Admission to Graduate Study
To define the eligibility and admission criteria for different categories of admission to graduate study at the University of Kansas.
All applicants in programs on, or reporting to, the Lawrence and Edwards campuses.
Applicants 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.
The University of Kansas notifies each applicant in writing of the admission decision. In situations requiring a previously enrolled student to re-apply for graduate admission, the previous admission does not guarantee re-admission.
In accordance with the policy on English Proficiency Requirements for Admission to Graduate Study, all applicants who are non-native speakers of English must demonstrate English proficiency, as described in the policy. In some circumstances, students may be offered admission and also be required to complete mandatory English Language Training alongside or prior to the academic degree program.
Degree- and Certificate-Seeking Admission
Acceptance for gradute study requires an official, final transcript as evidence of a completed bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited university or from a foreign university with substantially equivalent bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree requirements. Students may be admitted for one (1) semester of graduate work based on transcripts issued for an active bachelor’s degree program, but these students must provide evidence of a completed bachelor’s degree before they will be allowed to enroll in a second term of graduate study at KU. For more information about what constitutes evidence of a completed bachelor's degree and about procedures used to provide and evaluate transcripts, see the procedures governing Graduate Admission.
Individual degree programs, departments, and/or schools and the College determine minimum GPA requirements for each program.
Adding a Certificate Program
Active degree-seeking graduate students may choose to pursue a graduate certificate upon approval of the certificate-granting department. 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.
Adding a Degree Program
If students admitted to a graduate certificate program wish to pursue a degree, they must submit a new application for graduate admission. Upon degree-seeking admission, 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 degree-seeking admission, the certificate itself is not considered to be a prerequisite and does not guarantee admission into any graduate degree program.
A non-degree-seeking applicant applies to a specific department, program, professional school, or the College for admission as a non-degree-seeking student. A non-degree-seeking applicant must fulfill the English proficiency requirements for admission to graduate study at KU and must provide an official, final transcript as evidence of a completed bachelor's or higher degree from a regionally-accredited university or from a foreign university with substantially equivalent bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree requirements. Non-degree-seeking students may be admitted for one (1) semester of graduate work based on transcripts issued for an active bachelor’s degree program, but these students must provide evidence of a completed bachelor’s degree before they will be allowed to enroll in a second term of graduate study at KU. For more information about what constitutes a completed bachelor's degree and about procedures used to provide and evaluate transcripts, see the procedures governing Graduate Admission.
A non-degree-seeking applicant is not required to meet the other requirements for graduate 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 degree- or certificate-seeking student, the student may transfer up to nine (9) credit hours earned as a non-degree-seeking student at KU toward a graduate certificate or degree, or up to six (6) credit hours in the case of a nine-hour (9-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  credit hours, or six  toward a nine-hour [9-hour] certificate). For more information, see the policy on Graduate Credit.
Offers of Admission
Offers of admission are valid for one (1) year from the term of admission, as long as the admitting program approves deferral to a future term. If the admitted applicant is not enrolled after one (1) year, 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.
Graduate admission application records will be retained according to the following Records Retention Schedule.
Exceptions to Policy
In exceptional cases, the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies may grant exceptions to these policy provisions. In such cases, the Vice Provost reviews all relevant documentation and extraordinary circumstances and may consult with the Executive Council of Graduate Faculty as appropriate.
KU seniors may apply to co-enroll in a degree or certificate program. See the policy on Seniors and Graduate Study (Coenrollment).
Applicants with KU degrees do not need to provide an official copy of their KU transcript. Degree- and certificate-seeking applicants admitted in the final term of an active degree program at KU do not need to provide official copies of their transcript. Degree completion will be verified with the Registrar's Office so that students may enroll for their second semester.
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1450 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS 66045
08/07/2023: Added link to Transactions with Restricted Parties policy in Related Policies.
06/30/2023: Updated links and policy statement formatting.
09/09/2022: Updated broken links and reconds retention information.
09/24/2021: Substantive revisions to reduce access barriers.
08/02/2021: Updated Applies to section.
07/28/2020: Fixed broken link
06/25/2020: Changed Dean of Graduate Studies to Vice Provost of Graduate Studies.
02/14/2020: Technical edits for typos, consistency with other policy requirements
09/19/2018: Updated policy and approver.
10/21/2016: Corrected Subheading.
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.
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.