14-Semester Rule for Student Employment

A graduate student may be employed as a teaching assistant, assistant instructor, graduate research assistant, academic assistant, assistant or tutor for a maximum of 14 long semesters.


Petitions for exception to the 14-Semester Rule may be submitted under either of the following conditions and will be granted for one or two long semesters only after the student completes his or her 14th semester of employment.

  1. Master’s Degree from UT Austin

    A student who earned a master’s degree from the university and was employed in a student academic title while completing that degree may be granted one semester of employment beyond the 14-semester limit for each semester employed while classified as a master’s student, up to a total of two additional semesters. The petition should include the date of beginning and completion of the master’s degree and the specific semesters during which the student was employed.

    This exception does not apply to doctoral students who elect to receive the master’s degree for courses completed in pursuit of the doctorate. Students admitted to doctoral programs will sometimes complete sufficient coursework along the way to the doctorate to receive the master’s degree. Receipt of the master’s degree as a byproduct of a doctoral program does not qualify for exception to the 14-semester limit.

  2. Formal Review

    The Graduate School will approve formal review petitions only under extraordinary academic circumstances. Though the petition is not submitted until the 14th semester of employment, documentation to accompany the petition is to be gathered beginning in the 12th semester of employment. The 12th-semester review is not required for a student who will not need an exception to the 14-semester limit, only a student who will need or might need an exception to the 14-semester limit. Retroactive 12th-semester reports are not permitted.

  • The student’s dissertation or treatise committee reviews the status of the dissertation or treatise at the end of the 12th semester of employment and reports that status in writing to the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC). It is the responsibility of the student’s academic program to monitor the number of semesters the student has been employed and to undertake the reviews during the 12th semester.
  • During the 14th semester of employment, the dissertation committee, on behalf of the GSC, hears a presentation by the student, reviews the progress made by the student since the 12th-semester report, and determines via recorded vote whether a petition will be submitted.
  • The petition for exception to the 14-semester limit will include the 12th-semester status report, a 14th-semester progress report, a plan for completion not to exceed two long semesters into the future, the vote of the dissertation committee, and an explanation for any dissenting votes.
  • The petition is submitted to the Graduate School jointly by the GSC chair and the graduate adviser.

Completion of both the 12th- and 14th-semester formal reviews is necessary for submission of a petition for exception. There is no guarantee, however, that the exception will be granted. Though other factors are involved in the decision on the petition for exception, two of critical importance are the dissertation progress during the period between the 12th- and 14th-semester reviews and the promise of dissertation completion in the near future.

Guidelines for Staff

To identify students approaching the 14-semester limit, use the following guidelines:

  1. Identify students who have been enrolled in the Graduate School for six years, including transfers from other graduate programs.

  2. Use EASI or DEFINE to review student’s employment history:
    • EASI: Use the GCD Grad Student Progress application and go to the “Funding” tab. Count employment history here using the guidelines below. 

      Note: A 14- or 12-semester flag in this application may or may not be correct. The system does not differentiate between 20-hour appointments and partial appointment, for example.
    • DEFINE: You may view employment history by using the AL1 screen with a student’s UT EID. Be sure to change the first fiscal year date field to something early enough to catch all appointments (e.g.: 90 for 1990). Press enter. You will be able to see all appointments by continuing to press enter.

  3. Eliminate canceled appointments. (These have an end date of 000000 and the appointment status is “cancel.”)

  4. Eliminate summer appointments and appointments during breaks.


Any long semester during which the student receives an academic appointment of 20 hours a week or more, regardless of the period of appointment, will count as one full semester for purposes of the 14-Semester Rule.

A student academic appointment for fewer than 20 hours per week, regardless of the period of appointment, will count as an appropriate fraction of a semester. For example, a five-hour appointment represents one-fourth of a semester of support. Four five-hour appointments over four semesters represent one full standard semester toward the 14-semester limit.

A student having accumulated, for example, 13 ½ semesters of support is limited to only 10 more hours of appointment to complete a total of 14 and become ineligible for further student academic appointment without an approved exception.