Click on any of the following links for information:
Graduate School Administration
Academic Office Building 106
Phone: (719) 255-3417
Graduate Recruitment and Retention Specialist
Academic Office Building 111
Phone (719) 255-3072
The Graduate School provides oversight and coordination for all graduate programs on the campus. The individual departments within the specific colleges provide the curriculum, faculty, and program advisors for the degrees offered.
For further information, contact the specific program or department within the academic college or contact the Graduate School at the above address for information about the program or submitting an application.
The mission of the Graduate School is as follows:
- To promote excellence in graduate education
- To facilitate and enhance the educational experience and opportunities for graduate students
- To oversee and coordinate all graduate programs
- To ensure compatibility among programs and compliance with Graduate School Policies and Procedures
The Graduate School vision is to maintain high standards and quality programs, and to develop and administer graduate programs in accord with general standards of excellence and sound academic administration.
Graduate Programs of Study
Graduate programs available for completion through the University of Colorado Colorado Springs are listed on the Programs of Study table of the catalog.
A student who is granted admission must reflect, in a moral and ethical sense, a personal background acceptable to the University. The University reserves the right to deny admission to applicants, or to cancel the enrollment status of current students, whose total credentials reflect an inability to assume those obligations of performance and behavior deemed essential by the University and relevant to any of its lawful missions, processes, and functions as an educational institution.
Students may be admitted to the Graduate School in any of the five categories-regular, provisional, guaranteed early, fast-track, and re-admission.
An applicant for admission as a regular degree seeking student must meet the following minimum requirements. Programs may have additional requirements that are higher than the minimum graduate school admission requirements. Qualified students are recommended for admission to regular degree status by the appropriate program department. Minimum admission requirements are:
- Hold a baccalaureate degree or a master’s degree from an accredited college or university, or demonstrate completion of work equivalent to the baccalaureate or masters degree; AND
- Have adequate preparation to enter graduate study in the chosen program, and meet the requirements for admission, as determined by the program faculty; AND
- Have an undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 or better in a 4.0 system OR
Have a combined undergraduate grade point average and score on a national standardized admissions test that meet criteria determined by the program OR
Have completed 15 semester hours of relevant graduate course work at an accredited university with a grade point average of 3.0 or better. (Note that units completed before admission may not all be transferable into a graduate degree program).
For students who do not meet the above criteria, program faculty may admit provisionally and assign course work and/or examinations that must be taken in order to make up deficiencies.
Regular Admission Application Process
Complete applications for admission to an advanced degree program must be completed using the online application.
- Contact the program of interest before starting the application process to learn of application deadlines, required examinations (e.g., GRE, GMAT), and other specific requirements (or see the Graduate School Web Site).
- Complete the online application for the semester (term) of interest (including the Residency Form).
- Official transcripts of all academic work completed to date. Transcripts should be sent directly to the office of Admissions. Check program requirements for the number of transcripts to send.
- A nonrefundable application processing fee (payable online (preferred) or by check sent directly to program).
- Test scores, letters of recommendation, and other materials as required by specific programs.
- For applicants whose native language is not English (i.e., international applicants), evidence demonstrating competency in English must be submitted. All submitted materials become the property of the University of Colorado. For more information contact the department/program for specific information or the Global Engagement Office (formerly the Office of International Affairs).
Each program has specified deadlines which must be met for the application to be fully considered. Please check with the program of interest for deadlines. Application materials must be received by March 1 for maximum consideration for financial support starting in the fall semester. Applicants should check with their program of interest to determine for which semesters applications are being accepted. Some programs may only admit once a year.
Foreign applicants please contact your program/department of interest for complete application instructions and deadlines.
Graduate Admission Examinations
Graduate programs may require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Applicants must check specific program/departmental testing requirements. Information regarding the tests, dates scheduled, and procedures for enrolling is available on each individual test’s website.
