Academics and Policies

The staff of the Graduate School, in partnership with graduate faculty and other UNC Charlotte administrative departments, are responsible for leading changes in academic programs and policies to keep pace with socioeconomic changes in the Charlotte region. Staff also play a leading role in ensuring adherence to academic and research standards. 

Course Requirements & Policies

Program requirements and graduate policy is located in the Graduate Catalog.  

Course & Curriculum Changes

Make suggested changes to academic programs and policy through Curriculog, the Course and Curriculum Management System (log-in required).  Curriculog and other planning resources are available on the Office of the Provost’ Curriculum and Catalogs page.  

Graduate Certificate Renewal

Graduate certificate programs are established for a five-year period.  At the completion of the five years, the certificate program may be considered for renewal.  Program Directors may find procedures in GPDNet (sign-in required).  The renewal process take place through Curriculog.

Graduate Council

Proposed changes in policies and programs go before the Graduate Council for consideration.  The Graduate Council's role is important in ensuring graduate education is responsive to the changing needs of the Charlotte region.   For more information and a list of Graduate Council members, please visit the Graduate Council page of Faculty Governance or contact Annette Parks. Graduate Council liaison.

Suggested Responsibilities for Graduate Program Directors

Graduate Program Directors (GPD) play a vital role in making graduate programs successful. While the specific responsibilities vary from program to program, there are a number of “typical” responsibilities associated with this role. Download the suggested List of Responsibilities.

Student Policies

The Graduate Catalog is the reference for all program requirements and graduate policy. The Graduate School assists in processing updates to the Graduate Catalog each year, a process generally beginning in the Fall.  A GPD is responsible for yearly updates that reflect approved changes to courses or program requirements.

It is the GPD's role to advise their students on the numerous University and Graduate School policies found within the Catalog.  The current Catalog, as well as archives, are available online at the University Catalogs website.

Academic Integrity and Responsible Conduct of Research Training

Designed to benefit graduate students throughout the university, these two courses are an introduction to several aspects of a successful professional career.  Graduate students should be encouraged to enroll where required.  For course information, visit the Center for Graduate Life and Learning  website.

Student Tracking and Progress Resources

A major responsibility of the Graduate Program Director or Coordinator is the tracking of student progress. This includes oversight of enrollment each semester, qualifying exam benchmarks, candidacy, research productivity, commencement deadlines and time-to-degree. The Graduate School monitors students that do not meet enrollment guidelines and may fall to non-degree seeking status, as well as time-to-degree. However, the GPD/C should be proactive in oversight of these processes. Best practices include: developing a tracking spreadsheet for the students in the program, holding orientations to assure active communication, and requiring annual progress reports that specify yearly goals and timelines to program-specific benchmarks.

Thesis and Dissertation Resources

All students enrolled in thesis-based master's programs or Doctoral programs must submit a thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School. The details of the submission process, semester deadlines, FAQs, as well as resources for the writing and formatting of the manuscripts are detailed on the Thesis and Dissertation Manual page. Both Master’s and Doctoral Students have the option of submitting an electronic version of their document so it is critical that program Directors and Coordinators become familiar with the ETD process and discuss the deadlines and processes with students at the beginning of the semester.  

Graduation Clearance

The Graduate School contacts for Graduation are as follows:

Graduate Assistantships - A Summary of University Policies
The Purpose of Graduate Assistantships (GA’s)

The purpose of graduate assistantships is described in the Provost’s Academic Personnel Procedures Handbook, summarized as:

  • The major goal of graduate assistantships “is two-dimensional: to promote the student’s progress toward a graduate degree and to provide additional resources to accomplish the mission of the University.”
  • The University has a commitment to “maintain the synergistic relationship between the student’s studies and assistantship responsibilities.”  Therefore, “the student's supervisor has the responsibility both to assure that assigned duties contribute to the student's graduate education and to guide the assistant through the assigned duties.”

