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Graduate School

Chapter 1: Admissions, Enrollment and Progress

Admission Procedures
Entrance Requirements
Admission Categories
Registration and Enrollment
Annual Progress Reviews
Graduate Assistants
Graduate Study by Seniors and Undergrad Special Students
Graduate Work by Faculty and Staff

A. Admission Procedures

Graduate programs have the responsibility of receiving credentials from prospective graduate students and making recommendations on admission. Correspondence regarding admission to the Graduate School should thus be addressed to the appropriate graduate program, which will provide information on program admission requirements and any required supplementary forms. Applicants should complete the online application and submit the application and application fee electronically via the Graduate School website at http://www.k-state.edu/grad. The Graduate School will record all applications and application fees and then forward a copy of the application form to the appropriate degree program for a recommendation.  The applicant should submit all required documents and credentials (i.e. official transcripts statement of objectives, references, etc.) to the appropriate graduate program at least three months before the applicant expects to enroll.  This time period may be longer for degree programs with early deadlines and for international students applying for student visas. If the applicant is uncertain which graduate program should receive his or her correspondence, it may be addressed to the Graduate School.

One official copy of the applicant's transcript from each college or university attended must be submitted with every application. A transcript is official only when it is sent directly from the university or college in question and bears the institution's seal. For each applicant admitted, an official transcript showing the conferral of all previous degrees must be submitted to the Graduate School.  All transcripts become part of the applicant's official file and are not returned.

If the graduate faculty of a graduate program decides to recommend admission, the application, transcripts, and supporting materials are sent to the Graduate School for final review. If the graduate program decides against admission, it notifies the applicant by letter. The decision is made as expeditiously as possible. In the event of delay, applicants are given an approximate date on which they can expect notification.

Admission to graduate study does not imply admission to candidacy for an advanced degree. For a doctoral degree, such candidacy is confirmed only upon successful completion of preliminary examinations.

B. Entrance Requirements

An applicant to the Graduate School at Kansas State University must have a bachelor's degree substantially the same as the ones granted by Kansas State University. That is, it must represent a broad range of courses in the basic academic disciplines. Applicants whose degrees do not meet these standards may be denied admission to graduate degree programs at Kansas State University. Admission is denied to applicants holding bachelor's degrees with a significant amount of credit for work that was not supervised by a faculty member of an accredited college or university or evaluated in units that identify the academic content. A limited amount of credit for experience, when awarded as an acceptable part of a bachelor's degree for internships, fieldwork, or the like, is not a cause for denial but must be clearly identified as graded work.

All students admitted to the Graduate School must meet the following requirements:

1. Graduates from colleges and universities in the United States

a. A bachelor's degree from a college or university accredited by a regional or national institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

b. Undergraduate preparation in the proposed major field equivalent to that acquired by a graduate of Kansas State University, or evidence of an appropriate    background for undertaking an advanced degree program, and

c. Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale or GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of coursework. This GPA is based only on courses graded on a multi-level scale, usually A, B, C, D, F.

See section 1-C: Admission Categories.

2. Graduates of foreign colleges and universities

All international students admitted to the Graduate School must demonstrate the same level of achievement as U.S. students. That is, they must hold a degree from an established institution comparable to a college or university in the United States, have an outstanding undergraduate record, have the demonstrated ability to do graduate work, and provide evidence of language proficiency sufficient for the pursuit of a graduate degree. Admission may be denied to students from technical schools, which may provide excellent training in special areas, but do not offer degrees equivalent to those of colleges and universities. Questions about the qualifications of international students should be directed to the Graduate School.

3. English proficiency requirements

The Graduate School requires each applicant whose native language is not English to demonstrate competence in the English language by achieving a satisfactory score (defined below) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Pearson Test of English (PTE). The TOEFL, IELTS or PTE is required to ensure that the student’s progress toward a degree is not jeopardized by language barriers. The TOEFL (K-State TOEFL school code 6334) is offered several times a year throughout the world by the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey. International applicants are advised to take the TOEFL as early as possible to avoid delays in the processing of their applications. However, the test date should be no older than eighteen months from the application deadline.

