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Admission to Graduate Study


To define the eligibility and admission criteria for different categories of admission to graduate study at the University of Kansas.

Applies to: 

Graduate students in programs on, or reporting to, the Lawrence and Edwards campuses

Policy Statement: 

Persons whose records indicate their ability to succeed in advanced work may be admitted to the University of Kansas for graduate study in one of the professional schools or in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The provisions herein constitute university minima. Departments and programs may be more selective.

Applicants can apply to be degree-seeking, non-degree-seeking, or certificate-seeking students. Applicants pursuing an identifiable degree program are degree-seeking; those applicants pursuing a certificate program are certificate-seeking; those who are not pursuing an identified degree or certificate program should be admitted under the non-degree-seeking category. No student may work toward a graduate degree without being accepted as a degree-seeking student in a specific graduate program.

English Proficiency:

In accordance with the policy on English Proficiency Requirements for Admission to Graduate Study, international applicants demonstrate English proficiency, even if they indicate that English is their first language. Domestic applicants who indicate that English is not their first language must demonstrate English proficiency as described in the policy.

Degree- and Certificate-Seeking Admission:

Students who apply to a graduate degree or certificate program may be offered admission with a status of regular or provisional. In some circumstances, students may be offered regular admission and also be required to complete mandatory English Language Training alongside the academic degree program.

Degree-seeking graduate students who wish to pursue a certificate within their own department do not need to apply separately for admission to the certificate program unless the department requires a separate application. Degree-seeking graduate students who wish to pursue a certificate outside of their home department must apply to the certificate program. Degree-seeking graduate students must be in good standing in their degree program in order to be admitted to a certificate program, whether in the same or a different department.

If students admitted to a graduate certificate program are later admitted to a graduate degree program as degree-seeking students, applicable courses taken for the graduate certificate program may be counted toward the degree with the approval of the degree-granting program. While the courses comprising a graduate certificate may be used as evidence in support of a student's application for admission to a graduate degree program, the certificate itself is not considered to be a prerequisite and does not guarantee admission into any graduate degree program.

Regular Admission:

Regular admission requires evidence* of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited university or from a foreign university with substantially equivalent bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree requirements. The bachelor’s degree is not acceptable if it contains credit awarded for work experience that was not directly supervised by faculty members (life experience) or if the work was not evaluated in units that identify the academic content (e.g., if the work was graded on a P/F or S/U basis). In exceptional cases, persons not holding bachelor’s degrees may be admitted if they are academically well prepared. In these cases, the Dean of Graduate Studies reviews the student’s academic background before the student is admitted.

Except as otherwise provided herein, applicants must demonstrate a grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), in a completed* degree program at KU, at another regionally-accredited institution, or at a foreign university with substantially equivalent bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree requirements. For more information on procedures used to provide and evaluate tanscript, see the Admission to Graduate Study, Procedures.

*Students may be admitted based on the cumulative GPA in the last term of an active degree program, but these students must provide evidence of a completed bachelor’s degree (as described above) before they will be allowed to enroll in a second term of graduate study at KU.

Provisional Admission:

Applicants who meet the minimum bachelor's degree requirement above but who have one or more deficiencies in grade-point average, prerequisite course work, or other areas as determined by the department or program, but who meet all other admission standards, may be admitted on a provisional basis. Students granted provisional admission shall not be considered in academic good standing until the department and graduate division recognize that the student has met the requirements for regular admission as described below.

If an applicant is admitted provisionally, it is expected that the student's department and the student's school or College will review the student's progress immediately following the first semester of graduate study. This review will determine whether the student has met the requirements for regular admission.

If the student meets the requirements for regular admission, the department or program in which the student is enrolled will request that Graduate Studies move the student from provisional to regular status. If the student does not meet the requirements for regular admission by the time of review, the student may be continued on provisional status or dismissed immediately.

