XI. Degree Requirements and Completion


Grades

All graduate students in graduate or undergraduate courses will be graded Satisfactory (S), Unsatisfactory (U), or Incomplete (I). Graduate students also have the option of receiving a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or I in most courses. The grades of A or B shall be awarded for satisfactory work. Grades of C or D will not satisfy any course requirement for a graduate degree at UCSC. A graduate program has the option of requiring letter grades or S/U grades for any graduate course offered by that program. 

Under the grading options, you will receive Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory unless you elect the letter grade option (A, B, C, D, F). The choice is yours at the time of enrollment and can be changed up to the end of the third week of instruction for the quarter.

Graduate students are not eligible to file Credit by Examination, Credit by Petition or to receive a "no record" notation. All notations including those of C, D, F, or Unsatisfactory will be listed on the permanent record.

Specific senate regulations are noted below.

13.1.1 Graduate students in graduate or undergraduate courses shall be graded S, U, or I. The quality of work awarded a grade of S shall clearly merit certification of satisfactory progress towards the Master's or Ph.D. degrees.

13.1.2 All preliminary, qualifying and/or comprehensive graduate examinations shall be graded Honors (H), Pass (P), or Fail (F). Papers of students receiving H or F grades will be read by at least two readers.

13.1.3 Graduate students have the option of receiving a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F instead of S or U in any graduate course or any undergraduate course for which undergraduate students have the letter grade option. Letter grades A-F, shall be awarded for graduate students in the manner and with the meanings prescribed in SR 780, except that the grades A and B may be modified by plus (+) or minus (-) suffixes and the grade C may be modified by plus (+). A graduate student receiving a grade of C+, C, D, or F will not be able to use the credit for that course to satisfy any course requirement for a graduate degree in the Santa Cruz Division. A graduate program has the option of requiring letter grades or S/U grades for any graduate course offered by the graduate program. 

13.1.3B Grade points per credit shall be assigned by the Registrar as follows: A = 4; B = 3; C = 2; D = 1; F=0. I, W, or IP = none. "Minus" grades shall be assigned three-tenths grade point less per credit than unsuffixed grades, and "plus" grades (except A+) shall be assigned three-tenths grade point more per credit. The grade of A+ shall be assigned 4.0 grade points per credit, the same as for an unsuffixed A, but when A+ is reported it represents extraordinary achievement. The grade point average (GPA) for graduate students is determined by dividing the number of grade points earned by the number of credits attempted for a letter grade. The number of grade points earned for a course equals the number of grade points assigned multiplied by the number of course credits. Only letter grades are used for computing a graduate student’s grade point average. Graduate students must have taken at least 25 credits of their graduate courses as letter grades in order to receive an official GPA for their degree. 

13.1.3C The Registrar is authorized to change a final grade upon written request of an instructor, provided that a clerical or procedural error is the reason for the change. Grade changes (except for I and IP) must be submitted to the Registrar within one year from the close of the quarter for which the original grade was submitted. 

13.1.4 The grade of I may be assigned when a student's work is of passing quality but is incomplete. A student may not repeat a course in which a grade of I has been received, except after approval of a petition by the Graduate Council. The student is entitled to replace this I grade by a passing grade and to receive credit provided he or she completes the work of the course by the end of the third quarter following that in which the grade I was received unless the instructor or department specifies an earlier date. Under extenuating circumstances, a petition for extension of this time may be granted by the chair of the department concerned upon recommendation of the instructor.

13.1.5 A grade in a single course extending over two or three terms of an academic year may be given at the end of the course. This grade will then be recorded as applying to each of the terms of the course. A student satisfactorily completing only one or two terms of a course extending over two or three terms of an academic year for reasons of illness or transfer, shall be given grades for those terms. In this context, SCR A9.1.7 shall apply to graduate courses.

