Section 3. Admission
3.0 General Admissions Policies
Prospective students holding a 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. The Graduate School oversees all aspects of the admissions process for graduate study. The Graduate School determines minimum requirements and has the final authority to approve or deny admission. Each graduate program is responsible for reviewing applicants and reporting admissions recommendations to the Graduate School. Programs are expected to communicate specific admissions requirements to prospective students via their websites and the University catalog.
3.10 Application Process
All application materials for graduate study at the University are submitted through the online admissions system.
3.11. Deadlines – All applications must be submitted by the deadline date set by the individual graduate program. Program deadlines for receipt of applications and all supporting documents from international applicants requiring a visa should be no later than February 1 for Fall admission and July 15 for Spring admission.
3.13. Fee Waivers – New applicants who are U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents may be eligible for application fee waivers. A limited number of fee waivers are available for applicants who meet the criteria listed on the Graduate School Admissions website. Fee waivers must be requested no later than ten business days before the application deadline. Applicants may only receive one waiver per admit term. International students are not eligible to receive a fee waiver with the exception of Fulbright Scholars. Applicants to certificate programs are only eligible if they are currently enrolled in a URI degree program.
- One official copy of transcripts of all previous college and post-baccalaureate work received from the institutions involved.
- A minimum of two letters of recommendation from instructors, employers, supervisors or other professional colleagues must be submitted through the online admissions system. Hard copies will not be accepted
- Applicants from countries whose official 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.
3.15. Standardized Test Scores – The Graduate School does not require programs to use standardized test scores in evaluating applicants. Individual programs have the authority to require applicants to submit scores to tests such as the GRE, GMAT, MAT, or Praxis. The Graduate School expects programs to use holistic review by evaluating multiple forms of evidence from application materials in making admissions decisions. In accordance with best practices, the Graduate School strongly discourages the use of a cutoff score as an initial screening measure. If standardized test scores are required by a program, applicants must have official scores reported directly by the testing agency through the online admissions application.
3.16. Application for Resident Status – To be considered for tuition at the in-state rate, Rhode Island residents must submit the Graduate School Certificate of Residence form and follow the instructions for providing proof of residency. New England residents in certain approved degree programs (see Sec. 12.71) may use this form to be considered for the regional tuition rate.
3.17. Evaluation of applicants – Departments and programs 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. To confirm the authenticity and/or to identify plagiarism in submitted application materials, the Graduate School or Department may trace all supporting documents to their sources.
3.20 Admissions Requirements
3.21. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution – Applicants wishing to be admitted for work towards graduate degrees must hold a baccalaureate degree from a college or university recognized by the University of Rhode Island as an accredited institution. Matriculating students must present evidence of a conferred baccalaureate degree by the time they begin the second semester of their graduate studies at the University of Rhode Island.
3.22. Non-matriculating students – 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.
3.23. Grade Point Average – 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.
Admission recommendations for applicants with undergraduate averages below 3.0, but not less than 2.5, will be reviewed by the Graduate School based upon other evidence of academic potential, i.e., satisfactory performance in post-baccalaureate work (see Sec. 3.3), relevant professional experience as evidenced by publications or letters of recommendation, and/or high scores in the standardized tests referred to above.
3.24. English Proficiency – Scores reported for TOEFL or other approved tests must be from an examination taken within the past two years of application submission date. 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. Students holding citizenship or an earned degree from designated countries are exempt from the language proficiency requirements. These criteria are described in detail on the Graduate School website.
3.30 Special Applicant Categories
3.31. Non-degree students – 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 through Enrollment Services. 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 – 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 the 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 potential major professor and/or 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 requirements of another degree. (Preceding portion of Section 3.33 updated by Graduate Council 20 April 2015) The following cases apply:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
3.35. Re-admission – Previous applicants to the Graduate School who did not matriculate/enroll within one academic year of admission must submit a new application and pay the required fee. Applicants who previously attended the Graduate School and seek readmission to the same degree program after a break in enrollment without an approved leave of absence should not submit a new admissions application, but instead, complete the re-enrollment process described in Sec. 4.60
3.36. Transfers – 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. 7.20 of this manual.
3.40 Records Maintenance and Privacy
Admission records, including application documents and program recommendations, will be retained for two years. Application materials are neither returned to applicants nor are they forwarded to a third party, except when compelled by legal authority. See Appendix C for more information on policies regarding student records.