A student with provisional status may be dismissed at the conclusion of any semester if the student fails to earn a 3.0 GPA or to meet other requirements for regular admission. If, after the first semester, provisional continuation is recommended by the department or program and approved by the graduate division, the student may remain on provisional status until the student meets the requirements for regular admission.

Non-Degree-Seeking Admission:

In most cases, a non-degree-seeking applicant applies to the University (not to a department, program, or school) for admission as a non-degree-seeking student. A non-degree-seeking applicant must confirm that the applicant has completed a bachelor's degree and, if applicable, meets the English proficiency requirements for non-degree-seeking admission (for more information, see the policy here). The applicant is not required to meet the other requirements for regular admission.

Non-degree-seeking admission is not intended to bypass regular admission into a graduate certificate or degree program. However, if a non-degree-seeking student later applies for admission and is accepted as a regular degree- or certificate-seeking student, the student may transfer up to nine (9) credit hours earned as a non-degree-seeking student toward a graduate certificate or degree, or up to six (6) credit hours in the case of a nine-hour certificate. Students who withdraw from a degree program and subsequently seek admission to a certificate program are subject to these same transfer limits (i.e., nine (9) credit hours, or six (6) toward a nine-hour certificate). For more information, see the policy on Graduate Credit.

Easy Admit:

An applicant to graduate study who wishes only to attend institutes or workshops that require graduate admitted status may be admitted under the easy admit process. This process allows any person, with evidence of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, to take one course per semester without needing to meet the additional requirements of provisional admission.

The easy admit process is limited to certain Lawrence-campus programs that tend to have a high volume of applicants who enroll in institutes or workshops for continuing education purposes. An applicant should verify that the easy admit option is available for the course in which the student is interested before pursuing this option.

Offers of Admission:

Offers of admission are valid for one year from the term of admission, as long as the admitting program approves deferral to a future term. If individuals offered admission are not in attendance at the University of Kansas after one year from the term of admission, all application materials are destroyed and the admission is rescinded. If this occurs, the prospective graduate student must submit a new application, application fee, official transcripts, and other required materials. Previous acceptance into a graduate program does not guarantee an admission offer for a future application.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

KU seniors may apply to co-enroll in a degree or certificate program. See the policy on Seniors and Graduate Study (Coenrollment).

Some non-degree-seeking applicants will wish to pursue a program of coursework established to fulfill external, professional certification requirements, such as in the fields of education or psychology. These students may apply directly to a department or program of study, rather than to the university as described above.

International students seeking F-1 status must meet the standards of Regular Admission. Provisional Admission is not sufficient to issue the Form I-20.


Graduate Studies
213 Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS 66045
(785) 864-8040

Approved by: 
Senior Vice Provost of Academic Affairs
Approved on: 
Friday, March 14, 2008
Effective on: 
Friday, March 14, 2008
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Admission, degree-seeking, non-degree-seeking, certificate-seeking, regular admission, provisional admission, international student, English proficiency, easy admit, graduate credit
Change History: 

10/21/2016: Corrected Subheading - ARG

10/07/2016: Corrected misspelling

10/05/2016: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g. bolding, spacing).
10/04/2016: Substantive revisions approved by Interim VPAA Day- overhauled structure for flow and clarity; moved all information from certificate admission policy here so that one can retire - ARG
07/01/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
05/11/2015: Minor changes to align with the recent revision to the Graduate Credit policy.
01/28/2015: Made minor edit to align with the recent language clarification to the English proficiency policy.
12/18/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
10/16/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
02/27/2014: Revised to provide current information on English proficiency for incoming graduate students who are not native English speakers as well as clarification of admissions minimums for applicant GPA. Prior to final approval by the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, this policy was reviewed and endorsed by the Applied English Center, Student Information Services, the Office of the University Registrar, academic deans, the Executive Committee of Graduate Faculty, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.
08/14/2013: Updated by Graduate Studies and the Office of the Provost.
03/25/2011: Updated by Graduate Studies and the Office of the Provost.
03/14/2008: Added to KU Policy Library.

Academic Categories: 
Admission to KU

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