13.1.6 Graduate students may repeat courses in which they received a grade of C, D, F or U. If a student repeats a course in which he or she received a grade of C or D, the credits are only counted once. The most recently earned grade will determine whether a degree requirement has been met. No course may be repeated more than once without prior written approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

13.2.1 Each instructor in a graduate course shall have the option to prepare a written evaluation at the end of the term for any student taking the course for credit. A written evaluation of a preliminary, qualifying, or comprehensive examination may be provided by the relevant department. 

Incomplete Grades

An Incomplete grade may be assigned for work that is of satisfactory quality but is incomplete. To receive an I, however, you must make arrangements with your instructor prior to the end of the quarter. It is important that you discuss the situation with your instructor as soon as it becomes apparent that you will be unable to finish the course work as it may become too late to arrange for an Incomplete, resulting in an Unsatisfactory or Fail notation on your record.

If you receive an incomplete you must take steps to remove it within one year from the time the Grade I was received unless the instructor or department specifies an earlier date. You need not be registered the quarter you file the petition to remove the incomplete. If you fail to remove the Incomplete grade within one year, the I will be entered officially and permanently as a Fail or Unsatisfactory depending on the grading option you elected.

Veterans and veteran dependents should note that failure to remove an incomplete may result in overpayment of VA benefits.

The following steps should be taken to remove an incomplete grade

  1. Obtain a Petition for Removal of Incomplete form at the Office of the Registrar. Complete and sign the top portion of the form. By signing the petition you agree to have the $10 non-refundable filing fee assessed to your UCSC account.
  1. Submit the petition to your Instructor. Course work must be completed and submitted to your instructor by the end of the third quarter from which the incomplete was received (excluding summer session). Your instructor may set an earlier deadline for submission of work.
  1. The instructor will complete the bottom portion of the form and forward it to the department or agency that sponsored the course for signature. The department will then submit the completed form to the Office of the Registrar.
  1. Under extenuating circumstances, you may be granted a one quarter extension to make up the incomplete with instructor and department chair approval.

Master's Degree Requirements

1) Residency

In accordance with SR 682, the minimum residence requirement is three quarters at the University of California, of which at least two must be spent at the University of California, Santa Cruz campus. At least one of the three quarters must occur after student has applied for admission to candidacy for the Master's degree. Residence is established by satisfactory completion of one course per term.

These are University-wide minimum residency requirements. The exact number of courses required to complete the degree will depend on your preparation for graduate study and on your progress toward the degree as evaluated by your department.

2) Degree Plan Options

Students pursuing academic Master’s Degrees will pursue either a thesis capstone (Plan I) or comprehensive capstone (Plan II) curriculum. Individual programs may adopt one or both plans. Candidates for either plan are subject to guidance by the program’s Faculty respecting the distribution of the student’s workload among departments. Subject to the approval of the Academic Senate, programs are to develop Master’s. degree requirements appropriate to the field of study. These requirements must meet the following minimum standards.

3) Minimum Number of Units Required

Plan I: Must require a minimum of 35 quarter units of graduate and upper division courses, of which no more than 15 units may be upper division undergraduate courses. Of the required graduate-level courses, a minimum of 20 units must be courses other than supervised research, except by special exception of the Graduate Council. This exception shall be provided to the program as a whole, rather than case-by-case to individual candidates.

Plan II: Must require a minimum of 35 quarter units of graduate and upper division courses, of which no more than 15 units may be upper division undergraduate courses. Supervised research classes may not count towards the satisfaction of minimum unit requirements for Plan II candidates.

4) Minimum Capstone Requirement

Plan I: A Master’s thesis, or a paper, project, or performance in lieu of a thesis, is required of each candidate. The Plan I capstone must be completed in the format specified by the Graduate Council and filed with the Graduate Division by the end of instruction in the term in which the candidate expects the degree to be awarded.

