Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Prospective Graduate Student

Graduate student parents are encouraged to consider applicable family care programs from UA Life & Work Connections, ranging from individual consultations and referrals, to Child Care Subsidy & Housing Program, lactation resources, and a University-subsidized Sick Child and Emergency/Back-up Care Program. Visit UA Life & Work to learn more about student child care and related programs.

Please also review resources listed on UA Graduate College New And Current Students, including child care subsidies and family friendly information. The Graduate College is dedicated to promoting and strengthening family relationships. Many resources have been designed to help graduate students balance and manage family, work, and school.

Graduate course listings for PTYS/LPL are available from the UA Course Catalog or from the LPL Graduate Academics site.

Yes.  Please do this as soon as possible as you cannot enroll for classes until this requirement is met.  More information is available at Campus Health

New, current, and prospective graduate students should check-in frequently with the UA Graduate College New And Current Students page for information about degree services, funding opportunities, professional development, child care subsidies and family friendly information, health, wellness and safety, and other helpful information. The UA Graduate Center is also a good resource for graduate students as well as post-docs.

The Graduate & Professional Student Council (GPSC) was created to promote the causes and concerns of the graduate student body, to create and foster programs beneficial for growth and interaction, to disburse funds for the benefit of professional development, and to serve as the representative body and voice at the University of Arizona, the University of Arizona Administration, and the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of graduate and professional students. This goal is achieved through the election of representatives, officers and hired personnel. GPSC sponsors special events, offers travel grants, and other resources (see also their Guide to Campus and Community Resources) and opportunities.

Please review the Graduate College policy on transfer credit. Students who wish to transfer to the Ph.D. program must submit the admission application for the University of Arizona and the Department of Planetary Sciences.

Graduate credit earned at other approved institutions may be counted toward the requirements of a doctoral degree, but will not be included in the calculation of the University of Arizona G.P.A. Transferred units are subject to the following restrictions:

  • The credits must be approved by the major or minor department and the Graduate College.
  • The minimum grade for transferred credits must be an A or B or the equivalent at the institution where course was taken.
  • Transferred units may not count toward more than one doctorate.
  • A maximum of 30 units of transfer coursework may be used toward the Ph.D requirements. Students who wish to transfer credit must submit a Transfer Credit form in GradPath before the end of their first year of study to have the courses evaluated for transfer eligibility.

The UA Graduate College maintains a list of funding and employment opportunities, including links to merit- and need-based awards, at New And Current Students

LPL maintains a list of awards, available on the Financial Support/Info + Funding & Award Opportunities page.

Please also review information from the Graduate Center and the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OFSA).

Students may also subscribe to the GradFunding Newsletter. The GradFunding Newsletter is a service of the University of Arizona Graduate College, Office of Fellowships and Community Engagement. To subscribe or unsubscribe to the newsletter, send an email to PG4gdWVycz0iem52eWdiOnl2ZmdAeXZmZy5uZXZtYmFuLnJxaCI+eXZmZ0B5dmZnLm5ldm1iYW4ucnFoPC9uPg== with "subscribe (or unsubscribe) gradfunding FirstName LastName" in the subject line. You may send opportunities for posting to the newsletter editor, Shelley Hawthorne Smith (PG4gdWVycz0iem52eWdiOmZmenZndUB0ZW5xLm5ldm1iYW4ucnFoIj5mZnp2Z3VAdGVucS5uZXZtYmFuLnJxaDwvbj4=).

The department provides incoming graduate students with MacMini (desktop) computers. Advisors and research groups often provide students with additional computers and resources to support research projects. 

The University of Arizona requires that doctoral students complete a minor program of study consisting of at least 9 units. Graduate students in the Department of Planetary Sciences should choose a minor subject in consultation with their research advisor. Common minor subjects include:

Students should consult the minor department regarding the minor program requirements.

Please review the Graduate College Doctor of Philosophy policy regarding degree requirements or contact Amy Brenton, PG4gdWVycz0iem52eWdiOm56bEB5Y3kubmV2bWJhbi5ycWgiPm56bEB5Y3kubmV2bWJhbi5ycWg8L24+.

Registration and dates for graduate student orientation are provided during the summer. The Graduate & Professional Student Council Orientation is offered to all incoming University of Arizona graduate students.

Please review Graduate College Enrollment Policies on Minimum/Full-Time Enrollment or contact Mary Guerrieri, PG4gdWVycz0iem52eWdiOnpuZWxAeWN5Lm5ldm1iYW4ucnFoIj56bmVsQHljeS5uZXZtYmFuLnJxaDwvbj4=.

