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UC San Diego Linguistics Graduate Handbook

This webpage contains useful information for graduate students.


Welcome to the Linguistics Department!

The purpose of this UC San Diego Linguistics Department Graduate Student Handbook is to provide graduate students with all the information needed to successfully complete the PhD at UCSD, to present relevant policies of this Department and University, and to offer some personal guidelines to make student life more rewarding. It is intended to be used along with the Graduate Division Handbook, which gives important information about grading policy, financial support, and many other topics.

Other important resources:

General Information

Department Hours of Operation

Linguistics Advising Office, AP&M 3216

Monday – Friday 8:00am - 12:00pm, 1:00pm - 4:30pm

Language Lab, AP&M 3432A

Monday – Friday9:00am - 5:00pm; Saturday, Sunday — Closed

(Lab hours subject to change without notice)  

Language Lab/Library
The Department’s collection of dissertations, basic linguistics texts and working papers are housed in the Language Lab/Library (AP&M 3432A), along with its language-teaching books and recordings. Although many items are  estricted to lab-use only due to their nature, use, or rarity, browsing is encouraged in person or online. Inquiries and requests to borrow specific items should be directed to the Librarian or attendant at the Language Lab in person, by phone (x42418), or by e-mail to the Librarian, ( A current UCSD Student Campus Card is required to borrow any item from the Language Lab, including class reserves. (See “Student Campus Cards” below.)

Graduate Student Lounge
The Department provides AP&M 3161 as a lounge, mailroom, and meeting place for Linguistics graduate students. The room has a refrigerator, microwave and a TV. It is your responsibility to keep the room clean and neat — especially to clean out the refrigerator regularly.

Graduate students may be issued office, graduate lounge, and other building keys as appropriate. For assistance, contact the main office in the Linguistics Department (AP&M 3101).

Mail for graduate students is placed in the mailbox marked “Graduate Student Mail” in the faculty mailroom (AP&M 4132). Graduate students are responsible for collecting that mail and sorting it into the appropriate mailboxes in the Graduate Student Lounge. If you are a teaching assistant in the Linguistics Language Program (LLP), you will have another mailbox in AP&M 3132. It is very important that you check it regularly.

Student Campus Cards
Most graduate students will go to the Campus Card office to have their photo taken as part of their orientation. If you missed the orientation, you can get your card by having your photo taken at Student Business Services. Have a picture ID available to verify your identity when you have your photo taken and when you pick up your card. You can use your driver’s license, passport, state ID card, or other photo ID. For more information, see

Thefts on campus are always a problem. Do not leave your belongings unattended, even for a short time. When you leave your office for any reason, LOCK YOUR DOOR. The building is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you work at night please be sure to always be aware of your surroundings and of who else is on the floor. Escort service on campus is available by calling the Campus Police at extension 49255 (4WALK).

Bulletin Boards
The Department has public bulletin boards on the 3rd and 4th floors of AP&M, across from the elevators. There you will find information we’ve received about course offerings, colloquia, lectures, calls for papers, summer programs, research grant possibilities, and jobs. Linguistics departments and language programs from other universities around the world send us literature which is also posted on these bulletin boards. This is also where you will find information about cancelled classes or changed classrooms. Please do not remove items from these bulletin boards. If you would like something to be posted, please give it to the Chair’s Assistant (AP&M 4016). If you need a copy of something that is posted, we will be glad to make a photocopy for you.

Smoke Free UCSD
UC San Diego, along with all of the UC campuses, are Smoke and Tobacco-Free. This will contribute to a healthy campus environment for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors. (See

Permitted Copy Sites                                                                                                                                                    The preferred sites for our copying are:

  • The copy machine installed in the faculty mailroom (AP&M 4132).
  • The Imprints copy centers located at the Price Center or in Geisel Library.

The copy machine in AP&M 3018 is reserved for LLP TAs. We do not have permission to use other departments’ copy machines. Our cards do work in other departments’ machines, but you must get permission from the appropriate department administrators before using their machines.


Each incoming graduate student is assigned an academic advisor based on the student’s stated research interests upon being admitted. Your advisor is your personal contact with the Department; he/she will advise you regarding departmental requirements and your academic program. Each quarter you must see your advisor in conjunction with course enrollment (see “Registration Procedures” below). Please have your advisor sign the orange Course Registration Approval Form and return it to the Graduate Coordinator.

Before the beginning of your second year, you should arrange a meeting with your advisor to agree upon an overall course and research plan. This includes a plan for the comprehensive research paper (see “Research Paper Procedures” below), due toward the end of the second year, for which a committee of three faculty members (not necessarily including the advisor) must be formed at the earliest possible opportunity.

After successful completion of the comprehensive research paper (usually before the beginning of your third year), you should arrange another meeting with your advisor to agree upon a plan for the qualifying examination, due toward the end of the third year, for which a doctoral committee must be formed at the earliest possible opportunity (see “Doctoral Committee” below). The chair of the doctoral committee will be your advisor from this point forward. After consultation with all parties involved, you may change advisors at any time by obtaining the new advisor’s signature on an advisor form, which you can obtain from the Graduate Coordinator. Return the completed form to the Graduate Coordinator.

Registration Procedures

First-year students typically take the same sequence of required courses (see “Courses” further below). Nevertheless, both first-year and continuing students must meet with their academic advisors to discuss which courses to take the following quarter. The advisor must approve the proposed course schedule and sign the orange Course Registration Approval Form. This form must then be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator before you enroll in classes. You may then use MyTritonLink and WebReg to enroll in classes during the specified enrollment period.

Student Evaluations

Linguistics graduate students are evaluated at the end of each course by the instructor and at the end of each academic year by the entire faculty. Course evaluations are intended to give the students more information than a final course grade does. At the end of each quarter, professors are asked to complete a Course Evaluation Form for each graduate student. The form includes the course title, grade and a brief comment about the student’s performance in the course. Year-end evaluations are used by GRADUATE DIVISION to determine support eligibility for the subsequent year, as well as to report the progress of students. Both types of evaluations are kept in the graduate student file (see below); students are encouraged to read and discuss them with their advisors.

Graduate Student File

The graduate student electronic file contains the following information:

  1. Advisor Form. This form is signed by the student’s permanent advisor and any temporary advisors. If the student wishes to change the permanent advisor, a new form must be completed (signed by the new advisor) and added to the file. When the permanent advisor goes on leave, the student must pick a temporary advisor. All students must be represented by a faculty member who is present at faculty meetings.
  2. Copies of petitions, LOA information and TA quarter counts.
  3. Information about financial aid, grants, and awards.
  4. Information pertaining to the degree requirements and time limits.
You will be provided shared access to review your electronic graduate student file.

Student Organization

Students meet at the beginning of each academic year to elect representatives for the Graduate Council and departmental committees such as Curriculum, Colloquium, and External Relations. View current assignments.


