This document should be read in conjunction with the Frequently Asked Questions

The Policy:  The Graduate School has a policy that all degree-seeking graduate students must be active and enrolled in something every fall and spring term. This begins when the student is first admitted to degree status and continues until the student has graduated. Note that this does not apply to Temporary or Non-Degree students. Note also that this requirement does not apply to registration during the summer term. There are two exceptions:

The Penalty: Approximately three weeks after the beginning of each fall and spring term an automatic process is run that will discontinue every graduate student (degree and non-degree) that has failed to register. That student will no longer be considered an active Marquette graduate student, and any loans that would have been deferred will start to come due (or the six-month grace period will start being used). 

If the student wants to resume his/her studies in the future, he/she will have to get the consent of the department to be readmitted. This is done by the student sending an email request to the Graduate School via their department. The department must approve or deny the request and forward the email string to Erin Fox. Additionally, the student will be required to pay $100 for every fall and spring term that they were not registered (currently capped at $500 maximum). This is the same fee that would have been assessed if the student had registered for a Continuation course to remain active. Furthermore, because this is a readmission, there is no guarantee that the student WILL be readmitted. If the student had been marginal, the department is under no obligation to approve the student’s readmission request.

Additionally, the six-year period that each student has to complete his/her degree will continue to run during this period of inactivity.

Alternative #1 – Leave of Absence:  If a student anticipates a need for a break from his/her studies, and if the reason meets the criteria listed in the Graduate Bulletin (bereavement, illness, injury, care giving, military service, maternity, paternity), then the student should request a period of Leave of Absence. The process is described on pages 59-60 of the current Graduate Bulletin. It is critical to note that leaves of absence may not be requested retroactively; that is, after the start of the semester. The student must request Leave of Absence by completing the Request for Leave of Absence form on the Graduate School forms Web page. The form must be submitted to the academic department for approval or denial, and then forwarded to the Graduate School.

An approved Leave of Absence will allow a student to take a break from his/her studies without any penalty. The six-year clock does not run during approved leaves of absence.  Furthermore, there is no need for the student to register for anything while in an approved leave of absence status.  When the student resumes his/her studies, there is no financial penalty of $100 per term, as described above. An end date to a leave of absence status is entered at the time the leave of absence is approved. When that end date is reached, the student is reactivated and made eligible to register; there is no need for the student to contact the Graduate School. However, if the student should want or need additional time, this must intentionally be requested and approved.

Alternative #2 – Registration: Normally, students meet the continuous enrollment requirement by registering for course work. The requirement to be enrolled is met by taking as few as one credit, and in fact can also be met by taking a zero-credit course. Continuous enrollment does not require that a student take a certain minimum number of credits. There are, however, other reasons that a student may want or need to be designated a half-time (4, 5, or 6 credits) or full-time (7 or more credits) student. 

For example:


Continuation Courses:  Most students will eventually reach a point in their academic careers when they have taken all of the required courses and thesis or dissertation credits, but who are still working to complete degree requirements. Or, for example, a graduate assistant may be taking less than a full-time load for a valid reason, but would still need to be registered as a full-time student. These are examples of when continuation courses come into play. 

If you have a scholarship, assistantship, or fellowship, and there is still money available in your account, that money may be used to pay for the Continuation Course fee of $100 per semester.

For continuation courses that have less than half-time, half-time, or full-time versions, it is critical that the version that is approved be based on the amount of academic work that the student is doing. If, for example, a student were working 5 hours per week on their thesis or dissertation, that is clearly not worthy of full-time status. The Graduate School has not defined the number of hours per week that are appropriate for the various statuses – that is between the student and the approving authority (adviser, DGS or chair). 

A rough guideline might be:

                  Less than half-time:  Less than 10 hours per week

                  Half-time:  10-20 hours per week

                  Full-time:  Greater than 20 hours per week

It is critical that the status that is granted is based on the work being done. If we were to be audited by the federal authorities and found to not be able to justify the status that is given, the university can be assessed significant financial penalties.

An explanation of the various types of courses, and how they might be used, follows:


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Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
(414) 288-7137

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