FAQs Graduate Admissions

If you have additional questions about the application, please contact us at graduate.admissions@colorado.edu for assistance.*  

*For information on the status of your application, including supporting materials, please check your status page or contact the department to which you are applying. The central graduate admissions office does not have this information.*

Creating an account and logging In

I don’t remember my password. What should I do?

You can reset your password anytime by clicking here. Follow the instructions on the reset password page to request a new password by email.

Why do you need my social security number?

Your Social Security Number (SSN) is not required on the admission application; however it is used by the Office of Admissions for record keeping and credential matching purposes. However, your SSN is required and should be included on your admission application if you are applying for financial aid. Your SSN will be used to match against the systems at the state and federal level for authorization of any state/federal financial aid.

My name and/or address has a character with an accent in it. Should I enter that in the application?

No, please leave the accent off the letter. Instead, enter the character as if it had no accent.

I am a first name user; my family name does not appear on my passport. How should I indicate this on the application?

Please enter the place holder “FNU” (“First Name User”) without quotation marks in place of your family name to indicate to us that you do not use a last name. This not only helps us identify you in our system, but if you are admitted it is how your name needs to appear for immigration purposes. This placeholder is recognized by the U.S. government as such for students who do not use a last or family name.

Personal Information

Why do you need my social security number?

Your Social Security Number (SSN) is not required on the admission application; however it is used by the Office of Admissions for record keeping and credential matching purposes. However, your SSN is required and should be included on your admission application if you are applying for financial aid. Your SSN will be used to match against the systems at the state and federal level for authorization of any state/federal financial aid.

Why should I submit my ethnic background, military status, and/or family income?

This information is collected primarily for demographic and statistical purposes. It also helps to understand your situation better and to get a full picture of you as a person for a more holistic review of your application beyond just academic data.

Citizenship

I have applied for permanent residency, but have not yet gotten it. Which answer should I select on the application?

If you (or your family) have submitted the I-485 form (Application for Permanent Residency) and you’ve received a receipt for such, then you would be considered a domestic applicant. If you do not yet have a receipt for this form you are an international applicant.

I am not a U.S. citizen, but I don’t have a visa yet. Which answer should I select on the application?

You should select the visa type you are planning to apply for. If you do not know which visa type to apply for, select F-1 under ‘Current Visa Type’, as it is the most common visa type for international students seeking a full degree. You may then leave the ‘Issue Date’, ‘Expiry Date’, and ‘Immigration Number’ blank.

What if I am a dual citizen?

If you have dual citizenship and the U.S. is one of the countries, indicate ‘U.S. Citizen’. If the U.S. is not one of them, select the country that will issue your visa in the field 'citizenship' and the second country in the field 'dual citizenship'.

What if I am considering, or in the process of, changing my visa type?

If you’re changing or considering changing your current visa type please enter the information for what you have now, and please contact us to let us know more about your visa status at intlgrad@colorado.edu.

Academic History

Why do I need to list ALL Post-Secondary schools I’ve attended?

It is important for us to get a complete and accurate picture of your academic history. Failure to list and submit transcripts from all institutions previously attended is considered to be a violation of academic ethics and may result in the cancellation of your admission or dismissal from the university.

What if my institution is not listed?

When adding a school in the Academic History section, once you complete the Country and City drop boxes, if your school is not listed in the Institution drop box please select 'other'. You may then type in your institution's name and address information. 

Standardized Test Scores

What is the Institution code for CU Boulder?

The institution code is 4841. You do not need to supply a department code.

Can I submit my application before I take the GRE?

Yes. When your official scores arrive from ETS they will be added to your application materials. Your scores must be received by the application deadline.

Employment History

Why do you need employment information?

Submitting your employment history helps provide a more holistic picture of you as an applicant. Uploading a current curriculum vitae or resume is required, so you do not have to fill out the employment history section in the application itself. 

What types of jobs should I include?

You should only include jobs that included work experience relevant to your graduate application.

Affiliations

What should I list in the Affiliations section?

Please list any honor societies or learned professional societies of which you are a member, as well as positions held.

What if I want to list academic honors?

Academic honors can be added in the Academic History in your institution details.

Sensitive Data - Nonacademic Suspension

What does “nonacademic” mean?

“Nonacademic” refers to disciplinary action that occurs for reasons of conduct as opposed to reasons of academic performance. A nonacademic suspension does not include a suspension for low grades, but it does include a suspension for academic dishonesty such as plagiarism or cheating.

What information should I include in my explanation?