Special Note on Coronavirus

Existing contracts for GAs should not be shortened or reduced in hours except under the most extreme circumstances. If a program wishes to change a contract for any reason, they should contact the Graduate School at first to discuss. As a reminder, under this special circumstance only, GAs are eligible for Paid Administrative Leave as long as they remain on their current contract. It is critical to keep a student's contract in place to ensure no disruption in the students’ pay.  The Graduate School monitors any change or cancellation of a graduate assistantship. 

Academic Policies, Terms and Conditions for GA’s

The Handbook outlines the following policies, and terms and conditions for all graduate assistants at UNC Charlotte:

  • To be eligible for appointment as a graduate assistant, an applicant:
    • Must have a baccalaureate degree, or a baccalaureate degree and work experience, that equips them for the assignment;
    • Must have been admitted to full standing in a graduate degree program; and
    • Must have had an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 or better overall; or must have completed at least six hours of graduate work with a GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • To retain their appointment, graduate assistants:
    • Must participate in any required orientation program;
    • Must follow instructions of the employing department to complete the INS Form I-9 to certify eligibility for employment prior to the first day of employment. Assistantships will be terminated if no I-9 has been completed by the first day or employment. (International GAs complete this form in the International Student/Scholar Office.)
    • Must enroll in at least six credit hours each semester of the assistantship, unless a student is supported by GASP or on a visa, which requires 9 credit hours for full-time status;
    • Must work no more than twenty hours per week in the assistantship and any other employment on or off campus;
    • Must perform assigned duties satisfactorily according to the terms of appointment and participate in the supervision and evaluation processes required for the assistantship;
    • Must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0; and must make satisfactory progress toward completion of a graduate degree at UNC Charlotte or through an approved interinstitutional degree program.

SACS and UNC Requirements for Teaching Assistantships (TA’s)

The Handbook outlines the responsibilities and SACS requirements for teaching assistantships, which “enhance student understanding of the content and pedagogy of the discipline and extend faculty resources and their contribution to the teaching mission of the University”, as follows:

  • TA responsibilities
    • Grading papers, setting up laboratory experiences, keeping class records, preparing instructional materials, and/or other instructional duties;
    • Teaching a laboratory or recitation section of a course; and
    • Teaching an independent section of a course.
  • SACS and UNC requirements for Graduate Teaching Assistants
    • GTAs who have primary responsibility for teaching a course for credit and/or for assigning final grades for such a course must have earned at least 18 graduate semester hours in their teaching discipline, be under the direct supervision of a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, receive regular in-service training and be evaluated regularly. (Comprehensive Standard 3.7.1.f)
    • Students for whom English is a second language may be appointed as GTAs only when the English Language Training Institute certifies that the applicant's proficiency in oral communication indicates that the appointment is appropriate. (UNC Policy Manual section 400.3.6)
    • GTAs must possess a demonstrated competence in the subject matter that they will be teaching as determined by experts in the field. They should have an appreciation for the theory and practice of the subject matter as well as a developing understanding of the major themes and divisions of their field. (UNC Policy Manual section 400.3.6)
    • GTAs should have an appreciation for the teaching and learning enterprise acquired from their own undergraduate and graduate academic programs, as well as by means of both required and optional teacher training seminars, symposia, workshops, publications, and university staff resources. Competency to teach includes an effective command of the language of instruction, usually American English, and an appreciation for the culture of the American university classroom. (UNC Policy Manual section 400.3.6)
    • GTAs must be graduate students in good standing in their programs. (UNC Policy Manual section 400.3.6)

Additional Policies and Procedures Outlined by Human Resources

The Human Resources outlines policies and procedures for graduate assistantships, including some not described above, as follows:

  • With approval, a student can work as a graduate assistant up to 40 hours per week during the summer semesters, unless the student is enrolled in summer classes.
  • Graduate Assistants must complete employment paperwork with Human Resources or the International Student Scholar Office no later than the first day of employment.
  • Graduate Assistants are paid twice monthly, on the 15th and last business day of each month.

