Graduate Admission and Registration


Students may be admitted to URI’s Graduate School to pursue a specific graduate degree or they may pursue postbaccalaureate work in nonmatriculating status (see below). Admission to the Graduate School is based on academic qualifications and potential without regard to race, gender, religion, age, color, creed, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation, and without discrimination against disabled and Vietnam era veterans.

Prospective students can find information on application procedures as well as a link to the application at the Graduate School website at Inquiries concerning particular degree programs or courses of instruction should be addressed to the appropriate department chair or graduate program director, as listed in the “Graduate Programs” section of this catalog and on the Graduate School website.

Applications are initially reviewed by the department or program to which admission is sought. Final decisions rest with the Graduate School, which, after considering the recommendation of the department concerned, will notify the applicant of the decision.

While admission to a doctoral program is possible for those holding the bachelor’s degree and meeting other requirements, the Graduate School reserves the right to offer admission only to the master’s program while postponing a decision on admission to the doctoral program until at least a substantial portion of the master’s work has been completed.

Applications must be accompanied by a $65 nonrefundable application fee. Simultaneous application to more than one department requires duplicate applications and credentials and separate application fees.

The completed application and all supporting documents must be received by April 1 for summer admission, July 15 for fall admission, and November 15 for spring admission (dates for international applicants are below). The application must be received by February 1 for consideration for financial aid for the following year. As indicated in the Graduate Degree Program Descriptions section in this catalog, certain programs admit students only for the fall semester or have earlier deadlines. There is no assurance that applications completed after specified deadlines will be processed in time for enrollment in the desired semester. Admission is valid only for the term offered and must be reconsidered if a postponement is subsequently requested.

International Applicants. Applicants from foreign countries must demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit an official test report from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Pearson Test of English (PTE), or the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Scores are valid for two years. Minimum scores needed to be eligible to be considered for admission are published at If a higher minimum is required for admission to a specific program, it is listed under that program’s admission requirements. Prospective students can find information on application procedures as well as a link to the application at the Graduate School website at Applications not received by February 1 for fall admission and July 15 for spring admission will be considered for the next admission period. Inquiries from international students concerning nonimmigrant visas, transfers, funding, etc., should be sent to the Office of International Students and Scholars. Inquiries concerning housing should be sent to the Department of Housing and Residential Life (for apartments on campus) or to the Commuter Housing Office (for rooms, apartments, and houses in the nearby community).

Transfer Credit. Transfer credit can be requested for graduate work taken at other accredited institutions of higher learning. Under usual circumstances, such credits may not exceed 20 percent of the total credits required in the program. The transfer work must have been taken at the graduate level (equivalent to the 500 level or higher in URI’s course numbering system) and a passing grade earned at that institution. It must have been completed not more than seven years prior to the date of admission and must have a clear and unquestioned relevance to the student’s Program of Study. The request for transfer credit should be accompanied by a proposed Program of Study. If transfer credit is desired for work taken elsewhere after a graduate student is enrolled at the University, prior approval must be obtained from the Graduate School. Doctoral candidates holding a master’s degree in the same or a closely related area can request that up to 30 credits from their master’s degree be applied to their Program of Study.

Prospective Students. Applicants must submit a completed application, containing all of the requested materials, directly to the department to which admission is being sought. Where required, test scores in the appropriate nationally administered tests should be sent to the University directly by the testing service. Tests required for specific programs can be found in the Graduate Degree Program Descriptions section and the Graduate School website. Scores (GRE, MAT, or GMAT) earned more than five years prior to the term of application will not be accepted. If test results exceed the five-year limit, applicants must retake the examination.

To be accepted into a degree program, applicants must have maintained an average of approximately B (3.00 on a 4.00 scale) or better in their undergraduate work. For programs that require standardized tests, students must also have satisfactory scores on the appropriate nationally administered test. Applicants with undergraduate averages below the B level may possibly be admitted with submission of other evidence of academic potential; i.e., satisfactory performance in postbaccalaureate work, professional experience as evidenced by publications or letters of recommendation, and/or high scores in the standardized tests referred to above.

Once accepted into a graduate degree program, students are expected to maintain a cumulative average of B (3.00) or better. Students who do not maintain a cumulative B average will have their status reviewed and may be placed on provisional status or be dismissed. A student placed on provisional status must achieve a cumulative B average within one semester (or nine credits, if part-time) or be subject to dismissal.

Advanced Standing. Advanced standing refers to credits taken at URI by a nonmatriculating student, or by a student in one degree program before formally beginning another degree program. In instances where a student plans to take a course or courses while in one degree program so as to apply those credits to a more advanced degree at a later date, the student must request and receive written prior approval from the dean of the Graduate School before enrolling in said course(s). Credits earned at the University of Rhode Island by a nonmatriculating student may be applied as advanced standing toward degree requirements only upon the recommendation of the student’s major professor and the graduate program director and with the approval of the Graduate School. For the credits to be applied to advanced standing, they must have been earned within a five-year period before the student matriculated into the degree program. For a master’s degree program, advanced standing and transfer credit may not total more than 40 percent of the credits required for the degree. For Ph.D. students admitted without a master’s degree, advanced standing may not total more than 20 percent of the credits required for the degree. In special cases, Ph.D. students admitted with a master’s degree in the same or a closely related area may request up to nine credits of advanced standing. The request should be accompanied by a proposed Program of Study and satisfy the time constraints listed for transfer credit.