The Department offers a series of colloquia throughout the year. The purpose of the colloquium series is to give students and faculty a chance to hear presentations on current linguistic research at UCSD and elsewhere. The Colloquium Committee consists of 3 or 4 graduate student representatives and 1 faculty representative. The Committee as a group is responsible for determining the list of speakers that will be invited for the following academic year. The faculty representative contacts prospective speakers, confirms dates for their talks, and identifies a faculty host for each speaker. The graduate student representatives are responsible for advertising the colloquia, identifying a student host for each speaker, and purchasing food for the talks. A small amount of money is available for payment of colloquium expenses. As the amount varies from year to year, the Committee should direct questions about the amount and use of the money to the Department CAO.

Requirements Leading to the PhD Degree in Linguistics

Candidates for the PhD must pass twelve courses prior to taking the qualifying examination. These courses should normally be completed early in the graduate student’s program of study, ideally within the first two years. Of these twelve courses, seven specific courses are required:

  • One course in Phonetics: LIGN 210
  • One course in Phonology: LIGN 211
  • One course in Morphology: LIGN 220
  • One course in Syntax: LIGN 221
  • One course in Semantics: LIGN 230
  • One course in Field Methods: LIGN 240
  • One course in Research Paper Writing: LIGN 293

Replacements for the seven required courses are rarely granted, through discussion with the student’s advisor and other relevant faculty. Three of the remaining five elective courses must be taken in the Department; all 200-level courses count toward this requirement except LIGN 200, LIGN 296, and LIGN 299. Replacements for elective courses may be allowed by petition. All courses must be taken for a letter grade except LIGN 293.

A vibrant research department requires active participation by students in elective graduate courses and seminars. Therefore, students are expected to enroll in such courses when they are offered, especially (but not necessarily only) when offered on topics that are related to the student’s area(s) of interest. Students should expect the faculty to enforce this expectation.

Students who wish to pursue directed research with a faculty advisor prior to candidacy should enroll in LIGN 296. Whether this course is taken for a letter grade or S/U is determined by the nature of the directed research. If taken for a grade, LIGN 296 is to be treated as an independent study course; in this case the course should follow a syllabus prepared by the student and faculty member, and have a term paper or project submitted at the conclusion of the course. Both the syllabus and the paper/project are to be included in the student’s file at course completion. If taken S/U, LIGN 296 is to be treated as a pre-qualification analog of LIGN 299, in which the faculty member is to monitor and ultimately assess progress toward a mutually agreed upon research goal, such as the production of a research article, comps paper, or qualifying paper. After admission to candidacy, students should enroll in LIGN 299 for directed research, which is always to be taken S/U.

Language Requirements
Reading Requirement
Each student must demonstrate a reading knowledge of a language other than his or her native language, subject to faculty approval. Faculty approval is automatic for any one of the following languages: Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Italian, and Russian. For speakers who have native competence in a language other than English, English may satisfy the requirement. For any other languages, the student should submit a petition for faculty approval.

The purpose of the requirement is to provide the student with access to literature in languages other than English, as well as to encourage general linguistic sophistication. Because of the diversity of research materials within the field of linguistics, a general reading knowledge of the language will be more useful than a strictly scientific reading preparation. Those with no previous background in a given language can prepare for the reading examination in French and German by taking one quarter of Ling/French 11 and Ling/German 11 respectively, and by doing a moderate amount of outside reading in contemporary literature. Students are strongly advised to satisfy this requirement early, if possible by the end of the first year. See more information on preparing for the exam.

There are two ways to satisfy the reading requirement:

  1. By passing the appropriate MLA Cooperative Foreign Language Test with a raw score of 30 or better. This test is available for French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian; it is offered by the Language Program for Linguistics graduate students every quarter. A student who can provide proof of having scored 30 or higher on the MLA (MA or MB) reading exam in a given language 5 years or less prior to the date of entry into the graduate program will have satisfied the reading proficiency requirement for that language.
  2. By passing a written translation exam. This is conducted by the Linguistics faculty for the languages with which they have sufficient knowledge. It consists of translating a 500-word passage from the language into English, using a dictionary. The time limit will be two hours.

Students who wish to be tested for the reading requirement in a language for which we do not have a qualified tester will be responsible for finding someone approved by the faculty to administer the test according to departmental guidelines. A sheet of guidelines for the tester will be prepared by the faculty.

Oral Proficiency Requirement
A student must demonstrate conversational ability in one language other than English. The reason for this requirement is one of practical utility (e.g., for purposes of scholarly travel or attendance at international conferences), as well as the belief that a linguistic scholar—to appreciate the subject matter of the discipline— should minimally have strong working proficiency in at least one language other than the native one. Native-like proficiency is by no means expected; rather, the student must demonstrate the ability to converse comfortably in the language. If a student does not have such ability, s/he should consult with the Director of the Language Program who can advise the student about the language courses available on campus and/or materials in the Language Laboratory that can assist in the preparation for the exam. Useful courses include Language 15 for those languages in which it is offered, and LISL 1E for American Sign Language (ASL). If the language to be tested is French, German, Spanish, or Italian, the requirement is normally satisfied by passing the oral portion of the regular undergraduate language proficiency examination administered by the Language Program. For all other languages, the student is expected to provide the Department with some valid means of assessing oral proficiency. For native speakers of languages other than English, English automatically satisfies the requirement. A graduate student who teaches in the Language Program may be deemed proficient in speaking the language that s/he teaches by the Director of the Language Program. In such cases, the Director will evaluate the student either through a personal interview in the language or else from having observed the student using the language in his/her teaching. A graduate student who has passed an oral proficiency exam administered in cooperation with the Linguistics Department at UCSD 5 years or less prior to the date of entry into the graduate program will have satisfied the oral proficiency requirement for that language. Students are advised to satisfy this requirement as early as possible.

Comprehensive Research Paper
Before taking the qualifying examination and beginning dissertation research, students must submit a comprehensive paper embodying original research for evaluation by the faculty. The paper may be submitted at any time after the student’s first quarter of graduate study (with the approval of a faculty committee), but no later than the seventh week of the sixth quarter. Papers to be evaluated in a given quarter must be submitted by noon on Friday of the seventh week of that quarter. (See “Research Paper Procedures” further below).

A graduate student is evaluated by the entire faculty at particular stages during the first two years of graduate study. The first evaluation, at the end of the third quarter of graduate study, pertains chiefly to performance in courses; students having difficulties at this stage are given appropriate advice.

The second (or comprehensive) evaluation, at the end of the sixth quarter, determines the student’s fitness to continue in the PhD program. It takes into account performance in coursework and ability to engage in original research in one area of linguistics as demonstrated in the comprehensive research paper. On the basis of this comprehensive evaluation, the faculty is to arrive at one of four decisions:

  1. The student has passed and will be encouraged to continue in the PhD program.
  2. The first comprehensive research paper is not entirely acceptable. The student may rework the paper and resubmit it by the seventh week of the subsequent quarter, at which time the student will be reevaluated.
  3. The student has passed and will be awarded the MA degree (when all other requirements toward that degree are satisfied), but will not be permitted to continue towards the PhD
  4. The student has failed and will be dropped from the program.

