and 399W (or 699W, or 999W) thereafter until graduation.

-Thesis, report and dissertation are taken on a Credit/No Credit basis. The "in progress" symbol (*) will be assigned each semester until graduation. Exception: CE/ARE 698A must be assigned CR/NC instead of an *.

-Students must maintain continuous registration as stated above every long semester until graduation. Registration during the summers is not required if you are away from campus, have no contact with the university during that period, and are not appointed as a GRA/TA.

In Absentia/Post-Summer Registration

A student registered in the summer that completes his/her degree requirements after the summer deadline, but before the start of the fall semester, may request In Absentia Registration (also called Post-Summer Registration). A complete description of this procedure appears in the current Graduate Catalog. There is a $25 registration fee. Students registered In Absentia officially graduate in December.

Applications for PhD Candidacy or MS Graduation 

Graduation/candidacy guidelines for both MS and PhD students are available on the Graduate School website, along with the deadlines for submitting the required forms. Master’s students must submit the graduation application online early in the semester they plan to graduate. An electronic MS Program of Work will automatically be sent to the graduate coordinator and advisor for approval after you have submitted your online graduation application. PhD students are expected to take the qualifying exam prior to registering for their second semester and should apply for Admission to Candidacy once the exam is passed. Application for Doctoral Candidacy is now completed on the web.