Any applicant who does not meet the criteria for admission as a regular degree student may be recommended by the faculty for admission as a provisional student. The recommendation must include a statement of the conditions that the student must meet in order to become a regular degree student. When the conditions for regular status are met, the program director is responsible for submitting the paperwork to reclassify the student as fully admitted as soon as the conditions are met and to inform the student in writing. Provisional students are subject to the same standards of performance required of regular degree students, in addition to the requirements as specified by the program faculty imposed as conditions of the provisional admission status.
Guaranteed Early Admission
The special Guaranteed admission is available to UCCS students who are currently enrolled in their final semester of undergraduate study. Students must contact the graduate program of interest to determine requirements. Please note that this option is not available to PhD students and may also not be available in all graduate programs at UCCS; please check with your program of interest.
Readmission of Former Students
A student previously admitted to a graduate program who did not complete the degree and has not been continuously registered at the University but now wishes to return must do the following:
- Clarify status with the program to determine eligibility to return and pursue the same degree
- After receiving program approval to continue work on the degree, submit a new online application before deadlines have passed for the term of expected return
A former graduate student will not be charged an application fee unless any course work to be applied to the degree was taken more than six years prior to the student’s return. A student applying to a doctoral program from a Masters program in the same department, with no break in attendance, will not be charged an application fee. A dismissed student is eligible to reapply for readmission after one year. Approval or rejection of this application rests with the program/department. Former students who wish to change from one program to another should consult with the program director and complete the appropriate forms.
A student holding a baccalaureate degree that wishes to take graduate courses but does not wish to earn an advanced degree from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs should apply to the Office of Admissions and Records for admission as an unclassified student. (See the Unclassified Student section in Admissions ). Students taking courses as an unclassified student may be able to apply up to 12 credits to a degree with the program’s approval.
Notification of Acceptance
The program may send an unofficial acceptance letter to the applicant prior to the official letter being sent from the Office of Admissions and Records. The letter from the program is not considered to be the official letter of admittance, only a recommendation by the program/department.
After the Office of Admissions and Records has received all the approved program/departmental recommendations, forms and all required credentials, as per the Graduate School Policies and Procedures, the applicant will be notified regarding eligibility for admission. If eligible, the applicant will receive an Official Letter of Acceptance from the Office of Admissions and Records.
Please contact your program of interest for the status of your application.
Application for Admission to Candidacy
The Application for Admission to Candidacy for an advanced degree should be completed during the first five weeks of the semester in which the student intends to graduate. This application will certify that all requirements for the degree have been met, or are in progress. For further instructions the student should contact the program/department directly for requirements for the degree sought. If research involves human, animal, and biohazard subjects the appropriate committee approval must be sought, please consult the Office of Sponsored Programs before starting research.
Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures
The official Policy and Procedures of the Graduate School are available in the office of the Graduate School, and the UCCS Graduate School website, as well as in each graduate program office.
Work already applied toward a completed master’s degree received at another institution cannot be accepted for transfer toward the master’s degree at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs; extension work completed at another institution cannot be transferred; and correspondence work, except to make up deficiencies, is not recognized. Transfer credits may be applied to a graduate degree only with the approval of the program director. Each program will establish, with the concurrence of the Graduate School Executive Committee, the maximum number of semester hours (not to exceed 30% of the required credits) that may be transferred from another accredited institution and applied toward its graduate degree without special approval of the Graduate Dean. The following minimum provisions will apply:
- All transfer courses must have a grade of B or above.
- Some programs may require that credit will not be accepted for transfer until the student has established a satisfactory academic record at this university.
- For master’s degree students, all work accepted for transfer must have been completed within the six-year time limit or be validated and approved by program faculty.
- Courses applied towards one degree may not be used towards another degree (although master’s degree work may count as part of the requirements towards a doctoral degree as defined by a program).
- Requests for transfer of credit from other institutions must be made on the specified form. Official transcripts of credit must accompany requests.
- Master’s degree students must submit transfer requests to the program director by the beginning of the semester prior to the semester in which they will graduate.
