Full-time status is defined as 9 or more credits per semester (fall and spring) of coursework. After passing the PhD qualifying exam, you can maintain full-time status by taking 3 or more credits per semester.
If you have completed all credits toward the PhD degree but have not completed the actual dissertation, you are allowed to take 2 semesters of “maintenance of study” (RE 8880 course) to fulfill the Full Time Equivalency (FTE). This course (1) carries no credit, (2) attests that you are pursuing full-time work on the dissertation, and (3) involves no tuition payment, but fees are required. If you plan to take the RE 8880 course, you should complete the application form of FTE available from the Office of Academic Affairs.
Exceptional and rare cases may require additional semesters of “maintenance of status.” This requires the approval of the Department Head, Dean, and International Student Advisor (if applicable).
International students must maintain a valid I-20. If the purpose of the study shifts from MS to PhD, an appropriate I-20 must be sought.