Students in years three and beyond will be evaluated each Spring quarter. The qualifying examination typically serves as the student’s evaluation upon qualification, usually by the end of the ninth quarter.

Qualifying Examination
The qualifying examination is an oral examination in the student’s area of specialization, as well as a discussion of the nature and feasibility of the proposed dissertation. It is conducted by the prospective dissertation committee (see “Doctoral Committee” below), which is selected by the advisor in consultation with the student. Prior to the examination, the student must submit a substantial dissertation proposal to the committee, the form and content of which is agreed upon by the advisor and the committee in consultation with the student. To be eligible to take the qualifying examination, a student must have completed all requirements except the colloquium (see “Colloquium Presentation” below).

Research Paper Procedures

By the end of the first two years of graduate study, students must submit a comprehensive paper embodying original research for evaluation by the faculty. This research paper should demonstrate that the student is: (1) developing the analytical ability, skills in argumentation, and scholarship needed for research in an area of linguistics; (2) learning to organize material efficiently and clearly; and (3) acquiring a knowledge of the standard style and formatting required in linguistics journals and in journals in other, related disciplines.

Topic Approval
The student should consult his/her advisor in selecting a paper topic. The student and advisor should discuss the suitability of that topic from the standpoint of the individual student’s goals. Having selected a paper topic, the student should consider which faculty member would be the most appropriate main reader for this paper and should consult with the main reader about its feasibility at least 12 academic weeks before the student intends to submit the final version of the paper. (An ‘academic week’ is a week during the regular teaching quarter, not including breaks or final exam weeks.) In consultation with the main reader, the student should select an additional two faculty readers (to be known as ancillary readers) and, if the student desires, a student reader as well. The student should inquire as to whether these additional readers are willing to serve in this capacity no later than 6 academic weeks before the student intends to submit the final version of the paper. If the main and ancillary readers have any question about the suitability of a topic, they will bring the matter to the attention of the faculty as a whole for discussion and resolution.

The final version of the comprehensive research paper must be submitted no later than the seventh week of the sixth quarter. Students are encouraged to discuss their research periodically with the main and ancillary readers, and must submit a preliminary draft of their paper to the readers at least 3 academic weeks before the submission of the final version of the paper. Early submission of a preliminary draft enables faculty to recommend substantive revisions and permits the student to make such revisions if these are deemed necessary. More than one preliminary draft may be encouraged by the main reader, but ancillary readers are not expected to read more than one preliminary draft. All readers will provide written comments on the pre-final preliminary draft within 2 weeks of submission.

Paper Guidelines
The comprehenstive research paper should contain the following as a bare minimum:

  1. An abstract;
  2. An introduction to the problem to be addressed;
  3. An overview of previous/alternative analyses, highlighting their advantages/deficiencies/etc.;
  4. Proposed solution(s);
  5. References.

Copies of the research paper (60-page limit; double-spaced, 12 point font) and of the one-page abstract, one for each of the readers, are submitted to the Graduate Coordinator by 12:00 noon on Friday of the seventh week of the sixth quarter. Research papers may, of course, be submitted prior to this deadline. In addition, a one-page abstract is sent via e-mail to the Graduate Coordinator for circulation to the faculty. One copy of this abstract is retained in the student’s file. The abstract should contain the following information:

  1. Comprehensive Research Paper
  2. Student name
  3. Title of paper
  4. Main reader’s name
  5. Ancillary readers’ names
  6. Student reader’s name (if any)
  7. Abstract of the paper

Faculty Evaluation Criteria
The faculty evaluate the research papers in terms of whether they satisfy the goals stated previously. Although three faculty members are specifically charged with reading the papers, they are available for any faculty member to read, and are evaluated by the faculty as a whole. There are essentially four judgments conferrable on papers: high pass; pass; rewrite; no pass. Note that evaluation of the paper is just one component of an overall assessment of the student’s performance in the program. Depending on this overall evaluation, the student will be advised to begin preparing for the next departmental requirement; to revise the paper according to the recommendations of the readers, to apply for a terminal master’s degree, or to leave the program.

Feedback on Research Papers
In consultation with the ancillary readers, the main reader should provide the student with an evaluation judgment of the paper within 3 weeks of submission of the final paper. If the student submits the paper in the seventh week of the quarter, discussion of research papers and evaluation judgments will normally take place in a subsequent faculty meeting in the same quarter. Along with the judgment, the main reader will provide the student with a brief written evaluation of the research paper pertaining to such matters as: presentation, writing, and argumentation; the viability of the analysis (including possible alternatives); possibilities for expansion and elaboration; and so on. Students who  receive a ‘rewrite’ judgment will use these comments to guide their rewrite, which must be submitted by the seventh week of the following quarter.

Year-End Evaluations/Spring Evaluations

A graduate student is evaluated by the entire faculty at particular stages during the first two years of graduate study. The first evaluation, at the end of the third quarter of graduate study, pertains chiefly to performance in courses; students having difficulties at this stage are given appropriate advice.

The second (or comprehensive) evaluation, at the end of the sixth quarter, determines the student’s fitness to continue in the PhD program. It takes into account performance in coursework and ability to engage in original research in linguistics as demonstrated in the comprehensive research paper.  Depending on this overall evaluation, the student will be advised to begin preparing for the next departmental requirement; to revise the paper according to the recommendations of the readers, to apply for a terminal master’s degree, or to leave the program.

Students in years three and beyond will be evaluated each Spring quarter. The qualifying examination typically serves as the student’s evaluation upon qualification, usually at the end of the ninth quarter.

Spring Evaluations

Graduate Council policy requires that all doctoral and MFA students be evaluated every Spring. A satisfactory evaluation on file in GEPA is necessary for future support to be approved. The following are exempt from Spring evaluations:

  1. A student advancing to Doctoral or MFA candidacy during Winter or Spring of the current academic year.
  2. A student on an approved leave of absence during Spring of the current academic year. In this instance an evaluation must be submitted by the end of the first quarter of return to continue support.

Students are advised to work with their advisor and graduate coordinator for the timely submission of their evaluation so that student support for the future is not jeopardized.

The student signature is required on every evaluation. Student signature does not indicate agreement with the evaluation and student comments are encouraged. Each student should receive a copy of his/her evaluation.




Following is a summary of the policies regarding evaluations.

Policy for Pre-Candidacy Students

The Graduate Council policy on January 11, 1974 regarding these evaluations is as follows:

[The] evaluation [is to] to be made available to students who will sign it to indicate that they have read it, whether or not they agree with it; ... a copy of this evaluation shall be sent to the Graduate Division, to be made part of the student's permanent file. This evaluation will indicate: the degree to which students are, over-all, progressing satisfactorily in their studies; their strengths and weaknesses as students and, where applicable, as teaching and/or research assistants. These evaluations should contain cogent and clear advice to students.