Please note that any non-native English speakers, whether a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or international student, interested in a Graduate Teaching Assistantship must meet the speaking requirements as specified in Chapter 1, Section F.

Score Requirements:

TestMinimum score
iBT TOEFL (internet based)79
Pearson Test of English (PTE)58

An applicant who has received a degree in the last two years from a United States college or university is exempt from this requirement. Individual programs may have more stringent requirements for demonstration of English language proficiency.

C. Admission Categories

All new graduate students, domestic or foreign, are assigned to one of four categories upon admission:

C.1 Full standing

a. Undergraduate training essentially the same as that at Kansas State University.

b. B average or higher in junior and senior years.

C.2 Provisional

a. Transcript evaluation uncertain, as is sometimes the case with international students.

b. B average or higher in junior and senior years, but some course deficiencies in undergraduate work.

c. Final transcripts indicating award of a degree not yet in hand; applicant completing degree; other criteria for full standing met.

C.3 Probationary

a. Grade point average from 2.65 to 2.99 (A=4.00) in last two years
If work has shown a marked improvement in later semesters and there are grades of B or better in demanding courses in major and related areas, admission is considered.

b. Grade point average below 2.65 in last two years
Admission is considered only upon documentation that the student is now qualified to do graduate work. Evidence may include: (1) satisfactory grades on a GRE Advanced Test or Miller Analogies Test; (2) satisfactory work at another graduate school; or (3) outstanding professional experience that demonstrates the ability to handle academic work in the major area.

Probationary and provisional students are advised of deficiencies and of other conditions to be met to achieve full standing. Their status is reviewed after completing 9 hours of course work at Kansas State University. Those who have earned grades of B or higher and GPAs of 3.0 or higher for the first 9 hours, exclusive of individualized study, and removed all deficiencies specified at the time of admission, will be placed in good standing.

C.4 Special

Students who have a bachelor's degree but do not plan to work for an advanced degree may be admitted to graduate study as special students. No more than 9 credit hours earned as a special student may be applied toward an advanced degree. Special students are required to meet the same academic standards as other graduate students. Special students who later wish to work for an advanced degree must make a formal application to the appropriate department or interdepartmental program and be formally admitted by the Graduate School as a student with full standing status.

C.5 Non-degree, International

International applicants who are in the final year of their undergraduate degree (equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree) may be recommended for provisional admission by the graduate program to which they apply. In such cases, those students may be admitted to the graduate school as a non-degree graduate student.

D. Registration and Enrollment

Students who have been admitted to the Graduate School must register and pay their fees during the regular registration periods. Changes in enrollment must be approved by an advisor and the Dean of the Graduate School.

All graduate students who have matriculated at Kansas State University and are using faculty time or University facilities for research or other academic pursuits must be enrolled. The enrollment should reflect, as accurately as possible, the demands made on faculty time and the use made of University facilities. Further, a graduate degree candidate must be enrolled during the semester in which the degree requirements are completed.

E. Annual Progress Reviews

Graduate programs at Kansas State University must have a policy for the annual review of progress toward degree completion for all graduate students. Each graduate program will establish its specific process for conducting and documenting student reviews. Reviews should facilitate timely degree completion and allow graduate programs to monitor how well student progress meets program expectations. Programs are encouraged to incorporate multiple data sources for evaluation of graduate student progress. At a minimum, programs should include the following components in the review process: a self-assessment by the student, input from or assessment by the advisor, and an opportunity for the student to discuss progress toward degree completion with the student’s advisor or other appropriate program representative. Other sources of information about student progress may include input from or assessment by classroom instructors, teaching mentors, lab supervisors, and thesis or dissertation committee members. A cumulative record of each student’s annual review shall be kept in the student’s academic file in the graduate program.

