Academic Policies

Academic Policies

Code of Student Conduct

The University requires of all of its students behavior compatible with its high standards of scholarship and conduct. By accepting admission to Tulane University, a student accepts its regulations, including the Code of Student Conduct, and acknowledges the right of the University to take conduct action, including suspension or expulsion, for conduct judged unsatisfactory or disruptive. The Vice President for Student Affairs is responsible for formulating appropriate procedures and, as set forth in the Code of Student Conduct, regulations concerning student behavior and for the resolution of conduct cases.

Except as noted below, information regarding tuition and fees, residence halls and meals, financial obligations, financial aid, academic management services, short-term charitable remainder trust, and veteran's benefits is the same as for undergraduate students.

Childbirth and Planned Educational Leave Policies

Graduate students may be eligible for childbirth or planned educational leave. This policy refers to PhD and research-based graduate students who are receiving a stipend from Tulane University. Professional students should direct questions regarding childbirth and family leave options to your school’s dean and Student Affairs/Case Management and Victim Support Services. Please see the policies below for further information.

Graduate/Professional Student Childbirth & Family Leave Policy

Tulane University recognizes the importance of balancing the family and educational needs of new parents and those expecting a baby or the adoption of a child. We are committed to supporting all of our graduate and professional students during their academic careers and to finding ways to accommodate these life events.

This Policy establishes minimum standards for the accommodation of the demands placed on a woman1 by pre-term labor (as specified by a healthcare provider), late-stage pregnancy, childbirth, and post-natal recuperation. It also extends to parents who adopt a child up to the age of five years. It is expected that advisors, academic staff, and departmental leaders will work with care, consideration, and creativity to provide more than this minimum, according to the particular circumstances of the student.

For their part, new parents or students “stopping the clock” of their education for childbirth or family leave should keep the lines of communication with their departments open. Once they fully return to their graduate work, the student should be careful to demonstrate to their advisors that they are academically engaged and making progress on coursework and research. It is important for pregnant students to review the details of this entire Policy, as well as the University’s Planned Educational Leave Policy, and to discuss her options with her department.

International students should discuss with the staff at the Office of International Students and Scholars the impact of this decision on their visa status and related requirements.

Childbirth Leave

All students who anticipate giving birth during the academic semester or during the period covered by financial support (e.g., stipends, grants, etc.) are eligible for a Childbirth Leave. A Childbirth Leave maintains active graduate/professional student status throughout the leave period, so that housing, insurance, and other rights and privileges of enrolled students remain ongoing.

A Childbirth Leave covers pre-term labor (as specified by a healthcare provider), late-stage pregnancy, childbirth, and post-natal recuperation. A Leave lasts eight weeks from the qualifying event and extends academic milestones, including candidacy requirements (including qualifying exams, dissertation, thesis, and coursework), by one academic semester. It also assures that, if the mother is receiving financial support, that support will be maintained through the period of the modification(s).

Students who are planning to take this Leave should initiate discussions with Student Affairs/Case Management and Victim Support Services more than four months before the anticipated birth. After doing so, they will then inform their advisor(s) and director of graduate study at least four months prior to the anticipated birth in order to make preparations for identifying and arranging the childbirth modification period. This will provide the time necessary to rearrange teaching duties for those students supported by teaching assistantships or to adjust laboratory or other research schedules.

Family Leave(Paternity, Co-parenting, Fostering and Adoption)

Graduate/professional students at Tulane may take a paid family leave of absence for eight weeks for anticipating or recently experiencing the birth or adoption or fostering of a child or for childcare.

Accommodations that apply to both those taking Childbirth and Family Leaves

Maintaining Full-Time Status

One of the purposes of the Policy is to make it possible for women to maintain their full-time student status so that they continue accumulating credits toward the degree and to avoid triggering any interruptions in their education programs and activities, including on-campus housing, insurance coverage, eligibility for student loan repayment, and deferment of student loan repayment. By remaining full-time students, the visa status of international students is not affected.

While it is usually better for students to remain enrolled full-time, in some cases, depending on the coursework appropriate to the stage of the academic program, part-time enrollment may be more appropriate. This will require careful consultation, in advance, with graduate advisors, the department or program’s director of graduate studies, and school graduate admissions officer to ensure that the implications for academic progress, visa status, loan eligibility and deferment, etc., have been thoroughly investigated.