- Doctoral degree students must submit transfer requests to the Graduate School before making application for admission to candidacy.
Courses Taken During Senior Year
Seniors at UCCS may transfer up to nine semester hours of graduate course work, provided it meets the following requirements:
- Completed with a grade of B or above in the senior year at this University
- Completed within the time limit for the completion of the graduate degree
- Has not been applied toward the bachelor’s degree
- Is approved by the program director
- Completion of the same graduate and undergraduate course is not allowed
- Retroactive changing of undergraduate credit to graduate credit is not allowed
Undergraduate credits from another institution may not be transferred into any graduate program in the Graduate School.
No lower division course or undergraduate courses designed to improve basic skills may be used as credit towards a graduate degree. A program may require a student to take undergraduate courses as a means of making up deficiencies, but the credits generated in these courses may not be counted in the minimum number required for the degree.
Courses Taken While in Unclassified Status
Credits earned as an unclassified student at UCCS may be applied to a graduate degree only with the approval of the program director. Each program will establish, with the concurrence of the Graduate School Executive Committee, the maximum number of semester hours (may not exceed 12) taken in unclassified status that may be applied toward its graduate degree without special approval of the Graduate Dean.
Extended Studies Courses
Students may use the resources of the Division of Extended Studies in the pursuit of graduate study only if they obtain proper academic approval from the program director. For more information visit the Campus Wide Extended Studies website.
Graduate Certificate Programs
Graduate certificate programs require the student to meet the minimum graduate school admission requirements and any additional program requirements. Refer to the appropriate program/department and college/school for specific admission requirements to a certificate program. Visit the Campus Wide Extended Studies website for a list of certificates.
A graduate level course is any course that bears the graduate number appropriate to the discipline (i.e., 5000 - 9000) and is taught by a member of the graduate faculty.
Independent study credit hours must not exceed 25% of the minimum number of total credit hours required for the degree.
GPA and Satisfactory Academic Progress
A graduate student is expected to maintain at least a (B) 3.0 cumulative average in all work attempted in Graduate School. Students who fail to maintain this standard of performance will be subject to probation or dismissal from the Graduate School by the Dean, with the approval of the major department. Appeals may be made to the campus Graduate Executive Committee. A student who receives a grade below B minus in a course may repeat that course once, upon approval of the program director. The grade received in a repeated course will substitute for the original grade and only the latter grade will be used in calculating the Graduate Program grade point average required for graduation. However, all grades received will appear on the student’s transcript. Any graduate level course applied to a master’s degree must have a grade of C or better; undergraduate level courses applied to a master’s degree must have a grade of B or better. Any course applied to a doctoral degree must have a grade of B minus or better.
Incomplete and In-Progress Grades
Incomplete grades of “I” will convert to “F” if the work is not completed within the one-year maximum period (no extensions are approved beyond the one-year time limit) according to university policy.
An in-progress “IP” grade is given only to those graduate students who are taking thesis or dissertation credits, or a capstone course. The grade of IP will be a valid grade and must remain unchanged until the thesis, dissertation, or capstone has been completed, or following written rules of the program concerning when IP grades are changed.
New degree or unclassified students are notified of eligibility to register for course work through the Statement of Eligibility for Admission mailed from the Admissions and Records Office. If this notice has not been received in time for registration, an inquiry should be made to Admissions and Records. Degree and unclassified students who do not stay continuously enrolled (having missed three consecutive semesters) must check with Admissions and Records 60 days before the next intended registration period to make sure of eligibility to register during regular registration. Former students should follow the same procedure. Degree students changing departments or graduate degree programs should begin the change process with the new department.
Graduate students will be considered to be carrying a full load during a regular semester for purposes of determining residence credit if they are registered for not fewer than 5 semester hours in courses numbered 5000 or above, or any number of thesis/dissertation hours. A full load for purposes of determining residence credit during the summer session is 3 semester hours of work in courses numbered 5000 or above, or any number of thesis/dissertation hours.