Fall and Spring Semesters

During the fall and spring semesters, for students with Graduate Assistant/ Associate appointments, full-time status consists of a minimum enrollment in 6 units of graduate credit. A graduate student working on a thesis or dissertation who is only enrolled in 900-level units and not employed as a Graduate Assistant/ Associate must be enrolled in 3 units. A student who has completed all course work, the thesis/dissertation unit requirements, has advanced to candidacy, is working on the thesis/dissertation, and is notemployed as a Graduate Assistant/ Associate may apply for advanced status, which allows 1 unit of 900-level credit for full-time status. In all other cases, full-time status consists of a minimum enrollment in 9 units of graduate credit.

The full-time status enrollment minimums apply to students wishing to defer federal loan repayments, to international students with F or J visa status, and/or to students receiving University funding other than wages. Full-time enrollment may or may not keep the student from falling outside the threshold of the Affordable Care Act and/or Arizona State Retirement System requirements. It is recommended that hiring units and graduate students refer to these policies to ensure compliance.

More information on graduate minimum enrollment policies is available from the Graduate College Minimum Enrollment. Please note that some academic colleges may require more units to maintain full-time status when students are receiving financial assistance from the college. Also note that full time and minimum enrollment policies are different to maintain continuous enrollment.

Summer and Winter Sessions

During winter or pre-session, first and second summer sessions, full-time status consists of enrollment for 6 graduate units or more in any combination of pre-session, first and second summer sessions.  A student whose financial aid agreement requires enrollment during the summer sessions should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to verify specific requirements. International students should check with the University's International Student Services Office to ensure that their registration is in compliance with their visa status.

Information about RA/TA benefits, including tuition remission, health insurance, etc., is available online from the Graduate College.

Log into UACCESS Student Center. Here you can update your personal information, accept financial aid, and enroll in classes.

Please review the Graduate College Continuous Enrollment policy on Continuous Enrollment or contact Mary Guerrieri, PG4gdWVycz0iem52eWdiOnpuZWxAeWN5Lm5ldm1iYW4ucnFoIj56bmVsQHljeS5uZXZtYmFuLnJxaDwvbj4=.

Continuous Enrollment

Master's and Educational Specialist Continuous Enrollment Policy

  1. A student admitted to a master’s program must register each fall and spring semester for a minimum of 1graduate unit, from original matriculation until all course and thesis requirements are met. A semester in which a student is enrolled for course credit will be counted toward continuous enrollment. Non-credit courses, audited courses or courses from which the student withdraws do not count toward the determination of continuous enrollment for graduate purposes. 
  2. Students receiving funding such as assistantships, fellowships, loans, grants, scholarships or traineeships may be required by their funding source to register for more than 1 unit to meet full-time status requirement. Similarly, international students may have different requirements to maintain their visa status.  All students should check with their program advisor regarding such requirements to ensure that they remain qualified for funding and/or visa status.
  3. Master’s students who have maintained continuous enrollment, fulfilled all their other degree requirements and were enrolled in the prior semester may defend and file in the summer or winter term without registration. If, however, a student needs library privileges or if they plan to make other use of University facilities or significant faculty time during summer or winter session,enrollment is required.
  4. Summer-only students are required to enroll continuously during consecutive summers until all degree requirements are met.

Doctoral Continuous Enrollment Policy

  1. A student admitted to a doctoral program must register each fall and spring semester for a minimum of 1graduate unit, from original matriculation until all course and thesis requirements are met. A semester in which a student is enrolled for course credit will be counted toward continuous enrollment. Non-credit courses, audited courses or courses from which the student withdraws do not count toward the determination of continuous enrollment for graduate purposes. 
  2. Students receiving funding such as assistantships, fellowships, loans, grants, scholarships or traineeships may be required by their funding source to register for more than 1 unit to meet full-time status requirement. Similarly, international students may have different requirements to maintain their visa status.  All students should check with their program advisor regarding such requirements to ensure that they remain qualified for funding and/or visa status
  3. Doctoral students who have maintained continuous enrollment and are taking only comprehensive exams during either Summer or winter term do not have to register for graduate credit during that summer or winter session.
  4. Doctoral students who have maintained continuous enrollment, fulfilled all their other degree requirements as well as the 18 hours of dissertation and were enrolled in the prior semester may defend and file in the summer or winter term without registration. If, however, a student needs library privileges or if they plan to make other use of University facilities or significant faculty time during summer or winter session enrollment is required.