All explanations should include the approximate date(s) of the probation(s)/suspension(s)/expulsion(s), the sanctions issued (e.g., two-day suspension, five-day suspension, expulsion, etc.), and a description of the specific actions that led to the sanctions. Please note that it is important to describe the specific behavior that led to the sanctions. Include information about what you have done since the incident, lessons learned, etc. A description such as “I was suspended, because I broke school rules” is not sufficient. Incomplete descriptions will delay the processing of your application.

How will my probation/suspension/expulsion impact my application?

Applicants answering “yes” to this question will undergo an additional review to assess the seriousness of the offense and to determine the likelihood of the applicant engaging in similar conduct at CU Boulder. Applications in this category take a little longer to review, but once the offense is cleared, it has no further impact on the application.

How long will it take to review my probation/suspension/expulsion?

It depends on a number of factors, such as the severity of the offense, how recently it occurred, and whether such an offense would also carry sanctions here at CU Boulder. Many applications with a “yes” answer to this question take no more than an extra day or two. Some take longer and require extra information. You may be contacted by an official in the Office of Admissions or in the Office of Student Conduct. If this is the case, respond promptly to expedite the processing of your application. Note: Reviews of the files of applicants who answer yes to this question are not conducted until a complete application and all of the required credentials have been received.

Sensitive Data - Criminal History

What kinds of offenses do I need to disclose?

Applicants who have a pending criminal charge OR have ever been convicted of a crime, made a plea of guilty, accepted a deferred judgment, been adjudicated, or been required to register as a sex offender must disclose this information. Misdemeanor traffic offenses (e.g., speeding) are exempt.

How will my criminal history affect my application?

Applicants answering “yes” to this question will undergo an additional review by a committee to determine whether the applicant’s offense(s) should have an impact on their admission decision. Factors included in the review process include the seriousness of the offense(s), number of offenses if there are more than one, and the time elapsed since the last offense.

How long will it take to review my criminal history?

It depends on a number of factors but in most cases this internal review process takes less than two to three weeks to complete. Cases that take longer result from a delay in acquiring the necessary information from outside agencies (e.g., court records, police reports, background checks) before the information can be reviewed by a committee. Note: The backgrounds of applicants who answer “yes” to the criminal history question will not be reviewed until a complete application and all of the required credentials have been received.

Is anyone with a criminal history automatically denied admission?

All applicants who have answered “yes” to the criminal history are reviewed on an individual basis. However, the following backgrounds would likely result in disqualification: a history of violence against persons; sexual assault; crimes involving the use of a weapon(s); serious or repeated drug or alcohol offenses; and/or offenses that include egregious theft, burglary, or damage to property.

What are my options if my file is denied based on my criminal background?

You may contact the Office of Admissions at 303-492-6301 to discuss your options.

What if I answer “no” even though I have a criminal history?

It is advised that all applicants disclose their background in the application. If a student is found to have provided inaccurate information on the application, they may be subject to disciplinary action – including dismissal from the university – due to a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. For more information on the Student Code of Conduct visit www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/studentconduct/code.html.

FERPA

What is FERPA and what does it mean if I waive my rights to access my letters of recommendation?

FERPA is the Educational Rights and Privacy Act where under federal law, matriculated students have the right to inspect and review the letter(s) of recommendation contained in their educational records. However, the applicant may waive the right of access. In that case the letter(s) will then remain confidential between the University of Colorado Boulder and the recommender(s). Recommenders will be notified of whether or not an applicant has waived their rights prior to submitting a letter on their behalf.  

Letters of Recommendation

How does the online recommendation form work?

You provide us with the name and email of your recommender(s) on the online application, and hit the 'send to recommender' button. The email will be immediately sent, and links them directly to the online recommendation form. They simply fill it out and submit the form online, along with their letter. We will receive it automatically, and you will be notified by email that we have received the recommendation. Your recommender will receive an email confirmation as well after they submit.

May I use a credential management company such as interfolio to submit my letters of recommendation?

Yes, as long as the letters are confidential you may use one of these services. Within the application you should leave the recommender information section blank and request that interfolio email your letters to gradprocessing@colorado.edu, or mail them to the address listed in the “submit required docs” section.

When is the request sent to the recommender?

The request for a recommendation will be sent out as soon as you hit the 'send to recommender' button. You may log in to your status page to send a reminder to the recommender any time after you submit your application.

Is my recommender notified of the application deadline?

They are not notified of the specific deadline. An email will be sent to your recommender with a link to an online recommendation form. We recommend notifying your recommender(s) that you have listed them as a recommender and reminding them when the form should be completed by.

Will I be notified when my recommender(s) submits the letter of recommendation form?

