Skip to Content

The Graduate School

Home > Academics > Director of Graduate Studies > Registration

Registration

(skip to Registration Process)

Planning

An appointment for planning and scheduling should be set up with each new student entering your program.  If the student has already chosen a faculty mentor, then this meeting should include the mentor. Several things should be accomplished during this appointment. 

  • Discuss with the student his/her background, current level of attainment, and specific area of academic interest.
  • Provide an explanation of the rules and regulations of your program and the Graduate School.  It is essential that the student, when entering, know what must be done and what is expected, as there are considerable differences in the requirements among the programs. The student should be given a copy of any information, e.g., a handbook that describes the requirements and expectations for a student in this program.  It is very important that this handbook be updated with any new guidelines or courses being offered. The DGS should take the lead in this process.
  • Plan the first semester’s work. Select the courses and seminars that the student will be taking. Enroll the student for a full course load unless there is good reason for not doing so. The student should go online and register for the courses using “YES” (Your Enrollment Services) enrollment program.
  •  Prepare a list of courses and seminars that the student may expect to take in future semesters. Attention should be given to meeting language requirements, if required, and when it would be reasonable to take the qualifying examination (within the first 4 years). The relative emphasis on courses, seminars and independent research should be discussed.  In planning, it should be kept in mind that Qualifying Examinations are to be taken after the student completes at least 24 hours of didactic work.

Factors for Consideration

  • Courses at the 5000 level and above are courses intended for graduate students.   Assure that, over time, most of the student’s course/seminar credits are at the 5000 level or above.
  • Care should be taken to avoid placing students in what appears to be a standardized curriculum.   It is understandable that in smaller departments where limited 300-level work is offered each semester, all graduate students in the program will tend to take the courses when they are available. It is also understandable that it is necessary for students to take certain preliminary and professional courses in the first year, but in most programs, and especially in those in which there is diversity of interests among the faculty and within the course offerings, the student’s program should be individualized. 
  • Credit for instruction in other units of the University (e.g., School of Law, School of Medicine, Owen Graduate School of Management) can be approved for graduate credit on petition to the Graduate School. Use the Request for Graduate Credit Form.
  • Registering for Course 9999. It is the intent of the faculty that Course 9999 indicates registration for Ph.D. research.  Thus, registration in 9999 during a student’s first year of graduate study is inappropriate without special reason. If a student needs to register for research hours during his/her first years of graduate study (before passing the Qualifying Examination), he/she should register for 8999 – Non-candidate Research . Either research course, 8999 or 9999, requires a specific named and assigned instructor who will supervise the research and assign the appropriate grade.  For Master's-level research, students should register for 7999 – Non-candidate Research .
  • Registering - When the schedule for the first semester has been determined, the entering student is ready to complete his/her first registration. Students must register using YES

    At the time the student’s initial registration is being planned, the DGS should again explain the rules and regulations of the University and the program.  Each program should have copies of its regulations concerning graduate degrees.  If not already done, a copy should be given to the student and necessary explanations made.  The student should understand at the outset the rules under which he or she will be operating.  The DGS should review with the student the general rules of the Graduate School and the University, as found in the Graduate School Bulletin. Students should understand that if changes in regulations occur during their graduate career, those in force when they first enrolled will apply to them unless all parties agree that the new rules should apply.

Registration Process

Students must maintain registration until the completion of the degree.  If a student has completed all of the required hours and has passed the Qualifying Examination, he/she can register for 0 hours of Ph.D. research and pay $200 minimum tuition, which will confer full-time student status and eligibility for all student services.  Registration during the summer session is at the discretion of the student and the Director of Graduate Studies; however, students receiving stipend support during the summer must register.  Students wishing to receive credit for summer work should take care to validate their registrations with the Graduate School; retroactive registration is not allowed.  Of particular note, international students should consult with the International Office of Student and Scholar Services if there are any questions or concerns about the need to register for a particular semester.

Registration for currently enrolled students is held in November for the Spring semester and April for the following Fall semester.  A pre-registration conference should be held between the student, the mentor, and/or the DGS to determine courses to be taken.  Once decided, the student can register at the YES website.  

 In addition to the guidelines for registration mentioned above, the following notes might be helpful:

  • The scheduling conference is an ideal time to review the student’s progress.  The registration process should be looked upon as an academic activity rather than a mechanical activity of “signing up” the student.  Progress and plans should be reviewed. This should be done along with the student’s advisor.
  • Students who receive financial award should be making full-time progress toward their degrees.  These students should register for at least 9 semester hours (12 hours preferred), unless the program has made explicit alternate arrangements with the Graduate School.  Students of exceptional ability are allowed to undertake even more than 13 hours, the number that has traditionally been considered the upper limit of full-time registration.  Nine (9) hours is considered full time, 6-8 hours, half time and less than 6 hours, part time.  Registering for less than 9 hours may impact upon repayment of student loans, visa status, health insurance, etc.  Please note again, that once a student has completed the required number of hours (72), he/she can register for zero hours of 9999, pay the minimum tuition of $200, and still be considered full time.  This reflects full time effort on research and prevents any loans from coming due.  Registering for more than 72 hours is an unnecessary expense for either the department, student or mentor and should be avoided if possible.
  • The most appropriate use of 9999 registration is for the advanced student who has passed the qualifying examination.  Where a limited amount of research credit is allowed before the qualifying as a means of preparing the dissertation proposal, the student should register for 8999 (Non-candidate research) credit. For both courses, 8999 and 9999, a specific instructor must be assigned, who will be responsible for mentoring the student and providing a grade.
  •  In counseling the students, the DGS should help them understand that grades in courses may not reflect the talents expected in qualifying examinations and the dissertation.  Course grades may not capture sufficiently a talent to synthesize, to bring information to bear on issues, or to define a significant research problem and devise or model a suitable approach or method to solve it.

Students may change their course registration during the first 10 days of classes each semester using YES registration system. Students may withdraw from a course after the 10 th day of classes until the mid-point of the semester but will receive a W grade for that course; however, students should be reminded that they will still be responsible for a percentage of the tuition based upon the date on which they withdrew from the course.  These dates can be found in the Financial Information section of Graduate School Bulletin.  After the mid-point in the semester, the only way a student’s enrollment in a class can be altered is to withdraw formally from the university.

After the first 10 days, changes and withdrawals are conveyed to the Graduate School by the DGS and becomes a record of the program’s approval of the change.  This can be accomplished by sending a memo or e-mail from the DGS or department education coordinator to the Graduate School at graduateschool@vanderbilt.edu.

Care should also be taken to ensure that the student’s schedule does not go below 9 hours unless the student has already obtained the required 72 hours.  Adequate progress is required for supported students, and international students must maintain a full time enrollment.  If a proposed course drop brings the schedule of a supported student below 9 hours, the recommendation must be accompanied by a petition and signed by the DGS, explaining the reasons for the drop.