Two women students at TEDI London are deconstructing a mechanical object in a classroom with other students doing the same at other tables.

Graduate frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Here is a list of most commonly asked questions by graduate students:

What is the difference between the program chair, a faculty advisor, and an academic advisor?

  • Your Program Chair is responsible for the academic administration of your degree program and can explain the content of the courses in the degree program.
  • Your Academic Advisor will assist you with registration issues, plan of study (POS) submissions, and explanation of policies to students.
  • Your Faculty Advisor directs your thesis, applied project, and/or dissertation research and the course selection related to it. A faculty advisor may also provide final approval of your plan of study.

Where do I go for academic advising?

Visit the advising webpage for details on contacting your advisor.

What are advising holds?

Holds are put in place when:

  • The student is a new student for first time registration
  • A student does not have an iPOS on file by the third semester
  • A student has a GPA below the standard set by the program

How do I get an advising hold removed?

Advising holds can be set up for a number of reasons. Please contact your academic advisor to find out how to have an advising hold removed.

How do I register for courses?

On your MyASU student account, in the “My Classes” section, you will see a link for “Registration” and “Class Search.” The Registration Date indicates the date and time you may begin registering for courses. 

Watch MyASU for items in your “To Dos” list or “Holds,” as these may prevent registration.

How many credits are required for international students to take each semester?

International students are required to take at least nine (9) credit hours each fall and spring semester.

Speak with your advisor to make sure the credits you are taking meet the requirements for distribution of in-person and online courses, or if you need to take a reduced course load.

What does it mean to audit a course? Will an audited course affect my GPA?

  • Auditing a course means that you register for and attend a course, but do not receive credit for the course, and receive a grade of “X.”
  • An audited course will not go on your Plan of Study (iPOS), nor will it affect your GPA.
  • As a Fulton Schools student, you may only audit courses after all your required coursework for your degree is completed.
  • You may petition this policy if you wish to audit a course before you complete their degree program coursework. Speak with your academic advisor for more information.

What is the process for applying for a teaching assistantship (TA)?

The application process varies by degree program. First ask your faculty advisor for the possibility of receiving an assistantship. From there, your faculty advisor will guide you on how to proceed.

To find more information about these opportunities visit the Research and Teaching Assistantships page.

What is the process of becoming a research assistant (RA)?

To become an RA, you must contact a faculty member directly to find out if an RA is possible. You may do this before arriving at ASU.

To find faculty members who mentor students in your program, visit the Graduate Faculty page.

What are the benefits aligned with being awarded a teaching assistantship (TA)?

For students who hold ½ time (50%) TA, there is a full tuition waiver and potentially a stipend. Additionally, 50% time TAs also receive health insurance benefits. A student who is a ¼ time TA receives ½ tuition waiver and potentially a stipend.

I have been admitted to the non-thesis program even though I applied to the thesis program. Why is this?

All master’s students are admitted into the non-thesis program until they secure a faculty advisor. Once you have secured a faculty advisor, it is possible to change to the thesis degree track. 

You are encouraged to seek out your faculty advisor before you arrive at ASU. You may try to find someone who studies a topic of interest for you, and contact them to see if they are available to be your faculty advisor.

The graduate faculty for all Fulton Schools programs are  listed on this webpage:, and is searchable by degree program.

I want to be in the thesis program. How can I do this?

Once you have secured a faculty advisor,, you may change to the thesis option. Several changes will need to be made to your plan of study (iPOS):

  • You must change your culminating experience on your iPOS in your My ASU student account. 
  • Then,  name your faculty advisor on the iPOS
  • After these changes, your Plan of Study (iPOS) must be approved by your academic advisor before thesis credit (599) may be added. 
  • After approval, you may update your coursework on your iPOS to include 6 thesis credits.

It is important to know that before a student may defend their thesis or dissertation, they must list their entire committee on their iPOS, and have it approved by their academic advisor.

What kind of ASU resources are available for students?

ASU provides numerous resources to facilitate a fulfilling learning experience, both inside and outside of the classroom. Learn more about these resources at ASU Enterprise Technology.

Where can I get an ASU Sun card/ID card?

ASU’s student id card is called a Sun Card. Once you are admitted to ASU, you can get one at the Sun Card office: You must be eligible to register for courses in order to receive a Sun Card.

Does ASU have organizations or clubs for students?

Yes, ASU has organizations and clubs for students. Get more information and be a part of the club of your choice at Sun Devil Sync.

There are more than 60 student organizations and teams in the Fulton Schools of Engineering. Visit Fulton Student Organizations to learn more.