Yes, you will receive an email when we receive a recommendation on your behalf if you are using our online system to request recommendations. You will not receive an email if your letters are emailed or mailed to us from the recommender and/or a credential management service.

Who do I contact if one of my recommenders has not received the link?

If a recommender informs you that they did not receive a link to the recommendation form, log into your application status page. From there you can update your recommender's email address and resend the notification.

Can letters of recommendation be mailed in?

Yes, please have the letters sent to the address in the "Where to Send Materials" section. The letters must come in signed and sealed envelopes.

Can I upload letters of recommendation with my application?

No, letters uploaded by applicants are not considered official and will not be used. 

Upload Documents/Personal Statements and Supplemental Documents

What file type should my documents be in?

You can upload either Microsoft Word or PDF files.

I don’t have Adobe Reader on my computer. I have a Mac and use Preview. Can I still complete the forms?

If you do not use Adobe Reader, the file will not save correctly and may come back blank. Please download the latest free version of Adobe Reader to complete the forms.

Uploading Unofficial Transcripts in the Application

What is a transcript?

A transcript is a year-by-year academic record which should include ALL post-secondary academic work completed to date, including courses appearing as transfer credit on other transcripts, credits earned in study abroad programs, and courses taken for college credit while in high school.

What is the difference between an official and an unofficial transcript?
  • Official transcripts are those that bear the facsimile signature of the registrar and seal of the issuing institution. Submission of official transcripts is only required if you are admitted.
  • Unofficial transcripts include the same information as official transcripts, but are lacking the signature and seal of the institution. An unofficial transcript may be a transcript that was opened by the student; a copy or a scan of an official transcript; a downloaded copy or one that was not issued directly from the school; or a translation of the transcript by a student or a translation service.
Do I need to provide a transcript from every post-secondary institution I have attended?

Yes. We require one copy of the scanned unofficial transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution you attended. This includes community colleges, summer sessions and extension programs. While credits from one institution may appear on the transcript of a second institution, transcripts must be submitted from each institution, regardless of the length of attendance, and whether or not courses were completed. Failure to list and submit transcripts from all institutions previously attended is considered to be a violation of academic ethics and may result in the cancellation of your admission or dismissal from the university.

What if I studied abroad?
  • If your study abroad institution is affiliated with your home institution and the credits show on your home transcript with course names, grades, points and hours that are all included in your total GPA, then you do not need to submit a separate transcript for this work.
  • If the study abroad credit is listed as transfer credit work or does not include hours, points and/or GPA, or is not included in the overall GPA, check with gradprocessing@colorado.edu to see if a non-US transcript is required.
Should I mail in my transcripts?

PDFs of all unofficial transcripts should be uploaded to the application. If you are offered admission and accept, then we will request that you have your official transcripts sent to the Graduate Admissions. Do NOT send your official transcripts until you are advised to do so.

Where can I find instructions on how to upload my transcripts?

Instructions can be accessed in the application on the Upload Documents page, as well as in the Instructions for Uploading Unofficial Transcripts to Your Application.

Submit Application and Fee Payment

Will I get a receipt for my payment?

You will be emailed a receipt for payment as soon as the transaction is approved.

I don’t live in the U.S. What is my best payment option?

Paying by credit card is your best option if you do not live in the U.S. or have a U.S. bank account. If you do not have a credit card or prefer not to pay that way, your next best option is to get an international money order made payable to University of Colorado.

What if I am not ready to pay my fee at this time?

If you are not ready to pay at this time, you may save your application and log back in when you are ready to pay. Payment is required to submit the application.

Are fee waivers accepted? How do I request one?

The Graduate School does not accept application fee waivers unless you are a current McNair Scholar, a Project 1000 participant, or an active Peace Corps or AmeriCorps volunteer.

If you are a McNair Scholar, a Project 1000 participant, or an active volunteer for the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps, please contact gradadm@colorado.edu for more information before you complete your application.

I also applied to another University of Colorado campus. Do I still need to pay the application fee?

Yes, if you are applying to another University of Colorado campus in addition to CU Boulder, you must submit a separate application, official credentials and appropriate fee to each campus. You will use the same log in credentials for any of the three campuses to log in to the applications, but you must complete a different application for each campus.

I had an error or clicked ‘cancel’ during the payment process. When I go back to my application it says “payment pending”. How do I submit my payment to complete my application?

You should receive an email regarding your application status and payment option within one business day. If you are not contacted, you may email gradadm@colorado.edu to inquire about payment options.

How do I know if my application was submitted?

When the application is submitted you will have the opportunity to view your status page. You will also receive an email notifying you that your application has been submitted.

Are application fees are nonrefundable?

Yes, Application Fees are Nonrefundable.