A Committee to read and evaluate the Master's thesis is appointed by the candidate's department, and the department shall at the same time notify the Graduate Division of the membership of the Committee by the end of the second week of the quarter in which the degree is to be granted. The majority of the three member thesis reading committee shall be members of the Santa Cruz Division of the Academic Senate. A change in the membership of the committee, once appointed, may only be made with the approval of the Graduate Dean.

The thesis must be a professionally finished work in format, style, spelling and appearance, abiding by the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines available from the Graduate Division or from our web page. One copy of the thesis, either electronic or hard-copy, signed by your thesis committee* must be filed with the Graduate Division by the last day of the term in which you expect to receive your degree.

*Signed title page must be submitted as a hard-copy original to the Division of Graduate Studies.

Plan II: A comprehensive final examination or project in the major subject, of such nature and conducted in such manner as may be determined by the department or group concerned, is required of each candidate. The nature of the comprehensive capstone is to be approved by the Graduate Council for the program as a whole.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

In accordance with SR 686 the minimum residence requirement for the Ph.D. degree is six terms, three of which must be spent in residence at the University of California, Santa Cruz campus. Residence is established by the satisfactory completion of one course per term.

These are University-wide minimum residency requirements. The exact number of courses required to complete the degree will depend on your preparation for graduate study and on your progress toward the degree as evaluated by your department.

Subject to the approval of the Graduate Council, each department determines the language requirement appropriate to its subject-matter area and defines the means by which students demonstrate their language proficiency. The student must have satisfied all language requirements in his or her field of study before taking the qualifying examination for advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

Undertaking and passing the Qualifying Exam is the next step. The procedure for nominating examiners varies, but in a typical situation the department would consult your adviser who would have already conferred with you on its composition. The department then submits its nomination to the Graduate Division for approval. Nominations must be forwarded to the graduate dean at least one month prior to the date of the examination. If your committee is approved you, your committee and your department will be notified. It is important to note that the Qualifying Exam may not be held unless the Graduate Dean has approved the exam committee.

The Senate Regulations for committee membership are stated below.

The qualifying examination committee shall consist of at least four examiners, one of whom is not a member of the student's department. The department shall submit to the Graduate Division at least one month before the proposed examination a list of four qualified persons who are willing to serve on the examination committee, and who meet the following conditions:

1. The Chair of the Examination Committee must be a tenured faculty member.

2. The student's thesis adviser cannot chair the examination committee unless this is specifically allowed by departmental policy.

3. The outside member must be either a tenured faculty member from a different discipline on the University of California, Santa Cruz, campus, a tenured faculty member of the same or different discipline from another academic institution involved in research and graduate education, or a qualified person outside of academia with significant research experience.

4. These nominations must be approved by the Graduate Dean, who is authorized to grant exceptions to the guidelines when requested in writing by the departmental chair.

The examination results should be written as soon as possible after the exam, within the week would be preferable, but at least within the month. The committee sends its report to the Graduate Division. If you pass the qualifying examination, the department forwards the examination report and the required fee for advancement to candidacy. If the student fails the examination, the student will be so informed, and a second (and final) examination will be arranged, unless the department successfully petitions the Graduate Council to waive the right to re-examination. Only under extraordinary circumstances will a committee's membership be altered between a failed examination and the second attempt. If the report of a qualifying examination committee or a dissertation committee is not unanimous, the Graduate Division shall, before certifying that the examination is passed, make such investigation of the case as he or she deems necessary and present his or her findings to the Graduate Council for its final disposition of the case.

Senate Regulations require that student cannot be advanced to candidacy with course grades of "I" (Incomplete) standing on his or her record.

Advancement to Candidacy takes effect on the first day of the quarter following the receipt of the Qualifying Examination Report, the Dissertation Reading Committee Form, Language Requirement form (if applicable), and the Advancement to Candidacy fee in the Graduate Division. Additionally, you must be registered for at least one quarter between advancing to candidacy and the awarding of the degree.