The maximum number of credit hours a graduate student may take is 15 hours in a regular semester. The maximum number of graduate credits during a summer session is 6 hours per 4-week term and 9 hours per 8-week summer session. To take more than the maximum number of credit hours the student must receive written approval from their program director.
The student, in consultation with his or her advisor, is responsible for obtaining and documenting appropriate institutional committee approval for research involving human subjects, animals and/or bio- hazards. This approval must be received prior to the student undertaking their research.
Students are expected to adhere to the highest codes of personal and professional ethics, as set forth by the student code of conduct. Students who do not meet these standards may be dismissed from the Graduate School by the Graduate Dean upon recommendation of the director of the student’s graduate program. A student may appeal such action under the provisions described below.
Graduate Academic Requirements
Minimum academic requirements for master and doctoral degrees are detailed below; individual programs may adopt additional requirements.
Master’s Degree Minimum Degree Requirements
The minimum requirements of graduate work for a master’s degree may be fulfilled by following either Plan I or Plan II below.
Plan I (thesis)
- 30 semester hours, including 3-6 hours of thesis credit
- At least 24 semester hours must be at the graduate level
- File application for admission to candidacy for degree
Plan II (non-thesis)
- 30 semester hours
- At least 24 semester hours must be at the graduate level
- File application for admission to candidacy for degree
A candidate for the master’s degree may be allowed to select Plan I or Plan II only upon the recommendation of the department/program. Some graduate programs’ criteria vary from the options listed above. Students should consult their graduate program for more information if completing Plan I (thesis). Please see the UCCS Thesis and Dissertation Manual on the Graduate School website for complete guidelines. For thesis/dissertation committee requirements consult the program director for specific criteria.
Comprehensive Examination - See Specific Department Program Guidelines and Expectations
Masters Degree Examinations
Most master degree programs require a thesis defense, project, report, or comprehensive exam after all other requirements for the degree have been substantially completed. Students must be registered the semester in which the thesis defense, project, report, or comprehensive exam is held (the student may register for candidate for degree if all required course work has already been completed).
Admission to Candidacy-Master’s Degree
A student pursing a master’s degree, who wishes to become a candidate for a degree, must file an Application for Admission to Candidacy with their department/program during the first five weeks of the semester of intended graduation. The department/program will then file the Admission to Candidacy with the Office of the Graduate Dean. This will certify that all requirements for the degree have been met or are in progress. Admission to candidacy will be granted only to students who have completed a significant fraction of the required course work, and have passed the comprehensive examination and language requirement (if any). See the schedule of deadlines posted on the Graduate School website.
Although students are normally expected to complete a master’s degree in one to three years, master degree students have six years from the date of the start of course work to complete all degree requirements (which includes filing the thesis with the Kraemer Family Library if Plan I is followed). A student who fails to complete the degree in this six-year period must file a petition for extension with the program director and have it approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. The petition must state the reasons why the student should be allowed to continue in the program and should be endorsed by program director. The program director must approve applying any course to the degree that was taken more than six years prior to the semester of graduation, and all such courses must be validated by special examination to be determined by the program director.
Doctoral Degree Minimum Requirements
General Requirements (Check with Program of Interest)
- A minimum of 60 credit hours of graduate level credit, including 30 units of dissertation credit.
- Each doctoral program shall determine how many credits from an earned master’s degree may be included in this total.
- File application for admission to candidacy for degree.
Doctoral Dissertation, Advisory Committee, Doctoral Degree Examinations, Specialty Examination, Dissertation Defense
Each doctoral program will require one or more of the following types of examinations.
Please see the UCCS Thesis and Dissertation Manual on the Graduate School website for complete requirements about the dissertation, dissertation committee, and dissertation defense.
Preliminary Examination - See Department Guidelines and Expectations
Comprehensive Examination - See Department Guidelines and Expectations
This examination in the field of concentration and related fields may be written or oral or both, and will test the student’s mastery of a broad field of knowledge, not merely the formal course work which has been completed. The comprehensive examination shall be conducted by an examining board of at least three members appointed by the program director.
