Graduate School Manual – Policies, Procedures, and Guidance for Graduate Studies

Policies, Procedures, and Guidance for Graduate Studies

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Section 3. Admission

3.10 General Provisions
3.20 Applications for Graduate Study
3.30 Non-Matriculating Status

3.10 General Provisions

3.11. Persons holding the baccalaureate degree and wishing to take graduate courses at the University may do so through admission to the Graduate School as degree-seeking students, or by enrolling as non-matriculating students. General deadlines for receipt of applications and all supporting documents are no later than April 15 for Summer admission, July 15 for Fall admission and November 15 for January admission. For International applications, these deadlines are February 1 for Fall admission and July 15 for Spring admission. As noted in the Graduate Programs section of the University of Rhode Island Catalog (, certain programs admit students only for September and/or have earlier application deadlines. Please see materials provided by individual departments and programs for information regarding deadlines for specific programs. Appropriate departments will examine the applications and credentials and forward their recommendations concerning admission to the Graduate School. Final decisions regarding admission rest with the Dean of the Graduate School.

3.20 Applications for Graduate Study

3.21. Persons wishing to be admitted for work towards graduate degrees must hold the baccalaureate degree from a college or university recognized by the University of Rhode Island as an accredited institution. Such a degree must be held by the time they begin their graduate studies at the University of Rhode Island. Applications may be accessed at As part of the application process, the following materials must be submitted:

  1. Payment of the non-refundable application fee.
  2. One official copy of the transcripts of all previous college and post-baccalaureate work received from the institutions involved.
  3. A minimum of two letters of recommendation from instructors, employers, or supervisors.
  4. For programs requiring them, one official copy of the standardized test scores listed in the Catalog of the University of Rhode Island under admission requirements. At the time of application or examination, the student must clearly designate the department or code to which the application is being made..
  5. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit an official test report from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or from one of the approved alternative examinations listed on the Graduate School website at Scores reported must be from an examination taken within the past two years. Unless a higher minimum is listed under the admission requirements for a specific program, minimum scores acceptable for admission are listed on the Graduate School website at

3.22. Persons who have completed a substantial amount of post-baccalaureate work before applying for admission will have this work evaluated with all other credentials submitted in support of admission. Such applicants should note particularly the requirements for Transfer Credit stated in Sec. 3.32 and 7.20 of this manual.

3.23. To be accepted into a graduate program, applicants are expected to have maintained a minimum cumulative grade point average of B (3.00 on a 4.00 scale) in their undergraduate work, or in previous graduate work, and have satisfactory scores on the appropriate, designated nationally administered test(s). Applicants with undergraduate averages below 3.0, but not less than 2.5, may be admitted based upon other evidence of academic potential, i.e., satisfactory performance in post-baccalaureate work (see Sec. 3.30 ), relevant professional experience as evidenced by publications or letters of recommendation, and/or high scores in the standardized tests referred to above. Graduate programs seeking admission for a prospective student with an undergraduate grade point average below 2.5 may appeal the denial to admit directly to the Dean of the Graduate School who will make the final decision on the suitability of the candidate for graduate studies.
3.24. Under the provisions of the New England Regional Student Program for graduate students, administered by the New England Board of Higher Education, the University charges a regional student tuition rate to residents of another New England state who are matriculated graduate students in certain programs. The regional graduate student tuition rate at the University is significantly less than the out-of-state tuition rate. The specific program must be one that is not available at the student’s home-state university. Normally, these programs are listed in the New England Regional Student Program Graduate Level booklet (“Apple Book”). Applicants must clearly indicate, both in their initial inquiries and on the application forms, that they are seeking admission under the terms of the New England Regional Student Program. Those seeking admission must file a Certificate of Residence ( signed by the clerk of the city or town where they claim legal residence. Inquiries and requests for further information may be directed to the Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Rhode Island or to the New England Board of Higher Education, 45 Temple Place, Boston, Massachusetts 02111 ( If a student transfers to another program, the Regional Student status is automatically terminated. Where appropriate, the student may apply for Regional Student status in the new program.

3.30 Non-Matriculating Status

3.31. Individuals holding a baccalaureate degree who are not students in an advanced degree program may take courses during the academic year or in the summer as non-matriculating students. To take courses for personal satisfaction or professional advancement, post-baccalaureate students may enroll either through the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Continuing Education ( or through Enrollment Services at the Kingston campus ( For a description of the maximum number of credits that may be applied to future graduate work, see Section 3.33. If non-matriculating students later wish to be admitted to a degree program they must complete the regular admission procedure.

3.32. Non-matriculating students do not have the privileges regularly enjoyed by students in a degree program. For example, on the Kingston Campus, they cannot register until one week before classes begin, are required to make payment before accessing the University registration system, and their enrollment in courses is subject to the accommodation of students already in graduate programs. 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. Non-matriculating students are not eligible for financial aid.

3.33. Advanced Standing Credits: Advanced standing refers to credits taken at the University of Rhode Island by a non-matriculating student or by a student in one degree program before formally beginning another 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 non-matriculating 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 Dean of the Graduate School. To be eligible, these credits must have been earned within a seven-year period before matriculating into the degree program in question and cannot have been used to fulfill any requirement of another degree. (Preceding portion of Section 3.33 updated by Graduate Council 20 April 2015)  The following cases apply:

  1. For a Master’s degree program, advanced standing credits may not total more than two-fifths of the degree requirements. Transfer credit for courses taken elsewhere (see Section 7.20) and credits by examination or equivalent (see Section 7.30) must also fit within this two-fifths limitation.
  2. For Ph.D. students admitted without a Master’s degree, advanced standing credits may not total more than one-fifth of the credits necessary to meet degree requirements. Credits by examination or equivalent (see Section 7.30) must also fit within this one-fifth limitation.
  3. Ph.D. students admitted with a Master’s degree in the same or a closely related area are limited to a maximum of 6 or 9 advanced standing credits as described in Section 7.21c-d.

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