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2. Admission and Registration
All students seeking admission to the Graduate School should consult the Graduate School’s admissions Web site for information and application forms. The student must submit an official transcript from each senior-level college he or she has attended and official scores on the Graduate Record Examinations General Test (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). The applicant should consult the graduate adviser for the program to which he or she is applying to learn which test to take and to learn about additional material required by the program.
A nonrefundable processing fee is charged each applicant to the Graduate School, the McCombs School of Business, or the School of Law. Current fee amounts are given in General Information. Under certain circumstances, applicants to the Graduate School may be eligible for a waiver of the application fee; additional information about the fee waiver is given on the Graduate School’s Web site. Applicants may apply simultaneously to more than one graduate program with no additional application fee.
General requirements for admission to the Graduate School are
- A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or proof of equivalent training in a foreign institution.
- A grade point average of at least 3.00 in upper-division (junior- and senior-level) coursework and in any graduate work already completed.
- An official score on the Graduate Record Examinations General Test (GRE), unless otherwise specified by the graduate program to which the student is applying. The McCombs School of Business requires master’s degree applicants to submit a satisfactory score on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and doctoral degree applicants to submit a satisfactory GRE or GMAT score. Applicants to dual or combined degree programs with the School of Law must submit a satisfactory score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) as well as on the GRE or GMAT.
- Adequate subject preparation for the proposed major. Evidence of adequate preparation varies by program, but examples include letters of reference, auditions, samples of work, and personal statements.
- A recommendation for acceptance by the Graduate Studies Committee for the proposed major area.
International students whose native language is not English must also submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Applicants should consult the graduate adviser for the program of interest to learn which test the program requires.
Applicants may apply simultaneously to more than one graduate program, but they may enroll in only one program, with the exception of applicants admitted to dual degree programs. All complete applications are forwarded to the Graduate Studies Committee(s) to which they are directed. Admission decisions are based on a careful review of all aspects of the applicant’s file. Scores on standardized tests such as the GRE are not the sole criterion for making an admission decision or ending consideration of the application. Each applicant’s test scores are compared with those of other applicants of similar socioeconomic status. Information about admission criteria for each graduate program is available from the graduate adviser.
When there are more qualified applicants than can adequately be instructed by the faculty or accommodated in the facilities, the Graduate Studies Committee for the proposed area may deny admission to students who have met the prescribed requirements. All admissions must be approved by the graduate dean.
Applicants who feel that their grade point averages or test scores are not valid indicators of ability should explain their concerns in a letter to the graduate adviser of the program to which they are applying.
The Graduate Record Examinations General Test (GRE), the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are offered at testing centers throughout North America and at selected international sites. Current information about GRE and TOEFL test dates, locations, and registration procedures is published by the Educational Testing Service. Similar information about the GMAT is published by the Graduate Management Admission Council.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is administered in more than 120 countries and is available off-site in additional countries. Information about IELTS test dates, locations, and procedures is published online.
Applicants to dual or combined programs with the School of Law must also take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), administered by the Law School Admission Council. Information about the LSAT is published by the council online.
Graduate School Select Admission Program
The Graduate School Select Admission Program allows graduate programs to recommend academically outstanding University undergraduates for admission to seek a graduate degree.
Nominations are forwarded to the Graduate School by the program’s graduate adviser or graduate admissions office with the recommendation of the Graduate Studies Committee. Undergraduate candidates may be extended an offer of admission and financial aid as early as the junior year, conditional upon completion of the baccalaureate degree. Application and transcript fees are waived; some graduate programs may waive submission of GRE scores. Admitted students may enroll in graduate courses at undergraduate tuition rates during the senior year and reserve the courses for graduate credit.
Additional information is available in the Office of Graduate Studies and from the graduate adviser of the nominating graduate program.
Admission with Conditions
Almost all of the students who are admitted to the Graduate School have qualifications equal to or better than the minimum standards outlined above.
However, a Graduate Studies Committee may recommend, with the consent of the graduate dean, that a student be admitted to the Graduate School with conditions. The Graduate Studies Committee may require the student to maintain a certain grade point average or to take a certain number of semester hours of coursework. A conditionally admitted student may also be required to remedy deficiencies in undergraduate preparation by taking upper-division or graduate courses. The graduate adviser notifies the student of these conditions at the time of admission. The Graduate Studies Committee petitions the graduate dean for removal of conditions once the conditions have been met. A student who does not fulfill the conditions within the specified time may be barred from subsequent registration in the Graduate School. If the student changes his or her major before the conditions have been fulfilled, the conditions remain in effect unless the graduate adviser for the new program, on behalf of the Graduate Studies Committee, petitions the graduate dean and receives approval for them to be changed.
