Special Enrollment Status in a nutshell

Special Enrollment Status (formerly Z Status) was created for students writing a thesis or dissertation who needed full-time status, but were enrolled in less than 6-9 hours. The privilege has since been extended to non-thesis/dissertation programs with similar capstone experiences. 

Special Enrollment Status GS-ZS Overview

  • Special Enrollment is usually limited to two terms.  Exceptions are based on departmental expectations for how long it should take to complete a thesis, dissertation, or similar capstone experience.
  • Excepting graduate assistants, students employed more than half-time are not eligible for Special Enrollment Status.
  • Students covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can qualify for Special Enrollment Status. See the guidelines for the proper documentation.

How to request Special Enrollment Status

  1. Download the guidelines for Special Enrollment Status and the accompanying GS-ZS form here.
    The guidelines, including directions for submissions, are on pages 2 and 3 of the PDF. Please read them before submitting the form.
  2. Fill out the GS-ZS form signed by your graduate director or major professor.
  3. Submit the form to The Graduate School by mail, email, in person, or by fax. (Details are in the guidelines.)
  4. Register for classes.
  5. Check your Special Enrollment Status on your online transcript at The Graduate School does not process GS-ZS forms until the start of the term, and does not send notice of GS-ZS status approval.


Questions? Contact Garrick Queen at