Policy for In-Candidacy Students

Graduate Council policy (November 11, 1988) on in-candidacy evaluations is as follows:

Each student in doctoral candidacy is to receive an annual substantive progress review. At least three members of the student's doctoral committee are to participate in the review. The review should cover the student's progress to date, recommend the modifications to the dissertation's scope or methodology, timetable for completion, and recommendation for support in the following year.

The doctoral committee chair shall write up the results of the review and discuss them with the student. All members of the doctoral committee participating in the review, the student, and department chair are to sign the progress review.


  • It is expected that an evaluation will include a face-to-face meeting between the faculty member(s) and the student, and also that the student will feel free to make comments on the evaluation.
  • It is important to note that Spring/Annual evaluations affect not only future support but are required before any exception can be requested of the Graduate Council, and, if there are academic difficulties, will be relied upon heavily in the Dean's action. In many instances, they are the only narrative documentation of a student's progress, other than the transcript.
  • GEPA monitors the receipt of Spring evaluations by program.

Doctoral Committee

At least three weeks prior to a scheduled qualifying examination (see Qualifying Examination Section above)— but preferably substantially before then — the student/advisor arranges for the appointment of the doctoral committee and submits the Appointment of the Doctoral Committee for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the GEPA (see the Graduate Coordinator for details). This committee conducts the qualifying examination, supervises the preparation of and passes upon the dissertation, and administers the final examination (also called the dissertation defense).

A Doctoral Committee of four or more members shall be appointed by the Dean of the GEPA under the authority of the Graduate Council (see for more information). At least four members must have UC San Diego faculty appointments, at least one must be from a department other than linguistics, at least two must be from linguistics, and at least one must be tenured or emeritus. Proposed members from other UC campuses, other universities, or industry are exceptions and must be requested in writing. A doctoral committee may be reconstituted with the approval of the Department Chair and the Dean of GEPA.


The candidate for the PhD must write a dissertation incorporating the results of original and independent research carried out under the supervision of the doctoral committee. The candidate is recommended for the Doctor of Philosophy degree after having made a successful oral defense of the dissertation before the doctoral committee in a public meeting and after having submitted the final version of the dissertation as outlined below.

A draft of the doctoral dissertation should be submitted to each member of the doctoral committee at least four weeks before the final examination (also called the dissertation defense). The form of the final draft must conform to the procedures outlined in GEPA Preparation and Submission Manual for Doctoral Dissertations and Master’s Theses “Bluebook”, which is available at

It is very important that you make an appointment with GEPA to discuss the form of the dissertation. Do this early in the quarter in which you will defend.

The candidate should arrange with the committee and with the Graduate Coordinator the date and time of the proposed final examination at least four weeks in advance. The candidate should request a room reservation and send the Graduate Coordinator the dissertation title and abstract so they can notify and send an announcement.

The doctoral committee supervises and passes on the candidate’s dissertation and conducts the final oral examination, which is public. 

The Report of the Final Examination and Filing of the Dissertation for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy form is initiated by the Graduate Coordinator, signed by members of the doctoral committee, the Department Chair, and the Dean of GEPA, and approved by the Registrar - Academic Records.

The candidate files the dissertation with the University archivist, who accepts it on behalf of the Graduate Council. Acceptance of the dissertation by the archivist represents the final step in the completion by the candidate of all requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Masters of Arts Degree Requirements

Candidates for the PhD who have not previously earned a master’s degree may be granted the MA in linguistics after: 1) satisfactorily completing twelve required courses (the seven core courses required for the PhD and five electives, three of which must be Linguistics Department graduate course offerings; all but LIGN 293 must be taken for a letter grade), and 2) passing the comprehensive evaluation at the end of the sixth quarter.  (Note: reading knowledge of a language other than English is not required for the MA.)

The student must file an Application for Candidacy for the Thesis or Comprehensive Examination for the Degree of Master of Arts with the Graduate Coordinator and the GEPA by the end of the second week of instruction of the quarter in which requirements for the degree are to be completed. If this is not possible, a General Petition is required. When the requirements have been completed and the quarter of residency has been fulfilled, the Graduate Coordinator files the Final Report for the Degree of MA and the Degree and Diploma Application.

Duplication of graduate degrees is not allowed. If a student already has a Master of Arts in Linguistics, this Department and GEPA will not award a second MA in Linguistics. Even if the first master’s degree is in a different field from Linguistics, GEPA will not award a second master’s degree in Linguistics unless the first degree was a professional one such as an M.B.A. or an M.F.A. Exceptions to this policy are only granted in rare circumstances.

Candidates for the PhD may also be granted the C.Phil. upon completion of all degree requirements other than the dissertation.

Policies on PhD Time Limits

Departmental Policy

The time a student takes to complete the PhD depends on a number of factors, including previous preparation and the amount of time spent in teaching or other job commitments. Several policies set an upper limit to the length of the program. All degree requirements other than the dissertation are expected to be completed by the end of the third year of graduate work, but absolutely must be completed before the beginning of the fifth year. Total instructional support (TAships, etc.) cannot exceed six years; total university support cannot exceed seven years. Total registered time at UCSD cannot exceed eight years.

GEPA Policy

(This information is also found at

Per GEPA policy, students appointed in instructional titles (Teaching Assistant, Language Assistant, or Associate) must be within the instructional appointment limits established by the Office of the President. Departments may approve a fifth and sixth year of instructional appointment for students advanced to doctoral candidacy. Absolutely no exceptions beyond the sixth year (18 quarters) are permitted by University-wide policy. Further information may be obtained from  annual  limit letters provided by GEPA. You may view letters via the GEPA Student Portal.

Each doctoral program has three time limits:

  • Pre-candidacy limit (PCTL) - limited to 3 years -Maximum registered time in which a student must advance to doctoral candidacy. A hold will be placed on the student’s account in the last quarter until the student passes their qualifying exam. The Graduate Coordinator must ask GEPA to release the hold. 
  • Support limit (SUTL) - limited to 7 years - Maximum time during which a doctoral student is eligible for support.
  • Total time limit (TRTL) - limited to 8 years -Maximum registered time in which a student must complete all doctoral requirements.
  • In addition, each program has a Graduate Normative Time Limit (GNOTL), the period within which students, under normal circumstances, are expected to complete requirements for the doctorate. Students may not remain in campus housing after the expiration of normative time plus one year. Normative Time cannot be extended. Currently the normative time in linguistics is 6 years.

Departments may establish earlier doctoral time limits which are administered solely by the department.

