Students are required to be enrolled on a full-time basis during the number of terms of residence required by their respective degree programs, unless splitting. A student must be enrolled and in good standing to be eligible to submit a thesis.
Permission for part-time enrollment will be granted only as a special exception, and usually only for medical reasons. A written, detailed plan for completing remaining degree requirements must be approved by the program director and filed with the Dean of Students. MArch I students may be able to choose the split-semester option, which extends their final term to the full academic year for part-time study. Students must take a minimum of eight units in order to remain eligible for financial aid. When splitting, international students must take a minimum of 16 units in the fall term of the split year in order to maintain their visa status.
MArch I and MArch I AP students may choose to split their final, fall semester into two semesters. A Facilities Split Fee ($1,000) is applied to the spring semester term bill. Students who choose this option will formally enroll in thesis during the fall or spring semester, and take only lecture and seminar courses in the other semester. Students who split will be charged half tuition for both semesters (see exception below), with the understanding that they will enroll in no more than 24 units for both semesters combined. Students who split do not have the use of a desk during the semester in which they do not enroll in studio or thesis. In the spring semester prior to their final year at the GSD, the Registrar will email the necessary form to eligible students.
Splitting for International Students
International students who are enrolling in thesis in the spring semester pay for one extra course (four units) if they decide to split. The reason for this is that in order for international students to maintain their student visas, they must be considered full-time students during the fall of their split-semester year (enrolled in 16 units or four courses). Sixteen units in the fall and 12 (thesis) in the spring are 28 units, which is four more than full tuition. (That results in 1/4 more tuition in the fall.)
See Leave of Absence Policies
Graduation and Commencement Participation Policies
The Office of Student Services maintains the following policy in regard to granting of degrees and participation in commencement ceremonies. Students are expected to comply with all disciplinary rules from matriculation until the conferring of the degree. A degree will not be granted to a student who is not in good standing or against whom a disciplinary charge is pending. Students who have not fulfilled their degree requirements, or have an outstanding financial obligation to the University, will not be allowed to walk in commencement exercises. For students who have fulfilled their degree requirements but have outstanding obligations to the university, the following policies apply. Students whose outstanding bills (which includes June and July rental charges) are less than $500, or who have outstanding library books or fines, will have their diplomas withheld by the GSD. Their names will be listed in the Harvard commencement program, and they will be eligible to participate in commencement ceremonies, but they will receive an empty diploma envelope. The GSD will release diplomas to these students upon notification from the Student Billing Office that their bills are cleared, or upon notification from other offices. Students with outstanding bills (which includes June and July rental charges) greater than $500 will have their degrees withheld by the university, and they will not be eligible to participate in commencement ceremonies. The Harvard Corporation will vote to grant the degree retroactively upon notification from the Student Billing Office that the student's bill is cleared. The GSD will release the student's diploma after the degree has been voted. Student transcripts will not be sent to a third party. A student can request an unofficial transcript which will indicate that the ‘degree is withheld due to financial obligation.'
In addition, any student who still has a missing grade from MIT at the time of Commencement will have their diploma withheld until the grade has been submitted.