University Stipends and Funding

Student parents on full-time status who receive stipends from their school or other University funds are entitled to draw support while on leave for eight weeks during the academic year. If the student parent is a teaching assistant, their department will fund a replacement teacher for the affected period. During the eight-week period, students supported by teaching assistantships may choose to continue in some limited capacity (e.g., grading, preparing course materials, or other non-intensive duties), in order to finish out an academic quarter, but cannot be required to do so. With advance planning, most research assistantship assignments can similarly be adjusted to accommodate childbirth. Students in master’s and doctoral programs will need to coordinate the fulfillment of requirements with their advisors, department chairs, or directors of graduate study. If the student anticipates needing more than eight weeks of paid leave, they may find that arranging an unpaid leave of absence for a semester is the best solution; please see Planned Educational Leave Policy for more information on these leaves.

External Funding

Some student parents receive external grants or fellowships. Most granting agencies provide for a short period of reduced activity due to health or personal issues. Students who are supported by grants or fellowships external to Tulane must adhere to the rules of the granting agency with respect to absences from academic and research work. If the granting agency requires suspension of fellowship benefits during the eight-week period, students will be eligible for substitute payment from their department.

Childbirth and Family Leave Policy FAQs

This policy refers to PhD and research-based graduate students who are receiving a stipend from Tulane University. Professional students should direct questions regarding childbirth and family leave options to your school’s dean and Student Affairs/Case Management and Victim Support Services.

Disclaimer: We have attempted to address all issues within the Childbirth and Family Leave Policy and the FAQs. However, we are aware that we cannot cover every situation in these documents. Please stay in contact with Case Management and Victim Support Services throughout the course of your pregnancy and leave so that we can attempt to accommodate any special circumstances that may arise.

Q: I recently found out that I am pregnant and my due date is during the academic semester. Do I have to drop out or take some kind of leave of absence?
A: No, you do not have to drop out. You may choose to stay enrolled as a full-time student during the semester that you give birth. You are entitled to eight weeks of leave during that semester. If you are enrolled in coursework, arrangements will need to be made individually.

Q: Do I need to become a part-time student?
A: Probably not. One of the main purposes of the Childbirth and Family Leave Policy is to make it possible for a parent to maintain their full-time student status.

Q: I am also working as an RA (or TA) as part of my PhD program. What happens with that funding during my leave?
A: During your leave, you will continue to receive the same pay that you were receiving prior to your leave, regardless of the specific source of that funding. If there are questions about this, your department – probably the director of graduate studies and/or department chair -- will work with the Office of Academic Affairs on the mechanisms of the financial details.

Q. Will my leave impact my progress toward the completion of my degree?
A: It is possible that your leave might impact your progress through the degree and/or the completion of your courses, and this depends on the specifics of your situation. Academic milestones such as progress to candidacy can be extended by one academic semester. These details need to be discussed with your advisor/PI and Case Management and Victim Support Services (see below).

Q. What happens if I’m due to give birth in the summer?
A: Typically, this policy only guarantees funding during the period of your stipend from Tulane (roughly nine months running from mid-August to mid-May for most graduate students receiving stipends). Summer employment is not guaranteed for most students. However, the eight-week period will begin whenever you give birth, so it is possible that some part of the end of the spring or beginning of the fall would be covered by the Childbirth and Family Leave. For example, if you had a baby on August 1 and your stipend were scheduled to begin August 15, you would be eligible to receive six weeks of leave, as well as six weeks of your stipend.

Q. What happens if my funding comes from a non-Tulane source?
A: For students who are funded from sources outside the university (e.g. Ford, NSF, etc.), that agency’s policies apply to you. If there is no policy, then this Tulane policy applies to you.

Q: Who at the university should I talk to first about my pregnancy?
A: Your first stop should be with Student Affairs/Case Management and Victim Support Services, where you can review the details of leave policies, learn about your options, and ask questions. You can also discuss any short-term accommodations you may need during your pregnancy. Case Management and Victim Support Services will then contact your department to provide information and guidance about the period of your leave.

Q: When I meet with someone in Case Management and Victim Support Services, is my confidentiality maintained?
A: Yes, but only up to a point. Your confidentiality is maintained until the case manager establishes communication with your department to discuss arrangements for your leave. At that time, in order to formulate a plan for your leave, they will need to disclose your identity to your department. However, even then, information will only be shared on a “need to know” basis.

Q: What information will I need to share with Case Management and Victim Support Services?
A: You will need to share information about your due date, as well as whether there are any medical issues and/or modifications that might need to be addressed. In addition, you should provide information to them about your funding – e.g. your stipend’s source and amount. Once the case manager contacts your department/program, they will confirm and, if necessary, clarify any details about your funding.

