Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies at the University of Kansas is the administrative unit responsible for graduate education for the Lawrence and Edwards Campuses.

Graduate Studies on the KU Medical Center campus (a unit of the Office of Academic Affairs) is responsible for graduate programs in the Schools of Health Professions, Medicine, and Nursing. Please see the online catalog section for the KU Medical Center - Office of Graduate Studies for more information.

Graduate degrees are conferred by the professional schools and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with the exception of the Health Informatics master’s degree, which is conferred by the KUMC Office of Graduate Studies upon recommendation by the Health Informatics Advisory Council. Appointments to the Graduate Faculty are authorized by the schools and the College, or by the individual academic units on the Medical Center campus, and administered by the appropriate Graduate Studies office.

KU offers the Master of Arts degree, the Master of Science degree, specific professional master’s degrees, the professional degree of Specialist in Education, and the Doctor of Philosophy degree, as well as professional doctorates of Audiology, Education, Engineering, Musical Arts, and Speech-Language Pathology. KU also offers graduate certificate programs and currently enrolls more than 5,000 graduate students.

Goals of Graduate Study

The traditional goals of graduate study are independent scholarship, competence in research or other creative work, and the cultivation of skill and commitment in teaching. Having acquired a broad education as an undergraduate, the student is expected to master a specific field, to learn the methods of investigation employed therein, and to proceed toward making an original contribution to knowledge. Since many of those who earn advanced degrees find careers in higher education, the acquisition of skill in teaching and in directing research are also essential parts of graduate education.

Emerging societal interests and changing market demands continue to underscore the importance of the traditional goals of graduate study.  At the same time, they emphasize the need for flexibility in programs and accommodation in career objectives. Graduates in many fields continue to pursue increasingly diverse careers and, as they do, they demonstrate the value of graduate study and research to society, government, business, industry, the diverse professions, and the arts. Nevertheless, incoming students must realize that a change in employment patterns for graduates is underway in many fields where the major, if not the sole, employment opportunity after graduation was once to be found in a teaching career.

Graduate Military Programs

The Office of Graduate Military Programs (GMP) facilitates collaboration between the university and the US Armed Forces for the development of academic programs and research initiatives that support the needs of the Department of Defense (DOD). GMP develops and maintains programs for select officers attending the Command and General Staff College at nearby Fort Leavenworth, instructors at the United States military academies, foreign area officers, logisticians, and other DOD personnel requiring the advanced degrees necessary to teach and conduct research at the highest level. The office assists principal investigators throughout the university to find well-matched research grant opportunities, prepare proposals, and coordinate with the appropriate DOD entities. GMP also collaborates with the Student Veteran Center and serves as a voice for all educational issues related to student veterans. GMP is committed to creating and maintaining a positive learning environment for military veterans attending our university.

Research

Research is an integral part of the university’s educational mission and approach to graduate study. The National Science Foundation classifies KU as a major university receiving substantial research support. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education classifies KU as a doctorate-granting R1 Research University with the Highest Research Activity, and KU has been a member of the Association of American Universities since 1909. The university has a long and successful record of research collaboration through independent, multidisciplinary research centers that focus on common themes. KU is home to university research centers and institutes, affiliated centers, core service labs, the Kansas Geological Survey, and the Kansas Biological Survey. In addition, a number of research centers exist in individual departments and academic units throughout the university. For more information about research on the Lawrence campus, visit the Research page or the Office of Research.

Fellowships and Scholarships

Visit the Graduate Studies website for information about funding opportunities for KU graduate students.

Admission to Graduate Study

Persons whose records indicate their ability to succeed in advanced work may be admitted to the University of Kansas for graduate study in one of the professional schools or in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. These policies constitute university minima. Departments and programs may be more selective. 

Applicants can apply to be degree-seeking, non-degree-seeking, or certificate-seeking students. Applicants pursuing an identifiable degree program are degree-seeking; those applicants pursuing a certificate program are certificate-seeking, those who are not pursuing an identified degree or certificate program should be admitted under the non-degree-seeking category. No student may work toward a graduate degree without being accepted as a degree-seeking student in a specific graduate program. (View the current policies on Graduate admission.)

English Proficiency:

In accordance with the policy on English Proficiency Requirements for Admission to Graduate Study, international applicants must demonstrate English proficiency, even if they indicate that English is their first language. Domestic applicants who indicate that English is not their first language must demonstrate English proficiency as described in this policy.

Degree- and Certificate-Seeking Admission

Students who apply to a graduate degree or certificate program may be offered admission with a status of regular or provisional.  In some circumstances, students may be offered regular admission and also be required to complete mandatory English Language Training alongside the academic degree program.

Degree-seeking graduate students who wish to pursue a certificate within their own department do not need to apply separately for admission to the certificate program unless the department requires a separate application. Degree-seeking graduate students who wish to pursue a certificate outside of their home department must apply to the certificate program. Degree-seeking graduate students must be in good standing in their degree programs in order to be admitted to a certificate program, whether in the same or a different department.

If students admitted to a graduate certificate program are later admitted to a graduate degree program as degree-seeking students, applicable courses taken for the graduate certificate program may be counted toward the degree with the approval of the degree-granting program. While the courses comprising a graduate certificate may be used as evidence in support of a student's application for admission to a graduate degree program, the certificate itself is not considered to be a prerequisite and does not guarantee admission into any graduate degree program.

Regular Admission

Regular admission requires evidence* of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited university or from a foreign university with substantially equivalent bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree requirements. The bachelor’s degree is not acceptable if it contains credit awarded for work experience that was not directly supervised by faculty members (life experience) or if the work was not evaluated in units that identify the academic content (e.g., if the work was graded on a P/F or S/U basis). In exceptional cases, persons not holding bachelor’s degrees may be admitted if they are academically well prepared. In these cases, the Dean of Graduate Studies reviews the student’s academic background before the student is admitted.

Except as otherwise provided by university policies, applicants must demonstrate a grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in a completed* degree program at KU, at another regionally-accredited institution, or at a foreign university with substantially equivalent bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree requirements. For more information on procedures used to provide and evaluate transcripts, see the policy on Admission to Graduate Study, Procedures

*Students may be admitted based on their cumulative GPA in the last term of an active degree program, but these students must provide evidence of a completed bachelor’s degree (as described above) before they will be allowed to enroll in a second term of graduate study at KU.

Provisional Admission

Applicants who meet the minimum bachelor's degree requirement outlined above, but who have one or more deficiencies in grade-point average, prerequisite course work, or other areas as determined by the department or program, but who meet all other admission standards, may be admitted on a provisional basis.  Students granted provisional admission shall not be considered in academic good standing until the department and graduate division recognize that the student has met the requirements for regular admission as described below. 

If an applicant is admitted provisionally, it is expected that the student's department and the student's school or College will review the student's progress immediately following the first semester of graduate study. This review will determine whether the student has met the requirements for regular admission. 

If the student meets the requirements for regular admission, the department or program in which the student is enrolled will request that Graduate Studies move the student from provisional to regular status. If the student does not meet the requirements for regular admission by the time of review, the student may be continued on provisional status or dismissed immediately.

A student with provisional status may be dismissed at the conclusion of any semester if the student fails to earn a 3.0 GPA or to meet other requirements for regular admission. If, after the first semester, provisional continuation is recommended by the department or program and approved by the graduate division, the student may remain on provisional status until the student meets the requirements for regular admission.

Students who have been dismissed from a graduate program may be admitted for further graduate study at KU only by petition of the graduate division that will accept the student. The petition must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Non-Degree-Seeking Admission

A non-degree-seeking applicant applies to the University (not to a department, program, or school) for admission as a non-degree-seeking student. A non-degree-seeking applicant must confirm that the applicant has completed a bachelor's degree and, if applicable, meets the English proficiency requirements for non-degree-seeking admission (for more information, see the policy here). The applicant is not required to meet the other admission standards for regular admission.

Non-degree-seeking admission is not intended to bypass regular admission into a graduate certificate or degree program. However, if a non-degree-seeking student later applies for admission and is accepted as a regular degree- or certificate-seeking student, the student may transfer up to 9 credit hours toward a graduate certificate or degree, or up to 6 credit hours in the case of a 9-hour certificate. Students who withdraw from a degree program and subsequently seek admission to a certificate program are subject to these same transfer limits (i.e., 9 credit hours, or 6 toward a 9-hour certificate). For more information, see the policy on Graduate Credit

Easy Admit

An applicant to graduate study who wishes only to attend institutes or workshops that require graduate admitted status may be admitted under the easy admit process. This process allows any person, with evidence of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, to take one course per semester without needing to meet the additional requirements of provisional admission.

