Part-Time Status for Graduates

Part-Time Status for Graduate Students

Part-time graduate students enroll in 6 units or less, and must apply to the Office of the University Registrar, using the Part-Time Petition webform.  The deadline to apply for part-time status is the 10th day of instruction of the quarter in which part-time will begin.  Approved part-time students pay the full student services fee, all campus fees and one-half of tuition; they receive ½-quarter credit toward satisfying residency requirements.  Enrolling in more than 6 units for a quarter will return the student to full-time status and fees.  The Office of the University Registrar will consider requests for retroactive part-time status by exception only, and only for reasons of a death in the family, medical issues, or administrative error.

  • Who can advise me about part-time status?  There are more considerations for part-time status than reduced fees.  Enrolling part-time may extend your time to degree and could affect other areas of your academic and financial plan.  Contact your Graduate Coordinator or a program Graduate Advisor to discuss part-time enrollment.  Their contact information is available in the People section of your Program page.  
  • How much are part-time fees? Information about fees is available on the Finance and Business Tuition & Fees website
  • More information about part-time status and the link to the Part-Time Petition webform is available on the OUR Part-Time Status website.  

Doctoral Student Eligibility

Part-Time Status and Employment

Full-time enrollment is required for graduate student appointment to ASE (TA, AI, Reader, Tutor) or GSR positions, but requests for exception to permit part-time student employment may be approved by Graduate Studies on a case-by-case basis.  Programs may request exception on a student's behalf by submitting the Petition for Exception to Policy (PEP) along with a statement of support.  

Doctoral students may be approved for part-time status prior to and during the quarter of the Qualifying Examination.  After passing the QE, full-time enrollment is required in all registered quarters - with the exception of part-time status approved as an accommodation for a documented disability.  For information about accommodations and support services available to students with disabilities, contact graduate student Disability Specialist, Abby Tilden (, or make an appointment through the Student Disability Center (SDC).  

Master's Student Eligibility

Master's students approved for part-time status may continue to enroll part-time through the end of their program, as long as they maintain eligibility through one of the documented reasons below.

International Student Eligibility

International students in F-1 or J-1 status should not drop below full-time enrollment (12 units) without authorization from SISS noted on the I-20 or DS-2019.  Failure to register for and maintain full-time enrollment may jeopardize your status in the US.  In some circumstances, international students may be approved for part-time status.  Contact your SISS Advisor or email to discuss part-time eligibility.  

Documented Reasons for Part-Time Status

Employment 30+ Hours per Week

You must include a letter from your employer(s) stating you work 30+ hours per week. Multiple jobs may be combined to reach the 30+ hours, but each needs an employer verification letter. The letter(s) must be on company letterhead and signed by your supervisor and include contact information for the supervisor.  Employment may include student assistantships and unpaid internships; however, a support letter is still required for these situations.  If you are self-employed, you must provide either a copy of your business license or the first two pages of your business tax return.

Physical or Mental Health Condition

You must include a letter signed by your medical professional stating that you are under their treatment, and they recommend your Part-Time status as it relates to your medical condition. The letter does not need to include any specifics about your medical condition or treatment.  

Accommodation for Disability

You must include a letter of support from a specialist at the Student Disability Center and/or a letter signed by your medical professional.  It is your responsibility to request accommodations as soon as possible, within a period of time that allows the university a reasonable opportunity to evaluate the request and offer necessary adjustments. The accommodation is subject to extension and modification, and it is your responsibility to submit subsequent requests as needed. You may petition for approval of Part-Time status for a minimum of one and a maximum of three consecutive regular terms (Fall, Winter, Spring). You will need to submit a new Part-Time Petition and support letter for each designated term.  

Primary Care Responsibilities 

You must write, sign, and include a signed letter explaining your Primary Care responsibility.  This is limited to care of dependent children, a spouse, or a medical care for another family member.  Physician verification of your medical responsibilities must also be included if applicable.