Time limits are affected by the following:

  • Up to three quarters time spent on approved leave of absence from the graduate program will not count in the above limits.
  • Time spent withdrawn from the graduate program will count toward all time limits (pre-candidacy, support, total, and normative) for a student who is readmitted to the graduate program.
  • Time spent at UCSD as a master’s, non-degree graduate, or intercampus exchange student will count in the above time limits.
  • Adjustment to the time limits for students who change departments or enroll for one year or more of half-time study may be made upon departmental recommendation and approval by the Dean of Graduate Studies (normative time is not adjusted for quarters registered at half-time status).Students will not be permitted to continue in doctoral status if they have not advanced to candidacy before the expiration of the pre-candidacy time limit or if they have not completed their program before the expiration of the total time limit. Students will not be permitted to receive UCSD-administered financial support after the expiration of their support time limits.

Changing Departments

When a student changes departments, the student’s new department along with the General Petition must submit a recommendation for time limits. Petitions to change degree objective within the same department do not require a recommendation since the time limits are based on the student’s initial entry into graduate study in the department.

The recommendation must consider the following:

  • The extent to which the graduate study in the previous field could be used in partial satisfaction of the new doctoral program’s requirements or assist the student in advancing in the new program at a faster than normal rate.
  • The total years the student would be eligible for support and fairness to other students, given constrained support resources.
  • The total length of time the student would be registered at UCSD and the University’s desire not to encourage perpetual students, given the limits imposed by the State on graduate enrollments.

When reviewing recommendations, GEPA will consider the above and the following two rules:

  • The maximum registered time in the new department will not exceed the time available for students in the program who have not changed departments.
  • At least half of the time spent on support in the previous department will count toward the support limit in the new department.


Graduate Council will consider requests for exception to the Doctoral Time Limits policy only if the request is supported by the student’s research advisor and the department graduate advisor and Chair, and if a current annual evaluation is on file with GEPA. A departmental analysis of the circumstances needs to be included in the request and a request for support time extension may not take away support from other students.

Exceptions are not granted to normative time provisions.

Requests for exceptions must be received by the Dean no later than 10 days before the Graduate Council meeting at which they are to be considered. The schedule of Graduate Council meetings is available at

Mandatory Training


Information about mandatory trainings required for all graduate students can be found here:

Student Petitions


GEPA General Petition

The graduate student General Petition is used to change present academic status or to request exceptions to policies and procedures pertaining to graduate studies. After consulting with the graduate advisor and department Chair, a student files a completed petition form with GEPA to request the following:

  1. Readmission to UCSD.
  2. Change major degree aim, or transfer from non-degree to degree status.
  3. Registration and/or enrollment after established deadline date.
  4. Permission to repeat a course.
  5. Transfer of units of credit to a Master’s program.
  6. Waiver of academic residency.
  7. Off-campus study.
  8. Waiver of registration requirements for the quarter in which degree is to be conferred.
  9. Payment of the filing fee.
  10. Other.

If a student is off campus, it is the student’s responsibility to obtain and initiate the form so that the home department can process the form in a timely fashion. (See also the GEPA Graduate Student Handbook.)

Departmental Petition

For requesting exceptions to departmental policies pertaining to graduate studies (e.g. to request substitution for a required course), the Linguistics Department has a petition for departmental use only. The petition is signed by the student’s advisor and the Department chair and is retained in the student’s file. The petition should be submitted before the course is taken.

Miscellaneous Fees and Fines

Graduate Students should also be aware of the following charges:

Application fee for admission





Petition for Readmission


Advancement to Candidacy for PhD


Late payment of fees (Late registration)


Late enrollment


Filing Fee


Master’s Thesis submission fee


Fee rates often fluctuate up and down.. Please check the catalog for current amounts

Specialization in Anthropogeny


(See for the most up-to-date information.)

This is a transdisciplinary graduate specialization in Anthropogeny with the aim of providing graduate students the opportunity to specialize in research and education on explaining the origins of the human phenomenon. The aim is to rectify the absence of existing training programs that provide such a broad and explicitly transdisciplinary approach — spanning the social and natural sciences — and focusing on one of the oldest questions known to humankind, namely, the origins of humans and humanity. This specialization is not a stand-alone program, but aims at providing graduate students who have just embarked on their graduate careers with the opportunity to interact and communicate with peers in radically different disciplines throughout the duration of their PhD projects. Such communication across disciplines from the outset is key to fostering a capacity for interdisciplinary skills for research on language  and conceptual flexibility.

Admission to the Specialization

The Linguistics graduate program will advertise the specialization to those students in our programs who have an interest in human origins. Qualifying applicants will have the opportunity to enroll for the Specialization.

Specialization Requirements

Students pursuing this Specialization will be required to take a series of courses in addition to research rounds over 4 years of study. It is advised that students begin their coursework in their second year. 

  1. Coursework: Introduction to Anthropogeny (BIOM 225) and Advanced Anthropogeny (BIOM 229) are each taken once, in the Winter and Spring of the students 2nd year. Current Topics in Anthropogeny (BIOM 218) is to be taken every quarter for 4 years. 
  2. Research Rounds: Monthly seminars during which all participating students talk about their respective research.

Qualifying Examination

Linguistics students in the Anthropogeny Specialization must meet the departmental requirement for advancement to candidacy. In addition, students must meet internal deadlines, mentoring provisions, and proposal standards of the Anthropogeny Specialization track.


PhD students must complete a dissertation, which meets all requirements of the home program. In addition, it is expected that the PhD dissertation is broadly related to human origins and will be interdisciplinary in nature.

Time Limits

It is expected that students will retain the same time to degree as students not pursuing this Specialization. Additional course load consists only of two regular courses (two quarters 20 lectures each). The third proposed course takes place only three times a year from Friday noon to Saturday evening.

Computational Social Science


Computational Social Science 


Students in the graduate specialization in Computational Social Science are expected to complete all Ph.D. requirements of their home department.  

To satisfy the requirements of the specialization, students will also have to complete:

  1. A total of three courses from the list below, with the following requirements:
    1. At least one of which must not count towards their home department Ph.D. requirements.
    2. At least one of the selected classes must be from the subset of “advanced data” courses.
    3. Only one total undergraduate upper division course from the list below is permitted towards satisfaction of the specialization.  
  2. Three quarters of CSS 209. Computational Social Science Research Seminar, a weekly seminar series planned to be offered quarterly in fall, winter, and spring beginning in Fall 2022. These formal talks will provide one of several opportunities for serendipitous interaction and deeper discussion across the various sub-disciplines of computational social science.  
  3. Appointment to the dissertation committee of at least one CSS affiliated faculty member not affiliated with the student’s home department.
  4. Satisfactory completion of a dissertation including a technical and/or computational social science component.


Course Number

Course Name


Advanced Data Category?

