Graduate School News

Link to Leadership: Dr. Lisa Schwiebert, Associate Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs

GRAD logo without taglineEmbarking on the graduate school journey can be a challenging experience, but it helps if you understand the major players involved in that experience. This new series, "Link to Leadership," features Q&As with UAB's Graduate School leaders and an opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to get to know these leaders on a deeper level.
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Graduate Student Organization Spotlight: Graduate Student Government

Grad Student Organization Spotlight graphicThe University of Alabama at Birmingham offers numerous ways for graduate students to enhance their leadership skills, one of which is joining a student organization. But how do you decide which organization is the right fit for you? This Spotlight series will highlight all of UAB's graduate student organizations, as well as the benefits of joining each one.  Read more ...

Graduate Program Summer Recruitment Fair slated for July

Graduate Program Summer Recruitment Fair digital signageGraduate Program Summer Recruitment Fair will be held in July.
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Upcoming Events

Blazer Spotlights

Hisham Abdelmotilib

Hisham Abdelmotilib

Jacqueline Vo

Jacqueline Vo

Kendra Royston

Kendra Royston

Samir Rana

Samir Rana

The Graduate School welcomes applications from all qualified individuals who wish to pursue graduate study at UAB.

Categories of Graduate Student

Two broad categories of graduate students are recognized: degree-seeking graduate students and nondegree-seeking.

Degree-Seeking Students

Degree-seeking graduate students are those accepted into a specific graduate program to work toward a specific advanced degree. In addition to the completed online application, the application procedure includes the submission of official transcripts, standardized test scores, and letters of recommendation. Each application is reviewed by the graduate program faculty, who make an admissions recommendation to the Graduate School dean or a representative of the graduate dean.

Nondegree-Seeking Students

The non-degree application is located online (

The nondegree category serves students who do not wish to pursue a graduate degree at UAB, as well as those who wish to begin graduate study before being admitted to a degree program. Not all graduate courses are open to nondegree-seeking graduate students. Although there is no limit to the number of credit hours that may be earned as a nondegree-seeking student, should a student later wish to pursue an advanced degree at UAB, the credit earned while in nondegree-seeking status is not automatically acceptable toward the degree. In no case can more than 12 semester hours earned as a nondegree graduate student be applied toward an advanced degree at UAB.

Because of U.S. immigration requirements, international applicants (i.e., those who are neither U.S. citizens nor permanent residents) cannot normally be considered for the nondegree category unless already residing in the United States. Immigration laws should be consulted to determine the eligibility of students.

Unless otherwise stated, the policies in this section apply to both degree-seeking and nondegree-seeking graduate students.

Information regarding admissions can be found at

Special Conditions of Admission

Admission with Contingencies - Students lacking a limited number of specific qualifications may be admitted to graduate programs contingent on completion of those qualifications within a specified period of time. Students are informed of specific requirements for continued enrollment and the time allowed for completion at the time of admission. Failure to meet the requirements during the allowed time may result in dismissal.

Admission of Students Previously Dismissed - When an individual applies to a graduate program, a major part of the admissions decision involves an estimate, based on the applicant’s academic history, of whether the applicant can perform satisfactorily at the graduate level. To be readmitted, applicants who have previously been dismissed from the Graduate School must present convincing evidence to the faculty and the Graduate School dean that a substantial improvement has occurred so that it is probable that the applicant can now perform at the required level in graduate work.

Readmission - The records of students, who have not registered for courses for one year or more, will be removed from the UAB computerized registration system. Such students must apply for readmission before they may register again. Degree-seeking students who (1) were admitted to a UAB Graduate Degree-Seeking Program within the last five years, and (2) have not registered for courses for one academic year (3 semesters) or more BUT have registered for and successfully passed at least one graduate course at UAB after being admitted to a UAB Graduate Degree-Seeking Program, and (3) have not attended any other university or college in the interim, and (4) wish to return to the graduate program to which he or she was earlier admitted, must fill out the Application for Readmission to Graduate Degree Program form and pay the appropriate fee. These readmitted students must meet the degree requirements operative at the time of readmission. Students who wish to return to the nondegree category after an absence of one or more years must submit a new nondegree online application, together with the required processing fee. These forms can be obtained online at

Faculty - To maintain university accountability, UAB faculty and staff who wish to take occasional graduate courses must register for these courses after admission to the Graduate School on the nondegree-seeking basis. Admission of a UAB faculty member as a degree-seeking graduate student requires the concurrence of the applicant’s department chair and dean(s), as well as the approvals required for other applicants to the same program. Employees must register online for UAB’s Educational Assistance Program. Employees are required to certify themselves and any eligible dependents/spouses that plan to enroll in classes. 


Graduate Credit

For purposes of academic accounting, credits expressed in “semester hours” are assigned to each course. The guideline for lecture courses is that one semester hour of credit is awarded for 13-15 contact hours. Laboratory credit is assigned on the basis of one semester hour of credit for approximately 30 hours of work in the laboratory.