F. Graduate Assistants

1. Definitions

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA):   A GTA performs duties that support the teaching mission of K-State and the student’s educational goals. These duties might include classroom or laboratory teaching, proctoring exams, grading exams, papers or other assignments, preparing instructional materials or other general assistance in the instructional process.  The GTA’s teaching assignment will necessarily vary between academic units and with the student’s FTE appointment, but should not exceed an average of 20 student contact hours per week throughout the semester for a 0.5 FTE appointment. GTA appointments and compensation must be consistent with Chapter 4845 of the Kansas State University Policy and Procedures Manual.

Graduate Research Assistant (GRA):  A GRA performs duties that support the research mission of K-State and the student’s educational goals. Research duties vary, but are supervised by graduate faculty. The research project that the students’ activities support may be part of their thesis or dissertation. GRA appointments and compensation must be consistent with Chapter 4835 of the Kansas State University Policy and Procedures Manual.

Graduate Assistant (GA):  A GA performs duties that directly or indirectly contribute to a graduate student’s educational success. These duties vary, but generally involve administrative services that can include gathering, organizing and analyzing information, providing student services, performing administrative tasks to support a program or organizational unit or performing routine research support activities. Since the duties of most GAs are performed in a structured environment, the GA may be required to appear at specific times and coordinate their activities with the employing unit. Support of GAs may depend on the number of hours spent on their duties and will require these hours to be reported, or may be based upon a specified FTE commitment and require flexibility in the hours spent on their duties, but must be consistent with Chapter 4720 of the Kansas State University Policy and Procedures Manual. Any graduate assistantship that is not a GRA or GTA as defined above is a GA.

2. Awarding

The principal objective of a graduate student is to pursue a concerted program of study that will normally lead to an advanced degree in the chosen academic discipline. To assist students to pursue their studies full-time, the University makes available financial assistance through a limited number of graduate teaching assistantships (GTA), graduate research assistantships (GRA) and graduate assistantships (GA). These assistantship appointments carry with them a service requirement, typically directed at improving professional skills in their academic fields. Award of an assistantship is based on the student's ability and promise and is usually made for either nine or twelve months. The maximum appointment is 0.5 full-time equivalent (FTE), but appointments for lesser fractions may be made. Continuation of appointments is subject to academic performance and the availability of funds. Information on applying for graduate assistantships may be obtained from the department concerned.

Students holding GTA, GRA, or GA appointments from September 1 through November 17 receive tuition benefits for the fall term, and students holding GTA, GRA, or GA appointments from February 1 through April 17 receive tuition benefits for the spring term. If a graduate appointment does not begin by these dates or terminates before these ending dates, all tuition benefits will be lost. The student then is responsible for the total tuition payment.

GTAs, GRAs, and GAs on 0.5 FTE appointments are eligible to participate in the Kansas Board of Regents GTA/GRA/GA health insurance plan. Information about enrollment in the health insurance plan is available from Human Capital Services.

3. Enrollment

Fall and Spring Appointments
The maximum number of credit hours in which a graduate student employed on an assistantship can enroll is 12 hours for the fall and spring semesters and 9 hours during the summer. Students desiring to enroll in hours exceeding the maximum number permitted should be in good academic standing and obtain permission from their advisor and forward the permission to the Graduate School for final approval. To fulfill the obligation that students pursue studies full-time, graduate assistants must be enrolled in at least 6 hours during fall and spring semesters.

Summer Appointments
The Graduate School does not require that graduate students be enrolled during the summer. Individual departments may require minimum enrollment in any term. Information pertaining to minimum enrollment during the summer may be obtained from the department concerned. Graduate students on full-time summer GRA/GTA/GA appointment (0.5 FTE) and enrolled in fewer than 3 hours (or not enrolled) will be required to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. Hours taken during May and August intersession are counted in the total number of hours for the summer term. To be eligible for a GTA tuition waiver in the summer, the student must be enrolled in at least 3 hours. 

4. Tuition Remission

Tuition responsibilities for graduate students depend on the nature of the appointments. Students holding a 0.4 FTE appointments as a GRA/GTA/GA, or any combination of these, are assessed tuition at the resident rates according to an established schedule.

