Graduate students are employees of department/program in which they enroll. The Graduate Student Academic Staff Notice of Appointment (GSAS) form is used by the relevant department to place students on the appropriate payroll. It generally runs from July 1 to June 30 of the following year and a new GSAS form must be completed to reappoint a student each year; students that are not in good academic standing run the risk that they will not be reappointed. As soon as a student arrives, they should visit the Departmental Office in 105 Plant Science Building (PSB). The designated staff assistant will fill out the GSAS form for each student, the department chair, and the DGS to sign.

The Graduate School’s minimum requirements for good standing are a grade point average of 3.0, not being on probation, and maintaining full-time enrollment (at least 9 credit hours during fall and spring semesters) if the assistantship is full time. Students are considered full time during summer and if they are enrolled for 2 credit hours of PLS 767. The department also assesses satisfactory academic progress for its students beyond these minimum requirements.

It is not. You are just paying more taxes. You are still considered a full time student but when it comes to payroll, the local city tax exemption doesn’t apply during the summer months because you are not enrolled as a full time student. Your taxes are just a little but higher because you aren’t exempt from the local tax.  

Yes. For the purposes of loans and visas, if you are enrolled in PLS 748, even for 0 credit hours, you are considered a full time student. Note that this is really intended only for those students who are completely done with coursework and research and are solely devoting their time to writing the thesis. There is no longer an equivalent course for Ph.D. students. They must either be full time if on an assistantship (9 hours), have requested permission for reduced enrollment,  or be enrolled in PLS 767 for two credits.

From the Graduate School Bulletin:

RESEARCH ASSISTANTS (RAs) are employed by many of the University's academic departments, as well as administrative and research units. Some RA's are employed by a research or administrative unit outside their departmental or disciplinary interest, but in a program of research to which the RA brings certain knowledge or skills of value to the project.


GRADUATE ASSISTANTS (GAs) are employed by some of the University's academic departments, as well as administrative offices on an "as needed basis." GA positions assist Directors of Graduate Studies, manage special projects or work in a clerical capacity within a variety of university departments. Non-departmental positions select candidates from many areas of graduate studies and information is usually made available through your department via email. Responsibilities of GAs will depend on the department of employment.

Any fall or spring term when you are not taking courses but must be enrolled for the purpose of making your final thesis defense you must be enrolled in PLS 748. It is possible to enroll you retroactively if you forget to do so, but this is very inconvenient. There are Add/Drop forms on the Graduate School Website that you may download, fill out, and deliver to the Graduate School. 

Committee composition can be changed post-qualifying; the reason(s) for doing so can be included in the text box on the on-line form. However, if deleting individuals it requires approval of the DGS in a letter to the Graduate School and cannot be done on-line.

Yes. Once. But it must be pre-approved. It is most often used in the last term when they have to take only a few classes. IPS 790 (1-18 credits) is the preferred mechanism to maintain a full credit load. See your DGS.

FAQs for PhD Students

If you have completed two terms of PLS 767 after qualifying exams, then you do not need to be enrolled during the summer for the dissertation defense.  Your defense must take place either during the 4-week or 8-week summer session.

FAQs for International Students

If an international student receives one or more degrees from an institution in which ALL coursework is presented in English, the TOEFL/IELTS requirement may be waived. If the applicant’s language skills can be assessed with a telephone interview, all the better. This must be determined on a case-by-case basis. It is recommended that the TOEFL and IELTS be taken by all international students (except those where English is obviously the national language – a waiver will still have to be requested). It is assumed that an international student having a degree from one or more U.S. institutions has met the language requirement.

Two years. For a TOEFL score to count on an application it has to be submitted within that two-year window, although the date of enrollment can be after 2 years.

Yes. Conditionally admitted students will use successful completion of ESL in lieu of TOEFL/IELTS scores.

Students will need to complete and submit ESL applications directly to the Center for English as a Second Language (CESL).  The ESL application is available at  Once a student has successfully completed English language training, CESL will give him or her an ESL completion letter.  Enrollment in the academic program will occur after the Graduate School has received this letter.

No. Only courses for credit count. Those courses do not have to be graduate courses, but they must somehow be convincingly related to a graduate student’s program of study.

Yes. Once. But it must be pre-approved. It is most often used in the last term when they have to take only a few classes. IPS 790 (1-18 credits) is the preferred mechanism to maintain a full credit load. See your DGS.

International students must always be enrolled for 9 credit hours or be in PLS 767 status, or have petitioned for a reduced credit load their last term. Domestic PhD students must be enrolled full time for two consecutive semesters or 3 consecutive semesters if they are taking 6 hours. Domestic MS students do not have a residency requirement for a specific number of credit hours per term. 

There are some situations in which an international student’s work authorization begins before the first term in the program.  For example, if the student is already at another institution in the US in F-1 status and would be transferring that record to UK, the student’s work authorization would begin as soon as the transfer was done.  Also, a student completing one program here at UK in F-1 status and beginning a new program within 5 months of completing the first one can have uninterrupted on-campus work authorization between the two programs.

However, if the student is entering the US in F-1 status to begin the program, the earliest entry would be 30 days before the start date of the program.  The student’s start date must match the first day of the term for which  the student was admitted.

iCAT is the ISSS portal, like myUK, for international graduate students. The link is

As an international student, you will upload all of your documents here including your passport biographical page, your F-1 or J-1 visa stamp and your I-20 or DS-2019 with your signature.

The name of your RO, responsible officer, in the international center was given to you in your acceptance letter. If you have any changes in status, must contact your RO.  Also, if you travel outside of USA, you must notify your RO.

There are many options on the UK campus -

Other options near campus and within commuting distance can be found by searching the internet