FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Below you'll find answers to the most common questions we get at the Graduate School from current students. If you have other questions or need additional information, call 303-492-8220 or   e-mail gradinfo@colorado.edu.

Q. How do I find out about different funding sources to help support my graduate studies here at CU?
A. Please visit our graduate student funding page for information on sources of institutional support as well as outside fellowships.

Q. Why hasn't my bill been paid by my assistantship or scholarship?
A. Please contact your department or appointing authority. They can work with the Graduate School to ensure that things have been entered correctly or that the correct paperwork has been submitted.

Q. Where is my refund check?
A. Refunds are made through direct deposit at the beginning of the semester. You must have signed up for direct deposit through CU Connect. If you have questions, contact the Bursar's Office at 303-492-5381 and follow this how-to guide to sign up for direct deposit.

Q. What should I know about health insurance?
A. “Golden Buffalo Student Health Insurance” is the standard health insurance offered to students. Please see Wardenburg Health Center: Student Health Plans for further information on different plans. Review the policy of Mandatory Health Insurance Coverage before selecting or waiving the insurance. Please be aware: You will be enrolled and billed for the Student Gold Comprehensive Health Insurance unless you choose to waive the insurance or select a different plan by set deadlines.

Q. How do I add or drop a course after the add/drop deadlines?
A. Please refer to the Office of the Registrar web site at registrar.colorado.edu/DropAdd/ for the specific deadline dates. You may sometimes add or drop with just a professor's approval, and sometimes you need to obtain your dean's approval to add or drop. To obtain approval from the Dean of the Graduate School you must write a letter to him or her explaining why you are requesting a late add/drop. Your letter should be accompanied by a completed Special Action Form (for a current semester) or a Change of Record form (for a past semester), which can be obtained in your department. For additional information contact your department or the Graduate School at 303-492-8220 gradinfo@colorado.edu

Q. I need to be a full time student- what does that mean?
A. If you need to be full time according to Graduate School standards, you can review the Graduate School Rules, Section 8: Full-time status and Minimum Registration Requirements. You can see the rules here: Graduate School Rules, and scroll to section 8.

If you need to be full time according to the standards of the Financial Aid office, you’ll need to check with them. Financial Aid’s full time and part time standards are different than those set by the Graduate School, and are established based partly on federal law. If you have any financial aid, you MUST make sure you are in compliance with the registration requirements of their office. You can look for information on their website: http://www.colorado.edu/finaid/.

Q. What is my graduate status and how does that affect me?
A. Your graduate status is what determines how you are billed the Bursar's Office. Master's students are normally "A" status; but can be "B" status if you are enrolled for "Master's Candidate for Degree" only. The change to "B" status is made automatically by the computer system. See your registration handbook or contact the Bursar's Office for details.

Doctoral students who are taking course work and have not passed their comprehensive examination are normally "C" status. Doctoral students who are taking dissertation hours only and have not passed their comprehensive exam are generally "E" status. Once you have passed your comprehensive exam, you will be changed to "D" status by the Graduate School. The Graduate School must have both the Application for Admission to Candidacy and your signed comprehensive Exam Report Form in order to admit you to candidacy and make the change to "D" status. For detailed information about how these statuses affect your billing, contact the Bursar's Office, or download Graduate Student Registration Statuses.

Q. How do I transfer credit from another university, and do courses taken at other CU campuses count as transfer credit?

• Transfer limits and standards
Master's students may transfer up to nine semester hours. Doctoral students may transfer up to 21 semester hours. Students must have obtained a grade of "B" or better on all work being considered for transfer. See the Transfer of Credit Request form for detailed information regarding transfer rules and eligibility.

• Transfer of credit from another university
To process a transfer of credit, you will need to get a Transfer of Credit Request form from your department or the Graduate School after you’ve completed 6 hours in your CU Boulder degree program with a GPA of 3.0 or better. You must attach an original transcript. Your transfer request must be evaluated and approved by your department first; then it is given to the Graduate School for final approval.

• Transfer of credit from another CU campus or as a non-degree student status.
Courses taken at another CU campus or as a non-degree student are considered as transfer credit. However, these courses are already included on your CU transcript so no additional paperwork is necessary. Please list those courses in the transfer section of your Application for Admission to Candidacy. Transfer limits outlined above apply. Courses taken through the reciprocal agreement or concurrent registration will not be considered as transfer credit.