The easy admit process is limited to certain Lawrence-campus programs that tend to have a high volume of applicants who enroll in institutes or workshops for continuing education purposes.  An applicant should verify that the easy admit option is available for the course in which the student is interested before pursuing this option.

Offers of Admission

Offers of admission are valid for one year from the term of admission, as long as the admitting program approves deferral to a future term. If individuals offered admission are not in attendance at the University of Kansas after one year from the term of admission, all application materials are destroyed and the admission is rescinded. If this occurs, the prospective graduate student must submit a new application, application fee, official transcripts, and other required materials. Previous acceptance into a graduate program does not guarantee an admission offer for a future application.

Admission Procedures

Applying for Admission

Applicants submit an application online at graduate.ku.edu. To ensure adequate time for review, applicants should check with individual degree programs for application deadline dates. In addition to the application, Graduate Studies requires official transcripts from the baccalaureate-granting institution as well as transcripts from any institutions attended post-baccalaureate. Transcripts must be sent directly by the degree-granting institution to KU. (Please note, transcripts and test scores that have been faxed by someone other than a university staff member are not accepted as official copies.) Applicants with degrees from a foreign country must follow the transcript procedures outlined here.

At the time of application, applicants must supply at least a scanned version of official transcripts for processing purposes. Some programs may require that official and final transcripts be provided at the time of application.  Applicants should check with the program(s) to which they apply for more information. 

Applicants with degrees from institutions outside of the U.S. may be required to submit additional transcript documents. Transcripts that are in a language other than English must be accompanied by English translations. Information about required transcript documents for degrees earned outside of the U.S. is available here.

International applicants must also provide a financial statement and test scores demonstrating English proficiency (see the English Proficiency Requirements; for more information). The university is unable to issue immigration documents until an international applicant provides a statement of financial resources. Degree programs may choose not to consider international applications if they are not accompanied by a financial statement. 

Admission Notification

The university may classify admitted students as degree-seeking, certificate-seeking, or non-degree-seeking and may admit them with regular or provisional status. Each student's decision letter explains the classifications under which s/he is admitted. Each applicant is notified by email when the decision letter is available.

For all admission categories, enrollment in specific courses may be subject to fulfillment of departmental course prerequisites and consent of the instructor.

Admission to graduate study does not imply admission to candidacy for a higher degree. A student becomes a candidate for an advanced degree only by demonstrating through resident study at KU the requisite preparation and ability. Requirements specified for an advanced degree must be regarded as minimum requirements. Additional requirements depend on the student’s undergraduate preparation and the particular field of graduate work chosen.

Limitations on Admission

Some programs must restrict the number of applicants they admit because of limited space, faculty, or other resources for research and instruction. Prospective students should direct their questions to the program(s) which interest them.

Application Fees

Nonrefundable application fees payable to the University of Kansas are required. Rates are subject to change. Some departments and programs require deposits from admitted students to be fully credited against required fees upon enrollment.

Degree-seeking domestic application$65
Degree-seeking international application$85
Non-degree-seeking application (domestic and international)$30
Readmission application$20
Easy Admit$10


View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus application fees.

English Proficiency Requirements for Admission to Graduate Study

The following are acceptable means for verifying English proficiency for purposes of admitting international applicants and domestic applicants who are non-native English speakers:

  • Graduation with a baccalaureate degree (or higher) earned in residence from an accredited English-medium U.S. college or university or a college or university in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, English-speaking province of Canada, or an English-speaking Caribbean country, with instruction conducted in English. Degrees earned online may not be used to verify English proficiency.
  • Official scores from an English proficiency standardized test (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS-Academic, or PTE), sent by the testing agency to the University of Kansas. Official scores must be less than two years old.
  • In exceptional cases, a department, with written support from the appropriate School or College, may petition the Dean of Graduate Studies to consider alternative documentation of English proficiency. In consultation with the Director of the Applied English Center, the Dean of Graduate Studies will determine whether the alternative documentation demonstrates English proficiency at the level expected for regular admission to graduate study at KU.

Note: Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) have additional English proficiency requirements indicated in the policy on Spoken English Language Competency of Faculty and Graduate Teaching Assistants

Regular Admission Minima for Campus-based Programs*

TOEFL (paper)All part scores at least 53
TOEFL (iBT)Reading, Listening, and Writing part scores at least 20
IELTS-AcademicMinimum overall score 6.0 with no part score below 5.5
PTEMinimum overall score 55 with no part score below 50

Regular Admission Minima for Online and Distance Learning Programs

TOEFL (paper)All part scores at least 57, TWE 5.0
TOEFL (iBT)Reading, Listening, and Writing part scores at least 23
IELTS-AcademicMinimum overall score 6.5, at least 6.0 in Listening, Reading, and Writing
PTEMinimum overall score 58 with no part score below 53 in Listening, Reading, & Writing

Provisional Admission Minima for Campus-based programs

TOEFL (paper)All part scores at least 51-52
TOEFL (iBT)Reading, Listening, and Writing part scores 18-19
IELTS-AcademicMinimum overall score 5.5 with no part score below 5.0
PTEMinimum overall score 45 with no part score below 40

Deny Admission & Recommend Applying to Applied English Center (AEC)

TOEFL (paper)One or more part scores below 51
TOEFL (iBT)Any of these part scores below 18: Reading, Listening, or Writing
IELTS-AcademicOverall score below 5.5 or any part score below 5.0
PTEOverall score below 43 or any part score below 36

All students admitted to campus-based programs, who are international students and/or are not native speakers of English, are required to check in at the Applied English Center (AEC) upon arrival on campus. At that time, the AEC will confirm the student's level of English proficiency and determine whether English courses will be included as a requirement of the student's academic program. In order to graduate, students who are required to complete AEC courses must meet KU's English proficiency standards as demonstrated by their performance in AEC coursework and evaluations. .

Any U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent residents who have declared that their native language is not English must report to the AEC for verification of English proficiency before enrolling.

Note: Provisional admission is not available to students in all programs. Provisional admission is not available to students who are applying to online programs in the School of Education and are not native English speakers.

International students seeking F-1 status must meet the standards for regular admission. Provisional admission is not sufficient to issue the Form I-20. Please see the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus English proficiency policy.

Permit to Re-enroll

A student who has been actively enrolled in a degree-seeking graduate program but who has not been enrolled for one academic year (three consecutive semesters, including the summer semester) or less, may be eligible to use the permit to re-enroll form with the consent of the student's department or program.

A student who has been actively enrolled in a degree-seeking program and has not enrolled for four or more consecutive semesters is not eligible to use the permit to re-enroll form and must re-apply for graduate admission.

The permit to re-enroll form is not available to a student who:

  • was dismissed from a program at KU;
  • was voluntarily discontinued (formally withdrew) from a graduate program;
  • completed the graduate degree program; or
  • most recently enrolled as a non-degree-seeking graduate student.

Before completing the permit to re-enroll form, students should contact their graduate program directly to confirm availability of the permit to re-enroll.

Students returning from an approved Leave of Absence will be returned from leave by their department. These students are not required to use the permit to re-enroll. View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on Permit to Re-Enroll. View an illustrative chart here.

Transcripts

Applications must be accompanied by one copy of official transcripts from the institution where the applicant earned the bachelor's degree (or equivalent). This official transcript will be used to verify the completion (or intended completion) of a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent).

If the applicant has completed any graduate work, official transcripts from the graduate institution(s) must be included as well. Letters of recommendation and test scores may also be required. Applicants should check with the program(s) to which they are applying for more information.

In order to be considered official, transcripts and test scores must be sent through secure means (e.g., a sealed envelope, electronic transmission) directly from the degree-granting institution or testing service to the University of Kansas. Transcripts and test scores provided through unofficial means will not be considered to be official documents for the purpose of admission.
 

Degrees

Degrees are awarded three times each year, in August, December, and May. Degrees for each academic year are conferred formally at the annual commencement ceremony in May. Degree candidates are not eligible to graduate if the graduate grade-point average (GPA) is lower than 3.0 in all courses acceptable for graduate credit. 

Doctoral candidates who have fulfilled all of their degree requirements by the deadline dates for graduation in August 2017, December 2017, and May 2018 are allowed to participate in the May 2018 doctoral hooding ceremony. In addition, doctoral candidates who expect to complete all of their degree requirements by the deadline date for graduation in August 2018 may elect to participate in the May 2018 doctoral hooding ceremony. Summer 2018 graduates should contact the Office of Graduate Studies early in the spring 2018 semester in order to participate in hooding. 

