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UCSD Graduate Studies Overview

Updated November 2020

The Graduate Division (https://grad.ucsd.edu/) 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 the Grad Division 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 (https://gradforms.ucsd.edu/portal/student/).  There are also a number of request tools within the Student Portal, such as Half-Time Study request, In Absentia request, Leave of Absence or Withdrawal request, 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 Departmental standards.  This means that the student has a completed and satisfactory Spring Evaluation filed with Grad Division, 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.

Full-Time Status

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

In order to be considered a full-time student, a student must be registered for at least twelve units (upper-division-undergraduate or graduate level) each quarter until the degree is completed.  Lower-division-undergraduate courses 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, not on 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 Grad Division on the student’s progress within the program.  A satisfactory evaluation on file in Graduate Division 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 that year.

  1. For each annual Spring Evaluation, the Graduate Office 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-evaluation, 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-evaluation 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.  The student has an opportunity to add any 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 Grad Division 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-evaluation.
  • 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-evaluation.
  • 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-evaluation.
  • Years 4-6: The student’s Doctoral Committee will evaluate students based on their progress towards the dissertation and their self-evaluation.

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 touch base 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.

Grad Division Policies & Procedures

Student Health Insurance

The graduate student health insurance plan (UC SHIP) is mandatory.  The University pays the health insurance premiums for any students holding Teaching Assistantships, Readerships, or Research Assistantships at 25% time or greater.  Please contact Student Health Services at 534-3300 or visit the Student Health website.  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 on the Student Health Services website: Waiving UC SHIP

Summer Health Care

For students who served as teaching assistants or research assistants during the academic year, summer health care is provided, although students must make co-payments on a few services.  Additional information is available from the Student Health Center.

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 https://hdhgradfamilyhousing.ucsd.edu/.  For additional information regarding off-campus housing, please visit https://offcampushousing.ucsd.edu/

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: https://literature.ucsd.edu/grad-phd/appointments.html.  You may contact the GPSA at (858) 822-3243 or by e-mail at contact@gsa.ucsd.edu

PhD Program Advising
(858) 534-3217

Director of Doctoral Studies
Daisuke Miyao

Doctoral Affairs Committee

Daisuke Miyao (Chair)
Hoang Nguyen
Dan Vitkus