COGS 202

Cognitive Science Foundations: Computational Modeling of Cognition


COGS 225

Visual Computing


COGS 283

Big Data Visual Processing



ECON 109

Game Theory

ECON 100C or MATH31 CH or MATH 109 or CSE 20 and MATH 20C


Econometrics A

ECON 1; and MATH 10C or MATH 20C or MATH 31BH


Econometrics B

ECON 120A or ECE 109 or MAE 108 or MATH 180A or MATH 183 or MATH 186


Econometrics C

ECON 120B and MATH 181B

ECON 125

Demographic analysis and forecasting











ECON 206



ECON 208

Games and Information























ECON 227

Nonparametric and Semiparametric Models



ECON 263

Modeling Behavioral Economics


LIGN 167

Deep Learning for Natural Language Understanding

MATH 10C or MATH 20C or MATH 31BH

POLI 176

Text as Data

POLI/ECON 5D or POLI 30D or POLI 170A or POLI 171 or POLI 172


Game Theory I


POLI 205

Game Theory II


Formal Models in International Relations


POLI 272

Bayesian Methods



POLI 273

Causal Inference



POLI 274

Text as Data



POLI 279

Special Topics in Methodology: Networks


POLI 287*

Multidisciplinary Methods in Political Science: Social Networks

POLI 204A, 204B, 204C


POLI 288

Multidisciplinary Methods in Political Science: Computational Social Science

POLI 204A, 204B, 204C



Quantitative methods



PSYC 211

Computational models of mind


SOCG 209

Social Networks



SOCG 211

Introduction to Computational Social Science/Text Classification



SOCG 290

Theories/Practice of Big Data for Social Scientists


*Limited to students whose home department is Political Science


Students in UCSD Social Science departments may apply to join the CSS specialization at any time pre-candidacy*; most Ph.D. students seeking to join the specialization do so between years 1 and 3, the years most likely to involve significant coursework which can then support the dissertation.  

Application Requirements: 

  •  A list of relevant coursework taken including grades earned in those courses
  •  Planned coursework to complete the specialization
  • Statement expressing how the student’s dissertation research relates to CSS
  • CV
  • The student’s primary research advisor and chair of their department must endorse the request via docusign 

Steps to Apply: 

  1. Complete the CSS Ph.D Specialization Admissions Form 
    • A copy of your responses will be sent to your email. Please save your copy since it is required for the second step.
  2. Complete the CSS Specialization Acknowledgement Form via docusign. 

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. 

 *Post-candidacy requests would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may require an additional justification relating to time to degree. If advanced students have dissertation committees that do not conform to the requirement of an external CSS affiliate member, re-constitution of the dissertation committee in alignment with this requirement will be necessary for admission to the specialization to be granted.

** Students who anticipate receiving degrees other than a Ph.D.  (i.e., M.A., M.S., C.Phil.) before matriculation may want to wait to formally join the specialization until after the pre-Ph.D. degrees are granted to prevent some administrative complications.  If this applies to you, please contact CSS ( and home department advising.  


Questions? Email

Note: This specialization is only open to Ph.D. students in UCSD Social Science departments.

Graduate Student Exchange in Linguistics Between UCSD and SDSU

The Department of Linguistics at UCSD and the Department of Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages at SDSU will make their graduate programs and their courses at their respective campuses available to designated students from the other campus.

Students must have graduate standing in Linguistics at UCSD or at SDSU, and must have a grade point average of 3.7 or higher at their home campus. (The home campus is the university where the student is enrolled for a degree.)

A student whose GPA is below 3.7 but who has a special ability in one area (e.g., syntax, phonology, etc.) may take a course in that area with the approval of the faculty member(s) in that area at the home campus, in addition to the required approval of both campuses’ graduate advisors and the host campus course instructor.

Enrollment at the host campus requires prior approval of the course instructor, and of the graduate advisor on each campus. 

Students may enroll for not more than one course per term at the host institution. The combined number of credits carried by a student enrolled at both campuses may not exceed the equivalent of a full-time academic load. The total number of courses taken at the host institution should not exceed four courses. 

Courses completed at the host institution may be considered for degree credit according to the policies governing transfer credit at the home institution. 

This program will be in effect indefinitely, with evaluation to take place at any time at the request of either party. It may expire or may be renewed or changed as the parties may agree after their evaluations. 

Grading System and Graduate Enrollment


The Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option is reserved for graduate students. The minimum standard for a grade of S shall be the same as the minimum for a grade of B–.

The grading option for each graduate course is approved by the Graduate Council via the Course Approval Form. Graduate courses may be approved S/U only, S/U permitted, or letter grade only.

Graduate Enrollment 

How to Drop a Class

The “Blank” – No Record/No Report

The grade is left blank by the Registrar when a grade is not reported on the Grade Report form or when the entire Grade Report is not submitted by the established deadline.

A blank may be left on the Grade Report form if the student is completely unknown to the instructor, or if the instructor wishes to place a “Faculty Hold”. The reason for not submitting a grade should be explained in the memoranda column of the Grade Report. For example, if a student is unknown, “unknown” should be written in the memoranda column.

Students who either miss the final examination or do not complete assignments, and do not request an Incomplete in accordance with the regulations (see below), must be assigned a final grade. Leaving the grade blank may not be used to circumvent the regulation on Incompletes.

A blank will lapse to a permanent F, NP, or U if not removed by the end of final exam week of the subsequent academic quarter. It is the collective responsibility of the student and the department to follow-up when a grade has been left blank to prevent it from lapsing.

Blanks must be resolved on a case-by-case basis, since each situation is usually unique. The academic records staff in the Registrar’s Office should be contacted for assistance if necessary.

For a graduate student who has withdrawn, with or without permission, or gone on an approved leave of absence, a blank will lapse at the end of the following academic quarter, if not removed. A blank may not be extended.

A blank may result when a student uses an incorrect section I.D. number to enroll, since the error will cause the student’s name to be printed on the Grade Report of an instructor to whom he or she is unknown. It is the student’s responsibility to call WebReg or go to the Registrar’s Office and obtain a printout of his/her schedule and make necessary corrections within the established deadlines. Students should contact the Registrar’s Office for assistance in resolving enrollment errors.

The blank may not be used to withhold a grade for students who have not paid a materials fee or other course-related special fee, or who have otherwise not fulfilled their financial obligations for a course. Those students should be billed through the Bursar’s Office. (Refer to the Policy and Procedure Manual, Section 300-29, for information on billing.)


Instructors may assign the grade of Incomplete to graduate students enrolled in graduate courses who request the grade in order to be permitted to complete required work within the following quarter.  If the required work is not submitted by the end of the following quarter so that the grade can be assigned by the instructor, it will lapse automatically to an F or U.

Removal of the Incomplete

Once the Incomplete grade has been given, it is imperative that the outstanding work be made up as soon as possible, preferably by the start of the next quarter. Students must give highest priority to making up the Incomplete in the subsequent quarter.

Graduate Students with Incompletes Who are on Leave of Absence or Withdrawn

The Academic Senate has ruled that an I grade must be removed by the end of the following calendar quarter. Therefore, a graduate student who withdraws, with or without permission, or who goes on approved leave of absence must either remove any outstanding Incompletes before the end of the following calendar quarter or file a petition for extension. (See above.)

A petition for extension must be filed before the I lapses and cannot be approved retroactively. Extensions may be granted only for good cause and should not be routinely granted to any and all students requesting a leave or withdrawal.