Undergraduates Seeking Enrollment

UAB undergraduate students may be allowed to enroll in a graduate course with the approval of their advisor, the instructor, their undergraduate program director, and the graduate program director. The Undergraduate Student Request for Enrollment in Graduate Level Coursework form can be obtained online ( Credits earned by undergraduate students may be applied to either an undergraduate degree or a graduate degree, but not both. If the student is subsequently admitted to the Graduate School, use of this credit toward a graduate degree requires the approval of the graduate program director and the Graduate School dean.

Course Numbering System

The scholastic level of UAB courses is indicated by the century number. Courses numbered 500 and above are graduate and post baccalaureate courses. Courses numbered 500-599 are available to upper-level undergraduate and beginning graduate students. Courses numbered 600 and above are for graduate students. Those numbered 600-699 are intended primarily for students at the master’s level, with 698 reserved for nonthesis research and 699 reserved for thesis research. Courses numbered 700-799 are primarily for students at the doctoral level, except in the School of Education where the numbers from 700-740 are reserved for courses leading to the degree of Educational Specialist (Ed.S.). The number 798 is reserved for nondissertation research and 799 for dissertation research. Seminars, practica, individual studies and projects, internships, and residencies will generally carry numbers in the upper range of these centuries.

Time Limitations

Graduate students are generally expected to complete all degree requirements with 5 years of matriculation for master's and 7 years of matriculation for doctoral students. One extension of these time limits can be requested when mitigating circumstances preclude completion of requirements within 5 years (master's) or 7 years (doctoral). The recommendation for an extension should include a plan and timeline for completion. Such requests require the approval of the student’s dissertation committee and graduate program director and must be presented in writing to the dean of the Graduate School for consideration and approval. Courses taken more than 5 years (master's) or 7 years (doctoral) before graduation may not be applied toward a degree without the approval of the graduate program director and graduate dean.

Leave of Absence

A graduate student may request a leave of absence. The request for a leave of absence may not exceed one (1) academic year. The Request for Leave of Absence form can be found at the Graduate School Website ( The request must be approved by the student's graduate program director and graduate school dean. Before a student can return from an approved leave of absence, the graduate program director must submit to the Graduate School a request to allow the student to re-enroll in courses.

Course Enrollment


Students must register for all work to be taken for graduate credit. To be classified as “full-time,” a graduate student must register for at least 9 graduate semester hours of work each semester. To be classified as “part-time,” a graduate student must register for at least 5 graduate semester hours of work each semester. The UAB class schedule can be found at The class schedule lists the courses and other work to be offered and gives full details on prerequisites, registration dates, and procedures.

Adding or Changing Courses

Adding or changing courses after registration is possible each semester until the date specified on BlazerNET. Procedures are also specified.

Withdrawal from Courses

Graduate students are expected to complete courses for which they have registered, unless unusual circumstances require withdrawal. The procedures for withdrawal are specified on BlazerNET. Mere cessation of class attendance does not constitute withdrawal, either academically or for tuition charges. A grade of W will be entered on the transcript. Withdrawal is not possible after the last day of classes.

Credit by Examination

Students may not earn "credit by examination" at the graduate level.


Graduate students may audit courses available for graduate credit with the permission of the instructor and payment of appropriate fees; this approval must be secured before registration. Courses taken for audit credit are not counted toward the hours required for full-time status. Provided the instructor’s requirements are met, the course will appear on the transcript with the notation AU. This form can be obtained online at

Course Completion

Grading System

The grade of A is used to indicate superior performance, B for adequate performance, and C for performance only minimally adequate for a graduate student. Any graduate student completing a course at the 500 level or above with a performance below the C level will receive a grade of F. The Graduate School does not use the grade of D.

Grades in Pass/Not Pass Courses

With the approval of the graduate program director, a course may be designated as a “pass/not pass course.” The grade of P (passing) signifies satisfactory work. The grade of NP (not passing) indicates unsatisfactory work, without a penalty being assessed with respect to the grade point average (GPA).

Temporary Grade Notations

Temporary notations used by the Graduate School are N for “no grade reported,” and I for “incomplete” coursework.

If there is a special circumstance in which an instructor does not submit a grade at the end of a semester, a temporary grade of N will be recorded. If no permanent grade has been reported by the end of the following semester, an F will automatically be entered in the student’s academic record.

The temporary notation of I may be reported at the discretion of the instructor to indicate that the student has performed satisfactorily in the course but, due to unforeseen circumstances, has been unable to finish all course requirements. An I is never given to enable a student to raise a deficient grade. This notation should not be used unless there is reasonable certainty that the requirements will be completed during the following semester, because at the end of that semester the I automatically changes to an F. In highly unusual circumstances, the student may request an extension of the time to complete the requirements. This request must be submitted in writing in advance of the time when the grade automatically changes to an F because the approval of the instructor, graduate program director, and Graduate School dean are all required.

