Policies and Deadlines

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Fees and Study Lists

Students are required to pay fees and file a study list each quarter in order to be considered a registered student. The registrar mails registration information to all continuing students approximately six weeks before the quarter begins. There is a fee for late fee payment or study list filing. For more information see the website of the Office of the Registrar.


Go to the website of the Office the Registrar to see current deadlines to:

  • apply for filing fee status
  • file a study list
  • change study list
  • withdraw and receive a full refund
  • apply for reduced fee enrollment
  • apply for part-time enrollment
  • register a name change
  • reclassify residency

Registration in Absentia

Graduate students whose research or study requires them to remain outside the nine Bay Area counties throughout the quarter may register in absentia. When you register in absentia, your combined Tuition and Student Services Fee will be reduced by 85%. In order to receive the fee reduction, you must file a registration in absentia application for each quarter in absentia by the beginning of each quarter. Also, to qualify for registration in absentia, you must have advanced to candidacy in your program (doctoral students) and must have completed at least one year of coursework by the time the in absentia status would begin (master's and doctoral students).

The graduate dean may grant in absentia registration status for up to two years for academic doctoral students, and up to one year for master’s and graduate professional students. Longer periods may be granted at the discretion of the graduate dean or the appropriate professional school dean.

The student health insurance fee is assessed for each quarter in absentia, unless a waiver for this fee has been granted by Student Health and Counseling; however, an annual student health waiver application fee will be charged. Further, the appropriate student government fee will be assessed each quarter you are registered in absentia.

For additional information on in absentia policies, please see the fee policy for graduate students in absentia on the website of the UC Office of the President.

Study Lists

The study list is the official record of courses for which you will receive credit at the end of the quarter. File your study list online using your student ID and PIN. Students are required to obtain preapproval from their graduate adviser prior to filing the study list. The study list must be filed by the published deadlines each quarter. After the deadline, a late fee will be charged. According to Academic Senate regulations, ordinarily a graduate student shall not receive credit for more than 12 units in strictly graduate/200-series courses, or more than 16 units in 100-series courses each quarter. However, the graduate adviser may approve a study list which exceeds these limits. Advisers must review the study list carefully since adjustments to students' records can not be made after established deadlines. The number of units may effect student eligibility for financial aid and for some training grants.

Study List Changes

With the approval of the graduate adviser, students may make changes online to a study list as long as they are made before the published deadline for online filing. After this deadline, students may neither add a course nor change unit values to existing courses. Courses may be dropped until the end of the seventh week of classes of the quarter. No changes to the study list may be made after that date. To modify your study list after the study list filing period closes, students must submit a petition via the student portal.

Full-Time Status

A load of eight to twelve units is considered full-time study for graduate students. Students may enroll for fewer than eight units and still be considered full-time depending on the kind of activity the student is engaged in during the quarter. A doctoral student who is preparing for the qualifying examination, for example, may be registered for a total of four units and be considered full-time because ample time must be devoted to preparation for the exam. A student engaged in writing the dissertation may register for only one course (i.e. 299, which carries no units) and still be considered full-time.

Part-Time Study

A student who is unable to pursue full-time study for reasons of occupation, family responsibilities, or health concerns may petition for classification as a part-time student.

  • Classification as a part-time student is subject to approval by the graduate adviser and the dean of graduate studies.
  • Part-time status is granted for a period of one academic year, subject to renewal each year prior to the fall quarter. An approved petition is required for each renewal.
  • Part-time students cannot exceed a total of six units on the study list each quarter.
  • Doctoral students in-candidacy may not be classified as part-time.
  • Prior to advancement to candidacy, doctoral students who are classified as part-time will accrue time to the degree under the five year allotment of degree policy at one-half the rate of full-time students for those quarters in which they were approved for part-time study.
  • Fees for part-time students are reduced in accordance with UC policies on part-time study, i.e. one-half the educational fee and one-half the nonresident tuition.