Q. I’m ready to do a doctoral comprehensive or final exam, or a master’s final exam. I hear that I need to notify the Graduate School- what does that mean?
A. If you’re doing an exam of this type, you need to let us know at least 2 weeks before the exam by filling out an examination report form. Those are available in your department or on our website. You will fill out your name, date of exam, and your committee members, and send the form to us. We will review your committee and when approved send the form back to your department. You’ll then use it at your exam to get signatures from all your committee members. The form then comes back to us to show that you passed the exam.

Q. Do I have to be registered the semester I graduate or when I do my final exams or thesis/dissertation defense? Do I need to be registered when I do my doctoral comprehensive exam?
A. Most masters students must complete a final exam or thesis/dissertation defense (contact your department for details on what constitutes the final exam in your program). All doctoral students will complete a comprehensive exam and either a final exam or dissertation defense. Students are required to be a regularly enrolled student on the Boulder campus during exams/defenses. If you do an exam in the summer, the same registration requirement applies.

  • Master’s Exams

Master's students must be registered for at least 1 credit hour during the semester they do the final exam or thesis defense.

Certain departments require a Degree Plan Approval form instead of a master’s final exam for Plan II (non-thesis) master’s students. For these specific departments only, registration is not required for submission of this form.

  • Doctoral Exams

During the comprehensive exam for the doctoral degree students must be registered for at least one course credit of course hours or dissertation hours.

During the dissertation defense, doctoral students must be registered full time for a minimum of 5 dissertation hours. DMA students must be registered as a full time student during the semester of the final exam.

  • Semester of Graduation

Generally the final exam/thesis defense is done during the semester in which you plan to graduate. However, if you did your exam or defense in a previous semester, you are not necessarily required by the Graduate School to register during the semester in which you actually graduate. This assumes, however, that you have all required hours and requirements fulfilled, and that you are not required to register for any OTHER reason. If, for example, you are holding a TA or RA, are an international student, or have financial aid, you may still be required to register to meet the requirements of other offices or federal guidelines. You must meet these requirements if they apply to you.

Q. What do I do when I’m ready to graduate?
A. Contact your department to let them know and to pick up the required forms. You can also see the required forms, along with a very important list of deadlines, on the Graduate School Academics: Graduation Requirements page. It is your responsibility to make sure that all forms are filled out and turned in by the appropriate deadlines.

Q. Who do I talk to if I have questions about thesis formatting?
A. Thesis specifications are available at Thesis and Dissertation Specifications. If you have further questions, contact the student services office at 303-492-8220 or gradinfo@colorado.edu. The Graduate School recommends that you have your thesis or dissertation format pre-checked by the Graduate School before submitting electronically. You can do that by e-mailing a pdf version of the document to us at gradinfo@colorado.edu. We have formatting templates available for Framemaker downloading as well as for LaTex download.

Q. How do I submit my thesis or dissertation?
A. All theses and dissertations must be submitted electronically, by the posted graduation deadlines, to dissertations.umi.com/Colorado. You will receive a response when your submission has been reviewed, so you should check your e-mail to ensure that it has been approved. Also, you must submit a signature page by the same thesis submission deadline. The signature page is page ii of your thesis, which needs to be printed out. Two original signatures are then obtained, the chair of your committee and any one other member, and the page should be sent or delivered to the Graduate School by the thesis/dissertation submission deadline.

Q. What happens if I miss the posted graduation deadlines?
A. Graduation deadlines are designed to allow Graduate School staff to meet their own deadlines with the commencement office. If you plan to graduate in any given semester you must meet the established deadlines in order to be processed. If you miss any of those deadlines for any reason, you will need to plan to graduate in a future semester. Be sure to submit a new diploma card for that upcoming semester. This is required so that the Graduate School will be aware of your graduation plans.

Please be aware: there is a grey area regarding the completion of exams or the thesis/dissertation defense. If you miss the deadlines for graduation you won’t be able to graduate in that semester, but you may not have to register for an additional semester. If your exam/defense falls between the deadlines for graduation and the first day of class for the following semester you will not be required by the Graduate School to register again. This assumes, however, that you have all required hours and requirements fulfilled, and that you are not required to register for any OTHER reason. If, for example, you are holding a TA or RA, are an international student, or have financial aid, you may still be required to register to meet the requirements of other offices or federal guidelines. You must meet these requirements if they apply to you. You will need to request to graduate in the following semester. Please be aware that your time limit for completion of degree or current extensions may affect your situation. If you have questions please contact the Graduate School at 303-492-8220 / gradinfo@Colorado.edu.

Q. How do I know what my tuition will be?
A. Check the Bursar's Office website for rates based on your graduate status and residency information.


Contact: Graduate Student Services office at 303-492-8220 for any further questions.