Cumulative Credits and Grade Point Average (GPA)

Semester Hours Earned

The student’s “semester hours earned” are increased by (1) earning a grade of C or better in a course for which the student was registered on a regular (“letter grade”) basis or (2) obtaining a P grade in a course taken on a pass/not pass basis.

Semester Hours Attempted

The student’s “semester hours attempted” are increased by receiving a grade of A, B, C, or F in a course for which the student was registered on a regular basis.

Quality Points

Four quality points are awarded for each semester hour in which an A is earned, three quality points are awarded for each semester hour in which a B is earned, and two quality points are awarded for each semester hour in which a C is earned. No quality points are added for other grades.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The grade point average is determined by dividing the total quality points awarded by the semester hours attempted.

Repeated Courses

Graduate students may be allowed to repeat courses for graduate credit with the permission of the graduate advisor and graduate program director. All courses taken and all grades earned are permanently recorded on the student’s transcript. The first time a student repeats a course, he or she receives the grade earned for the second attempt. If a course is taken three or more times, all grades after the first are counted. The Graduate School Records Office must be notified of the first repeat at the time of registration because the calculation using the repeat grade is not automatic. Some graduate programs may not allow the Repeated Course policy. Check with your advisor to make sure your program has a repeat policy. Note: Many graduate programs also base retention decisions on programmatic guidelines and not on grade point average.

Academic Performance

Good Academic Standing

For a student to maintain good academic standing in the Graduate School, a grade point average of at least 3.0 (B average) and overall satisfactory performance on a pass/not pass courses are required. Satisfactory performance on pass/not pass courses is defined as earning at least as many hours of P grades as hours of NP grades.

Conditional Dismissal

A degree-seeking or nondegree-seeking graduate student, who has been in good academic standing but who, at the end of any semester, fails to meet the criteria to continue in good academic standing will be placed on probation. Such a student must re-establish good academic standing within the next two semesters of graduate study undertaken. Students who do not accomplish this level of performance will be dismissed from the UAB Graduate School.

The rules stated above govern university probation and dismissal, administered by the Graduate School. Individual graduate programs may establish and administer program probation and dismissal governed by more stringent requirements. In general, a student’s retention in a specific graduate program is contingent on the faculty’s belief that the student is likely to complete the program successfully. If the faculty ceases to hold this belief, the student may be dismissed from the program.

UAB Student Record Policy

Federal law guarantees students certain rights with respect to their educational records. It is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with the university’s stated policies on these rights. See UAB Student Records Policy.

Graduate School Deadlines

All Graduate School deadlines, as indicated on the calendar or an explanation of policies and procedures, unless otherwise stated, are final by 5:00 p.m. on the date specified, by which time all transactions must be completed and documents received in the Graduate School. Transactions and documents requiring the action or approval of graduate advisors, committee members, instructors, department chairs, academic deans, or others prior to receipt by the Graduate School should be initiated by the appropriate person (student, instructor, graduate advisor, or other) sufficiently in advance of the Graduate School deadline for the required actions to be taken and approvals made or declined before the deadline. Deadline dates are available online at

Responsibilities of the Graduate Assistant

A fundamental responsibility of the graduate assistant is to work closely with the faculty supervisor in carrying out research or teaching activities, while at the same time making good progress toward the completion of the degree program. If the student’s assistantship responsibilities and academic program are properly coordinated, these responsibilities will be compatible. The assistant should articulate his or her goals early in the term of appointment and work with the supervisor to achieve them. The graduate assistant is obligated at all times to maintain high ethical standards in academic and nonacademic activities and to report violations of these to the faculty supervisor. The graduate assistant should keep well informed of departmental, school, and institutional regulations, and follow them consistently. If problems arise in the assistantship assignments, the graduate assistant should seek help first from the faculty supervisor. If problems cannot be resolved, the student should consult the Program Director.

In general, graduate assistants are expected to be available in the periods between academic terms. Graduate assistants are entitled to the following short-term leaves:

  • A maximum of 15 calendar days (one-half month) paid leave of absence (vacation) per calendar year,
  • 3 calendar days paid sick leave of absence per calendar year, and
  • Parental leave of absence (with pay) of 30 consecutive days per calendar year upon the birth or adoption of a child. Either or both parents are eligible for parental leave.

These leaves (vacation, sick, parental) do not accrue. All leaves require notification of an approval by the mentor or graduate program director and may be extended, if necessary, with permission of the graduate program director. Program policies regarding leaves of absence must apply equitably to all full-time students in good standing in the program. With the agreement of the mentor and graduate program director, extended, unpaid, non-emergency absences from campus for periods up to a month may be approved. Extended absences (without pay) for non-academic purposes should be limited. Students should consult the Graduate School Policies and Procedures concerning leaves of absence. In emergencies, graduate assistants should inform their mentors or program directors as soon as possible about the need for a leave of absence.