Petitions for classification as a part-time student are available through the Office of the Registrar. (Graduate advisers should endorse petitions for part-time study only if it is appropriate for the student in question.)

Academic Residence

Every graduate student must register for and complete a minimum of four units of course work each quarter for a specified number of quarters in order to meet requirements for academic residence:

  • The academic residence requirement for a master's degree is three quarters.
  • The academic residence requirement for a doctoral degree is six quarters.

Leaves of Absence/Withdrawal

The university may grant you permission for leave of absence or honorable withdrawal if you are in good standing but do not want to retain your class status.

If you do not register, you must petition for either a leave of absence or a withdrawal. Otherwise, your student status will lapse, and the Graduate Division will instruct the registrar to change the status to administrative withdrawal. A leave of absence may be granted for one academic year and is subject to approval by your graduate adviser and the dean of the Graduate Division. After one year has passed, you must submit a request for an extended leave, which must be approved by your graduate adviser. Extensions are limited to no more than one additional academic year. No further extension can be granted. You must return to registered status or forfeit your place in your program.  Forfeiture occurs after your absence lapses after one year with no contact from you, at which point you will be administratively withdrawn.

Students are in good standing if they are not subject to academic probation or disqualification, professional disqualification, or disciplinary disqualification. You can petition for honorable withdrawal or leave of absence online in the student portal. However, before starting the online process, please consult with your school or program, Student Health and Counseling Services, and, if applicable, the Student Financial Aid Office and the International Students and Scholars Office to discuss your plans, as withdrawal and leave of absence may have consequences for your academic plans, health insurance, financial aid and loans, and any visa.

For a leave of absence, you can select a readmission term at the time you request the leave of absence.  We encourage you to indicate your readmission term because, otherwise, a leave of absence may affect access to electronic systems.  If you do not know your readmission term, please apply for readmission once your quarter of return is certain.

Learn how withdrawal and leave of absence may affect access to electronic systems.

Parental and Medical Leaves for PhD Students

Students shall work with their program administrator and adviser to ensure that any leave of absence is minimally disruptive to their academic progression.

See details on PhD Student Leaves Policy.


A student on leave of absence must petition for readmission in order to register again as a graduate student. The petition for readmission is available online from the Office of the Registrar. Readmission requires the approval of the graduate adviser and the dean of the Graduate Division. A non-refundable $40 fee is charged when the readmission form is filed. Students must observe the registrar's deadlines for filing a petition for readmission. For readmission, the following signatures of approval must be obtained in the following order:

  1. Student Health Services
  2. Director/graduate adviser (nursing students obtain signature of director of student affairs)
  3. Dean of the Graduate Division

Change of Field of Study

A student who wishes to change his/her field of study must request to do so using a general student petition form. The signature of the graduate adviser in the present program and the approval of the program directors of both the current and "new" programs are required. The proposed graduate program may review a student’s petition as thoroughly as it does applications for admission. The Graduate Division will provide copies of transcripts, GRE scores, etc. as required. For changes to be effective for a given quarter, petitions must be approved and submitted by the first day of that quarter.

Change in Degree Objective

A student may petition for change in degree objective by using the application for change/addition of degree objective form.

A student may petition for a change in degree objective for several reasons:

  • a student admitted to a master's degree program may wish to obtain a doctoral degree
  • a student admitted to a doctoral program wants to obtain a terminal master's degree
  • a student admitted to a doctoral degree program may wish to obtain a master's in addition to the PhD
  • a student admitted to a doctoral degree program wants to obtain an approved designated emphasis in that program.

In all cases, the petition should state the requested change and bear the signatures of the graduate adviser. Students wishing to obtain a master's degree are subject to the policies and deadlines regarding advancement to candidacy for the master's degree. For changes to be effective for a given quarter, petitions must be approved and submitted by the first day of that quarter.