Students who are working toward two degrees must complete the requirements for each degree. Course work may not count toward fulfilling degree requirements for more than one degree.

Graduate students may not be awarded an additional KU degree with the same name and degree code as a previously awarded degree from KU. This applies to the completion of different degree tracks, concentrations, and subspecialties within a given degree. This does not prohibit students from earning additional master’s or doctoral degrees in another discipline.

View the current list of all master's and doctoral degrees on the Graduate Studies Academics pageView the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on graduate degrees.

Master's Degree Programs

KU grants traditional Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees, as well as professional master’s degrees that have developed out of these traditional arts and science degrees. A Master of Arts or a Master of Science degree requires at least one year of graduate work or its equivalent. Stated in terms of hours of credit, the standard master's program requires 30 hours though some degrees, especially in professional areas, may require as many as 36 or 40 or more. With permission from the department (or in the case of interdepartmental programs, permission from the joint program committee) and of the Graduate Division, it is sometimes possible to complete a 30-hour master's degree with as few as 24 hours if the student enters the program especially well prepared and maintains a superior GPA. Work for a master's degree is concentrated in the major area, with only a minimal amount of work (usually no more than 6 credit hours) that is completed at KU permitted outside the major department. Each master's program must contain a research component, represented either by a thesis (usually for 6 hours of credit) or by an equivalent enrollment in research, independent investigation, or seminars. Within these requirements and well-founded practices, departmental master's programs may be flexible enough to meet the particular needs of individual students. View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on master's degrees.

Master of Arts and Master of Science

Historically, most of the master’s degrees granted at KU have been the Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees. This fact conforms to the traditional liberal arts background out of which most U.S. graduate schools developed. 

Professional Master’s Degrees

KU grants a number of professional master’s degrees, most of which are offered through the professional schools. Students should consult the appropriate college or school section of the online catalog for detailed descriptions of professional master’s programs.

Specialist in Education

The degree of Specialist in Education is offered through the School of Education and may be earned as a concentration on the basis of two years of graduate work (which can include an appropriate master’s degree or equivalent). Information on this degree, including the concentration in which it may be earned, can be found in the School of Education section of the online catalog.

Jointly Administered Degrees

In a few cases, a degree is offered through two schools and administered by a joint committee from the two faculties. The master of arts degree in Speech-Language Pathology and the master of arts degree in Audiology are administered by an intercampus committee drawn from the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders in Lawrence and from the Department of Hearing and Speech of the School of Health Professions in Kansas City.

Master's Degree Requirements

This section of the online catalog, maintained by the Office of Graduate Studies, provides general and common requirements for master's degrees at the University of Kansas. Specific requirements for each individual degree program are outlined in the catalog section maintained by the school or college offering that degree.

Master's Enrollment Requirements

All graduate students enrolled in master’s programs must be enrolled the semester they complete master’s degree requirements. Master’s students who complete degree requirements during the first week of summer session or within the first two weeks of the fall or spring semester are not required to be enrolled for that term unless they were not enrolled during the previous semester.

View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on master's enrollment requirements.

Master's Program Time Constraints

Normal expectations are that most master’s degrees (excluding some professional terminal degrees) should be completed in two years of full-time study. However, master’s degree students are allowed seven years for completion of all degree requirements.

In cases in which compelling reasons or circumstances recommend a one-year extension, the Graduate Division, on recommendation of the department/committee, has authority to grant the extension. In cases where more than eight years are requested, the appropriate appeals body of the school considers petitions for further extensions and, where evidence of continuous progress, currency of knowledge, and other reasons are compelling, may grant them.

Some departments may have more stringent rulings about time restrictions. Students should ask about the policy in effect in the department in which they plan to study. View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on master's program time constraints..

Master's Final Examinations

A final general examination or defense of the thesis or culminating master’s project in the major subject is required of all candidates for the Master of Arts or Master of Science. The degree program and the Graduate Division should ascertain that the graduate student is in good academic standing (3.0 or higher grade-point average) before scheduling the final general examination or thesis defense.

At the option of the department, the examination may be oral or written, or partly oral and partly written. In some departments, passing a written examination is a necessary preliminary to taking the oral examination by which success or failure is judged.

Master’s examinations are administered by a committee of at least three members of the Graduate Faculty. Exam attendance is governed by the Graduate Student Oral Exam Attendance policy.

The examination is held during the semester of the student’s final enrollment in course work. The thesis defense should be held when the thesis has been substantially completed.

The department’s request to schedule the general examination must be made on or before the date set by the Graduate Division, normally a minimum of two weeks before the examination date.

Students earning a master’s thesis degree must have completed at least one hour of thesis enrollment before the master’s degree may be awarded. See the Graduate Studies website for information and requirements related to submitting the thesis electronically.

View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on master's final examinations.

Master’s Student Oral Exam Committee Composition

When the master’s student final examination is partly or entirely oral (i.e., thesis defense), the oral portion of the examination must be conducted by a committee which meets the following conditions.

  1. Master’s committees are composed of at least three voting members.
  2. The majority of committee members serving on a master’s student oral examination committee must be tenured/tenure-track faculty holding regular or dissertation graduate faculty status in the candidate’s department/program of study. Tenured/tenure-track faculty who are appointed as courtesy faculty within the program/department are considered (for the purposes of committee composition) to be faculty of that program/department.
  3. Beyond the majority requirement, additional members may hold any graduate faculty status, including regular, dissertation, or special status. This third member can be, but need not be, a member of the candidate’s department/program.
  4. For approved professional master’s degree programs (listed below), the committee may be composed as described above, or any number of the committee members may be professors of the practice, clinical faculty, or research faculty in the department/program. For the approved professional master’s degree programs, the committee chair can hold any graduate faculty status.

As long as the conditions above are met, the committee may include more than three members.

The master’s committee chair must hold regular or dissertation status. While master’s committees are not required to have a co-chair, the student or the committee members may decide to select a co-chair. The co-chair can hold any graduate faculty status.

Substitutions of the committee chair (and/or co-chair) are prohibited after the committee has been approved by the Graduate Division of the school or college. If a committee chair (and/or co-chair) needs to be replaced, the revised committee must be approved by the Graduate Division of the school or college in advance of the exam.

Substitutions of the committee members are permitted as long as the new members hold regular or dissertation graduate faculty status. Special members can be added after the committee has been approved by the Graduate Division of the school or college, but these additions must be approved by the Graduate Division of the school or college in advance of the exam.

Committee Composition for Approved Professional Degree Programs

The following master’s programs are approved to utilize professors of the practice, clinical faculty, and/or research faculty to compose committees, as outlined elsewhere in this policy:

  • Master of Science in Engineering Management
  • Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology
  • Master of Science in Geology
  • Master of Construction Management
  • Master of Civil Engineering
  • Master of Science in Civil Engineering
  • Master of Science in Architectural Engineering

View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on Master’s Student Oral Exam Committee Composition.

Master's Thesis Submission

When the master’s candidate has passed the final oral examination and the members of the committee have signed the thesis, a title page and acceptance page with original signatures must be delivered to the Graduate Division of the school in which the student’s program resides so that completion of degree requirements may be officially certified. As a requirement of graduation, the candidate must publish the thesis electronically and pay all applicable fees. Learn more about the electronic submission and publication process here.

Theses will be made available through UMI/Proquest and KU ScholarWorks, unless there is an embargo in place or special circumstances pertain as outlined in the KU Embargo policy.

The student must be the author of the thesis, and every publication from it must indicate that authorship. Practices vary among disciplines —and even among scholars in a given field— as to whether the mentor’s name may appear as a co-author, and whether as senior or junior co-author, on subsequent publication of the thesis (usually revised), or on articles prepared from it. It is expected that clear understandings in individual cases will be established during the apprenticeship period, when ethical practices in publication are addressed within the professional development training of the program.

Students from the following program are permitted to request a permanent embargo of their thesis: Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing offered by the Department of English. View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on master's thesis submission.

Doctoral Degree Programs

KU offers the following doctoral degrees:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.),
  • Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.),
  • Doctor of Education (Ed.D.),
  • Doctor of Engineering (D.E.), and
  • Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)

The programs offering these degrees are administered by the schools and colleges through their departments and graduate divisions, from admission through final recommendation for degree award.