Dissertation Proposal Examination - See Department Program Guidelines and Expectations
Used to determine the preparedness of the student and the appropriateness of the topic, prior to commencing work on the dissertation.
Doctoral Dissertation Credit Hour Requirements
The doctoral dissertation requires 30 hours of dissertation credit. A doctoral student may take no more than one half of the total number of dissertation credit hours required for the degree prior to or during the semester in which the comprehensive examination is passed.
Following successful completion of the doctoral comprehensive examination, a student must register each fall and spring semester for dissertation credits, until the requirements for the degree are completed. A student may register for no more than 10 dissertation credit hours in any semester and for no more than 7 credit hours during a summer semester. A student must be registered during the semester (or summer session) in which the dissertation defense is held.
Students pursuing clinical doctoral degrees are required to complete a capstone proposal (an examination to determine the preparedness of the student and the appropriateness of the topic), prior to commencing work on the capstone project. Once completed, the capstone project is partial fulfillment for the clinical doctorate. Capstone courses will represent 6 semester credit hours of work. The capstone defense (final examination) will be conducted by the student’s capstone committee. See the Policies and Procedures on the Graduate School website.
Admission to Candidacy-Doctoral Degree
A doctoral student who wishes to become a candidate for a degree must file an Application for Admission to Candidacy to their intended major department/program during the first five weeks of the semester of intended graduation. The department/program will then file the Admission to Candidacy with the Office of the Graduate Dean. This will certify that all requirements for the degree have been met or are in progress. Admission to candidacy will be granted only to students who have completed a significant fraction of the required course work and have passed the comprehensive examination and language requirement (if any). See the schedule of deadlines posted on the Graduate School website.
Time Limits-Doctoral Degree
Doctoral students are normally expected to complete all degree requirements within seven years from the date of the start of course work in the doctoral program. A student who fails to complete the degree in this seven-year period must file a petition for extension with the graduate school dean. The petition, giving reasons why the student should be allowed to continue in the program, must be endorsed by the program director or by three members of student’s dissertation advisory committee. If the graduate dean approves, the student may continue studies for one additional year. If the graduate dean does not approve, with the concurrence of the program director, the student may be dismissed from the program. If the graduate dean and the program director do not agree on whether a student should continue, the Graduate School Executive Committee shall make the final decision.
Graduate Student Appeals
Student Appeal Procedures
All appeals regarding course grades shall follow the procedures established by the school or college in which the course was taken.
Appeals regarding other decisions (e.g., expulsion from program, academic ethics code, etc) may be appealed to the graduate school following appeals process in the department and college.
The procedures for a student appeal to the Graduate Dean and the Graduate School Executive Committee are as follows:
- An appeal will be officially accepted from a student only after it has been determined that the student has exhausted the appeals process in effect in the department/college.
- If a resolution to the problem identified in the student’s appeal cannot be reached at the department or unit level, the student may submit a written appeal to the Dean of the Graduate School. The written appeal must describe in detail the basis in fact for the opinion that the student has been treated unfairly and must describe actions taken to resolve the problem at the departmental level.
- Upon receipt of a written appeal from a student, the Dean of the Graduate School will contact the appropriate departmental officer to get a response to the questions or objections raised by the student. In some cases, a written response from the department may be requested.
- The response and appeal is then sent to the Student Affairs Subcommittee of the Graduate School Executive Committee. This committee acts in an advisory capacity to the Graduate Dean and will forward their findings and recommendations to the Dean.
- The Graduate Dean will make a decision in the case. This decision may be appealed by either party to the dispute to the full Graduate School Executive Committee, but only if the decision of the Dean is in disagreement with the recommendation of the Student Affairs Subcommittee.
- The student may appeal the graduate school dean’s decision by following the procedures in the student Academic Ethics Code Policy.