Students admitted with conditions are not eligible to be teaching assistants, assistant instructors, graduate research assistants, academic assistants, assistants (graduate), or tutors (graduate) except under rare and unusual circumstances and with the approval of the graduate dean.
Admission as a Nondegree Student
A person who would like to take graduate coursework without becoming a candidate for an advanced degree may apply for admission to a graduate program as a nondegree student. The applicant must submit an application and transcripts of all college coursework to the Graduate School; Graduate Record Examinations scores are not required. Admission must be recommended by the Graduate Studies Committee for the program and approved by the graduate dean. Admission as a nondegree student is not available in all graduate programs. Enrollment as a nondegree student is normally limited to one year. Nondegree students are not eligible to be teaching assistants, assistant instructors, graduate research assistants, academic assistants, assistants (graduate), or tutors (graduate).
A graduate nondegree student who wishes to seek a graduate degree must submit the material described in “Applying for Admission” below by the program’s deadline and must pay the usual application fee. A degree-seeking student may petition to have applied to the master’s degree up to six semester hours of graduate credit earned while he or she was a graduate nondegree student.
Undergraduate nondegree students. With the approval of the instructor and the graduate adviser, an undergraduate nondegree student may take any graduate course for which he or she has met the prerequisite. The student will not receive credit toward a graduate degree for courses he or she takes as an undergraduate nondegree student.
Exchange students. A graduate student who is admitted to the University through a reciprocal exchange program is classified as a nondegree student and is subject to all policies affecting nondegree students. Additional information about the exchange student status is given below.
Applying for Admission
Application for admission to the Graduate School consists of submitting to the Graduate and International Admissions Center the official online application form, transcripts, test scores, and processing fees. Instructions and forms are available at the Graduate School’s admissions Web site. Students may also indicate their interest in assistantships and fellowships on the application form.
Each graduate program may require the submission of additional materials. These materials vary by program, but examples include letters of reference, auditions, samples of the student’s work, and personal statements. Information about required materials is available from the graduate adviser of each program.
Because graduate programs set their own application deadlines, the applicant must be sure to inquire about the deadline for the program to which he or she is applying. Many programs have deadlines as early as December 1 for the following summer session or fall semester, but some programs set different dates. Few graduate programs admit new students for the spring semester; those that do have deadlines no later than October 1. It is the applicant’s responsibility to meet the deadline set by the graduate program. A list of program deadlines is given at the Graduate School’s admissions Web site.
Applicants should also note that some programs grant admission only for the fall semester.
Deadlines for those seeking financial aid. The usual deadline for an applicant seeking financial aid to submit all materials is December 1 for summer or fall admission or October 1 for spring admission. Individual graduate programs may have earlier or later deadlines. Financial aid decisions are made soon after these program deadlines, and applicants whose materials have not been received may not be given full consideration. Applicants should contact the program of interest to them for current deadlines. Additional information about financial aid is given in chapter 1.
In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission, applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate sufficient competence in English to study effectively at the University. These applicants are required to submit scores on either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to the Graduate School.
Because transcripts from foreign universities require special evaluation, prospective international students are advised to submit their application forms, test scores, and transcripts well in advance of deadlines. Early submission gives the University enough time to process the application and gives the applicant enough time to obtain visas and make travel arrangements if admission is granted. A nonrefundable processing fee is required with each application for admission to the Graduate School, the McCombs School of Business, or the School of Law. All payments must be in US dollars and drawn on US banks. Current fee amounts are given in General Information.
International students must maintain approved comprehensive health insurance or coverage. The student’s registration bill includes the premium for the University health insurance policy, unless approval to substitute alternate, comparable coverage has been given by the International Office.
Some graduate programs require students to pay a nonrefundable enrollment deposit upon admission to indicate that they accept the offer of admission. The current amounts of these deposits are given in General Information. For students applying to dual degree programs, one deposit serves to confirm the student’s intention of enrolling in both programs. When both programs require deposits, only the higher fee is required. The deposit is applied to the payment of fees when the student enrolls. Students who demonstrate financial need may qualify for assistance to cover the deposit.