This section of the catalog provides succinct, general descriptions of each of these five doctoral degrees in order to facilitate convenient comparison of the degrees. It also lists regulations common to the administration of all doctoral programs. The particular application, interpretation, or method of implementation of these common elements is, in certain cases, left to the faculty of each department or degree program (e.g., Research Skills). Detailed information about requirements for each degree, as it is offered in a specific discipline, should be obtained from the appropriate college, school, or department listing in the online catalog. The requirements there are in addition to the general requirements listed here.

The School of Law offers the Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degrees.

The School of Medicine offers the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree. The KU Medical Center campus offers additional doctoral degrees, such as the Clinical Doctorate in Speech-Language Pathology (S.L.P.D.), the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.), the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (O.T.D.), and the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.).

Doctor of Philosophy

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is the highest degree offered by the university. It is awarded for mastering a field of scholarship, for learning the methods of investigation appropriate to that field, and for completing a substantial piece of original research. In addition to preparing research specialists, the process of earning a Ph.D. shares certain goals with liberal education:

  • putting order into human experience;
  • fostering a love of learning for its own sake;
  • instilling respect for human values;
  • integrating various human powers into a process of creation; and
  • making vital, in many fields at least, a sense of history.

Although the courses and research leading to the Ph.D. are necessarily specialized, the attainment of this degree should not be an isolated event in the enterprise of learning. The Ph.D. aspirant is expected to be a well-educated person with a broad base of general knowledge, not only as preparation for more advanced work but also as a means of knowing how the chosen specialty is related to other fields of human thought.

To give depth and breadth to their doctoral programs, many departments require some work in a minor field or at least an articulated selection of extra-departmental courses. Because of the diversity of the fields in which the Ph.D. is offered, and the variety of needs and interests of individual students, the degree does not have a specific requirement for a minor. However, the Ph.D. aspirant is encouraged to plan an integrated program, under departmental direction, that includes courses outside the major field.

View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on the Doctor of Philosophy degree. 

Other Doctoral Degrees

Doctor of Audiology

The Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree program prepares the student to enter clinical practice as an audiologist. Offered by the KU School of Health Professions, the program produces professionals skilled in providing diagnostic, rehabilitative, and related services in the fields of sound, balance, and hearing sciences. There is an emphasis on the clinical learning experience, although research is also a significant component of the program. A baccalaureate degree is required for admission. Degree requirements are listed under Communicative Disorders: Intercampus Program in the online catalog.

Doctor of Education

The degree of Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) is a professional degree designed primarily for practitioners in the field of education. Applicants must present evidence of successful experience in professional education. While many of the requirements for the degree closely parallel those for the Ph.D., the degree program—particularly the dissertation—focuses on research concerned with application of existing knowledge rather than on basic research. Specific degree requirements are listed in the <a data-cke-saved-href="http://catalog.ku.edu/education/" href="http://catalog.ku.edu/education/" target="_blank>School of Education section of the online catalog.

Doctor of Engineering

The degree of Doctor of Engineering (D.E.) is directed toward the practice of engineering and includes the entire process of technology from planning to product. Candidates for the degree are intimately associated throughout their tenure with technology project teams, generally composed of master’s degree candidates and undergraduates. Specific degree requirements are listed in the School of Engineering section of the online catalog.

Doctor of Musical Arts

The degree of Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) is intended as recognition of high professional attainment. Since only exceptionally well-qualified candidates are admitted to the program, students are expected to devote their doctoral studies primarily to developing professional qualifications for teaching at the college level. The degree of Doctor of Musical Arts is offered in the specific fields of bassoon; church music (organ or choral conducting emphasis); clarinet; composition; conducting (band, choral, or orchestral); flute; French horn; oboe; organ; percussion; piano performance, literature, and pedagogy; saxophone; strings; trombone; trumpet; tuba; and voice. Degree requirements are listed under the School of Music section of the online catalog.

The current list of all master's and doctoral degrees is available on the Graduate Academics page.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

In most programs, doctoral education is divided into two phases. Upon admission to a doctoral program, the student is known as an aspirant for the degree and remains so designated until successful completion of the comprehensive oral examination. After passing that examination, the student is designated a candidate for the degree until successful defense and submission of the finished dissertation.

When a department or program requests its Graduate Division to schedule a comprehensive oral examination or a final oral examination for a student, it must report on the student’s completion of both the general requirements and the specific requirements of the degree program, department, and school. The degree program and Graduate Division should ascertain that the graduate student is in good academic standing (3.0 or higher grade-point average) before scheduling a comprehensive oral examination or a final oral examination.

Doctoral students completing all their degree requirements within the first week of summer session or within the first two weeks of the fall or spring semester are not required to be enrolled for that term. View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on doctoral degree requirements.

Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship

All doctoral students must meet the Research Skills requirement before proceeding to comprehensive exams. The requirement must include at least two components:

  1. Every doctoral student is required to have training in responsible scholarship pertinent to the field of research.
  2. Every doctoral student is required to obtain research skills pertinent to the doctoral level of research in their field(s).


Procedure

For both of these requirements, it is the responsibility of the department to report when the student completed the requirement and how the requirement was met via the Progress-to-Degree form. Meeting this requirement is determined by the program or department according to the department’s approved research skills requirement plan.

All doctoral programs must have a research skills requirement plan approved by the school or college and the Office of Graduate Studies.

As outlined in USRR 2.2.7.6, no course graded CR or NC can count toward the satisfaction of the requirements for a graduate degree. This prohibition includes any courses taken to meet the Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement.

View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on doctoral research skills and responsible scholarship.

Comprehensive Oral Examination

When a doctoral aspirant has completed the major portion of the course work at a level satisfactory to the graduate degree program and school and has met all other program, school, and general requirements prerequisite to the comprehensive oral examination, including the research skills requirement as appropriately applied and established for the student’s particular program, the degree program must request that the Graduate Division of its school or college schedule the comprehensive oral examination. The examination may be scheduled provided that at least 5 months have elapsed from the time of the aspirant’s first enrollment at KU. Before scheduling the examination, it should be determined that the student is in good academic standing (3.0 or higher grade-point average). The examination request must be submitted in advance of the examination date by at least the period specified by the graduate division, normally a minimum of two weeks. The Graduate Division ascertains whether all pertinent requirements have been satisfied and whether reports of any previously scheduled comprehensive oral examinations have been properly submitted and recorded.

The committee for the comprehensive oral examination must consist of at least five members, all of whom must be members of the Graduate Faculty. Its members are appointed by the Graduate Division of the school or college on the basis of nominations submitted by the graduate degree program. At least one member must be from a department other than the aspirant’s major department. This member represents Graduate Studies and must hold either Regular or Dissertation status on the Graduate Faculty. The Graduate Studies representative is a voting member of the committee and has full right to participate in the examination. In the case of any unsatisfactory or irregular aspects of the exam or violation of Graduate Studies policy, the Graduate Studies representative shall provide a written report to the Dean of Graduate Studies for consideration of further action. The examination may be scheduled provided that at least five months have elapsed from the time of the aspirant's first enrollment at KU. 

The comprehensive oral examination covers the major field and any extra departmental work for which the program wishes to hold the aspirant responsible. For every scheduled examination, the degree program reports a grade of Honors, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory. If the aspirant receives a grade of Unsatisfactory on the comprehensive oral examination, it may be repeated on the recommendation of the degree program, but under no circumstances may it be taken more than three times. In any case, the examination may not be repeated until at least 90 days have elapsed since the last unsuccessful attempt.

Doctoral Candidacy

Dissertation Committee

Upon passing the comprehensive oral examination, the aspirant becomes a candidate for the doctorate. If it has not begun before, the traditional, close student-mentor apprenticeship relationship comes into being. The student is expected to learn by both precept and example of the mentor and, often, in collaboration. The chosen field of scholarship is explored using acquired research tools. The principles and customs of academic inquiry and the codes of ethics traditional to the various disciplines and professional fields become part of the student’s thinking and working.

When the student passes the comprehensive oral examination, the Graduate Division of the appropriate school designates the candidate’s dissertation committee based on the recommendations of the candidate’s major department. The dissertation committee must consist of at least five members and may include members from other departments and divisions or, on occasion, members from outside the university. All members of the committee must be chosen from the Graduate Faculty and, in addition, the committee chair must be authorized to chair doctoral dissertations. (In other words, the committee chair must hold Dissertation status on the Graduate Faculty.) A prospective member of the committee from outside the university must have gained appointment as a Special member of the Graduate Faculty before appointment to the committee.