Intercampus Exchange

The University of California Intercampus Exchange Program allows graduate students to take courses on another campus in the UC system while remaining registered on the home campus. It provides the opportunity for contact with scholars, fields of study, and facilities not available on the home campus. The student pays fees only to the home campus and grades for courses taken at the host campus are reported to the registrar for inclusion on the student’s UCSF transcript. Intercampus exchange forms are available online through the Office of the Registrar.

Four signatures are required:

  • Graduate adviser
  • Dean of Graduate Studies on the home campus
  • Chair of the department in which the desired course is offered on the host campus
  • Dean of the Graduate Division on the host campus.

Home campus signatures are required before the host campus will approve. Forms must be submitted to the Graduate Division at least three weeks before the quarter begins so that the Office of the Registrar can make arrangements for filing of study lists, etc. UCSF students must list Intercampus Exchange courses on the UCSF study list in order to receive proper credit. Study lists and other forms may be required for the host campus as well. Courses taken on another campus must be directly related to the student's degree program. Lower division undergraduate courses may not be taken through Intercampus Exchange.

The San Francisco Consortium

Several institutions in San Francisco cooperate in a consortium arrangement in which any regularly enrolled, full-time, matriculated student of a member institution may register for courses offered by other member institutions. No extra cost to the student or institutions is involved except for those students wishing to take a course at the University of San Francisco or Golden Gate University. The consortium arrangement applies only to regular sessions of the academic year and excludes summer session, intersession and extension courses. Cross-registration is limited to one course per term at one other institution. Application forms and specific instructions are available online through the Office the Registrar.

Members of the San Francisco Consortium are:

  • University of California San Francisco
  • University of San Francisco (USF) (students from consortium member institutions who enroll at USF will be charged the USF per-unit tuition rate published in the USF class schedule for that term and will be expected to make payment at the time of registration.)
  • San Francisco State University
  • Hastings College of the Law
  • Golden Gate University (Students from consortium member institutions who enroll at GGU will be charged a per-unit tuition rate published in the GGU class schedule for that term and will be expected to make payment at the time of registration.)

UCSF - Stanford Exchange

A similar exchange program exists with Stanford University. Forms for cross-registration with Stanford are available through the UCSF Office of the Registrar.

Concurrent Registration

Concurrent registration permits a student to pursue more than one degree objective simultaneously. A student enrolled for the DDS, or PharmD degree may also work toward a graduate academic degree. Professional students who wish to register concurrently must file a separate application for admission to the Graduate Division and obtain approval from the dean of the professional school. Such students must file two study lists while in concurrent status. Credit may not be utilized toward more than one degree objective. Concurrently registered students must meet all the requirements for a graduate academic degree. Graduate students who have been admitted to the UCSF School of Medicine are advised to complete their degree requirements prior to enrolling as a medical student. Otherwise, the School of Medicine will require the student to take a leave of absence from the Graduate Division. Graduate Council regulations allow a medical student to pursue a master’s degree under the "medical student's option." This option is not available to students in other professional degree programs. Students accepted into the Medical Scientist Training Program in the School of Medicine complete two years of medical school, then complete the PhD, then return to medical school to complete the last two years of their curriculum.

Transfer of Credit

Ordinarily, all course work for a graduate degree must be done in residence. However, up to six quarter-units of credit for work completed elsewhere may be allowed. For coursework completed at another campus of the University of California, up to one-half the program for a master's degree (15 to 18 quarter units) may be accepted for transfer.

  • A student must be registered as a graduate student for at least one quarter before petitioning for transfer credit.
  • Units accepted for transfer must have been earned in graduate status.
  • Work that formed part of the program for a degree previously conferred may not be applied toward a current degree program.
  • Courses taken in a university extension division and courses taken on a non-degree basis may not be accepted for transfer.

The student must file a general petition requesting transfer of credit and have an official transcript indicating completion of the course(s) sent directly to the Graduate Division. If all conditions are satisfied and acceptance of credit is recommended by the graduate adviser, the Graduate Division will instruct the registrar to add the units to the student's permanent record. Courses accepted for transfer should be listed on the application for candidacy. Since specific course and unit requirements do not ordinarily apply to the doctoral degree, transfer of credit policies do not apply to students in doctoral degree programs.