In certain cases, applicants who have been denied admission may be advised to take several courses in nonmatriculating status (see following paragraph) to provide a basis for later reconsideration of their applications. In such cases, these courses are usually regarded as if they were entrance deficiencies and are not accepted for advanced standing in minimum-credit Programs of Study.

Nonmatriculating Status. Individuals holding a bachelor’s degree who are not enrolled in a graduate degree program may take courses during the academic year or in the summer in nonmatriculating status. Normally, to take courses for personal satisfaction or professional advancement, postbaccalaureate students enroll in the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Continuing Education. Any nonmatriculated student wishing to take courses on the Kingston Campus must file an application with the Office of Enrollment Services. If nonmatriculated students later wish to be admitted to a degree program, they must complete the regular admission procedure.

Nonmatriculated students do not have the privileges regularly enjoyed by students enrolled in graduate degree programs. For example, on the Kingston Campus they may not register until one week before classes begin and must make payment before accessing the registration system. Their enrollment is subject to the accommodation of matriculated students wishing to take these courses. In addition, there is a limit to the number of courses taken in this status that may be used as advanced standing to satisfy degree requirements. Nonmatriculated students are not eligible for financial aid.


The responsibility for being properly registered rests with the student. Students must complete their registration within the time period announced by the University at The chair of the student’s major department will assign an advisor to assist the new graduate student in planning a program. All students must register for courses through the Office of Enrollment Services in order to be properly enrolled.

For information on late registration, course schedule, payment of fees, drop and add, auditing, Veterans Administration educational benefits, transcripts, change of address, and required identification, please see “Registration Policies” in Enrollment Services.

Summer Session. Although some graduate-level courses are offered during the summer sessions, the University does not guarantee that any particular course will be offered. The availability of individual faculty members to supervise research or to participate in comprehensive examinations and in examinations in defense of theses or dissertations during the summer sessions varies from year to year. During the summer sessions, special arrangements must be made with both the Graduate School and the department for scheduling comprehensive examinations and thesis or dissertation defenses. Students must be registered to be eligible to schedule these exams. Graduate students must make prior individual arrangements for taking directed studies or special problems courses.

Time Limit and Continuous Registration. Graduate students are required to complete their course work and research within the five-year time limit prescribed for the master’s degree and the seven-year time limit for the doctorate. In exceptional circumstances, requests to the Graduate School for an extension of the time limit must be accompanied by an explanation of delay in program progress, a detailed proposed schedule for completing the degree, along with the approval of the major professor and the graduate program director. The dean of the Graduate School will review such requests and determine whether a variance to the time-limit requirement is warranted (see the Graduate School Manual, sections 7.42 and 7.51).

Graduate students must remain continuously enrolled—except for summer sessions, which are optional—until they have completed all requirements and have received their degree. Unless they are on a Leave of Absence approved by the department and the Graduate School, students who wish to maintain graduate status must be enrolled in at least one course/research credit. For students who have completed all degree requirements with the exception of removing grades of Incomplete or submitting the final, formatted copies of a successfully defended thesis/dissertation, enrolling in CRG 999 (continuous registration) will maintain their graduate status.

Students who are on a Leave of Absence or are on continuous registration do not have the privileges of consulting regularly with faculty on research or thesis preparation, nor of using laboratory, computer, or other educational facilities at URI. Students on continuous registration are not eligible for continuation of educational loan deferments based on student status.

A student who does not register for a semester, or obtain approval for a Leave of Absence, will be considered as having voluntarily withdrawn from the University. Students who are later permitted to re-enroll must pay the continuous registration fee for each semester in which they did not maintain graduate status.

Full-Time and Part-Time Students. Minimum full-time registration is nine credit hours during a regular semester and six credit hours during a summer session. Maximum registration of 15 credit hours during a regular semester and eight credits during each summer term may not be exceeded without prior written permission of the Graduate School, based on extraordinary circumstances. (Students on graduate teaching and research assistantships are limited to a minimum of six and a maximum of 12 credits.) Credits in excess of 15 will be billed at the per-credit rate. Full-time registration is required of all international students and of all students holding fellowships, assistantships, full scholarships, and traineeships administered by the University.

Credits Earned Off Campus. Students wishing to register for credits to be counted toward a degree, who will be earning these credits through off-campus activities (such as research or independent study at a national laboratory), must obtain prior approval from the Graduate School to have these activities listed as part of their Programs of Study.

Intellectual Opportunity Plan (Pass-Fail Option). To allow graduate students to venture into new areas of knowledge without fear that their scholastic average will suffer, the Graduate Council has approved the Intellectual Opportunity Plan. (Please note that courses below the 400 level are automatically excluded from the scholastic average.) To be eligible for this option, the student’s major professor or advisor must certify that the course or courses are outside the student’s major field of study, are not entrance deficiencies, and are not specific requirements of, but are relevant to, the student’s program. A maximum of four credits may be taken by the master’s degree student and a maximum of eight credits, including any taken as a master’s student, by the doctoral student.