Post-Comprehensive Enrollment

Doctoral candidates are required, after passing the comprehensive oral examination, to be continuously enrolled each fall and spring semester in one or more hours of dissertation or programmatically-equivalent coursework (for example, document hours for DMA students) that both moves the student towards degree completion and reflects, as accurately as possible, the candidate's demands on faculty time and university facilities. During this time, until all requirements for the degree are completed (including the filing of the dissertation) or until 18 post-comprehensive hours have been completed (whichever comes first), the candidate must enroll for a minimum of 6 hours each semester.

Post-comprehensive enrollment may include enrollment during the semester or summer session in which the comprehensive oral examination has been passed. If after 18 hours of post-comprehensive enrollment the degree is not completed, the candidate must continue to enroll each semester until all degree requirements have been met. The number of hours of each enrollment must be determined by the candidate’s advisor and must reflect, as accurately as possible, the candidate’s demands on faculty time and university facilities.

View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on doctoral candidacy are listed in the KU Policy Library. 

Doctoral Dissertation

The doctoral candidate must present a dissertation showing the planning, conduct, and results of original research and/or scholarly creativity. The purpose of the dissertation is to encourage and ensure the development of broad intellectual capabilities and to demonstrate an intensive focus on a problem or research area. The dissertation itself should be an evident product of the candidate’s growth and attainment of the ability to identify significant problems; organize, analyze, and communicate scholarly results; and bring to bear on an area of scholarly or scientific interest a variety of research skills and scholarly or creative processes. The dissertation must show some original accomplishment, but it should also demonstrate without doubt the candidate’s potential to make future contributions to knowledge and understanding.

The dissertation is to be a coherent scholarly work, not a collage of separate, distinct pieces. Its unity of theme and treatment may still accommodate several subtopics by demonstrating their relationships and interactions. If previously published material by other authors is included in the dissertation, it must be quoted and documented. Final acceptance of the dissertation is subject to the approval of the dissertation committee. It should be noted that prior publication does not guarantee acceptance of the dissertation by the dissertation committee. The dissertation—or one or more substantial portions of it, often rewritten—is expected to be publishable and, indeed, to be published.

Both the dissertation research and the dissertation itself are to be completed under the guidance and direction of the committee appointed as described in the Doctoral Student Oral Exam Committee Composition policy. Instructions about the proper form of the dissertation may be obtained from the KU Graduate Studies website, or from the Graduate Division of each school or college. Candidates and faculty members are reminded that the dissertation is to be a coherent, logically-organized, scholarly document. Because the demands and practices of different disciplines are varied, the format is somewhat flexibly described, and moderate departures from the norm are allowed when justified by the nature of the work or the circumstances of presentation. Any substantial divergences must be approved in advance as prescribed by the instructions and candidates and faculty members are urged to seek early approval to avoid last-minute disappointments over unacceptable format or reproduction.

View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on doctoral dissertations.

Final Oral Examination

Completion of the dissertation is the final academic phase of a doctoral program, culminating in the final oral examination and defense of the dissertation. In all but the rarest cases, tentative approval of the dissertation is followed promptly by the final oral examination. When the completed dissertation, in final draft form, has been accepted by the committee and all other degree requirements have been satisfied, the chair of the committee requests that the Graduate Division schedule the final oral examination. This request must be made in advance of the desired examination by at least the period specified by the Graduate Division (normally three weeks). Upon receipt of a request to schedule a final oral examination, the Graduate Division ascertains whether all other degree requirements have been met and whether reports of any previously scheduled final oral examinations have been submitted and recorded. Upon approval of the request, the final oral examination is scheduled at the time and place designated by the Graduate Division. The final oral examination may be held no earlier than 1 month after the successful completion of the comprehensive oral examination. Departments, programs, schools, or the College may require a longer minimum interval between the oral comprehensive exam and the final dissertation defense.

Doctoral dissertation defenses are considered public events. Therefore, the submission of a request to schedule a final oral examination must allow sufficient time to publicize the examination so that interested members of the university community may attend. Exam date and location information must be published in a news medium as prescribed by the Graduate Faculty. Interested members of the university community are encouraged to attend these examinations. 

As described in the Doctoral Student Oral Exam committee Composition policy, the committee for the final oral examination must consist of at least 5 members. (These may include the members of the dissertation committee plus other members of the Graduate Faculty as recommended by the committee chair and the department and as appointed by the Graduate Division). At least 1 member must be from a department other than the major department. This member represents Graduate Studies and must hold either Regular or Dissertation status on the Graduate Faculty. Before the examination, the Graduate Division provides a list of responsibilities to the Graduate Studies representative. The Graduate Studies representative is a voting member of the committee and has full right to participate in the examination. In the case of any unsatisfactory or irregular aspects of the exam or violation of Graduate Studies policy, the Graduate Studies representative shall provide a written report to the Dean of Graduate Studies for consideration of further action. 

For every scheduled final oral examination, the department reports to the Graduate Division a grade of Honors, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory for the candidate’s performance. If an Unsatisfactory grade is reported, the candidate may be allowed to repeat the examination on the recommendation of the department.

View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on doctoral final oral examinations.

Dissertation Submission and Publication

When the candidate has passed the final oral examination and the members of the dissertation committee have signed the dissertation, a title page and acceptance page with original signatures are to be delivered to the Graduate Division of the school or college in which the student’s program resides so that completion of degree requirements may be officially certified. As a requirement of graduation, the candidate must arrange for electronic publication of the dissertation and payment of all applicable fees. Information about the electronic submission and publication process is found on the KU Graduate Studies website.

Dissertations will be made available through ProQuest and KU ScholarWorks, unless there is an embargo in place or special circumstances pertain as outlined in the KU Embargo policy.

The student must be the author of the dissertation, and every publication deriving from it must indicate that authorship. Practices vary among disciplines — and even among scholars in a given field — as to whether the mentor’s name may appear as a co-author, and whether as senior or junior co-author, on subsequent publication of the dissertation (usually revised), or on articles prepared from it. It is expected that clear understandings in individual cases will be established during the apprenticeship period, when ethical practices in publication are addressed within the professional development training of the program.

Students pursuing a PhD in English: Literature and Creative Writing track are allowed to request a permanent embargo of their dissertation. View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on doctoral dissertations.

Doctoral Program Time Constraints

Overall Time to Degree

Minimum Tenure

The student must spend 3 full academic years, or the bona fide equivalent thereof, in resident study at this or some other approved university, including the time spent in attaining the master’s degree. Resident study at less than full time requires a correspondingly longer period, but the requirement is not measured merely in hours of enrollment. Because a minimum number of hours for the degree is not prescribed, no transfer of credit is appropriate. However, doctoral degree programs take relevant prior graduate work into consideration in setting up programs of study leading to the doctorate.

Maximum Tenure

After being admitted to doctoral programs at KU, students must complete all degree requirements in 8 years. In cases in which compelling circumstances recommend a 1-year extension, the Graduate Division has authority to grant the extension on the written advice of the department and dissertation committee. Students who complete the master’s degree at KU and subsequently begin doctoral studies have a maximum total enrolled time of 10 years to complete both degrees. Normal expectations, however, are that most master’s degrees (excluding some professional terminal degrees) should be completed in 2 years of full-time study, and both master’s and doctorate degrees in 6 years of full-time study. Some graduate degree programs may have more stringent time restrictions. Students should inquire about the policy in effect in the department in which they plan to study.

During any phase of doctoral education, a student in any of the above categories may petition the Graduate Division, through the department, for a leave of absence to pursue full-time professional activities related to the doctoral program and long-range professional goals. Leaves of absence also may be granted because of illness or other emergency. Ordinarily a leave of absence is granted for 1 year, with the possibility of extension upon request. After an absence of 5 years, however, a doctoral aspirant or candidate loses status as such and must apply for readmission to the program and the Graduate Division. Please see the Leave of Absence policy for more information.

View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policies on doctoral program time constraints.

Residence Requirement

2 semesters, which may include 1 summer session, must be spent in resident study at KU. During this period, the student must be involved full time in academic or professional pursuits, which may include an appointment for teaching or research if it is directed specifically toward degree objectives. Enrollment in approved distance-learning courses offered through KU cannot be used to meet the doctoral residence requirement. The student must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours a semester, and the increased research involvement must be fully supported and documented by the dissertation supervisor as contributing to the student’s dissertation or program objectives. Research must be performed under the direct supervision of the major advisor if on campus, or with adequate liaison if off campus.

Note: These are minimum residence requirements. Students should check with the Graduate Division of their school or college for additional requirements.