Filing Fee

Filing Fee is a reduced fee (one-half of the University Registration fee) for graduate students who have completed all requirements for the degree except for filing the master's thesis or doctoral dissertation and are advanced to candidacy. Other types of final exams outside of a capstone (e.g., final report) must be pre-approved by the Graduate Division Dean's Office. The Filing Fee is not a form of registration or equivalent to registration. If students wish to use university services that are supported by registration fees, such as health insurance fees, they must pay those fees. Students that may need insurance coverage while on filing fee should make alternate plans for their coverage. Students on filing fee status may enroll in the Voluntary Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan (Voluntary UC SHIP) for one quarter. Coverage is elected by term. Students purchasing other insurance must do so before the end of the SHIP insurance period (July 31 or December 31) to avoid any lapse in coverage.

To avoid visa problems with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, international students must contact the UCSF International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) well before the beginning of the term during which they will use the Filing Fee.

A student who has completed all requirements for the degree, with the exception of filing the dissertation or thesis or taking the comprehensive examination, may apply for filing fee status in lieu of registration. Download the filing fee application form and instructions. Please also closely follow the filing fee deadlines each term.

  • The cost of filing fee is currently half of the student services fee.
  • A student on filing fee status is not eligible to use University facilities, enroll in course work, or make demands on faculty time other than the final reading of the dissertation or thesis, or taking the comprehensive examination.
  • A student on filing fee is not eligible for a student academic appointment (GSR, TA, or tutor).
  • A student may not apply for filing fee status directly upon return from a leave of absence.
  • A student on filing fee status does not register or file a study list. Please do not file a study list during your filing fee term. Doing so will delay processing of your filing fee petition.
  • Terms while on filing fee status do NOT count towards the required in candidacy terms for degrees. (The PhD requirement is three terms in candidacy, MA/MS is one term in candidacy). In candidacy terms must be in full-time registered status.
  • Services such as financial aid, Student Health and Counseling services, and Millberry Union membership are not available to students on filing fee, except by special arrangement. Students may, however, continue coverage in the UC Student Health insurance plan by enrolling in the voluntary plan within the first 30 days of the quarter. For more information contact the insurance coordinator at Student Health and Counseling, 415/476-1283, before your formal quarter ends. In addition, please be advised that students returning to registered status after a quarter on filing fee status will be assessed full fees for the quarter in which they return.
  • Students should not apply for filing fee unless they are sure that they will complete degree requirements during the quarter. The first draft of the thesis or dissertation should be completed and all members of the committee must be in agreement that further research is not necessary. Many students underestimate the time it will take to get the final manuscript approved by the entire committee and prepared for submission to the Graduate Division Dean's Office.
  • If the student does not finish the work for the degree by the end of the quarter on filing fee, registration with full fees for all subsequent quarters will be required until the degree is completed. Students who return to registered student status after a quarter on filing fee will be required to pay an additional Student Health Service insurance fee if they did not continue coverage during the filing fee quarter.
  • A student may only register on filing fee once.
  • Filing Fee status can be rescinded up to two weeks after the start of the term. After two weeks have passed, the filing fee registration status cannot be changed.

Submitting Your Thesis or Dissertation

Please refer to the dissertation and thesis guidelines to review deadlines and formatting requirements. We strongly urge students to initiate submission of the thesis/dissertation and the signed title page far in advance of the deadline. In most cases, revisions will be necessary before you can finalize the submission. If the final thesis/dissertation, and associated documents, are not submitted by the deadline you must either register or go on filing fee status (if eligible) for the next quarter. In order to be on the degree list, you must either be registered or on filing fee status for the quarter for the quarter in which you wish to graduate. (Read more about filing fee status in the section above.)