Audit courses (non credit-bearing) do not count toward full-time status, nor do audited courses count toward the determination of Continuous Enrollment.

Unless excused by an official Leave of Absence (which may not exceed one year throughout the student's degree program), all graduate students are subject to the Continuous Enrollment Policy and must pay in-state and out-of-state tuition and fees in order to remain in the program. If the student fails to obtain a Leave of Absence or maintain continuous enrollment, he or she will be required to apply for re-admission, to pay the Graduate College application fee, and pay all overdue tuition and fees, including cumulative late penalties. There is no guarantee of re-admission. Tuition or registration waivers cannot be applied retroactively.  Any student considering re-application should first check with the Graduate Student Academic Services Office Office to see whether additional work or updated forms will be necessary.

Continuous Enrollment and Financial Aid

Please note that "continuous enrollment" is not the same as "full-time enrollment" for financial aid and international visa purposes.  Please refer to the most recent UA Academic Catalog found at UA Catalog > Catalog Index > Full-time Student Status.

Information about University of Arizona residency classification requirements (including residency forms) is available online at Residency Classification for Tuition Purposes.

Instructions for submitting official transcripts from all previous colleges and universities can be found at Graduate College Transcripts and Degrees.

New students should plan to attend a beginning -of-year meeting with the Graduate Admissions and Advising Committee (GAAC). The GAAC and your faculty advisor can make recommendations of which courses to take. 

In order to complete major/minor requirements in advance of the preliminary examinations, students should plan on enrolling for at least nine units (to include one minor course). You may also want to register for the field trip course, PTYS 590. Please note that enrollment requirements may also depend on the terms of your student visa or funding/fellowship arrangements.

Please refer to the LPL course listing as you consider enrollment. 

The Carson Graduate Fellowship at LPL is funded through a generous endowment established by the estate of Virginia B. Carson, honoring her husband, a former member of the Flying Tigers, a master navigator for the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command, and an enthusiast of space exploration. Colonel Carson greatly admired the professionalism and accomplishments of the NASA space program.

The fellowship usually provides one year of support for a new, incoming, graduate student in Planetary Sciences. Support includes a one-year salary stipend, a supply/travel stipend, student health insurance, and the cost of tuition/fees for one academic year. Recipients are chosen by the faculty of the Department of Planetary Sciences.

Please review information from the Bursar's office or contact Mary Guerrieri, PG4gdWVycz0iem52eWdiOnpuZWxAeWN5Lm5ldm1iYW4ucnFoIj56bmVsQHljeS5uZXZtYmFuLnJxaDwvbj4=.

Please review information from the tuition and fees calculator from the Bursar's office or contact Mary Guerrieri, PG4gdWVycz0iem52eWdiOnpuZWxAeWN5Lm5ldm1iYW4ucnFoIj56bmVsQHljeS5uZXZtYmFuLnJxaDwvbj4=.

New student resources can be found on the New Student Resource page.

For the complete TADA policy and information on procedures, visit Graduate College Temporary Alternative Duty Assignments for Graduate Assistants/Associates.

Temporary Alternative Duty Assignments for Graduate Assistants/Associates

While changing duties for family-related needs is not required and may not be feasible in all circumstances, deans, directors, department heads, advisors and faculty shall make every reasonable effort to meet the family-related needs of graduate assistants/associates (GA's), to the greatest possible extent, and in a manner consistent with the effective and efficient operation of the University. Similarly, GA's are expected to be flexible and plan ahead to the extent possible. 

Recognizing that some family circumstances may require special flexibility, GA's may request a temporary alternative duty assignment (no more than 6 weeks during one’s entire graduate education). The alternative duties should make it feasible to remain active as a GA under the following circumstances: the responsibility to care for the GA's newborn child or newly-placed adopted or foster child or the need to provide temporary care to the GA’s spouse/domestic partner, child or parent who has a serious health condition.

During the period of temporary assignment to alternative duties, the full-time equivalency (FTE) will remain unchanged and the GA will be compensated at the same rate of pay for all hours worked. GA's are classified as exempt employees, so their pay is not based on number of hours worked but for the whole job, regardless of the amount of time or effort required to complete the work.

If you are receiving salary or wages from the University of Arizona, you can establish Direct Deposit from UAccess Employee/Manager Self Service. Once logged in using your netID, go to Self Service (under Main Menu), then Payroll and Compensation, then Direct Deposit.