Q: I know that I need to tell my PI/advisor that I’m pregnant. When should I do this?
A: If at all possible, you will need to inform your PI or advisor about your pregnancy at least four months before your due date. Many details surrounding taking a Childbirth and Family Leave can take some time to arrange and will involve multiple offices on campus. We want to settle the details of your leave early enough so that everyone has adequate time to make decisions and preparations. You should also know that your health and medical issues are private matters and that this privacy is protected by federal law (HIPPA and FERPA). You are welcome to tell your PI or advisor whatever you would like to, but other than the information about the timing and details of your pregnancy and childbirth-related leave, you are not required to disclose any details about your pregnancy.

Q: I’m worried about having this conversation -- how do I talk with my PI or advisor about my pregnancy?
A: One of the best things to do is to be clear with yourself and with your PI or advisor about what your respective needs are, and to directly address those needs. Specifics about dates, responsibilities, and expectations on both of your parts will be very helpful. You can seek out confidential guidance and support from staff in Student Affairs, Student Accessibility, the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and/or the Counseling Center. Lastly, you may want to talk to other graduate student parents, both at Tulane and/or at other institutions.

Q: Does this mean I can keep my student health insurance while on leave?
A: Yes. Whatever your current arrangements are with your program for covering your health insurance will continue for the eight weeks.

Q: What if I have complications during my pregnancy, or I go into pre-term labor?
A: The Childbirth and Family Leave Policy covers last-stage pregnancy, childbirth, and the care of a newborn. Therefore, your leave period might need to start earlier than expected. Also, you should talk to Case Management and Victim Support Services and your healthcare provider about possible eligibility for short-term accommodations.

Q: What happens if I am not ready to come back to school after eight weeks?
A: You should let your PI or advisor know this as early as possible so that other arrangements can be made and so that you can discuss possible impacts on your academic progress. If you are also employed as part of your graduate program, your leave after eight weeks would be unpaid.

Q: I’m pretty sure that I will need to take off more than eight weeks. Can I do that?
A: Yes, you can, but the terms of your leave will be very different. You will want to look into the details of the Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP), where you opt to take one or two semesters off and then return to your graduate program. This option is intended for when you plan ahead of time to take a long leave, and it must be put in writing and approved by people in your department and in the university.

Q: If I use the Planned Educational Leave, am I no longer a graduate student at Tulane?
A: You do retain your student status during a Planned Educational Leave. However, there many restrictions while on this kind of leave -- for example, financial aid and grants are suspended, you are not eligible to receive fellowship funds, and you would have to pay out-of-pocket if you wanted to keep your student health insurance.

Q: How are the details of this policy affected if I’m an international student?
A: It is the same, but you will also need to talk with the Office of International Students and Scholars to discuss the specifics of your situation. It is very likely that only the Childbirth Leave (rather than the semester- or year-long Planned Educational Leave) is a good option for you if your student visa requires that you maintain full-time enrolled status.

Q: All of this applies to the person giving birth. What kind of leave applies when it is my partner who is giving birth?
A: Regardless of your gender, as an expectant parent, all of the terms of this policy apply. You should observe the same timeline for contacting Case Management and Victim Support Services so that we can work out the details of what a leave will entail in your particular situation.

Q: What if both my partner and I are graduate students? Are we both eligible?
A: Yes, you are both eligible to take the Childbirth and Family Leave. In addition, the Planned Educational Leave is available if either or both of you want to consider a semester or year off to care for your child.

Q: Do these leave policies apply to me if I am fostering and/or adopting a child?
A: Yes, they do.

Q. If I or my partner is having a baby (or fostering or adopting), am I required to take the Childbirth and Family Leave?
A: No, you do not have to take leave. However, Tulane University seeks to be supportive of graduate student parents and, as such, we encourage you to utilize these policies.

Planned Educational Leave Program

The Tulane University Graduate Student Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP) is defined as a voluntary, temporary, planned interruption or pause in your regular, full-time education. The purpose is to enhance the prospect of successful completion of your academic program by providing you with time to resolve personal, financial or medical problems. PELP makes it possible for you to suspend your academic work for one or two semesters and resume your studies with minimal procedural difficulties.


PELP is a temporary, short-term leave from your academic studies at Tulane University. Approval of the PELP request depends, in part, upon the expectation that you will return to a registered and enrolled status to continue your education.

