Admission for Master's and Doctoral Degrees
Frequently Asked Questions
- I would like to apply to a graduate program, but I currently have more than seven credits to complete for my bachelor’s degree. If I wait to apply, I will miss the application deadline for my preferred first term of enrollment as a graduate student. Can I apply anyway?
Yes. You may apply to a graduate program when you have more than seven credits or two courses to complete for your baccalaureate degree (including grades of Incomplete). However, at the time of your initial matriculation in the graduate program, you may have no more than seven credits or two courses to complete for your undergraduate degree. If you do not complete the work for the baccalaureate degree by the end of the first term of enrollment in your graduate program, a hold is placed on your graduate registration until your graduate program determines that you have completed the baccalaureate degree.
- I applied to begin my graduate program in the fall and now I need to defer my admission for one year. Is my original application still valid for the following fall?
Yes. You must request the deferral from the graduate program. If the program approves your request, you may defer your admission for up to one full academic year—from entry in fall of one year to entry in fall of the following year (e.g., from Fall 2012 to Fall 2013). If you do not matriculate within the one-year period, you must re-apply and pay a new application fee. Please note that you may NOT defer for more than one academic year (e.g. from Fall 2012 to Spring 2014) and that any financial offer you receive with your initial admission offer may not carry over to the new entry date.
- I have been admitted to pursue two degrees simultaneously in different colleges. Do I need to defer my admission in one?
No. However, students can only be registered in one college at a time. Prior to registering for the first time, you will need to notify both colleges of your plans to register initially in one college. Your decision may have implications for fellowships and other forms of graduate student support. Students are thus encouraged to notify colleges early of their plans. For some officially approved joint or dual degree programs, initial registration in one college is required, and the student does not have the option to choose.
- I have been admitted to take graduate courses as a Graduate Professional Development (GPD) student. Do I have to register every term?
Yes, students admitted for Graduate Professional Development status must adhere to the same registration requirements as other admitted students and must register in the fall and spring semesters. Registration during the summer is not required.
- What defines an “official transcript?”
Official transcripts are those that are sent directly to the University of Minnesota from the issuing institution.
- Do I have to submit my master's level transcript from another institution?
Your graduate program may, at its discretion, determine that proof of your master's degree is not required for admission. Please note, for some international degrees, the master’s transcript is required to make the degree comparable to the U.S. bachelor’s degree as determined by the central graduate admissions office.
- What if one of my transcripts is unavailable?
You must submit your transcript demonstrating the award of your bachelor’s degree. If it is not available before your first term of enrolment in the graduate program, you must submit your transcript before the beginning of your second semester. If submission prior to the second semester is not possible, you should contact the central graduate admissions office.
- How can my program know if a degree granted by an international institution is considered comparable to a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university?
International degree and institution information is available through the University's central graduate admissions office.
- How can my program know what are reasonable standards for English language proficiency?
The central graduate admissions office maintains a web site that lists operational standards for approved English language tests. Programs that wish to accept students falling below these operational standards should be aware that such students may have difficulty completing coursework in other departments, may be required to take some English as a second language coursework, may be required take extra coursework to reach the proficiency necessary to serve as a teaching assistant, and may face other disadvantages as new members of the larger University community. In addition, requesting an I-20 visa requires the central graduate admissions office to indicate that the applicant meets the institution’s minimum standards for English language proficiency. The central graduate admissions office and the Minnesota English Language Program (MELP) can provide resources for programs interested in setting higher English proficiency standards than the University minimum.
- How can a program determine whether an international applicant is exempt from the English language proficiency testing requirement?
Programs should refer to the approved list of English-speaking countries and universities, maintained by the central graduate admissions office, to determine whether applicants are exempt from the testing requirement. In the rare case where an applicant from a country not on the exception list can prove with acceptable evidence that they have English proficiency that exceeds the minimum requirement, a program may request a waiver of the English language proficiency testing requirement. More information can be found on the central graduate admissions website.
- Are there additional English language proficiency requirements for nonnative English speakers who will serve as teaching assistants (TAs) for University of Minnesota courses?
Yes. TAs whose native language is not English, regardless of citizenship status, may need to meet additional English language proficiency requirements. See Administrative Policy: Language Proficiency Requirements for Teaching Assistants for more information.
- Is it necessary to have an applicant’s master’s level transcript from another institution in order to admit the student?
Your graduate program may, at its discretion, determine that proof of the master's degree is not required for admission. Please note, for some international degrees, the master’s transcript is required to make the degree comparable to the U.S. bachelor’s degree as determined by the central graduate admissions office.
- My graduate program has admitted a student for Graduate Professional Development. How long may the GPD student remain in the program?
If the student is a domestic student, the graduate program determines how long the student may continue to take courses as a GPD student. Ideally, the period for which the student may remain a GPD student should be clearly stated in the letter of admission.
If the student is an international student, the period for which the student may remain a GPD student is in part determined by federal visa regulations and SEVIS requirements. International students admitted to GPD are given an I-20 for one year and must be admitted to a degree program if they wish to continue their advanced education at the University after the one-year period.
- Why do academic employees with appointments above the rank of instructor or research fellow require permission to enroll in a University master’s or doctoral program?
Academic employees above the rank of instructor or research fellow who have responsibility for teaching, advising or supervising graduate students by virtue of their employment can be placed in a conflict of interest situation if they pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in the same field, or a closely related field, in which they are also employed. In this circumstance, employee involvement in the student-related activities of the graduate program in which they are also a student should be limited to matters of general administrative and educational policy and should not extend to consideration of applications, petitions, or evaluations that relate to the employment status or academic work of individual students, or to the setting of student examinations, for example.
Additional information on University standards for code of conduct can be found in Board of Regents Policy: Code of Conduct. Section III, Subd. 8 below refers specifically to the expectation to avoid conflicts of interest and commitment.
"Avoid Conflicts of Interest and Commitment. Community members have an obligation to be objective and impartial in making decisions on behalf of the University. To ensure this objectivity, community members are expected to:
- avoid actual individual or institutional conflicts of interest;
- disclose potential conflicts of interest and adhere to any management plans created to eliminate any conflicts of interest; and
- ensure personal relationships do not interfere with objective judgment in decisions affecting University employment or the academic progress of a community member."
Individuals may also consult with the Student Conflict Resolution Center for advice on how to prevent and avoid situations that may result in a conflict of interest resulting from employee involvement in the student-related activities of the graduate program in which they are also a student.