Admission & Enrollment Policies

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Application Procedures

Students seeking admission to a CU-Boulder master’s or doctoral program apply directly to the appropriate department, not the Graduate School. An applicant for admission must present complete application materials that include:

  1. Complete the graduate application, available online at
  2. One official transcript of all academic work completed to date.
  3. A non-refundable application fee. The fee is currently $50 for domestic applicants and $70 for international applicants. The fee may be paid by credit card, electronic check, check, or money order.
  4. Three or four letters of recommendation. Please check with your program to obtain the required number of recommendations needed.
  5. Test scores and other materials as required by specific departments. 

A completed application must be in the major department by the published deadline for the term for which admission is sought. Most departments have an application deadline that is several months before the start of the desired admission term. Qualified applicants may find that their application cannot be processed for a specific term if enrollment levels have been reached.

Admission Requirements

A graduate student may be admitted to CU-Boulder as either a regular degree student or a provisional degree student.

Regular Degree Students

Qualified students may be recommended for admission to regular degree status by approved programs of the Graduate School provided they meet the following criteria:

  1. They hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university or have done work equivalent to that required for such a degree.
  2. They show promise of ability to pursue advanced study and research, as judged by their scholastic record.
  3. They have had adequate preparation to enter graduate study in the chosen field.
  4. They have at least a 2.75 (on a 4.00 scale) undergraduate GPA (for engineering, 3.00). (Note: Applicants who cannot meet criterion 4 may still secure regular admission if they have completed 9 semester hours of relevant graduate course work with at least a 3.25 average.)
  5. They meet additional requirements for admission established by the major department.

Provisional Degree Students

Students who do not meet the requirements for admission as regular degree students may be recommended for provisional degree status by their major department. With the concurrence of the dean of the Graduate School, these students are admitted for a probationary term of either one or two semesters of full-time study (or the equivalent for part-time students). At the end of the specified probationary period, provisional degree students must be either admitted to regular degree status or dismissed from the graduate program. Provisional students are subject to the same standards of performance required of regular degree students, plus any other requirements imposed by the program faculty as conditions of admission.

Credit earned by persons in provisional degree status may count toward a degree at CU-Boulder.

To meet the standard terms of provisional admission, the student must generally complete 12 hours in two semesters (or equivalent for part-time students) with a 3.00 cumulative GPA. Program faculty may recommend additional or alternative conditions as appropriate.

Admission to a Concurrent Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Program

A number of CU-Boulder departments offer concurrent bachelor’s/master’s degrees, which enable CU undergraduate students to pursue undergraduate and graduate programs simultaneously and to receive both degrees in a shorter time period than it would take to pursue them separately.

Highly qualified undergraduate students may be recommended for admission to a concurrent bachelor’s/master’s degree program at the end of their sophomore year or the beginning of their junior year. Such students are not formally admitted to the Graduate School. Standards for admission as well as eligibility to remain in the program are specified in each department’s program guide.

Admission to a Dual Degree Program

The Graduate School, in conjunction with the faculty of each department and the deans of schools and colleges where appropriate, approves dual degree programs that combine previously approved graduate degree programs in two areas or departments.

Qualified graduate students may be recommended for admission to an approved dual degree program upon meeting the qualifications of each graduate program and any special qualifications as outlined by each program’s approved guidelines. Minimum standards and qualifications for admission and continuation may be found in each department’s approved program guide. Students wishing to complete degrees in more than one department that have no approved dual degree program or interdisciplinary major combination must complete all the requirements for both degrees with no shared or overlapping course work.

Admission of Seniors

A CU-Boulder senior who is not pursuing the concurrent bachelor’s/master’s degree, but who has satisfied the undergraduate residence requirement and does not need more than 6 semester hours of advanced subjects to meet the requirements for a bachelor’s degree, may be admitted to the Graduate School. Students who just wish to take a graduate-level class will need the instructor's signature in a "special action form" obtained from the department.

Admission of Nondegree Students to Regular Degree Status

Students with nondegree status who wish to apply for regular student status must complete their application for admission before completing 9 semester hours as nondegree students at CU-Boulder.

Admission of Former and Suspended Students

Students who were previously admitted to a graduate degree program but who did not complete that degree and who have not been continuously registered at CU-Boulder must complete the following steps before being readmitted:

  1. Clarify their status with the department to determine their eligibility to return and pursue the same degree.
  2. Submit an application to the department (departmental approval is required) before enrollment levels are met or deadlines passed for the term in which they expect to return to CU-Boulder.