Registered graduate students at Tulane University are eligible to enroll in the Planned Educational Leave Program for up to two semesters, with the approval of the departmental or program Director of Graduate Studies, and the Graduate Studies Associate Dean for Students within their school, and the Associate Provost for Graduate Studies and Research. New graduate students are not eligible for a PELP during their first term of enrollment. Incoming students may be considered for deferred admission –contact the Graduate Program Staff Coordinator in your Graduate Program prior to the first day of class.

Students may not hold student employment (Teaching Assistant [TA], Graduate Student Research Assistant [GSRA], etc.) while on PELP.

International students must obtain prior approval for PELP status from the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). OISS will guide international students through any necessary steps that may be required as a result of their visa status.

Restrictions While On PELP

  • Students on PELP may not be employed in a student academic appointment.
  • Financial aid and grants will be discontinued suspended for the duration of your leave and you may need to repay any financial aid funds already received for the semester. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for additional information.
  • Students on PELP are not eligible to receive fellowship funds.
  • Students on PELP may continue to participate in the university’s student health insurance plan for one or two semesters. However, students would bear the cost of maintaining this coverage. If students are out of the area, they may purchase an optional health insurance plan to provide coverage. If students intend to continue their on-campus student health benefits, they must notify Student Health Services before the first day of the semester in which their PELP status begins. For more information, students should contact Student Health Services.
  • PELP status is a leave from your education and not intended for students to take course work or continue their research. While on PELP, students are not eligible to enroll in concurrent courses or earn any academic credit at Tulane or any other university. Students who have advanced to candidacy may request a clock stoppage associated with the requested PELP leave.
  • Students on PELP may not apply for graduation. They must first return to a registered and enrolled status for at least one semester before filing for graduation.

Availability of University Services

A student on leave is only eligible for university services in the following areas:

  • Career/Academic Advising,
  • Enrolled CAPS and Student Health Center Services
  • Student Health Insurance.

Application Process

Graduate students apply for PELP status using the PELP request form.

International students must also notify OISS of their intention to apply for PELP status.

The PELP request form must include the following information:

  • Student’s full name
  • Student ID number
  • Major
  • Semester/Year leave is to begin
  • Semester/Year student will return
  • Name of your departmental/program graduate adviser and his/her e-mail address
  • Please answer yes/no to the following questions:
    • Have you registered for courses?
    • Have you paid registration fees?
    • Have you attended classes?
    • Are you an international student?
  • A brief statement why you are taking this leave.

The completed e-mail PELP advising form must be forwarded to Assistant Vice President, Student Resources and Support Services, in the Office of Student Affairs. Student Affairs will work with the DGS or program staff, the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and the Associate Provost of Graduate Studies and Research to arrange PELP approval. Approval signatures are done via e-mail and must reflect the Graduate Adviser’s approval using his/her Tulane University e-mail address. For international students, Student Affairs will contact OISS to confirm eligibility for PELP status.

The completed PELP request form must be submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for approval prior to the first day of the term in which the PELP is to take effect.

Students who intend to apply for PELP status should not enroll for courses the semester the PELP status is to begin. If you submit the PELP request after the first day of the semester, you may owe fees. The Office of the University Registrar fee refund policy applies; please see the academic calendar for deadlines.

PELP Extension Requests

PELP extension requests are made using the Time Extension Request form. Contact Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for additional information.

Financial Assistance

Tulane's graduate programs award their own scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships. Contact a particular graduate program for information on the availability of funds and how to apply. Tulane's Financial Aid Office calculates a student's eligibility for federal aid to supplement awards made by a graduate program.

Financial Obligation to the University

No diploma or certificate of credit is given to a student who is in default of any payment due to a division of the University.

General Policies, Guidelines, and Schedules

Guidelines and Policies for Graduate Assistants

Education and research are at the core of the academic enterprise of the research university. Graduate teaching assistants (TAs) are important and essential links between the creation and dissemination of new knowledge and the learning environment that meets the needs and stretches the potential of undergraduate students. Whether they serve as graders, laboratory assistants, group discussion leaders, or have complete responsibility for a course, this group of additional teaching personnel enhances Tulane’s ability to offer a broad range of courses to its students. Graduate research assistants (RAs) are at the forefront of the university’s scholarly activities and provide a vital service to the university on the way to earning their graduate degree. The purpose of this document is to describe policies and procedures related specifically to the assignment and execution of teaching and research assistantships. Issues related to graduate student academic performance and violations (honor code), sexual harassment, fraud in research, and non-assistantship-related grievances are covered by other university policies.


