Student Registration and Full-Time Status

Schedule Limitations

All graduate students using Lehigh University resources must be registered. No graduate student may register for more than 16 credits per semester. However, students must have advisor approval of their schedule and in most cases no more than 12 credits will be recommended. University employees may register for, at most, two courses per semester with appropriate approval. The maximum registration in a summer session is two concurrent courses and no more than 14 summer credits. Half-time graduate student employees of the university (e.g. half-time teaching assistants or half-time research assistants) may not take more than 10 credit hours of graduate work in any one semester.  Graduate students under contract to devote not more than one-third of their time to university employment may take a maximum of 12 credit hours in any one semester.  Graduate students who are employed elsewhere and can give only part of their time to graduate work must restrict the size of their course load accordingly.

Full-time Status

Full-time status is indicated for graduate students who register for a minimum of 9 credit hours each semester or 6 credit hours in a summer session.  Full-time students may not be employed full-time.  After fulfillment of degree credit hour requirements, and in some other circumstances, full-time status may be maintained when the student is registered for fewer than 9 credit hours.  In such cases, the status must be certified by the department and by the Research and Graduate Programs Office.  Full-time status may be maintained for students who have completed all degree credit hour requirements, even when not registered for courses, while continuing a program of full-time research.  In this case, the student’s status must be certified each semester on the Graduate Full Time Certification request form and approved by the department and the Research and Graduate Programs Office.

Full-time status for a graduate student is important for at least four reasons: 

  1. Only full-time students are eligible for assistantships;
  2. International students may require full-time status for compliance with visa requirements;
  3. Such information is used as input to university and national surveys on graduate education;
  4. Less than full-time status may affect a student’s loan status and financial aid. 

Students should check with their loan company to see how many credits are required for full-time student status.


Registration for current graduate students is held during the previous term at a time designated in the University calendar.  Graduate students must register at that time.  Students must register on-line.  Students should consult with their advisers concerning appropriate course selections and to receive an alternate PIN number. Students who do not begin the registration process will be assessed a $100 late fee if they initiate registration after the designated registration period. Students preparing to enter Candidacy in the next semester should register for 3 credits of dissertation during the registration period, and then drop credits as needed once they are admitted to Candidacy.

New graduate student registration is usually held in the week prior to the official start date of classes.  On-line registration procedures can be found on the Registrar's website.  New students receive their LIN/PIN in their offer letter.  If you have set up your Lehigh email account, contact your department about registration.  If you have not received your LIN/PIN, please come to the College of Arts & Sciences Research & Graduate Programs Office, Room 280 Maginnes Hall.

Auditing Courses

With the consent of the appropriate college dean, the chairperson of the major department, and the chairperson of the department concerned, a graduate student may attend as an auditor one or more courses, which shall be outside the approved program of studies for the degree, provided that in the case of a part-time student his or her total hours, including the courses for which he or she is registered and in which the student is an auditor, may not exceed the limits set forth for employees of the university (as defined in R&P 3.21.4 Limitation of schedules). A student who has attended a course as an auditor shall not be given an anticipatory examination for credit in that course and may not register for the course for credit in the future.

Audits do not count toward degree requirements. Tuition charges apply to audited courses. A student rostered on an audit basis may be withdrawn from the course with a grade of W for poor attendance.

Vagabonding: If a graduate student wishes to attend all or part of a graduate course without receiving graduate credit or audit credit, he or she may ask permission of the instructor, their advisor and graduate coordinator prior to the course.

Late Registration Penalties

A $100 late registration fee will be assessed of students who fail to register during the registration period.  New students who register between the second and tenth day of class during the fall and spring semesters and the second and fifth day of class during the summer sessions will also be assessed a late fee.  Students who have not completed the registration process by the tenth day of the regular academic semester or by the fifth day of a summer session will not be permitted to attend class.