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.

Graduate Student Achievement Metrics

Nationally, a universal assessment of graduate student achievement is not uniformly endorsed, so the Graduate School uses its own internal assessment to evaluate graduate student achievement. Key indicators are retention and graduation rates for master's and professional or research doctorate students. These indicators are closely monitored to ensure programs can successfully achieve the productivity requirements of the UNC System. Retention and graduation data are updated annually and available to key stakeholders and the public via Tableau dashboards on the Institutional Research website. Additionally, the information is discussed at meetings of the Graduate Program Directors and University administrators via the Graduate Enrollment Management (GEM) Workgroup, the Graduate Council, and Graduate Program Director meetings.

Learn More

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:


GASP: Explanation of Policy and Procedures

For doctoral and select master's 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 research doctoral students for up to five years, and pay resident tuition for eligible master's students for up to two 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. 
  • Doctoral 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. 
  • Master's students are eligible for support for a maximum of 4 semesters.

2. Health Insurance Benefit (for doctoral students):

Once a doctoral 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 doctoral 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 doctoral 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, provides details:

Some doctoral 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:  (NOTE: GASP support is dependent on funding availability.)

  • Full time enrollment (9 hours or enrollment in GRAD 9999, GRAD 9800, GRAD 7999, or GRAD 7800), unless the student has applied to graduate and is in the last semester of enrollment.
  • A 20-hour/week assistantship paying $18,500 or more (a minimum of $9,250 per semester) per academic year for doctoral students paid through the UNC Charlotte Payroll Office, or qualifying fellowship, or an assistantship paying $14,000 or more (a minimum of $7,000 per semester) per academic year for master's students paid through the UNC Charlotte Payroll Office, or qualifying fellowship. A graduate student specific position with a government research agency may be considered a qualifying fellowship.
  • Students holding any hourly job or assistantship exceeding 20 hours per week during the academic year are not eligible for GASP.
  • In rare cases that require pre-approval by the Graduate School, A 10-hour/week assistantship paying $9,250 or more for doctoral students meets requirements for 50% GASP and not full GASP. Two 10-hour/week assistantships in one semester qualifies for full GASP.
  • For doctoral students, assistantships other than 10-hours/week or 20-hours/week do not qualify for GASP.
  • For master's students, only 20-hour/week assistantships qualify students for GASP (tuition at the NC resident rate).
  • Each student must hold an assistantship for the entire academic year, both fall and spring semesters, for 15 weeks each semester or more.
  • Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • 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

  • Doctoral Students: 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 and bills have been produced.
  • Master's Students: GASP pays resident tuition for eligible students for 9+ credit hours. These funds will be credited to the student's account once they have registered for classes and bills have been produced.
  • GASP pays for credit hours applied to a student's degree, and not for credit hours toward any second or third degree a student may be seeking. This also applies to GRAD 9800, GRAD 9999, GRAD 7800, and GRAD 7999; 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 doctoral 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 eligible out-of-state doctoral residents, called the non-resident tuition differential, which pays the difference between the in-state and out-of-state tuition. 
    •  If the grant pays tuition AFTER GASP has paid the 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 full time 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.
  • Summer registration is not required for GASP. Further, tuition for courses taken during the summer is not covered by GASP.
  • Distance education students are ineligible for GASP support.
  • 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, doctoral 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: .
  • Doctoral 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 should extend for at least 15 weeks of the semester or 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.
  • Eligible master's students are guaranteed 4 semesters of funding.

2. What is the health benefit for doctoral students offered through GASP?

3. What are the requirements for GASP?

  • Doctoral students must hold an assistantship or qualifying fellowship of at least $18,500 per academic year, a minimum of $9,250 per semester
  • Master's student must hold an assistantship or qualifying fellowship of at least $14,000 per academic year, a minimum of $7,000 per semester
  • Students must maintain a GPA ≥ 3.0
  • Students must be enrolled full time 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
  • Nonresident tuition charged to eligible master's students
  • 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
  • Additional semesters of assistance for students pursuing a master’s in a second discipline
  • Additional semesters of assistance for students pursuing a co-major
  • Tuition for courses not required by the program of student and listed on the degree audit (plan of study)

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.    

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