“Graduate Student” means all persons enrolled at Tulane University pursuing post- baccalaureate studies on either a “for credit” or on an “audit” basis, and on either a full- time or part-time basis, including Research Dissertation and Masters. This includes, but is not limited to, students pursing the eM.B.A., M.B.A., M.A., M.ARCHII, M.ACCT., M.F.A., M.FIN., M.L.A., M.P.S., M.S., M.S.W., and Ph.D. degrees.

“Graduate Students” also includes persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with Tulane, or who have been notified of their acceptance for admission and have registered for classes.

“Research Assistant (RA)” means a graduate student who is paid a stipend to perform research duties.

“Teaching Assistant (TA)” means a graduate student who is paid a stipend to perform instructional duties.

“Graduate Assistant (GA)” means a graduate student who is paid a stipend to perform other duties as specified in their job description, typically of an administrative nature.

“Tutoring Session” means assistance given by appointment to a single student or small group of students, often for pay, by someone who, at the time that they are rendering their services, is not in any way involved with the teaching of any section of the course in which the student or group of students is seeking help. Students receiving tuition waivers may have additional restrictions on offering paid tutoring sessions and should consult their department or program for guidance.

“Review Session” means an extra session provided within the context of a specific course, normally given by someone who is directly involved with the teaching of the course at that time. Review sessions should be open to all students in the course or section, and no student should be required, or even asked, to pay a fee for such help.

“Athletic Tutoring” means assistance to student athletes paid for by the Athletic Department, which may hire graduate students so long as they are not directly involved with any section of the course in which the student athlete is receiving help.


1. General

Teaching and research assistants are appointed each year or semester by the student’s school, hereafter referred to as the “School.” To be eligible for appointment as a teaching or research assistant, a nominee must be admitted to a graduate program without qualification. For reappointment, a nominee must be in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress toward an advanced degree.

2. Reappointment

A TA or RA may be considered for reappointment if:

•They meet the scholastic requirements for eligibility set by the department and School and are certified as being in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress toward the degree.

•They have, in the opinion of the department or School, provided satisfactory service.

3. Selection and Appointment of Teaching Assistants

Only graduate students who present satisfactory evidence of competence in English to read, write, speak, and understand it when spoken are eligible for appointment as a teaching assistant. When proficiency in English is unproven or insufficient, international students will be required to successfully complete a class offered by the Tulane English for Academic and Professional Purposes program that is designed to focus on improving speaking and listening skills in English.

Only graduate students who have earned at least 18 credit hours of graduate course work may be given complete instructional responsibility as the instructor of record for a course offered by Tulane University. Graduate students with fewer than 18 credit hours of graduate course work may be given positions as teaching assistants to support another instructor with leading discussion sections, labs, grading coursework, or other duties as assigned.

Teaching assistants are governed by the same standards of conduct in the performance of their academic duties as are members of the faculty and shall respect the rights and opinions of students and uphold the academic standards of the University.

The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies offers an intensive workshop on teaching-related issues at the beginning and end of each academic year. The workshop covers issues such as effective lecturing, facilitating discussions, testing/grading, academic integrity, using technology in teaching, teaching as a performance art, and collaborative learning. Additional resources for teaching can be found year-round through the Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching.
In addition, departments or programs have developed their own workshops to prepare their graduate students for their roles in undergraduate instruction. These programs are usually tailored to the special requirements of the discipline. This training may include, but is not limited to, a discipline-specific introduction to issues of course design and planning, instructional methods, effective assignment sequencing, and issues of evaluation and grading.
Graduate teaching assistants perform a variety of roles related to teaching that represent different levels of independence and direct contact with undergraduate students. The level of responsibilities assigned to TAs is determined by the department in consultation with the appropriate dean(s). To the extent possible, departments are encouraged to make assignments that contribute to the intellectual and professional development of graduate students.
Whether graduate TAs serve primarily as assistants to a faculty instructor, graders, laboratory assistants, discussion group facilitators, or as instructors of their own sections, they are governed by the same standards of conduct in the performance of their academic duties as are members of the faculty. They are expected to maintain the highest levels of professional and ethical standards.
Graduate research assistants perform a variety of roles related to research with different levels of independence and supervision of less experienced research assistants. The level of responsibilities assigned to RAs is determined by the department in consultation with the appropriate dean(s). To the extent possible, departments are encouraged to make assignments that contribute to the intellectual and professional development of graduate students.Graduate RAs serve primarily as assistants to a faculty researcher and are governed by the same standards of conduct in the performance of their research duties as are members of the faculty. They are expected to maintain the highest levels of professional and ethical standards.
It is the responsibility of the School to determine how TAs and RAs are paid, whether on an hourly basis or on a set stipend. In both cases, graduate assistants are paid a fixed rate for their services on a bi-weekly basis for the semester or academic year of their service. In some cases, research assistantships may be offered for a calendar year.