Graduate Student Support Information

Types of Support Available Within Linguistics

  1. Linguistics Language Program or Heritage Language Program TA

The Linguistics Language Program (LLP) hires TAs for elementary courses in Arabic, ASL, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. The Heritage Language Program (HLP) hires TAs for elementary courses in Arabic, Filipino, Hindi, Korean, Persian, and Vietnamese. The number of positions available varies from year to year, and from language to language.

  1. Linguistics/Directed Study (LIDS) 19 TA

One 25% or 50% TA is hired each year to supervise students taking LIDS 19 courses. LIDS 19 courses are self-instructional courses in a wide variety of languages not taught elsewhere on campus. 

  1. Linguistics/General (LIGN) TA

The Linguistics Department hires TAs for general undergraduate Linguistics courses; the number of positions available varies from year to year. 


  1. Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs)

From time to time, faculty members have grants which support Graduate Student Researchers. These positions are awarded by the Principal Investigator of the grant.

  1. Block Grant
  1. Research Scholarships (normally paid as GSRs)
  2. Tuition scholarships
  3. Fee scholarships
  1. Fellowships

Note: Graduate students who have passed their qualifying exams occasionally have the opportunity to teach undergraduate courses under the “Associate-In” title. These jobs are not considered to be graduate student support. Instead, they are awarded on a competitive basis to students who have demonstrated teaching excellence and expertise in the appropriate subject area(s).

Types of Support Available Outside Linguistics

Many jobs are available on-campus and off-campus, including TAships in Human Development Sciences, the Writing Programs, Chinese Studies, and Japanese Studies, and TAships, GSRs, and traineeships in other departments such as Cognitive Science and Psychology. See the campus wide Instructional Assistant page here:

The Career Services Center posts jobs on Handshake and is a good source of information about non-academic on-campus positions. Extramural fellowships (such as NSF Fellowships) and assorted private fellowships and scholarships are also available. The UCSD Library has a reference section dealing with private fellowships and scholarships. GEPA has a fellowship coordinator who can help guide your search for this type of outside funding. Need-based aid is available through the Financial Aid Office. 

External Funding Resources

Fellowship Information

Graduate Division: Fellowships are one of the best ways to fund your graduate education. Fellowships can free you from employment obligations, cover a portion of tuition, and provide funds for international travel. Search here for more information about some of the fellowship opportunities available to UC San Diego graduate students. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about fellowships, please contact

Please be aware that if your fellowship opportunity requires that you list your mentor as the principal investigator on the project, you may need to work with the Office of Contract & Grant Administration. To get started, contact Christina Knerr Frink to find out how to proceed. 

Fellowships often applied for:

Grant Information

Grants often applied for:

Support Eligibility

Graduate students may be supported for a maximum of 21 registered quarters, regardless of whether or not they actually received support during those quarters. Instructional support may be awarded for a maximum of 18 of those 21 quarters. (Note: withdrawal from the program affects future support eligibility. Students who withdraw should consult with the department’s graduate coordinator for more detailed information.)  

Continuing Student Support

Departmental Responsibilities

  1. The entire faculty determines general support guidelines for continuing students.
  2. The Department Chair makes specific support allocations for individual students in accordance with the department’s support guidelines, student qualifications, University regulations, availability of funds, and students’ preferences. The initial support proposal for continuing students will be brought to the entire faculty for ratification; subsequent modifications do not require faculty approval. 

Student Responsibilities

  1. Perform well in coursework.
  2. Promptly complete and return the departmental support questionnaire, and notify department of changes in support needs/prospects. 
  3. Apply for jobs and fellowships outside the department. Note that a departmental support award in one year does not guarantee support in subsequent years, even if performance is excellent. Continuation of support depends on a variety of things, including the department’s financial situation, availability of appropriate TAships, and the number of graduate students seeking support. 
  4. Students on leave of absence or withdrawn who are planning to return should contact the department as early as possible to inquire about support. 


Support questionnaires are sent to current students a few weeks before the beginning of each quarter (late August or early September for Fall, late November or early December for Winter, late February or early March for Spring). Offers of support with details of TA/GSR assignments, stipend support, and tuition and fee awards are sent to students sometime before the beginning of each quarter.


Our highest priority is to maximize jobs for all graduate students in the department, taking into consideration individual qualifications for particular jobs, relevant past job performance, past support history, and the need to ensure quality teaching.

It is desirable for graduate students to serve as a TA for at least one LIGN course during their academic career. 

Quality of academic performance in the PhD program is a consideration in awarding support. In any given quarter, the Department has no obligation to offer support to students whose academic performance during the previous quarter was judged to be unsatisfactory.

All other things being equal, senior students within normative time are likely to be preferred as LIGN TAs over junior students.

Support awards are made annually (normally in May for the following academic year). Awards may be revised as the support picture changes.

It is desirable to package support in such a way that we try to give employed students support equivalent to a 50% TAship.

All students are responsible for fees and non-resident students are responsible for out-of-State tuition. US residents become California residents after a year, but foreign students are typically responsible for tuition throughout their graduate career. Both fees and tuition are significantly reduced for students who have advanced to candidacy and are within normative time.

Some support sources pay partial fees, full fees, and/or full tuition. In cases where fees and/or tuition are not paid, the department pays a portion of these through its Block Grant allocation. There is no firm policy governing this, but the following represent the current practice:

  1. Students who receive fellowships that require fee/tuition remission have their fees/tuition paid from the Block Grant.
  2. First-year students may be offered full fees and/or tuition. There is a general policy whereby one third of the Block Grant allocation is used for first-year students.
  3. Foreign students who must pay tuition typically have a significant portion paid from the Block Grant.
  4. Students whose support level is below 50% have part or all of their fees paid from the Block Grant.

A guiding principle in the allocation of Block Grant funds for fees and tuition is the desire to equalize graduate students’ net income as much as possible.

Each student who has passed the qualifying examination will be offered 4 months of summer Research Scholarship from the Block Grant, 2 months in the summer after qualification (typically between years 3 and 4) and 2 months the following summer. (In the event of insufficient funds to fully implement this proposal in a particular year, those students closest to finishing their dissertation will be given first priority.)

Students who decline an offer of a TAship or GSRship for which they are qualified are not guaranteed alternative departmental support during the period of time covered by the original job offer.

Incoming Student Support


The entire faculty determines general support guidelines for incoming students.

The Department Chair and the Director of Graduate Studies make specific support allocations for individual students in accordance with the department’s support guidelines, student qualifications, University regulations, and availability of funds. The initial support proposal for incoming students will be brought to the entire faculty for ratification; subsequent modifications do not require faculty approval.

After taking current and future year commitments into account, the Chair authorizes Block Grant insurance proposals in accordance with the department’s support guidelines and GRADUATE DIVISION requirements.


It is desirable to give our top-ranked admittees some form of support.