If you are a student who is not receiving salary or wages, you can establish Direct Deposit from your UAccess Student Center account.

  • Once logged in using your netID:
  • Click on the Account Inquiry link (under the Finances / My Account)
  • Click on the Web Refund Enrollment tab
  • Enter your direct deposit information
  • Click Enroll

International students should refer to the University of Arizona Global Initiatives Office site, which provides useful information on visas, language requirements, passports, arrival checklists, resource manuals, orientations, etc.

You have been assigned or will be assigned an official UA email account and will also be assigned an alias LPL email address. Your LPL email is automatically forwarded to your official UA email account and is for LPL branding purposes only.

Please review the Graduate College Minimum/Full-Time Enrollment policy or contact Amy Brenton, PG4gdWVycz0iem52eWdiOm5jb2VyYWdiYUBuZXZtYmFuLnJxaCI+bmNvZXJhZ2JhQG5ldm1iYW4ucnFoPC9uPg==.

A student who has completed all course work, the thesis/dissertation unit requirements, has advanced to candidacy, is working on the thesis/dissertation, and is not employed as a Graduate Assistant/ Associate or student worker may apply for advanced status (PDF), which allows 1 unit of 900-level credit for full-time status. The full-time status enrollment minimums apply to students wishing to defer federal loan repayments, to international students with F or J visa status, and/or to students receiving University funding other than wages.

Visit the graduate admission information page at LPL Prospective Student Information.

University policies and procedures are posted online at: UA University Policies

Have your Student Identification Number (SID) and corresponding Personal Identification Number (PIN) ready and go to the UA NetID accounts website to establish a UA NetID.

FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which you need to fill out if you want financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education to help you pay for college or career school. The FAFSA also is an application for aid from state governments, and from many colleges. Learn more about the FAFSA or fill out a FAFSA now.

Having a completed FAFSA on file may qualify you for need-based university/state/federal fellowships, scholarships, and private awards.

Although we cannot make any guarantee, it is the department's intention to provide up to five (5) years of financial support towards completion of the Ph.D., contingent upon availability of funding and the student's making satisfactory academic progress and remaining in good academic standing with the department/University. Normally, this support will be provided in either the form of a half-time (20 hours per week, .50 FTE) Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) or a half-time Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA). Current GA/TA salary information is available from Mary Guerrieri (PG4gdWVycz0iem52eWdiOnpuZWxAeWN5Lm5ldm1iYW4ucnFoIj56bmVsQHljeS5uZXZtYmFuLnJxaDwvbj4=, 520-621-2828). Most of our students supplement this support by working full time on research projects during the summer (with a GRA appointment). It is the policy of the department to provide students who receive an outside fellowship or scholarship with sufficient support in assistantships so that the total benefits package will be at least comparable to that of someone with a .50 FTE GTA or GRA who receives a summer GRA stipend.

Forms, policies, and procedures for current PTYS/LPL graduate students are available online at: Academic Policies and Quicklinks

If necessary, you may enroll in a student health insurance plan, Student Health has information on coverage. You must enroll if you would like to be covered; enrollment is not automatic. Enrollment is required for on campus international students.

Should you have questions about the admissions process for the University of Arizona Graduate College, including questions about transcripts, test scores, etc., please refer to the Admissions Frequently Asked Questions page and the FAQ for international applicants.

In the case where a student has a scholarship funded by outside sources (whether it be NSF GRPF, NASA NESSF, foreign government, Graduate College, or other non-departmental source),  the department policy is to cover financial disparities relating to health insurance and tuition remissions by the university as follows:

1. Scholarship recipients must be employed at least ¼ time as either a TA or RA to obtain student health insurance and a 50% tuition remission. In this case, the remaining 50% tuition remission is covered by the department, first using the GRS/GTS fund, and then departmental overhead. If a student is employed as a ¼ time TA or RA during the Spring semester, then that student’s health insurance is also covered for the summer.

2. Scholarship recipients are eligible to receive summer support unless:

a. the terms of their scholarship say otherwise or

b. the combination of their stipend plus their ¼ time TA or RA salary is equal to or greater than a ½ time RA or TA salary with full summer support.

Students should be aware that the annual stipend provided with many scholarships is intended as compensation for the entire year, not just the academic year.

In no case will we attempt to adjust salaries so that everyone is “receiving the same amount”; our aim is to attempt to maintain equity within the LPL/UA allocations and to ensure that winners of scholarships or fellowships are not penalized financially.