Doctoral Comprehensive Exam Time Constraints

Under normal circumstances, the doctoral candidacy period between passage of the oral comprehensive examination and the final dissertation defense must last no longer than 5 years. If a student took the oral comprehensive examination more than 5 years prior to the dissertation defense, a re-evaluation of the student’s candidacy status is necessary. Re-evaluation of the student’s candidacy status can include retaking the comprehensive oral examination.

View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on doctoral comprehensive oral examinations.

Doctoral Examinations

Doctoral Student Oral Exam Committee Composition

Doctoral student oral examinations include the doctoral comprehensive oral exam and the doctoral final oral exam (i.e., dissertation defense) and must adhere to the following requirements:

  1. Doctoral committees are composed of at least 5 voting members;
  2. The majority of committee members serving on a doctoral student oral examination committee must be tenured/tenure-track faculty holding Regular or Dissertation graduate faculty status in the candidate’s department/program of study. Tenured/tenure-track faculty who are appointed as courtesy faculty within the program/department are considered (for the purposes of committee composition) to be faculty of that program/department;
  3. One member must meet the requirements for serving as the Graduate Studies representative. A faculty member from a different department with a courtesy appointment in the student’s department may serve as the Graduate Studies representative or in fulfillment of the committee majority, but cannot serve in both roles at the same time. (For more information on the Graduate Studies representative, see the policy listed in the Policy Library here); and
  4. Beyond the majority requirement, the additional member may hold any graduate faculty status, including Regular, Dissertation, or Special status. This fifth member can be, but need not be, a member of the candidate’s department/program. For more information, see the policy on Graduate Faculty appointments.

As long as the conditions above are met, the committee may include more than 5 members. Exam attendance is governed by the Graduate Student Oral Exam Attendance policy.

The doctoral committee chair must hold Dissertation status on the Graduate Faculty. While committees are not required to have a co-chair, the student or the committee members may decide to select a co-chair. The co-chair can hold any graduate faculty status.

Substitutions of the committee chair (and/or co-chair) are prohibited after the committee has been approved by the Graduate Division of the school or college. If a committee chair (and/or co-chair) needs to be replaced, the revised committee must be approved by the Graduate Division in advance of the exam.

Substitutions of the committee members are permitted as long as the new members hold Regular or Dissertation graduate faculty status. Special members can be added after the committee has been approved by the Graduate Division of the school/college, but these additions must be approved by the Graduate Division in advance of the exam. 

View the current policy on Doctoral Student Oral Exam Committee Composition.

Graduate Studies Representative on Doctoral Exam Committees

The Graduate Studies representative must be a member of the Graduate Faculty with Regular or Dissertation status granted by a department other than the aspirant's major department. 

A faculty member from a different department who holds a courtesy appointment in the student's department may serve as the Graduate Studies representative or in fulfillment of the committee majority pursuant to the Doctoral Student Oral Exam Committee Composition policy, but cannot serve in both roles at the same time.

The role of the Graduate Studies representative is designed to assure the appropriate standard of fairness, professionalism, judgment, and skill are applied throughout the examination process for the benefit of the institution and in the best interest of the student. As an independent participant observer, this member should have no personal or professional duality or conflict of interest with other members of the committee or the student that would prevent the representative from the unbiased fulfillment of these responsibilities.

The Graduate Studies representative is a voting member of the committee and has full rights to participate in the examination. In the case of any unsatisfactory or irregular aspects of the exam or violation of Graduate Studies policy, the Graduate Studies representative shall provide a written report to the Dean of Graduate Studies for consideration of further action. 

Before the examination, the Graduate Division should provide a list of responsibilities to the Graduate Studies representative. A list of these responsibilities is provided below. In addition, the Dean's Letter to the Graduate Studies Representative is always available. The Graduate Studies representative should observe and report on whether:

  1. The examination was conducted in compliance with the policies and by-laws of Graduate Studies and the program's Graduate Division.
  2. The examination was held in a manner that was free and open to the public.
  3. S/he was accorded full participatory rights in the examination.
  4. S/he was accorded full voting rights as a member of the committee.
  5. The examination was free from irregularities or unfairness to the student.
  6. The examination was free from irregularities or unfairness among faculty members.
  7. The examination, if repeated, occurred at least 90 days after the last unsuccessful attempt.

View the current policy concerning the Graduate Studies Representative on Doctoral Exam Committees.

Dual-Title Doctor of Philosophy Degrees

Definition

A dual-title Ph.D. is a single degree with significant scholarship in two fields. At the completion of a dual-title degree program, the graduate will receive one diploma with two program names. Students enrolled in a dual-title degree program work concurrently in both areas of study.

Students are admitted initially into the major Ph.D. program. Upon being approved to pursue a dual-title Ph.D., students will be admitted into the dual-title Ph.D. program.  

Guidelines:

Only existing programs approved to grant Doctor of Philosophy degrees may collaborate in creating a dual-title degree.

A dual-title degree is a single degree from KU. University-wide degree count reports will record a single Ph.D. in the major Ph.D. program discipline area. During the program proposal phase, doctoral programs must determine which program will be credited with the degree count. This department will also be responsible for reviewing the program during Board of Regents’ program review cycle.

All program requirements for both areas must be met as determined by the faculty in each program. The governing structure for dual-title Ph.D. programs is overseen by the Directors of Graduate Study in each participating Ph.D. program.  Dual-title Ph.Ds. are conferred by the dean of the student’s major Ph.D. program.

A student applies for a dual-title degree only after being admitted and enrolled in an existing graduate doctoral program, as described below.

Admissions Procedures and Plan of Study for Dual-Title Ph.D. Programs

Admissions Procedures for a Dual-Title Ph.D.

  1. The student applies and is admitted to the major Ph.D. program. The student must enroll in the major Ph.D. program for at least one semester and be in good academic standing before applying to the dual-title Ph.D. program.
  2. The student may then apply and be admitted to the dual-title Ph.D. program. This is an internal application procedure for students already admitted and enrolled at KU. 

Plan of Study for Dual-Title Ph.D.

  1. The student completes coursework in the major Ph.D. program and any additional coursework in the dual-title Ph.D. program. In many cases, the dual-title field coursework is integrated with the disciplinary field coursework.  For example, PSYC 691 (Psychology of Aging) might meet the requirements for the dual-title degree in Psychology and Gerontology. 
     
  2. The two participating Ph.D. programs of the dual-title program develop sections in their graduate student handbooks that outline the nature of the dual-title degree, stipulate the array of courses typically taken, and detail other structural and practical requirements of a dual-title degree.

    Each participating program oversees its own dual-title students and signs off on a curricular plan for its own program.
     
  3. Ideally, the student’s advisor is a member of the major Ph.D. program and the dual-title program. If this is not possible, the student must have a co-chair from each of the two fields. This ensures integration of the two areas in the coursework, examinations, and the dissertation. 
     
  4. The candidacy examination committee for the dual-title degree-seeking student must be composed of faculty from the major Ph.D. program as well as at least one faculty member from the dual-title Ph.D. program. The comprehensive exam requirements of both programs must be met. 
     
  5. The dissertation topic should integrate both fields and be defended before a committee of graduate faculty from both programs. 

The dean of the school for the major Ph.D. program confers the dual-title degree. The student’s diploma carries the name of both programs; for example: Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology and Gerontology. One Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code is assigned for the dual title degree

M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. with a Major in Interdisciplinary Studies

Only superior students admitted and enrolled in a graduate program at KU whose proposed studies require direction not available in any single department are considered for admission to an Interdisciplinary Studies program. Before seeking acceptance, an applicant must assemble a graduate faculty advisory committee headed by a faculty member authorized to direct master’s research (for M.A. or M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies) or doctoral research and dissertations (for Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies). The applicant, in conjunction with the committee, must prepare a proposal for the course of study. The proposal must provide a rationale for the particular mix of disciplines, demonstrating how each contributes to a central theme or focus. It must also show that the proposed program cannot be achieved through an established master’s or doctoral program at KU.

The student seeking to enter the Interdisciplinary Studies program must have an outstanding academic record (a grade-point average of 3.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale for graduate courses or a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale for undergraduate courses if no graduate courses have been taken) and must be admitted to and enrolled in a graduate program at KU at the time of application. A graduate student who has failed to maintain the required grade-point average is not eligible for the Interdisciplinary Studies program. A student is not eligible for this program if he or she has tried and failed to achieve candidacy in a regular graduate department or program at KU.

The student is expected to assume the initiative in determining his or her potential eligibility through consultation with graduate advisors and, if deemed eligible, in forming an advisory committee and preparing documentation to support the application.