Minimum stipend rates for TAs are set by the School in consultation with the Office of Academic Affairs. Although the professional development of graduate students as teachers is considered an important part of doctoral training, Tulane University is committed to ensuring that the students have sufficient time for other, equally important components of their doctoral education. No TA is expected to perform instructional duties that would take more than 20 hours per week.

Minimum stipend rates for RAs are set by the individual departments and programs. RAs may blend training and work responsibilities, but work responsibilities may not exceed 20 hours per week. If there is any question about work duties versus training, graduate RAs and their faculty supervisors should consult the RA’s job description.


Termination of a teaching or research assistant before the expiration date of the stated period of appointment will be only for good cause shown. Pursuant to the provision of Article XII of the Statement on Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Responsibility approved by the University Senate on March 1, 1971, and by the Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund on March 2, 1971, the School hereby institutes the following regulations and procedures relative to the protection of the academic freedom of its graduate, teaching, or research assistants:

1. In all cases where a graduate student is dismissed from their program of study, their appointment as a TA or an RA will be automatically terminated.

2. In no case will graduate teaching or research assistants be dismissed from their assistantship before the end of the period of appointment without having been provided with a statement of reasons and an opportunity to be heard by a duly constituted committee of the School. The department in question shall provide in writing the statement of reasons along with the statement of intent to dismiss.

3. In any case when an individual in one of the above named categories is not reappointed, the student will, upon their request, be provided with a statement of reasons. If the formal terms of their first appointment have given reasonable expectation of reappointment, and if they believe that a consideration violative of their academic freedom significantly contributed to their non-reappointment and if they can establish in writing a case for their belief to the satisfaction of a duly constituted committee of the School, they will be given an opportunity to be heard by that committee.

4. In all cases involving teaching assistants, it must be recognized that because a School maintains the policy that supervised teaching be made, wherever possible, a part of the graduate student’s degree program, the teaching assistant is, in effect, a student-teacher, and it is the intent, therefore, of the foregoing paragraphs to safeguard the academic freedom of individuals in their role as teacher while preserving all necessary and reasonable limitation inherent in the faculty-student relationship.

5. In all cases the graduate training/grievance committee in each department referred to in paragraphs (1) and (2) shall be a standing committee consisting of a representative of the Dean as Chair, three faculty members of the School, and three graduate students to be appointment by the Dean. The Chair shall vote only in case of a tie vote.

6. In all cases, the committee will report its findings and recommendations to the Dean for appropriate action.
1. Graduate students are allowed to supplement their stipends by tutoring undergraduate students in courses in which they have no direct responsibility at the time. Students with tuition waivers and stipends are subject to permission from their department chair or program director.
2. A graduate student who is teaching a class or lab of a multi-section course that uses a common syllabus and common exams may not tutor any student in any section of that course.
3. A graduate student may use their office for tutoring or may ask departmental permission to use a classroom or other appropriate university facility.
4. The graduate advisor or department chair may require a graduate student to limit their tutoring activity if, in the view of the department, such activity is impeding the graduate student’s academic progress of keeping them from fulfilling responsibilities within the department.
5. Graduate students, like any other member of the teaching faculty, may offer review sessions for their students to which they may invite students from other sections of the same course. The graduate student arranging such a session may not under any circumstances take money from the students in attendance.
6. A graduate student receiving a tuition waiver must have prior approval from the chair or advisor to work outside the department or program, because such activities might impede progress toward degree

Theses and Dissertations Digital Repository Policy

All students who prepare a thesis in partial fulfillment for a graduate degree (PhD, MS, MA, MFA, MLA, MProS) must submit a digital copy of their approved thesis or dissertation, complete with committee signatures, to the Howard Tilton Memorial Library Theses and Dissertations Archive, in addition to the current hard copy requirement. Failure to do so by the official date of certification for degree(as established by the Registrar’s Office) may result in delay of degree conferral.
This policy does not preclude submission of the thesis or dissertation to other digital repositories such as ProQuest, nor does it prevent schools or programs from imposing additional thesis or dissertation archiving requirements. Care should be exercised, however, to ensure that all copies are identical, as the version deposited with Howard Tilton Memorial Library, will be considered the official version for the degree.
Further details regarding format, personal information, and embargo periods are provided on the archives website.

