Exceptions to Graduate School academic policies and procedures may be granted (except in the case of credit overload) if the student and his or her graduate program representative are able to show that circumstances beyond the student’s control—illness, family emergency, etc.—prevented the student from complying with the policies. (Ignorance of the rules is not an acceptable reason to request an exception.)

Requests for exceptions must be submitted on a Graduate School Request for Exception Form prior to the semester in which the rule or requirement applies, if at all possible.

Listed below are common types of exception requests, and the required elements and supporting signature for each type.

Credit Overload

The maximum credit load for graduate students is 12 credits. Audited courses, Sport and Recreation courses, and zero-credit colloquium/seminar courses are excluded from the total credit count.

Requests to carry an overload will be considered if the student has a strong academic record and no outstanding incompletes. The request must be supported by the student’s advisor as well as the graduate program representative.

Dean’s Approval Required to Continue

A graduate student will receive a Graduate Dean’s Approval Required to Continue action if any of the following conditions exist:

  1. The student’s cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0.
  2. The student is not removed from probation status within three enrolled semesters.
  3. The student does not satisfy course deficiencies within three enrolled semesters.
  4. This action precludes registration for a subsequent semester.

To receive permission to register following this action, students must demonstrate academic improvement and must show that factors that led to the placement of the Graduate Dean’s Approval Required to Continue have been negated. The request must include a program of study for the following semester and must be supported by the graduate program representative and the student’s advisor.

Extension of Time Limit

The master’s degree must be completed in five years for programs requiring 30 or fewer credits. For master’s programs requiring more than 30 credits, the time limit is seven years. This includes capstone requirements such as a successful thesis defense or passing a comprehensive exam.

The doctoral degree must be completed within ten years of initial enrollment in a doctoral program at UWM. This includes successful completion of all coursework, internships, examinations, the dissertation and the dissertation defense.

For students entering doctoral program in the fall of 2000 and later, doctoral preliminary examinations must be passed within five years of initial enrollment.

Requests for extending time limits must include all of the following:

  1. An explanation for the delay
  2. An explanation of how the factors that caused the delay have been resolved, or what steps are being taken to prevent further delays
  3. A schedule for completion of the degree, including anticipated semester of graduation. Master’s students writing a thesis and all doctoral students requesting time limit extensions should address the following as appropriate:
    • Is literature review complete?
    • Is data collection complete?
    • Is data analysis complete?
    • Number of chapters written
    • Number of chapters read by Major Professor
    • Tentative defense date
  4. A supporting statement from the Major Professor verifying progress-to-date

The request also must be supported by the graduate program representative.

Late Add/Registration

Student should state whether he or she has been attending classes. Instructors should verify attendance or confirm that the student may successfully join the class at this time. A completed Change of Registration form, signed by the course instructor(s), should accompany the Graduate School Request for Exception Form. If the exception is approved, the student is responsible for all late fees in addition to the tuition payment.

Late Drop/Withdrawal (Past The Deadline)

This type of request will be considered only for reasons unrelated to academic performance. A completed Change of Registration form, signed by the course instructor (for drops), or a completed withdrawal form should accompany the Request for Exception form. In either case, the course instructor(s) should verify successful completion of course requirements to date. The request also must be supported by the graduate program representative.

Re-entry After Five-Year Absence

Students who want to re-enter a graduate degree program following a 5 year (or greater) absence must be able to demonstrate retention of knowledge from previous coursework taken for the degree. Additionally, instructors must verify that the course content has not changed significantly since the student completed the coursework. Students should list remaining course and degree requirements (e.g., thesis) to be completed for the degree and a timetable for completion. The request must be supported by the student’s advisor, who must verify that the timetable is reasonable, and the graduate program representative.

Other Policy Exceptions

For guidance on required elements to support other types of exceptions, contact the Assistant Dean of Graduate Education at 414-229-6569.