Progress Toward Degree

Academic Status

All graduate students fall into one of the following academic categories: regular, provisional, probationary, or dismissed / discontinued. Students on regular status are not restricted and have no expectations beyond their enrollment and degree requirements. Students placed on academic probation are required to complete those expectations (set by their degree program) to gain regular status and may not be eligible for GTA/GRA funding. Students who are dismissed or choose to leave the university (voluntarily discontinued) are required to re-apply should they decide to return to their graduate study at KU and have little or no access to university resources and enrollment.

All active graduate students are required to be continuously enrolled in the fall and spring semesters. Note that this does not include the summer semester, unless you are a PhD candidate or have a GTA/GRA appointment. This includes part-time and international students, but does not include non-degree seeking students.

Use this option when you will be returning to your graduate study after one or more semesters. A leave of absence may be granted upon request to the graduate program in advance of the leave. Leaves may be granted in cases of illness, emergency, to pursue family responsibilities, or to pursue full-time activities related to long-range professional goals. The time taken for a leave of absence does not count against the time limit for earning the degree. However, if the total time for the leave extends more than three semesters, you may lose your place in the program and have to re-apply for admission.

To request a leave of absence, you must contact your department graduate assistant, who will submit a Progress-to-Degree (PtD) form. You will need to provide the assistant with the following information: non-KU email address, mailing address, first term of leave and the semester you plan to return, as well as a statement on the reason for the leave of absence ( via email).

Use this option if you do not plan to return to your graduate program in the School of Engineering. This means that you voluntarily resign from a program by requesting discontinuance. If you choose to return at a later date, you must re-apply for admission. Discontinuance is requested through your department or program via email to the department/program graduate assistant.

All of this information can be found in the Graduate Catalog, under "enrollment." If you are unable to enroll, I strongly suggest that you speak with your graduate advisor before making a decision to take a leave of absence or discontinue. It is equally important that you have an up to date permanent e-mail address and mailing address in Enroll & Pay, so that we may contact you with important information during your absence. Remember that you must be enrolled the semester that you graduate or the semester prior if you plan to meet the early deadline for graduation. If you have any questions about this policy, the forms required, or graduation or enrollment requirements, please contact the Research & Graduate Programs (RGP) staff at


Faculty advisors, particularly for doctoral students, play an important role in the students' intellectual development. Every graduate student is expected to work closely with a faculty advisor. Advisors assist students in planning a program of study to meet degree requirements. Students are also encouraged to seek out mentors in addition to their formal faculty advisor, which could include staff, researchers, industry partners and other students. Successful advising and mentoring relationships are characterized by clear expectations, open communication, and a willingness to resolve problems. The resources below can facilitate productive relationships between graduate students and their advisors and mentors.

Important Note: The information below should be used as a general guideline to build a student/advisor relationship.  These are not requirements, but rather best practices.  Every advisor and lab situation is different, so expectations should be discussed and clearly laid out at the beginning of a student’s career to better understand and meet the goals of the academic program, advisor, and student. If an issue arises with an advisor, each program has a designated Graduate and Undergraduate Director/Advisor who is available to help when needed.  

Student’s should determine their area of interest and understand how they work best in an advising situation before approaching faculty to inquire/interview for a position within a lab or research center. What are your needs in graduate school and reassess those needs regularly as you develop your skills and understanding within academia. Be open and communicate goals and concerns with your advisor and develop a committee that will help you grow and become a strong researcher or industry professional. Each department/program has opportunities for students to learn new skills, but students may also look beyond their program to the school and university for more general skills building (communication, writing, management, networking, career planning, etc.).

At KU, the quality of our graduate education program depends on the professional and ethical conduct of our campus. Although KU is composed of many individual programs and departments, the faculty, staff and students create a community of intellectuals, each offering significant value to the university. As such, they have similar responsibilities and commitment to upholding academic standards and sustaining a creative and positive community, while serving state and local needs. Focusing on the professional academic relationship between faculty and graduate students, the following guidelines below are based on the collective experience and wisdom of many research universities. Their purpose is to serve as a starting point for clear and regular communication about expectations; and to encourage awareness of and commitment to practices that are considered a matter of common sense, courtesy, and basic honesty.