Graduate Student Health Insurance Subsidy

Graduate students are required by University policy to have adequate health insurance coverage while registered as full-time students []. They must either be covered by the University student health care plan, or provide proof of coverage from some other source; e.g., their parents’ policy or a policy purchased on the open market.

In those instances where a graduate student is on stipend*; e.g., a teaching assistantship, research assistantship, internal fellowship, or external fellowship supporting health insurance fees, a subsidy for health care costs is considered an eligible benefit, similar to a tuition waiver.

All graduate students on an eligible university stipend will receive a subsidy equivalent to 50% of the annual cost of the University’s minimum individual health care plan coverage. This subsidy is distributed equally between the fall and spring terms. Coverage will continue during the summer months, provided the student continues in good standing and pays his or her share of the insurance costs. The university’s subsidy cost is to be borne by the student’s school, department or program, or advisor’s grant account, as determined by the appropriate school dean.

In the event that a student shows proof of coverage other than the University’s student health care plan, no subsidy will be provided. The subsidy will cease on the date the degree is conferred.


The University student health plan for the 2013-14 academic year is provided by United Healthcare Student Resources at the following rates:


  • Student $2,507
  • Spouse $4,253
  • All Children $3,443


  • Student $4,097
  • Spouse $6,978
  • All Children $5,642

An eligible student would have the following payment made to the policy on his or her behalf each term (Fall and Spring):

  • Fall 2013:          $627
  • Spring 2014:    $627

Graduate Council

The Graduate Council establishes and maintains university-wide procedures, rules and standards for the Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.), Master of Liberal Arts (M.L.A.), Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree programs. The council approves new degree programs and major curriculum changes in existing programs, performs periodic program reviews, and advises the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost on graduate education issues. The voting membership of Graduate Council consists of the Provost, who serves as its chair, and twelve elected faculty members— each elected by a vote of the graduate faculty of their respective schools. More details on the council's membership and functions are available at:

Graduate Student Grading Policy

The Tulane University Graduate Student Grading Policy is intended to clarify and set minimum standards for the grades which will count for credit in graduate degree programs. Schools and programs/departments within the university may set stricter standards for minimum grades and grade point averages, but this policy will serve as the minimum standard for the students and programs listed below. 

This policy applies to all graduate students. Students in professional programs, including but not limited to the JD and the MBA programs, should consult with their respective school and handbook for the relevant grade and grade appeal policies. Students who are unclear as to whether they fall under this policy should also consult the University Catalog and their school to determine if this policy is applicable.


Grades for graduate students are reported as follows:

A: 4.000
A-: 3.667
B+: 3.333
B: 3.000
B-: 2.667
C+: 2.333
C: 2.000
C-: 1.667
D+: 1.333
D: 1.000
D-: 0.667
F: Fail
P: Pass
I: Incomplete
IP: In Progress
W: Withdraw/No Penalty
WF: Withdraw/Failing Grade
R: Research

Clarification on certain grades that a graduate student could receive:

I: Incomplete – This grade will become a grade of F if the work is not made up according to the schedule set out by the Incomplete Grade Policy. After the work is made up and a grade is posted, the Incomplete grade, will be removed from the academic record except in the case of an F, in which case it will remain on the academic record after the letter grade. For example, if an A- is assigned by the faculty member for a course that was initially graded with an incomplete, the grade on the transcript will appear as A-. If an F is assigned by the faculty member for a course, the grade on the transcript will appear as F/I.  The letter grade earned is calculated in the GPA as per the normal GPA calculation.

R: Research – In those cases where research cannot be completed within the semester, this grade will be given to indicate the circumstance. It is most commonly used for PhD students in dissertation. This grade carries a different meaning from that of IP.

IP: In Progress – Satisfactory progress at the end of the first semester of a yearlong course; grades are assigned to both courses upon completion of the yearlong course, and the IP will be replaced with the letter grade earned once the final grade is posted to the record.  

W: Withdrawal – Courses may be dropped without record within six weeks of the first day of classes; refer to the Academic Calendar for the exact dates each semester. Withdrawals with the grade of W after these dates may only be accomplished if the instructor notifies the dean that the student is passing and recommends permission to withdraw. WF (Withdraw/Failing Grade) will be assigned if the student’s work in a course is unsatisfactory at the time of withdrawal.