All graduate students are expected to enroll and pay tuition by the twelfth class day of the fall semester and the spring semester of each academic year until they graduate. A student who does not do so must apply for readmission in order to return to the University. He or she must submit an Application for Readmission to the Graduate School by the deadline given in General Information and must pay the general application fee. The fee is waived if the student has received an official leave of absence as described in chapter 3. The student must also obtain the approval of the graduate adviser in the program in which he or she was last enrolled. Readmission to a graduate program is not guaranteed. A former graduate student who was in good standing when he or she left the University is not required to submit official transcripts unless they are requested by the student’s graduate program.
To change to a different major, the student must submit an Application for Admission to Another Graduate Major to the Graduate School; for additional information, see the section “Application to Another Graduate Major (Change of Major).”
A graduate student who is admitted to the University through a reciprocal exchange program is classified as a nondegree student. An exchange student may not register for more than two long-session semesters and one summer session. The transferability of academic credit to the student’s home institution is determined by the home institution.
An exchange student who wishes to take a graduate course must obtain the approval of the instructor and of the graduate adviser for the program that offers the course, must meet all course prerequisites, and must meet any other requirements affecting nondegree students. The rules that apply to nondegree students are given in General Information.
An exchange student may later apply for admission to the University as a degree-seeking graduate student. To do so, he or she must submit the usual test scores, application fee, and other required material by the appropriate deadline, as described in “Applying for Admission” above. If the applicant is admitted, the Graduate Studies Committee may seek the graduate dean’s approval to include on the Program of Work for the master’s degree up to six hours of graduate coursework that the student completed as a nondegree exchange student. All requirements related to courses that may be counted toward graduate degrees apply, including rules concerning courses counted toward another degree.
University students register online for each semester and summer session. Complete information about the registration process is given in the Course Schedule.
Registration for New Graduate Students
Applicants are notified by mail of their admission or denial. Admitted applicants should notify their graduate advisers as soon as possible whether they plan to accept admission. Either in an interview or by correspondence, the admitted applicant should then learn the specific requirements of his or her graduate program. Students should consult the Course Schedule to learn whether advising before registration is required in their major area.
The period of late registration is given in the Course Schedule. During this period, a student may register with the consent of the graduate adviser; a late fee is imposed. After this period, registration is permitted only under exceptional circumstances, upon recommendation of the graduate adviser, and with consent of the graduate dean and the registrar.
Registration for Continuing Graduate Students
Continuing graduate students should consult the Course Schedule to learn whether advising before registration is required in their major area.
To continue in the Graduate School beyond the first semester or summer session, the student must make satisfactory progress in fulfilling any admission conditions that were imposed, meet any requirements made in writing by the Graduate Studies Committee, maintain a graduate grade point average of at least 3.00, and receive the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee. For further information about grade requirements, see the section “Graduate Credit” in chapter 3.
Registration Following Graduation
Students who wish to continue enrollment beyond the semester in which their degree is awarded must be admitted as nondegree students or as degree-seeking students in a new degree program. Students must request a change of major or degree-seeking status from the Graduate School.
Maximum Course Load
The maximum course load for a graduate student is fifteen semester hours in a long-session semester or twelve semester hours in a twelve-week summer session. A heavier course load must have the recommendation of the graduate adviser and the approval of the graduate dean. It is permitted only under exceptional circumstances.
Full-Time Course Load
There is no minimum course load for graduate students; however, the Graduate School recognizes nine semester hours during a long-session semester and three hours during a summer session as a minimum full-time course load. Individual graduate programs may require more.
Agencies that grant loans or provide for educational funding may establish different definitions of full-time status. The student should be familiar with the regulations of any agency to which he or she has an obligation.
Under various circumstances, graduate students must register for and must remain registered for a full-time load. The definition of a full-time load that is used in each case is given below.
Holders of Graduate School–administered fellowships and scholarships: Nine hours each semester and three hours in the summer session (in any combination of summer-session terms).
Graduate student academic employees: Nine hours each semester and three hours in the summer session (in any combination of summer-session terms). A “graduate student academic employee” is a graduate student who is also employed by the University under one of the following titles: teaching assistant, assistant instructor, graduate research assistant, academic assistant, assistant (graduate), and tutor (graduate).
Students receiving certain student loans: Nine hours each semester and three hours in the summer session (in any combination of summer-session terms).