Preadmission Procedures

To enter the program, a student should:

  1. Determine that KU offers courses and research in the areas appropriate to the student’s interest(s).
  2. Prepare a tentative study plan based on those offerings to serve as a basis for initial discussion.
  3. Approach a professor whose interests are comparable to those of the student and request that he or she act as advisor. Normally this professor is a faculty member of the program of principal interest to the student. To grant an M.A. or M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies, it is essential that the school has the authority to grant master’s degrees. To grant a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies, it is essential that the school has the authority to grant Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The selected professor must be a full member of the graduate faculty and authorized to chair doctoral dissertation committees for Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies.
  4. After a professor agrees to serve as an advisor, the student should assemble an advisory committee of at least three additional professors representing the disciplines covered in the Interdisciplinary program. At least two disciplines or departments must be represented.
  5. In conjunction with the advisor and the committee, the student should prepare a proposal for study, including:
    • A statement, with supporting documentation, that the proposed Interdisciplinary Studies program cannot be accomplished through established programs.
    • A statement of the interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature of the proposed area of study.
    • A definition of the field of study incorporating, in a consistent way, a description of how each included discipline contributes to the broader field.
    • An outline of the course of study, indicating substantive work in the fields represented. Readings courses and independent study do not substitute for regular courses.
    • A description of the method for satisfying research skills and responsible scholarship requirements.
    • A description of the comprehensive examination procedures for the Ph.D. (nature of the examinations and possible examining committee) or final examination for the M.A./M.S.
    • A description, to the extent possible, of the nature of the field in which a dissertation or master’s thesis might be written, indicating the respective contributions of the selected disciplines to the final product.
    • Attach the following:
      1. complete transcripts of all previous work,
      2. a cover sheet, signed by committee members, indicating their support of the proposal,
      3. letters of recommendation and other appropriate supporting documents.

Note: The diploma indicates the degree awarded as "M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies," "M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies," or "Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies," and does not specify the area of specialization. The transcript notes the area of specialization as determined by the admissions committee.

Admission and Review Procedure

Upon completion of the above, the student must submit the application for admission into the Interdisciplinary Studies program to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The Dean of Graduate Studies appoints an admission committee consisting of (a) the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies or the associate dean’s designate for the school most involved in the interdisciplinary undertaking (the school in which the major advisor resides), (b) two or more doctoral chairing faculty members from unrelated fields, including at least one member of the Executive Council of the Graduate Faculty, and (c) the Department Chair or the Director of Graduate Studies of the department in which the student resides at time of application. The Dean of Graduate Studies serves as ex officio chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies admissions committee. The committee reviews the documents and may, if necessary, interview the student and the advisor for clarification and additional information or to discuss suggested revisions to the proposal.

Approved Program Implementation

Upon acceptance of the proposal and admission to the Interdisciplinary Studies program, the student is admitted to the school of the major advisor to facilitate record keeping and to provide a central administrative office. The Associate Dean or the Director of Graduate Studies of that school must enroll the student and monitor the program. Along with the major advisor, s/he must make annual reports to Graduate Studies on the student’s progress. These reports are distributed to the directors of other involved programs along with a request to supply any additional information regarding the student’s performance. Proposals for major deviations from the approved course of study must be submitted for review by Graduate Studies and by the graduate studies office of the school in which the student resides. It is understood that no additional requirements unique to traditional graduate programs of the school(s) or departments may be imposed unless stated explicitly in the approved study plan.

Once approved, changes to the program plan must be approved by a Graduate Studies committee, appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Significant curricular changes may require a new proposal and admissions process.

All basic rules and requirements for the Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees apply to Interdisciplinary Studies programs. These include program time constraints, residence requirement, post-comprehensive enrollment, final examinations, research skills and responsible scholarship requirements, dissertation submission and publication, grade-point average, etc. (See Master’s Degree Requirements and Doctoral Degree Requirements in this section of the online catalog.)

View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on interdisciplinary studies.

Combined Degrees

Combined degrees are granted in programs meeting the requirements of the graduate master’s or doctoral degree and the professional post-baccalaureate degree. View the current list of all master's and doctoral degrees on the Graduate Studies Academics page. View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on graduate degrees.

Distance Education

The University of Kansas offers online and hybrid courses and certificate and degree programs. For more information about specific online course and degree program options, students should contact their academic department of study. Similar to regular courses, the availability of online courses varies by semester and year.

Online or Hybrid Graduate Programs

Additional online programs may be available. View KU's current online or hybrid programs or contact the KU Center for Online and Distance Learning for more information on online and hybrid courses.

Independent Study

Independent study is a research experience or directed readings independently pursued through an academic department. Students should contact their academic department to discuss independent study opportunities to investigate a special research problem or directed readings in an area not covered by regular courses. 

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility and admission to graduate certificates is governed by the policy on Admission to Graduate Study.

Graduate credit from another institution may not be transferred to a KU graduate certificate program.  A current list of all certificate programs is available on the KU Academics page.

Policies and Processes for Graduate Certificate Programs

A graduate certificate is a focused collection of courses that, when completed, affords the student some record of coherent academic accomplishment in a given discipline or set of related disciplines. Students may be awarded these certificates upon completion of a well-defined program of course work. The didactic material comprised within a graduate certificate program may represent a more practice-oriented subset of an existing graduate discipline.

A graduate certificate program will comprise no less than 9 and generally no more than 18 credit hours of course work in a particular discipline or related disciplines of study.

All proposals for graduate certificate programs will be adopted for a seven-year time period. The certificate program will expire at the end of that period. The program may request renewal of the certificate program by sending an updated program proposal, endorsed by the department and the school or college, to the Executive Council of Graduate Faculty. The proposal will be evaluated for an additional seven-year period. Graduate Studies will remind the graduate certificate program about its renewal one year before the graduate certificate program is scheduled to expire. If a program expires or is discontinued, no new students may be enrolled in the program and those students currently in the program will continue until completion.

Student Records Criteria

  • It is the responsibility of the degree program that houses the graduate certificate program to maintain all student records of the graduate certificate program. These records should include, but are not limited to, the number of students that apply to the program, the number accepted and denied into the program, the number of students enrolled in the program by semester, and the number of students who complete the program by semester.
  • The courses taken in the graduate certificate program will be listed on the student’s transcript and recognition of the earned certificate will also be posted on the transcript.
  • The awarding of graduate certificates will coincide with the August, December and May graduations at the University of Kansas. The certificate-awarding department will forward its list of certificate recipients to the Graduate Division of the school or college that holds the certificate program. The Graduate Division will forward names of the students completing graduate certificates in a given semester to the Graduate Studies office. The same degree-granting deadline dates will apply to the awarding of graduate certificates.
  • Students will file the Application for Graduation in the semester they complete their graduate certificate. This process notifies the University Registrar’s office of the names of certificate recipients along with the corresponding names of the completed certificate programs.
  • Each semester, Graduate Studies will provide departments with authorized Graduate Certificates for students who successfully complete all certificate program requirements. The department will be responsible for completing the certificates and presenting them to the students.

Graduate certificates will not be recognized by any Graduate Studies official graduation ceremony.

View the current graduate certificate policies and processes.

The Graduate Faculty

The Graduate Faculty consists of members of the university faculty and other persons qualified by training and experience who are duly nominated and appointed. Only members of the Graduate Faculty may teach courses for graduate credit, supervise master’s programs and theses, or serve on doctoral committees. There are three types of appointment to the Graduate Faculty: 

For a side-by-side comparison of these Graduate Faculty appointment types, view the current policy on Graduate Faculty Appointments.

Appointment Instructions for Degree Programs

To appoint a faculty member to either Dissertation or Special Member status, departments or programs should submit the Graduate Studies Recommendation for Appointment to the Graduate Faculty form through the Progress to Degree (PtD) system. Departments should send the appointment request to the appropriate Graduate Division along with a current vita that includes a list of graduate courses the appointee has taught and a list of graduate students' committees on which the appointee has served. Once approved by the Graduate Division, the form proceeds to the Office of Graduate Studies for final approval. For more information, see PtD Forms.

Regular Graduate Faculty Status

Any faculty member who is appointed to a tenure-track position automatically receives Regular status on the Graduate Faculty. These members of the Graduate Faculty may:

  • teach courses for graduate credit;
  • supervise the master’s programs and thesis students;
  • serve on master’s and doctoral committees; and
  • chair master’s committees.