Lastly if the Ph.D. degree is not awarded within seven years from the date of Advancement to Candidacy, the student's candidacy shall lapse and the student will be required to pass a new qualifying exam prior to submitting the dissertation or undergo such other formal review as the student's department shall direct, and the result of this examination or review shall be transmitted in writing to the Graduate Council.

Dissertation

If you are a Ph.D. candidate you must prepare and submit a dissertation that is based on original research and meets the requirements of your department. A Committee to read and pass upon the dissertation is appointed by your department, subject to the approval of the Graduate Dean, and should be submitted to Graduate Division with the report of the qualifying examination.

The Dissertation Reading Committee must have a minimum of three readers, the majority of who must be members of the Santa Cruz Division of the Academic Senate. A change in the membership of the committee must be approved by the Graduate Dean.

The dissertation, completed in the format specified by the Graduate Council and approved by the dissertation committee, must be submitted to the Graduate Division no later than the last day of the term in which the degree is to be awarded. Follow the instructions detailed in the Dissertation Thesis Guidelines pdf. You may submit the thesis in electronic format via the ProQuest system; register on the ProQuest ETD Administrator site. We prefer not to receive hard copies, though we will accept them; they must be printed on 100% cotton paper and conform to all formatting guidelines.

Certificate Requirements

The Science Communication Department offers an intensive one-year program leading to a Graduate Certificate of Completion. It is important to note that this program is not degree granting. 

Residency

The minimum residency requirement for a Certificate at the University of California is three quarters. During each quarter of residency you must enroll in the number of courses required by your department (in no case fewer than two upper division or graduate level 5-credit courses). In order to be eligible to receive a certificate from UC Santa Cruz, you must be registered at the Santa Cruz campus for at least two of the three quarters. These are University-wide minimum residency requirements. The exact number of courses required to complete the degree will depend on your preparation for graduate study and on your progress toward the degree as evaluated by your department.

Additional Requirements

By satisfactorily completing the academic requirements as determined by the department, and by fulfilling the residency requirement, you become eligible to receive a certificate. You must submit an Application for the Certificate to your Department Assistant for review by the end of the second week of the quarter in which you intend to receive the certificate. The Department Assistant will forward your application to the Graduate Division.

Registration Requirements for all Graduate Degrees

UC policy requires graduate students to be in student status with the University the quarter they wish to have a graduate degree awarded. Students may use one of two options, depending on their eligibility or circumstances:

1. Register and Enroll the Quarter of Degree Completion. Quarterly registration maintains a student’s graduate status, and a student may enroll in research units if no additional coursework is needed. Students may enroll in part time or full time status and remain eligible to apply for the graduate degree. A student who registered in spring may apply for a summer graduation without additional fee payment. 

2. Students may apply to use the Filing Fee the quarter they wish to submit the thesis or dissertation to fulfill the requirements for the award of the masters or doctoral degree. This status is used in lieu of registration to maintain the relationship between the student and the University for the express purpose of filing the thesis or dissertation. In order to be eligible for filing fee, a student must have been either on an approved leave of absence or registered in the previous quarter.

A student using the Filing Fee should submit the application for Filing Fee, signed by all members of the Reading Committee by the end of the second week of the quarter (see Academic and Administrative Calendar). These signatures signify that all members have read the thesis/dissertation and believe that the candidate will need to make only minor revisions and will submit the completed work by the end of the quarter. The Department Assistant will forward your Application for Degree, and the Application for Filing Fee to the Graduate Division by the end of the second week of the quarter. The Filing Fee charge will be billed to your student account in myUCSC.

Candidates on filing fee are limited in their use of University facilities (e.g. laboratory facilities, or faculty time except for the reading of the dissertation) as appropriate to their status of degree completion. Students on filing fee are not eligible for financial support (GSR, TA, Fellowships or need based financial aid).

A student who does not complete the thesis or dissertation, or who is required to repeat the final examination must register as a student the quarter they apply to graduate. Normally, students may use the filing fee only once.