A regular degree student who is dismissed for failure to maintain a 3.00 grade point average is eligible to apply for readmission after one year. Approval or rejection of this application rests jointly with the student’s major department and the dean of the Graduate School. The final decision will be made by the dean based on the recommendations of the department.

Students Transferring from Other CU Campuses

Students transferring from another CU campus to CU-Boulder must apply to and be accepted by the Boulder campus.

Students Changing Major Departments

Students who want to change major departments must apply to and be accepted by the new department. When adding a second major in an approved interdisciplinary major combination, this must be noted on the application.

Admission of Faculty Members

No member of the faculty above the rank of instructor may be working toward an advanced degree from CU-Boulder.

Graduate School Advising

Graduate School advisors provide information and guidance to students and staff on issues including:

  • general Graduate School information, policies, and rules
  • requirements for degrees that apply to all students
  • exceptions to requirements
  • registration requirements
  • theses and dissertation format guidelines and submissions info
  • graduation requirements and deadlines

For general inquiries, contact Graduate Student Services at or call 303-492-8220.

Credit Policies

Transfer Credit

Transfer credits from accredited institutions are accepted by CU-Boulder only after approval by the department chair/program director and the dean of the Graduate School, and under conditions outlined below. Transfer credit is defined as any credit earned at another accredited institution, credits earned on another campus of the CU system, or credits earned as a nondegree student within the CU system. Students seeking a degree from CU-Boulder must complete the majority of their course work while enrolled as degree-seeking students.

The following rules apply to transferring credit to CU-Boulder graduate programs:

  • The maximum amount of work that may be transferred to CU-Boulder depends upon the graduate degree sought (individual departments may have more restrictive limits).

Degree and Semester Credit Hours

MA, ME, MS, MMus, or MMusEd—9
DMA, PhD, or AuD—21
AuD students with MA and audiology certification—30

  • Work already applied toward a graduate degree received from CU-Boulder or another institution cannot be accepted for transfer toward another graduate degree of the same level at CU-Boulder. In addition, work completed for a doctoral degree may not be applied toward a subsequent master’s degree. Extension work completed at another institution cannot be transferred, and correspondence work, except to make up deficiencies, is not recognized.
  • All courses accepted for transfer must be graduate-level courses. A course in which a grade of B- or lower was received will not be accepted for transfer. Transfer course work that is to be applied to a graduate degree at CU-Boulder and was completed more than five years prior to being accepted to the program will be evaluated by the major department as to current relevance and applicability to the degree requirements. At the discretion of the department, a student may be asked to validate transfer credits prior to approval.
  • Credit may not be transferred until the student has completed 6 credits of graduate course work as a regular, degree-seeking student at the Boulder campus with a 3.00 GPA. Transferred credits do not reduce the minimum registration requirement, but may reduce the amount of work to be done in formal courses.
  • Excess undergraduate credits from another institution may not be transferred to the CU-Boulder Graduate School.

Graduate Credit for CU-Boulder Seniors

With the exception of students enrolled in a concurrent bachelor’s/master’s degree program, seniors at CU-Boulder may earn graduate credit for a limited amount of graduate-level work (up to 9 semester hours), provided such work is completed with a grade of B or above in course work at CU-Boulder; comes within the five-year course time limit; has not been applied toward another degree; and is recommended for transfer by the department concerned, and such transfer is approved by the dean of the Graduate School.


Registration procedures are sent to new graduate students when they confirm their intent to enroll. Please refer to Registration in the General Information section for further information.

Late registration is held only if enrollment levels have not been reached. Graduate students (including candidates for degrees and students taking only thesis hours) who fail to complete registration and pay fees during regular registration may be charged a late registration fee.

Concurrent Registration

Boulder campus students unable to obtain courses required for their degree program on the Boulder campus may register for up to two courses or 6 credit hours, whichever is greater, on another University of Colorado campus. The course work must be required for their degree program; they must have their dean’s permission; they must be enrolled for at least one course on the Boulder campus; and enrollment levels must not have been reached on the other campus. Contact the Office of the Registrar for additional information.

Reciprocal Exchange Agreement Program

Reciprocal registration enables University of Colorado graduate students to attend classes at other Colorado institutions, including Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado. For more information, contact the Office of the Registrar.


A graduate student who desires to withdraw from the university should go to Regent Administrative Center 125 for a withdrawal interview. A student who discontinues attendance in a course without officially withdrawing is marked as having failed that course. Except under extreme circumstances, graduate students are not permitted to withdraw after the last day of classes.