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UCSD Graduate Studies Overview: University Policies/Procedures

Updated August 2023

Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs (GEPA) ( oversees all graduate student education at UC San Diego.  They work with the various departments to enforce the policies and administer the processes that apply to all graduate students on campus.  Students in the PhD Program must meet the requirements of both GEPA and the Literature Department.  Below are some of the key campus-wide policies and procedures that govern graduate students.

Graduate Student Portal

Students may view their personal academic information, academic & financial letters, time limits, Spring Evaluations, and other milestones in the Student Portal (  There are also a number of request tools within the Student Portal, such as Half-Time Study, In Absentia, Leave of Absence, Withdrawal, and more.

Academic Standing

Good academic standing is a requirement for holding an academic appointment; receiving support in the form of teaching assistantships, fellowships, or grants; advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree; taking a Leave of Absence; and receiving a graduate degree from UCSD.

To be in good academic standing, a student must meet both departmental and university standards.  This means that the student has a completed and satisfactory Spring Evaluation filed with GEPA, has registered for and completed the required number of seminars or their equivalents, and has maintained a 3.0 GPA or higher in upper-division and graduate coursework.  A student cannot accumulate more than an overall total of eight units of “F” and/or “U” grades. For university-wide policies on academic standing and probation, see the GEPA website. 

Full-Time Status

To receive support in the form of grants and fellowships and to be eligible for student loans, insurance, housing, and 50% teaching assistantships, students must be enrolled full-time.

In order to be enrolled full-time, a student must be registered in at least twelve units of upper-division-undergraduate (100-199) or graduate (200+) coursework each quarter until the degree is completed. Lower-division-undergraduate courses (1-99) do not count towards enrollment minimums or seminar requirements. Failure to register without an approved Withdrawal or Leave of Absence constitutes evidence of withdrawal from graduate studies. A student without an approved Leave of Absence, whose status has lapsed due to an interruption in registration, must petition for readmission and pay the readmission fee.

Annual Spring Evaluations

Graduate Council policy requires that all PhD students be evaluated every Spring Quarter. It is expected that an evaluation will include a face-to-face meeting between the faculty member(s) and the student, as the Spring Evaluation serves as a report to the department and GEPA on the student’s progress within the program. A satisfactory evaluation on file with GEPA is necessary for future support to be approved, as well as for students to remain in good academic standing. Typically, students will not need to be evaluated in the third year, as passing their qualifying exams and advancing to candidacy fulfills that year’s evaluation. If a student takes their qualifying exams and advances to candidacy in a Fall Quarter, they will still need a Spring Evaluation at the end of that year.

  1. For each annual Spring Evaluation, the department will facilitate the routing of the online evaluation. Each evaluation will go through the following steps: Late Winter Quarter – Early Spring Quarter: Students will be asked to complete a self-assessment, where they will have the opportunity to list any relevant accomplishments from that academic year (such as publications, conferences/presentations, awards, outreach activities, etc.).
  2. Early Spring Quarter: The evaluations are then routed to the relevant faculty (see below for details), so they may view the student’s self-assessment responses. The faculty will then submit their evaluation of the student and electronically sign the evaluation.
  3. Mid/Late Spring Quarter: The evaluations are then routed back to the students, so they may read the faculty’s comments.  Students have an opportunity to input additional comments in response to the faculty’s evaluations, and then they electronically sign the evaluation.
  4. Late Spring Quarter: The evaluations are then routed to the Department Chair for their electronic signature.
  5. Late Spring Quarter: The evaluations are finally submitted electronically to GEPA for official filing.

The following faculty will evaluate students based on their year in the program:

  • Year 1: The Director of Doctoral Studies will evaluate all first-year students based on their progress towards the seminar requirements and their self-assessment.
  • Year 2: The student’s Doctoral Committee (see the “Program: Year 2” page for more details) will evaluate students based on their progress towards the seminar requirements, their progress towards the qualifying exam prep steps, and their self-assessment.
  • Year 3 (if necessary): The student’s Doctoral Committee will evaluate students based on their progress towards the seminar requirements, their progress towards the qualifying exam prep steps, and their self-assessment.
  • Years 4-6: The student’s Doctoral Committee will evaluate students based on their progress towards the dissertation and their self-assessment.

While it may not always be possible for the entire Doctoral Committee to meet with the student each year, it is still the student’s responsibility to communicate with each committee member annually to keep them appraised of their academic progress. The Spring Evaluations are also an important opportunity for the student’s committee to formalize their advice and recommendations for the upcoming year.

GEPA Policies & Procedures

Student Health Insurance

The graduate student health insurance plan (UC SHIP) is mandatory. The tuition/fee remission for Teaching Assistantships, Readerships, Associate Instructorships, or GSR positions (of 25% or more) includes the health insurance premium fee. For more details about UC SHIP, students should visit the Student Health & Well-Being Administration website (UC SHIP - Student Health Insurance Plan).  Students who are currently covered under a private health plan may apply to opt out of UC SHIP by submitting an online Health Fee Waiver application.  More information can be found online: Waiving UC SHIP.

Summer Health Care

Students enrolled in UC SHIP for Spring quarter have continued coverage for the Summer, up to the start of fall quarter.

Graduate Student Housing

Students are able to apply for graduate student housing on campus.  As spaces are limited, students are encouraged to apply early. For more information about the campus’ various housing communities and policies, visit For additional information regarding off-campus housing, please visit

Graduate & Professional Student Association (GPSA)

The Graduate & Professional Student Association (GPSA) is the campus-wide official student organization that represents graduate and professional students. Its membership includes two or more representatives from each department; it is governed by an internally elected executive board. The GPSA meets bimonthly.

Functions of the GPSA include: allocating the graduate student activity fee; appointing graduate students to campus-wide committees; and sponsoring academic and social events. Literature Department representatives to the GPSA are elected annually and can be viewed here: You may contact the GPSA at (858) 822-3243 or by e-mail at