GASP: Explanation of Policy and Procedures

For doctoral students holding a teaching or research assistantship, an additional benefit is eligibility for tuition support via GASP, depending on funding availability.  These Central Funds, administered by the Graduate School, pay tuition and health insurance for eligible students for up to five years.  GASP policies are as follows:

1. Length of time student is provided tuition support:

  • GASP eligibility is based on the time elapsed since a student first enrolled in their graduate program.  The clock starts running the first semester of GASP-eligible graduate enrollment at UNC Charlotte, regardless of whether a student qualified for or accepted GASP during that semester.
  • Doctoral students are eligible for support for a maximum of 10 semesters if the student does not have a master’s degree in the same or closely related field.
  • Students in their fifth year of their Ph.D. will be supported for 3 hours of GRAD 9800, rather than 9 hours. Additional tuition support may be requested and provided if needed for the Ph.D. and if funding is available.
  • Doctoral students in an accelerated Ph.D. program are funded for a maximum of eight semesters.
  • Doctoral students with a master’s degree in the same or closely related field are eligible for 6 semesters of funding; additional semesters (not to exceed four) are allowed if warranted. 
  • Students pursuing a master’s in a second discipline are not given additional semesters of tuition eligibility.
  • Students pursuing a co-major are not given additional semesters of tuition eligibility. 

2. Health Insurance Benefit:

Once a student is enrolled in GASP, s/he is eligible for the student health insurance plan offered by the University Health Center. The Graduate School will pay the premium for each term that a student is supported on GASP. This award is considered an employee benefit in conjunction with the student's assistantship appointment. Each student will receive information from the insurance company on benefits and filing claims. This policy only covers the student; NOT dependents. Students must obtain and pay the cost of a separate health insurance policy for his/her dependents.

If a student is supported with a stipend on a research grant (usually on an RA), the health insurance premium must be paid by the source of the stipend. Research Administration Policy 50.5, found here:

Some students may decline enrollment in the insurance offered under GASP; however, this must be done through the Student Health Services Office. More information on the health insurance plan and how to waive the benefit may be found here:

3. Eligibility requirements:         

  • An assistantship paying $7,000 or more (a minimum of $3,500 per semester) per academic year paid through the UNC Charlotte Payroll Office, or qualifying fellowship.
  • Each student’s assistantship must span the entire academic year, both fall and spring semesters.
  • Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • Students must be enrolled in 9 credit hours or more, unless the student is enrolled in GRAD 9999 (in their final semester) or GRAD 9800.
  • Off-campus internships, paid or unpaid, do not satisfy the requirement that a student hold an eligible graduate assistantship to qualify for GASP.
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) do not satisfy the requirement that a student hold an eligible graduate assistantship to qualify for GASP.

4Tuition benefit

  • GASP pays full tuition for eligible in-state and out-of-state residents at the graduate student rate for 9+ credit hours. These funds will be credited to the student’s account once they have registered.
  • GASP pays for credit hours applied to a student's doctoral degree, and not for credit hours toward any second or third degree a student may be seeking. This also applies to GRAD 9800 and GRAD 9999; GASP will pay for those hours alone.
  • Students who can obtain North Carolina residency for tuition purposes must attempt to do so. After the first two semesters of full tuition support, GASP pays tuition at the in-state rate for domestic students who reside in North Carolina.
  • If a student is supported with a stipend on a research grant (usually on an RA), that grant must pay tuition for the student in the amount of the graduate level, in-state tuition. GASP will pay the additional amount for out-of-state residents, called the non-resident tuition differential, which pays the difference between the in-state and out-of-state tuition. Research Administration Policy 50.5, found here:
    •  If the grant pays tuition AFTER GASP has paid the full tuition, the Graduate School will withdraw any over-payment of tuition funds from the student’s account. This is necessary to avoid a tuition double-payment and subsequent cash deposit into the student’s bank account.