Graduate students are expected to maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0. Courses in which a student earns a grade of C+ or lower cannot be counted towards a professional degree, a master’s degree or a PhD. If a student receives two B- grades, or one grade below B-, the student is placed on probation and considered for dismissal by the school in consultation with the department at the conclusion of the semester in which the nonpassing grade or the second B- occurred. Ordinarily, the department will recommend that a student with two grades of B- or lower be dropped from the graduate program. Minimum academic performance and/or unsatisfactory performance may also lead to the withdrawal of financial support.

If a student receives a grade below B-, that course will not count towards the total credit hours required to complete the degree unless an exemption is approved by the dean or dean’s designee. For instance, if a degree requires 30 credit hours to complete and a student received a grade of below B- in one 3-credit hour course, that student will need to take at least three additional credit hours beyond the minimum to have 30 eligible credit hours. Staff or faculty members who certify students for their degrees must verify that the student received a B- or better in all courses for the degree at the point of degree certification.


A student who believes that a final grade was assigned incorrectly may request a final grade change. Final grades can be changed only in exceptional circumstances and only with the approval of the instructor, the chair of the department, and the dean or dean’s designee of the college/school which offered the course. Grade changes are not allowed once a degree to which that grade applies has been awarded.


If a student wishes to appeal their grade, they must follow the steps outlined by their school. Appeals are intended for students who believe their grade was not determined in a fair and appropriate manner. 

Graduate Studies Student Association

The Graduate Studies Student Association (GSSA) is responsible for addressing issues which affect graduate students in the School of Liberal Arts and the School of Science and Engineering, as well as allocating funds for graduate studies activities.  GSSA's parent body is GAPSA (Graduate and Professional Student Association).

Incomplete Grades

An incomplete grade, I, is given at the discretion of instructors when, in their view, special circumstances prevent a student from completing work assigned during the semester and with the understanding that the remaining work can be completed within the next 12 months. Incomplete grades also are given when a student’s absence from a final examination has been excused by their school’s dean or dean’s designee prior to or within one day following the final examination.

If a student will require a grade of I, the student and instructor should have a clearly articulated, written agreement including a timeline of what constitutes a successful resolution of the Incomplete Grade.

Incomplete grades must be resolved within 12 months or they are automatically changed to a grade of F/I.

The I will be removed from the student’s transcript after the incomplete grade is resolved, except in the case of an F, which will appear on the transcript as F/I. Extensions of the 12 month deadline must be requested in writing by the student and must be approved by the instructor and their school’s dean or dean’s designee. The faculty member must then contact the Registrar’s Office to request that the timeline for the I be extended for up to 12 more months. Extensions are approved only when a student has made an attempt to complete the missing work within the original 12 month period but, in the view of the instructor and the dean or dean’s designee, has been prevented from completing the work by some special circumstance beyond the student’s control. Grades may still be changed after the 12 month period expires but before the student graduates by the faculty member.

Professional Codes of Academic Conduct and Professionalism

In addition to the Unified Code of Graduate Student Academic Conduct, some professional schools have additional, specific codes of conduct related to academics, research, and professional conduct.

Rules and Regulations  

Upon admission, students are held responsible for compliance with the regulations Tulane University has set forth in this catalog and in relevant school and/or program handbooks and catalogs. They should familiarize themselves with these regulations.

The University reserves the right to change any of its courses and charges without advance notice and to make such changes applicable to students already registered as well as to new students.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees rate schedules are established at the university level; however, some fees, such as dissertator fees, are established by the individual schools or programs. Students who have assistantships are often granted tuition waivers, but fees are the responsibility of the student. Consult the graduate adviser of the appropriate school for more information on tuition and fees.

Unified Code of Graduate Student Academic Conduct

Tulane University expects students to conduct their academic endeavors with honesty and integrity. As part of the University community, graduate students have certain responsibilities regarding work that forms the basis for the evaluation of their academic achievement. Any student behavior that has the effect of interfering with the education, pursuit of knowledge, and/or a fair evaluation of the student's performance is considered a violation of the proscribed academic conduct, as set forth in the Unified Code of Graduate Student Academic Conduct. The Code also outlines procedures to be followed if there is a suspected violation. Students are expected to be familiar with the Code.  Principles and activities not covered by the Code may fall under the purview of University or departmental research and/or ethics committees. Questions concerning jurisdiction should be addressed to the dean of the respective school.

Unified Code of Graduate Student Academic Conduct