Graduate Credit


To describe the terms in which graduate credit will be applied to a degree plan.

Applies to: 

All Lawrence and Edwards campus graduate students

Policy Statement: 

Graduate Credit

Three (3) conditions must be met for a student to receive graduate credit for work satisfactorily completed at KU:

  1. The student must have gained graduate admission.
  2. The course must be numbered 500-level or above and have been approved for graduate credit by the appropriate professional school or the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  3. The instructor must be authorized to teach at the graduate level.

Non-degree-seeking students admitted to a particular program, school, or College will earn graduate credit for courses taken even though they are not working toward a credential. General non-degree-seeking students without a program or school affiliation will not earn credit for courses taken.

Counting Credits Toward Degrees and Certificates

Graduate courses taken as a degree-seeking student may count toward both a graduate degree and graduate certificate as long as the student is admitted and enrolled in the certificate program prior to completion of the last course required for the certificate.

Similarly, graduate credit earned while certificate-seeking may also be applied toward a master’s program with the approval of the master’s program, provided the student is enrolled as degree-seeking in the master’s program prior to the last semester of coursework in the master's program.

At the discretion of the certificate-granting or degree-granting program and the Graduate Division, up to nine (9) credit hours of graduate classes taken as a non-degree-seeking student may be allowed to count toward a certificate or degree program. In the case of a nine-hour (9-hour) graduate certificate, a maximum of six (6) credit hours is allowed.

Grades of C- and below do not count toward fulfilling degree requirements and cannot be counted toward a degree or certificate. Course credit by examination is not accepted toward graduate degrees or certificates.

Cumulative Graduate GPA

For degree- and certificate-seeking graduate students, all graduate-level courses will be included in the calculation of the cumulative graduate GPA. Undergraduate courses, even when the student enrolls as part of their graduate career, will not count toward the cumulative graduate GPA. For students in Accelerated Master's (e.g., 4+1 or 3+3) programs, only courses taken after full admission as a graduate student will factor into the cumulative graduate GPA. Graduate courses counted as part of the undergraduate degree will not be counted in the cumulative graduate GPA.

For non-degree-seeking students, all undergraduate and graduate courses will count toward the student's cumulative graduate GPA while the student maintains their non-degree-seeking status. However, if a non-degree-seeking student applies, is admitted, and begins work on a degree- or certificate-seeking program, any undergraduate coursework taken as a non-degree-seeking graduate student will be removed from the calculation of the cumulative graduate GPA. Graduate courses taken while a non-degree-seeking student will continue to be included in the GPA calculation.

Grades of C- and below will affect the calculation of the cumulative graduate GPA. The grades of P, S, SP, LP, NP, U, and I, for which no numerical equivalents are defined, are excluded from the GPA calculation.

Transfer Credit

At the discretion of the major department and the Graduate Division, any graduate student may transfer up to nine (9) hours of graduate credit taken at a regionally-accredited graduate school and apply it to a KU master’s degree plan, as long as the credits were taken prior to the final semester of enrollment at KU. In cases where KU has an established Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a partner institution, students may be able to transfer more than nine (9) hours of graduate credit, in accordance with the MOU.

Only work graded B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or higher may be transferred. KU does not accept transfer credit for courses that have been graded B- or below. KU master's degrees may accept transfer credit graded CR (credit), S (satisfactory), or similar in cases where a school, college, or university employed such grading scales in response to a natural or other disaster, as indicated by a transcript notation or other documentation.

KU does not accept graduate transfer credit for institutes, workshops, or life/work experience. Credit will not transfer for courses that were previously counted toward the completion of an undergraduate or graduate degree.

A minimum of 15 credits toward a master’s degree must be earned in KU coursework. As described in the Master's Degree Requirements policy, a 30-hour master’s degree may be reduced to as few as 24 hours for students who are “especially well prepared.” If coursework is transferred to KU, the same coursework cannot also be used to establish a student as “exceptionally well prepared.”

No graduate credit may be transferred toward a doctoral degree, but departments may take relevant prior graduate work into consideration when setting up programs of study.

Graduate credit from another institution may not be transferred to a KU graduate certificate program.

The department or program and the Graduate Division retain the discretion to deny a student’s request to have transfer credit and/or non-degree-seeking credit count toward a degree or certificate.


Graduate Studies

Approved by: 
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Effective on: 
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)

This policy reflects the practices that have been in place at the University of Kansas for a number of years.

Graduate credit, Graduate coursework, Graduate transfer credit, Graduate degree requirements
Change History: 

07/18/2023: Approved by updated to Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, language changed to mirror Master's Degree Requirements policy, M.A. & M.S. Degrees updated to Master's Degree Requirements.
12/17/2020: Policy reviewed and updated.
04/19/2019: Technical edit to update authorization to teach for graduate credit
10/11/2018: Technical edits to describe calculation process for cumulative graduate GPA in accelerated master's programs -- ARG
04/25/2018: clarify existing policy language and processes; articulate cumulative graduate GPA calculation processes - SVPAA approved 24 April 2018
05/11/2015: Revisions recommended by Graduate Studies and the Executive Council of Graduate Faculty were approved by the senior Vice Provost.
Revisions to this policy were reviewed and endorsed by the academic Deans, Associate Deans, Department Chairs, Directors of Graduate Study, all department and school staff, the University Registrar, Financial Aid and Scholarships, and International Student Services.
05/01/2012: Initially approved.

Academic Categories: 
Academic Work & Evaluations

Can't Find What You're Looking For?
Policy Library Search
KU Today
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times