VI. Graduate School requirements

Graduate School academic requirements

All graduate students must maintain a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0. If their GPA drops below 3.0, they are either placed on probation or dismissed. Undergraduate courses will not count towards graduate GPA.


Students whose cumulative graduate GPA falls between 2.31 and 2.99 are automatically placed on academic probation for one semester. If the student is on an assistantship, this will be dropped while the student is on probation. If they fail to raise their cumulative GPA to 3.0 by the end of one semester, they are dismissed from their graduate program. Thesis, dissertation, S/U graded credits, and transfer credits have no impact on a student’s GPA.


Students whose cumulative graduate GPA is 2.30 or lower are dismissed. Dismissed students are no longer enrolled in their graduate program but may take graduate-level courses as a Grad Special. Dismissed students wishing to complete their degree must obtain approval to take graduate-level courses, raise their graduate GPA to at least 3.0, and then re-apply to their graduate program. Any courses taken in an effort to raise their GPA will be included in the graduate special/ transfer credit limitation (9 credits for master’s degrees).

Please refer to Nevada System of Higher Education CODE on Student Program Dismissal Procedures (SPDP) and review conference policies: (NSHE CODE, Chapter 11, Sections 1-3). If program dismissal is based upon failure to maintain required grades or a required GPA as described above, SPDP does not apply and the student may be summarily dismissed from the graduate program.

Transfer credits

These are credits transferred from another institution. Credits completed at UNR in another program or as a graduate special do not need to be transferred. Transfer credit can be requested on the Graduate Credit Transfer Evaluation Request form available on Graduate School website, and must be signed by the student, major advisor, and graduate director. Transfer credits applied to a master’s program must comply with the time limitation on master’s work (6 years). Thus, if a student took a course five years prior to admission, they would have to complete the degree within one year for the course to apply to the degree. Credits from a completed master’s degree will be exempt from the 8-year time limitation for those students pursuing a doctoral degree.

Leave of Absence

Continuous Enrollment:

To maintain “good standing” all graduate students are required to enroll in a minimum of three (3) graduate credits each fall and spring semester until they graduate. International students may be required to enroll in nine (9) graduate credits each fall and spring semester depending on the requirements of their visa. All students holding assistantships (whether teaching or research assistantships) are required to enroll in a minimum of six (6) graduate credits each semester they hold the assistantship.

Leave of Absence

Students in good standing may request a leave of absence by completing a Leave of Absence form during which time they are not required to maintain continuous registration. Usually, a leave of absence is approved for one or two semesters. The leave of absence request may be extended by the student filing an additional leave of absence form. Students applying for a leave of absence should not have any “incomplete” grades which could be changed to “F” and have a detrimental impact on their cumulative GPA. Requests for leave of absences must be received by the Graduate School no later than the last day of enrollment for the semester the leave is to begin.


When a student has been absent for one semester or more without an approved leave of absence, the student may request reinstatement via the Reinstatement form. This form allows the program the option to recommend the student be re-admitted to their graduate program based on their previous admission OR require the student to re-apply for admission which would require students to submit a new application for admission and pay the application fee. The Notice of Reinstatement to Gradate Standing must be received by the Graduate School no later than the last day of enrollment for the semester the reinstatement is to begin.

Health Insurance

All domestic degree seeking graduate students, who are enrolled in six or more graduate-level credits in a semester, will be automatically enrolled and billed for the University sponsored health insurance for each term they are eligible (fall & spring/summer). If a student has other comparable coverage and would like to waive out of the student health insurance, it is the student’s responsibility to complete the University online waiver form prior to the deadline. If approved, a health insurance waiver is good for the current academic year only. A new waiver must be submitted each academic year. All international graduate students are required to carry student health insurance, and the cost will be automatically added to your student account. Any international graduate students with insurance questions must contact the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) directly. Please refer to the Graduate School for more information on Graduate health insurance.

Graduate assistantships

Most of the graduate students within the UNR Geoscience program have a graduate assistantship. Here we outline what is expected of these roles. Students should not be asked to engage in unsafe activities, should not ask others to engage in unsafe activities, and have a right to decline performing tasks that they feel are unsafe.

Graduate Teaching assistantships (GTA) are responsible for assisting with classes and/or leading laboratories associated with classes at a commitment of 20 hours per week. The DGSE Chair will assign which student will TA which class. Graduate students and faculty are welcome to provide recommendations on who would be a suitable TA for what class, but ultimately the decision will be made by the Chair. Please provide recommendations as soon as possible, ideally before TAs are assigned. TAs are expected to generally lead the lab portion of the class, help with field trips and field activities (e.g., field camp TAs), and/or help with grading and proctoring of exams. The activities will be assigned by the instructor of the class. The number of GTAs available every semester are determined by funding available to the Chair of DGSE and the number of graduate students that have completed their degree that were on a GTA. The assistantships have a stipend with a fixed salary of $1600 for MS students or $1900 for PhD students per month for the ten academic months (Aug 1 to May 30), waiver of any non-resident fees, paid student health insurance, a Grant-in-Aid Tuition credit for between 6 and 9 credits. The student is responsible for payment of any other student fees such as Health Center and Counseling.

TAs need to monitor and try to maintain a healthy classroom environment whenever possible. When working with students in the class, TAs are expected to follow the guidelines described the Geoscience community Code of Conduct and treat the students with respect. Students within the class are also required to treat their TA following the same code of conduct. If a TA or student is violating this code of conduct, the person should be reported to the class instructor. If the complainant does not feel comfortable talking to the instructor, they may submit their complaint to Geoscience leadership or the UNR Title IX office.

TAs are required to take a Teaching Assistant Training (Grad 701S) provided by the Graduate School prior to TAing. Additional training in a variety of topics is available through the Title IX office.

Graduate Research assistantships (GRA) are generally tied to specific research projects related to the grant that is providing the RA funding. Thus, the research duties associated with an RA are generally provided by the faculty or staff member that is the PI on the grant. They are also at a commitment of 20 hours per week. The faculty member funding the research assistantship will determine the stipend but it will be no less than that set by the university for the teaching assistantships ($1600 for MS students or $1900 for PhD students). The assistantship also consists of a waiver of any non-resident fees, paid student health insurance, a Grant-in-Aid Tuition credit for between 6 and 9 credits. The student is responsible for payment of any other student fees such as Health Center and Counseling.

All graduate students holding an assistantship (teaching GTA or GRA) are considered Nevada residents for tuition purposes. Non-resident tuition is only waived for the duration of the assistantship. To be eligible for an assistantship, students must be admitted to a degree-granting program and be in good academic standing. The student must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and must be continuously enrolled in at least 6 graduate level credits (600-700) throughout the duration of the assistantship.

GTAs and GRAs for incoming, new students are determined at the time the student is accepted into the program. If a student would like to request a state-funded GTA or GRA later in their career, they are advised to email the Chair of the Department as soon as possible to make the request. This does not guarantee the request will be granted.

In addition to the 20 hours spent TAing or RAing, the graduate student is expected to spend an additional time every week on research related to their MS or Ph.D. degree. While the Graduate School and DGSE cannot monitor outside or additional employment for students on assistantships, such additional work is heavily discouraged as it may impede academic success and timely progress towards degree completion. Offer letters clearly state that you must agree to limited additional employment outside of the university to ensure that you complete your degree in a timely manner. Any additional employment needs to be discussed with your advisor, the graduate director, and the DGSE chair before pursuing.

Graduate School: General information and HR Graduate Assistantship information