5. Deadline and registration details for eligibility for GASP in a given semester:

  • Each student must be registered for the appropriate number of credit hours, and have a qualifying assistantship or fellowship appointment no later than 12 noon on the census date (the tenth day of classes) for the semester.
  • Credit hours attributed to audited classes do not count toward the minimum semester credit hour requirements for GASP. Tuition charges related to audited courses are not reimbursed by GASP.
  • Credit hours outside a student’s major do not count toward the minimum semester credit hour requirements, unless the course is a prerequisite for a course in the major.
  • Credit hours attributed to distance education courses do count toward the minimum registration requirement, but GASP will not pay for more than the on-campus tuition rate for the total hours registered.
  • Summer registration is not required for GASP. Further, tuition for courses taken during the summer is not covered by GASP.
  • The benefit applies only to tuition charges and not student fees or tuition increments. Each student must pay the required fees (and any tuition increments) unless the source of his/her stipend provides funds specifically earmarked to pay these costs.
  • Each student must submit payment of fees by the deadline indicated on your tuition bill or registration may be cancelled. If registration is cancelled and not reinstated by the census date, the student will be ineligible for tuition benefits under GASP.
  • Because North Carolina residents are entitled to substantially lower tuition rates than out-of-state residents, GASP scholars who are non-residents of North Carolina for tuition purposes should make every effort possible to establish North Carolina residency. Students with permanent resident alien status are eligible to apply. However, some students are not eligible to establish NC residency (e.g., international students on J-1 visa). You may find information on eligibility and the requirements to establish N.C. residency on the Residency Determination Office web site: .
  • GASP scholars who are eligible to become North Carolina residents for tuition purposes but fail to become reclassified 12 months after first enrolling in GASP may lose their non-resident tuition benefit.

6. Students who are eligible for the Plan on census day and become ineligible later in the semester:

  • If a student becomes ineligible for the plan during the term, s/he is responsible for the pro rata portion of the tuition applicable to the days after the date you became ineligible.
  • The above statement on tuition does not apply to students who maintain their eligibility until they complete all requirements for the degree. In such cases, the student is not responsible for any portion of tuition for the semester.
  • If the qualifying assistantship or fellowship appointment does not run for at least 30 days beyond the first day of class, no tuition benefits will be paid.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1.  How long can a student be on GASP?

  • Doctoral students without a master’s degree in the discipline are eligible for a maximum of 10 semesters from their program start date.
  • Doctoral students with a master’s degree in the same or closely related discipline are guaranteed 6 semesters of funding; additional semesters are allowed if warranted.

2. What is the health benefit offered through GASP?

3. What are the requirements for GASP?

  • Students must hold an assistantship or qualifying fellowship of at least $7,000 per academic year, a minimum of $3,500 per semester
  • Students must maintain a GPA ≥ 3.0
  • Students must be enrolled for 9 or more credit hours each semester to receive the award
  • Summer registration is not required for GASP. Further, tuition for courses taken during the summer is not covered by GASP.

4. What charges are not covered by GASP?

  • Student fees
  • Tuition increments charged by the academic colleges
  • Charges for credit hours attributed to audited courses or courses that are not part of the academic program
  • Tuition for summer courses
  • Tuition for any classes not paid by the 10th day of the semester
  • Any tuition and fees associated with distance education courses above graduate level on-campus tuition
  • Additional semesters of assistance for students pursuing a master’s in a second discipline
  • Additional semesters of assistance for students pursuing a co-major

5. Whom can a student contact if s/he has questions about residency?

6. When will students receive their GASP award?

            GASP funds will be added to each student’s account before the deadline for tuition payment.  Class schedules will not be held for non-payment; any student with an outstanding balance on cancellation for non-payment dates will have his/her course schedule dropped.    

7. How much will a research grant have to pay for an in-state student?

            The in-state rate for tuition, for 9+ credit hours per semester. According to Policy 50.5, the grant must also pay fees.

8. How much will a research grant have to pay for an out-of-state student?

            The in-state rate for tuition, for 9+ credit hours per semester.  GASP will pay the remaining amount that is owed per semester, to ensure that the student’s tuition is paid in full. According to Policy 50.5, the grant must also pay fees.

Quick Reference

Below please find weblinks to some of the policies and procedures of the Graduate School and UNC Charlotte:

Course and Program Development

Graduate Council

Graduate Faculty

GASP Policies

GA Policies

Academic Policy