It is desirable to package support in such a way that as many incoming students as possible receive support equivalent to a 50% TAship, usually in the form of a 25% TAship plus a stipend paid from the Block Grant.

Multi-year commitments are to be undertaken with caution, and only after considering all current and future commitments.

Block Grant tuition will be awarded preferably to those incoming students who a) can become California residents by year 2, and/or b) have a good prospect of continued employment during their graduate career. For foreign citizens, the latter is normally demonstrated by being qualified for employment in the LLP or in other campus language programs (but see the first principle). 

The percentage of the Block Grant to be allocated for incoming student support is to be determined only after examining the impact on continuing student support. 

Payroll, Benefits and Stipend Payments




Paid through the University of California's payroll system, UCPath. Use UCPath to access your pay stubs, W2, and keep your information up-to-date. University payroll calendars can be viewed here. As a general rule, academic appointments (such as TAs and GSRs are paid monthly) and for the academic year Fall quarter pay dates are Nov 1, Dec 1 & Jan 1 | Winter quarter pay dates are Feb 1, Mar 1, Apr 1 | Spring quarter pay dates are May 1, June 1, July 1. During terms in which you are employed, your compensation will be governed by the collective bargaining agreement(s) which cover your employment title. Salary listed assumes wage rate listed is associated with a Salary Point 1 of a 50% Teaching Assistant or GSR appointment, whichever is lower (see UC Salary Scales, Tables 18 and 22).

For questions about payroll, please contact the Graduate Coordinator.


Can be viewed on Triton Pay 2.0 which is administered by Student Financial Services (Triton Pay 1.0 was used through August 2, 2023). Stipend disbursement schedule can be found here. Department stipends are one-time fellowship awards not contingent on employment or expectations of service to the University.

For questions about stipends, please contact the Graduate Coordinator.

Research and Travel Funds

The department awards $750 to graduate students at the end of year two for research and travel to conferences. You should have details about your award in your original offer letter from the department.

Short-Term Emergency Loans

The Short-Term Loan that is facilitated by Financial Aid Services. By consolidating the efforts of both our offices we are able to provide this loan service on a quarterly basis during the academic year rather than just once per year. The Short-Term loan is also not contingent on having graduate academic employment, making it available to the broader graduate student population. 


Some highlights of the Short-Term loan are:

  • Amounts range from $500-$1000
  • Borrowing once per quarter


Full details on the Short-Term Loan can be found on the Financial Aid Services website here:

Criteria to Establish Residency for Tuition Purposes

Learn about UC's criteria for determining who is a California resident for tuition purposes here:

Any questions pertaining to residency should be directed to the Residence Deputy in the Office of the Registrar ( Instructions on how to change residency classification are available on the web at It is very important that you start this process as soon as you are physically present in California.

Leave of Absence/Withdrawal

Graduate students are eligible for a maximum 3 quarters leave of absence with department approval. Students access the online form through the Graduate Division’s Student Portal. Graduate Coordinators access the online form through the Graduate Division’s Student Database. A graduate student who is bearing a child, who has primary responsibility for the care of an infant or child under the age of five, and is in good academic standing may request an additional 3 quarters leave of absence (follow the same procedures below but specify "parenting" or "maternity" on the leave form as the reason). GEPAs full leave policy can be found here: The on-line form can be found here: 

  • A student who does not continue graduate study with the intention of resuming during a later quarter files a "Leave of Absence / Extension" form prior to leaving the campus.
  • A graduate student must have completed at least one quarter of academic residence and be in good academic standing (GPA of 3.0, and no more than 8 units of "F" or "U") to be granted a leave.
  • Online form must be filed no later than the end of the second week of instruction of the quarter in which the leave is to begin.
  • International students must also obtain approval from the International Center.
  • A student who has registered, paid fees and enrolled for the quarter in which a leave is being requested, is subject to the refund schedule published in the Schedule of Classes. Students are only eligible for a 100% refund if withdrawing from graduate studies on/by the 1st day of instruction.
  • A student seeking to maintain health coverage must contact the Student Health Center to purchase insurance.
  • While on leave, a student may not be employed by UCSD, UCSD Extension, or UCSD Medical Center or hold a fellowship, traineeship, or similar appointment administered by the University. Students may not use any University facilities or place demands on faculty.
  • A leave of absence or withdrawal does not extend the period during which an “Incomplete” or No Record of a grade must be resolved.


Extension of a Leave of Absence

    • To extend an approved leave of absence, a student must notify the major department or group graduate coordinator at least two weeks prior to the end of the quarter in which the leave terminates.
    • An extension requires approval of the department. The International Center must approve a Leave of Absence extension for all international students.
  • Returning from a Leave of Absence

  • When planning on returning from a Leave of Absence, a student must notify the graduate coordinator of the quarter in which s/he intends to register. This notification can be sent to the graduate coordinator via the Leave of Absence tool in the Student Portal. The coordinator notifies GEPA who then reinstates the student. The student cannot register until this is done. Notification of return from a leave can only be given to the Graduate Division by the department.
  • When returning from a leave of absence of two quarters or more, a student must file a Statement of Legal residence with the Office of the Registrar prior to registering. The form can be obtained from the Graduate Coordinator or the Registrar's Office.
  • For readmission refer to the section on the General Petition.


  • A student leaving the University and not planning to return must return all borrowed library material, set up an exit interview with the Student Business Services Office, and obtain all other clearances listed on the on-line form.
  • A student withdrawing during the first thirty-five calendar days of a quarter will receive a refund of fees according to the Schedule of Refunds for Tuition, Educational Fee, University Registration Fee, and other Student Fees. The date of withdrawal used in calculating a refund will be the date on which the form is submitted to the Graduate Division. Refer to the Schedule of Classes for refund information.
  • A student on a leave of absence who subsequently withdraws must obtain all clearance signatures for the withdrawal.


Withdrawn Student Returning Only to Complete/Defend and Submit Dissertation

If a student returns with a completed dissertation acceptable to the Department chair and dissertation advisor within the specified time, the following shall occur:

  • The student or Department will ask members of the previous committee if they are willing to continue to serve. If they are not, the committee will be reconstituted.
  • The student will be readmitted.
  • The student will be re-advanced to candidacy upon the recommendation of the doctoral committee and approval of the department chair. The doctoral committee may decide on a “paper” advancement without retaking the qualifying examination or require that the student retake the qualifying examination if the time away from the program has been lengthy, the dissertation field has changed substantially, or if other conditions specified by the doctoral committee occur.
  • Student defends and submits dissertation.
  • The student will pay the following fees, which are subject to change:
  • Readmission Fee;
  • (Re)advancement Fee if the original advancement was more than 5 years ago
  • Filing fee, in lieu of registration

All paperwork for this process is to be submitted toGEPA at the student’s final appointment for submission of the dissertation or thesis.

Students are advised to discuss and coordinate the above with their graduate advisor and the graduate well in advance of the scheduled defense.