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Academically Related Changes

Changing Your Faculty Advisor

To change your faculty advisor or establish your initial faculty advisor you need to complete a Change of Advisor form:

  1. If your faculty advisor moves to a different university
  2. Your research interests have changed
  3. Your relationship has become strained

Changing from a Master's to a Ph.D.

You need to complete a Change of Major/Degree form.

A memo is required from the appropriate committee indicating a formal admissions review was completed. The memo should summarize the review process and the vote of the committee.

File the Change of Major/Degree Form and the memo with the Graduate Division office.

Please note that your graduate group is permitted to request supplemental materials.

Changing from a Ph.D. to a Master's


  1. Contact the graduate support staff to request a "what-if" degree audit.
  2. File the Change of Major/Degree Form with the Graduate Division Office.
  3. You may also need to file an Application for Advancement to Candidacy and a Graduate Student Graduation Application before the deadline.

In addition to the procedural issues described, it is recommended that you try talking to at least one or two other faculty members in your group before initiating this course of action.

If you still have concerns, it is also recommended that you contact people in your academic network such as other graduate students and postdocs, as well as campus resources such as your graduate program staff, Career Services, Counseling and Psychological Services or the Graduate Student Association.

Educational Leave Program

Why take educational leave? The Education Leave Program allows a student to suspend academic work at UC Merced, leave the campus and later resume studies with a minimum of procedural difficulties. International students are not eligible.

Deadline to file: It is important that applications for educational leave status be submitted to the graduate dean before the beginning of the semester for which approval is sought, so that a student whose application is not approved will be able to enroll before the deadline. A $40 fee is required before the form will be accepted.

Recommendations: Read the policy and FAQs posted on the second page of the form.

Filing Fee Status

Why filing fee status? If you need to stay an active student but do not need to take classes. If you have completed all degree requirements except for your official submission of a thesis or dissertation or the final formal examination. If you have successfully defended your dissertation in one semester but need more time to make changes. Upon approval by the Graduate Division, you will pay the filing fee (one half of the prevailing Student Services fee) at the university Cashier.

Deadline: The deadline for the filing fee petition is the same as the registration deadline. A grace period extends to the end of the second week of classes, after which this petition may be granted only by an approved exception by the graduate dean.

Recommendations: It is recommended that you submit the signed petition before the fee payment deadline for the semester. When is that? Usually the fee payment deadline is one to two weeks before the semester starts (confirm deadline with the Students First Center). Why before the fee payment deadline? The purpose of the filing fee status is to reduce what you need to pay. Having this approved before the payment deadline would be beneficial.

Read the policy and the FAQs.

General Academic Petitions

A General Petition must be completed if you want to perform one of the following actions:

  1. Transfer of course credit (for a master's)
  2. Waiver of required courses (for Ph.D.)
  3. Substitution of equivalent course
  4. Acceptance of grades below "B" toward final degree requirements

In Absentia Registration

Students may apply for in-absentia status for up to one academic year if the following criteria are met:

  1. The work away from the UC campus is directly related to the student's degree program as evidenced by UC faculty approval;
  2. The research or coursework is of a nature that makes it necessary to be completed outside California for at least one full academic term;
  3. The work involves only indirect supervision (e.g. correspondence via email or review of written work) from UC faculty during the in absentia period; and
  4. The work involves no significant studying or in-person collaboration with UC faculty during the in absentia period

Deadline: A completed In Absentia Registration form must be submitted to the Graduate Division by the second Friday in August for the fall semester and by the second Friday in January for the spring semester.

Please contact the Graduate Division with any questions at 209-228-4723 or