Reduced Course Load Request

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The CLE form is designed to serve as a placeholder for Qualifying Examination Results (QER) forms, granting students a semester-long course load exception while preparing for either comprehensive or qualifying exams. CLEs do not need to be submitted after a student has completed and satisfied departmental exam requirements and have a QER on file, marking the milestone of ABD status. CLE's are not applicable for International students. See below under "For International Students Only" for more information. 

Course Load Exception Requests at a Glance

  • CLEs are forms used to request a semester-long course load reduction while preparing for comprehensive exams (Master’s students) or qualifying exams (Doctoral students).

  • The State of Texas considers 9 graduate credit hours as full-time enrollment.

  • Students who have a graduate school-approved Qualifying Examination Results (QER) form do not need to complete this form. This is applicable to all students, including International Students. 

  • Students must have either CLE approval or a graduate school-approved Qualifying Examination Results (QER) form on file in order to be in compliance with Texas State requirements. 

  • Course Load Exception Requests are only applicable for the semester in which they are approved.

  • For TGS Scholarship recipients: If students do not have approved CLEs on file and enroll in under the 9 required hours, funds will not disburse until this request has been submitted and approved by the graduate school. Enrollment hours are extremely important to take note of, as credit hour approvals are sent off to financial aid and will be corroborated with any scholarship the student has.

  • Students, if eligible for a reduction, will be approved for the number of hours in which they are enrolled. If an eligible student is enrolled in 3 graduate credit hours, for example, their CLE will be approved for that semester at 3 hours.

  • Summer enrollment is not required, therefore, CLE's are not required. 

  • For information on Graduate Assistantships, click here.

  • CLE's are only applicable for Domestic Students.

  • Submission of a CLE form does not guarantee students’ approval for a reduced course load. The graduate school reviews student accounts for Comprehensive or Qualifying Examination Results and for course completion. Because of the review process, students must have a graduate school-approved degree plan on file and paperwork reflecting any coursework changes. Failure to have this on file will delay the review process.

Request Deadline

Course Load Exception Requests should be submitted to your employing department 2-3 weeks before the start of each semester to ensure your request is processed on time. 

Applicant Eligibility Criteria

  • Students either on a Graduate School fellowship or scholarship or receiving employment by a department as a TA, TF, RA or GSA may submit a CLE.

    • Failure to adhere to the policy may result in a demotion in pay to an hourly rate. For information on Graduate Assistantships, click here.

  • Students must either be preparing for comprehensive exams, qualifying exams or have satisfied their department’s equivalent exam requirements.  

  • Students must also have all coursework complete and be in All-But-Dissertation (ABD) status.

  • Students that are not on a TGS fellowship/scholarship or are not employed by a department do not have to submit a CLE.

Course Load Exception Request Steps

Step 1: Students must complete the Course Load Exception Student Form and submit it to their Faculty/ Graduate Advisor for approval before the first day of classes. Do not submit this form to TGS. You must meet the eligibility criteria and submit your request to your Faculty/Graduate Advisor for further approvals and processing. 

Step 2: Faculty/Graduate Advisors will evaluate and submit the request on the behalf of the student through the Course Load Exception Web form (Faculty/ Graduate Advisor: go to the faculty/staff forms or click here to access the link and submit the web form).

For International Students Only 

  • International students do not need to submit a CLE form. Instead, submit the Graduate Student Full Time Equivalency Report from UNT-I for Visa purposes. CLE forms are not applicable to International Students.

  • Submit the Graduate Student Full-Time Equivalency Report (first page) to  and the Graduate Student Full-Time Enrollment Exemption Request (second page) to the UNT-International Office.

  • Because of the review process, students must have a graduate school-approved degree plan on file and paperwork reflecting any coursework changes. Failure to have this on file will delay the review process. 

UNT-International Office contact information:

CLEs and Taxes

If students enroll in less than 9 graduate hours, FICA taxes – which are usually waived by Human Resources for students enrolled full time – will be shown on student paychecks, reducing their overall net pay. Contact the HR Payroll department at 1-855-878-7650 for more details.

Federal Financial Aid Requirements

Student Financial Aid and Scholarships (SFAS) classifies students taking 5 graduate credit hours (GCH) as meeting UNT’s institutional half-time enrollment designation for graduate students. Students may take as few as 3 credit hours to maintain Graduate School fellowships or scholarships, but those who enroll in under 5 graduate credit hours may be ineligible to receive financial aid. For more information, visit the SFAS website or contact the Financial Aid Office at 940-565-2302 for full details.


If you have a question that is not addressed in the information provided above, please email your name and UNT student ID number to