Students living in University housing should consult the Division of Housing and Food Service for course-load regulations.
International students: Nine hours each semester. An international student must consult with International Student Scholar Services and must have the written permission of his or her dean to take fewer than nine hours. No minimum load is required in the summer. Some approved courses in English as a second language do not carry University credit, but each course is considered the equivalent of a three-hour course for purposes of the course load requirement. Students may enroll in these courses with the approval of their graduate adviser.
Affiliated studies: Students enroll in affiliated studies (A S) when they participate in a study abroad program offered by an institution with which the University has an affiliation agreement. Students enrolled in affiliated studies are considered full-time students. More information about affiliated programs is given in General Information.
International study and research: Students may enroll in international study and research (ISR) when they conduct research or study independently abroad. A student enrolled in international study and research is considered a full-time student. Doctoral candidates may not use registration in ISR to circumvent the continuous registration requirement described in chapter 3. When a doctoral candidate receives approval to enroll in ISR, however, that enrollment is an acceptable substitute for registration in dissertation hours, except in the final semester, when enrollment in the dissertation writing course (-99W) is required. More information about international study and research is available from the Study Abroad Office.
In Absentia Registration
Students must be registered for the semester in which they graduate and must apply for graduation by the deadline published in the academic calendar. There are no exceptions to this policy for fall semester and spring semester graduation; a student who fails to complete all degree requirements or misses the deadline for acceptance of the thesis, report, recital, dissertation, or treatise must register and pay tuition the following semester or summer session in order to receive the degree.
An exception is made for students who apply to graduate in the summer session but miss the deadline for acceptance of the thesis, report, recital, dissertation, or treatise. In this case, the student will be registered in absentia for the fall semester, only for the purpose of receiving the degree, by degree evaluators in the Office of Graduate Studies. The thesis, report, recital, dissertation, or treatise must be accepted by the deadline for in absentia registration, which falls before the beginning of the following fall semester. The fee for in absentia registration is $25. The student will be registered in absentia only once.
Adding and Dropping Courses
Before classes begin, a student who has registered may add or drop a course online as described in the Course Schedule. The student may also add or drop a course online during the first four class days of a long-session semester. From the fifth through the twelfth class day, he or she may add or drop a course with the approval of his or her graduate adviser and of the department in which the course is given. After the twelfth class day, the student may add a course only under rare and extenuating circumstances approved by the graduate dean.
In each summer-session term, the student may add or drop a course online during the first two class days. On the third and fourth class days, he or she may add or drop a course with the approval of his or her graduate adviser and of the department in which the course is given. After the fourth class day, the student may add a course only under rare and extenuating circumstances approved by the graduate dean.
A student may drop a course with the required approvals through the last class day of a semester or summer term. He or she receives a refund for courses dropped by the twelfth class day of a long-session semester or by the fourth class day of a summer term. From the thirteenth through the twentieth class day of a long-session semester, and from the fifth through the tenth class day of a summer term, the student may drop a course with no academic penalty; the symbol Q is recorded. If the student drops a course after that time, the instructor determines whether the symbol Q or a grade of F should be recorded.
If the student is in a warning status because of failure to maintain a grade point average of at least 3.00, he or she may not drop a course without the recommendation of the graduate adviser and the approval of the graduate dean.
The student should note that dropping a course may cause his or her course load to drop below that required for full-time status.
Letter grades and the symbols for credit and no credit, CR and NC, are most commonly used to record the instructor’s evaluation of students’ performance in a course. Under specific conditions, other symbols may be used to record students’ standing in a class. Grades and symbols and the policies governing them are described in General Information.
Withdrawal from the University
Dropping an entire course load constitutes withdrawal from the University for that semester.
To withdraw from the Graduate School, the student must file with the graduate dean a withdrawal petition, a form that also explains refund policies. The student may withdraw through the last class day of the semester. If the student abandons his or her courses without withdrawing, the instructor in each class determines what grade should be recorded.
Students in a warning status because of failure to maintain a grade point average of at least 3.00 may not withdraw without a petition from the graduate adviser and the approval of the graduate dean.
A student may not be employed in an academic position beyond the last date of his or her enrollment. Students must end their academic appointments prior to withdrawing.
1. Graduates of foreign institutions may be required to have a minimum score on an English-language-proficiency test such as the TOEFL or the IELTS.