Graduate students appointed as GTAs are eligible for tuition waivers. Graduate students appointed on full-time GTA appointments (0.5 FTE) receive tuition waivers for a maximum of 10 hours in the fall and spring semesters and 6 hours in the summer semester. Hours taken during January intersession are counted in the total number of hours for the tuition waiver paid in the spring semester. Hours taken during May and August intersessions are counted in the total number of hours for the tuition waiver paid in the summer semester. GTAs appointed less than 0.5 FTE are eligible to receive partial tuition waivers based on the proportion of the teaching appointments.
*See Table 1 for a Schedule of Tuition Remission

Table 1: Schedule of Tuition Remission

Fall & Spring





20% tuition waiver (2 hours)


10% tuition waiver (1 hour)


30% tuition waiver (3 hours)


20% tuition waiver (2 hours)


40% tuition waiver (4 hours)


20% tuition waiver (2 hours)


50% tuition waiver (5 hours)


30% tuition waiver (3 hours)


60% tuition waiver (6 hours)


30% tuition waiver (3 hours)


70% tuition waiver (7 hours)


40% tuition waiver (4 hours)


80% tuition waiver (8 hours)


50% tuition waiver (5 hours)


90% tuition waiver (9 hours)


50% tuition waiver (5 hours)


100% tuition waiver (10 hours) (maximum)


60% tuition waiver (6 hours)




60% tuition waiver (6 hours)

In all cases, the student will be responsible for paying the remainder of the tuition at the resident rate. GTA tuition waivers are provided for tuition benefits only; students will be responsible for campus privilege fees (student health, activity fees, etc).

5. English Proficiency

The Kansas Board of Regents requires all prospective GTAs who are non-native speakers of English to achieve a:

minimum score of 50 on the TSE (Test of Spoken English)
minimum score of 50 on the Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK)
minimum score of 22 on the speak section of the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT)

6. Disputes

Disputes concerning graduate assistants (GTA/GRA/GA) are employment matters that should be originated with the appointing department and be addressed through normal supervisory channels. A student should begin addressing the concern with the assigned supervisor of the assistantship and, if necessary, proceed to the department or unit head. If the matter is not resolved at the department or unit level, the student may present it to the Dean of the College in which the (GTA/GRA/GA) is employed. Formal grievance procedures do not apply to these appointments.

Individuals should contact Affirmative Action or the Office of Student Life regarding employment disputes believed to constitute discrimination or harassment, as defined in the "Policy and Procedure for Discrimination and Harassment Complaints" section of the University Handbook.

G. Graduate Study by Seniors and Undergraduate Special Students

Seniors at Kansas State University who have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on prior undergraduate work and are within two semesters of receiving a bachelor's degree may take up to 9 hours for graduate credit in courses numbered in the 500, 600, and 700 sequences.

Enrollment in courses at the 800 level and above is normally restricted to students admitted to the Graduate School. In exceptional circumstances, highly qualified students may enroll in courses numbered 800 and above after obtaining permission from the instructor of the course, the head of the department offering the course, and the Graduate Dean.

Those wishing to take more than 9 semester hours must apply for admission to, and be accepted by, the Graduate School. Following the award of a bachelor's degree, courses taken for undergraduate credit may not be changed to graduate credit.

A student enrolled as an undergraduate special student may not take courses for graduate credit.

H. Graduate Work by Faculty and Staff

Full-time faculty and staff, with the approval of their department heads or deans, may enroll in graduate or undergraduate work not to exceed 6 credit hours in a regular semester or 3 credit hours during the summer session.

Full-time faculty and staff of the University may audit classes without cost if they have permission of their deans and the deans of the colleges in which the courses are offered.

Kansas State University does not permit the awarding of advanced degrees to its faculty who hold the rank of assistant professor or higher within their own departments or as requirements for promotion or tenure. ROTC personnel are excluded from this policy.