When appropriate, a qualified member of the regular Graduate Faculty may be nominated to serve as co-chair of a specific dissertation committee if a faculty member with dissertation chair status serves as co-chair of the committee and agrees to ensure that all requirements are met. However, this does not apply to circumstances where a regular member of the Graduate Faculty had dissertation chair status removed.

Present or newly appointed faculty members in tenured/tenure-track appointments with the rank of assistant professor or above in departments or programs with approved graduate programs are granted regular membership in the Graduate Faculty, provided they have received the terminal degree in their field of specialization or have acquired equivalent training and/or professional experience as determined by the appropriate Graduate Division.

In special cases where faculty members who hold regular membership in the Graduate Faculty enroll in a KU graduate program as part of their professional development, they may be permitted to retain their Graduate Faculty status. They may not supervise or serve as the instructor of record for students that are peers in the graduate program in which they are enrolled.

To hold regular membership in the Graduate Faculty, a faculty member must continue to show evidence of a pattern of productive professional activity demonstrating the ability to contribute to high-quality graduate education. The form that productive professional activity may take varies across disciplines. Conventional evidence of such activity includes such things as:

  • effective teaching;
  • scholarly publication'
  • participation in professional societies; and
  • other scholarly activity.

Graduate degree programs are responsible for monitoring faculty with regular membership in the Graduate Faculty. View the current policies on Regular Graduate Faculty status.

Dissertation Status

To qualify for the privilege of chairing doctoral dissertation committees, a regular member of the Graduate Faculty must demonstrate continuing activity commensurate with being an established scholar in his or her field and involvement in the graduate education program as evidenced by:

  • teaching graduate courses;
  • advising and mentoring graduate students and serving on thesis and dissertation committees; 
  • maintaining an ongoing program of scholarly activity which includes a record of scholarship, publication, and other contributions to the field.

It is the graduate program’s responsibility to nominate members of the Graduate Faculty for authorization to chair doctoral committees and to provide evidence of scholarship and involvement in the graduate education program. Authorization to chair dissertation committees is reviewed as part of each graduate program review.

View the current policy on Dissertation Graduate Faculty status.

Special Member Status

Special membership may be granted to employees of the university and its affiliates who do not have tenured or tenure-track faculty appointments in a department which grants graduate degrees.  It may also be granted to individuals who are not employed by the university or its affiliates but who are uniquely qualified by training or experience and otherwise meet the established criteria for regular membership in the Graduate Faculty.

Such membership is for the purpose of:

  • teaching a graduate course or courses;
  • having graduate courses cross-listed as KU courses if they are part of a cooperative graduate program between KU and the appointee’s home institution; or
  • serving on the thesis, dissertation, or examination committee of a particular student or students.

Special memberships may be requested for up to to a maximum period of five calendar years for teaching purposes or for the duration of the specified committee assignment. Special memberships are renewable based on the same criteria as the initial appointment.

All nominations for special membership must state clearly the specific purposes for which the nomination is being sought and, when it can be known in advance, the length of time for which it is being requested.

Special appointments are reviewed by the appointing graduate department, the appropriate Graduate Division, and the Dean of Graduate Studies and continued as appropriate. 

Serving on a master's or dissertation committee:

Graduate Faculty with special status are not authorized to chair master's or doctoral committees. When appropriate, Graduate Studies may authorize a qualified committee member with special status to serve as co-chair of a specific thesis or dissertation committee. While committees are not required to have a co-chair, the student or the committee members may decide to select a co-chair. The chair must have dissertation status, while the co-chair can hold any status.

Graduate faculty with special status in a student's department may not serve as the Graduate Studies representative or in fulfillment of the committee majority pursuant to the doctoral committee composition policy.

View the current policy on Special Graduate Faculty status.

Non-reappointment, Graduate Faculty Eligibility, and Procedures When Graduate Faculty Are Given Terminal Contracts

Faculty members given a notice of non-reappointment are not eligible to hold Graduate Faculty status. The Provost's Office will provide Graduate Studies with a written list of faculty who receive a notice of non-reappointment. Graduate Studies will remove Graduate Faculty status for these faculty, beginning with the appointment period for which the terminal notice is effective.

Upon non-reappointment the faculty member is no longer eligible for Graduate Faculty status. The named faculty member will no longer be allowed to teach future courses for graduate credit or to serve on graduate students' committees.

The appropriate dean of the school or college may request, in writing, that the Dean of Graduate Studies grant an exception to this policy. In granting such an exception, the Dean of Graduate Studies may give the faculty member permission to serve on a graduate student's committee if the graduate student will meet all degree requirements within the semester that the terminal notice takes effect. The faculty member in question will be given a copy of the initial letter, sent to the Dean of Graduate studies, which requested and defined the exception.

View the current policy on non-reappointment for procedures that apply when Graduate Faculty are given terminal contracts.

University Faculty and Advanced Degrees

Members of the university faculty who have tenure, are eligible for tenure, or who hold any rank above that of instructor will not be granted degrees or certificates. Because of the variety of appointments covered by such terms as Lecturer, Associate, or the like, every case must be considered individually. A department or program that wishes to accept a faculty member as a student must make a recommendation to Graduate Studies before a faculty member begins a graduate degree or certificate program. Similarly, a department or program that wishes to hire a student already in a graduate program must make a recommendation to Graduate Studies before a faculty appointment is made. Although appointing departments are expected to bring this rule to the attention of prospective appointees who plan to seek degrees or certificates, the responsibility for initiating a request for waiver of the rule lies with the student. Waivers may be granted in rare cases where the student and the department demonstrate satisfactorily that circumstances and conditions assure freedom from conflict of interest and undue influence.

View the current policy on university faculty and advanced degrees.

Graduate Research Assistants, Graduate Teaching Assistants, and Graduate Assistants

Appointment Types

Graduate Research Assistantships

Graduate research assistantships may be available to graduate students. For further information, applicants should write directly to the chair or graduate advisor of the major department. 

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Graduate teaching assistantships may be available to graduate students through graduate departments. Graduate students should apply directly to the department for GTA appointments. Graduate teaching assistantships in Lawrence are governed by a Memorandum of Agreement between KU, the Kansas Board of Regents, and the American Federation of Teachers, which represents KU GTAs in Lawrence. The Memorandum of Agreement, with additional information on tuition and fee payment, appointments, wages, benefits, and other topics of interest to GTAs, is available on the Graduate Studies website.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships may be available to graduate students. For further information, applicants should write directly to the chair or graduate advisor of the major department. 

Statement

The following premises and eligibility requirements govern all Graduate Research Assistant (GRA), Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), and Graduate Assistant (GA) appointments at the University of Kansas, Lawrence:

Principles:

1. Individuals who enroll in graduate educational programs at the University of Kansas do so in order to attain specific educational goals. It is the University’s responsibility to help ensure that graduate students attain their academic goals in a reasonable amount of time and move on to the next stage in their careers, whether to another advanced degree program or to professional employment.

2. When departments and schools offer GRA, GTA, or GA appointments, the assistantships must contribute to the training experience of the graduate student.

3. GRA, GTA, and GA responsibilities should be in balance with the student’s responsibilities to the graduate program. For salaried appointments of 50% (0.50 FTE), the expectation is that the assigned duties will average no more than 20 hours per week during the semester. For hourly appointments at 50% (0.50 FTE), assigned duties should require 20 hours per week during the semester.  For appointments at other percentages, the number of hours per week must be proportional to the appointment percentage.

Appointment Limits:

GTA appointments shall not normally exceed 50% (0.50 FTE). GTA appointments in excess of 50% (0.50 FTE) must be approved by the Graduate Studies or by the Dean’s Office of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in advance of an appointment offer and will be approved only in extraordinary circumstances. See the Memorandum of Agreement between The University of Kansas and the Board of Regents and the American Federation of Teachers (representing graduate teaching assistants at the University of Kansas, Lawrence).

GRA appointments may be made up to 72.5% (0.725 FTE).

GA appointments shall not normally exceed 50% (0.50 FTE). GA appointments in excess of 50% (0.50 FTE) must be approved by the Office of Graduate Studies in advance of an appointment offer and will be approved only in special circumstances.

Although GRA, GTA, and GA appointments in excess of 50% have the undesirable potential to extend time towards degree, GRA appointments and combined GRA/GTA or GRA/GA appointments of up to 72.5% (0.725 FTE) will be approved so long as the GTA or GA component of the appointment does not exceed 50% (0.50 FTE). GTA, GRA, or GA appointments above 72.5% (0.725 FTE), or combined appointments above 72.5% (0.725 FTE), must additionally be authorized by the appropriate dean(s) or vice provost(s) in accordance with the policy on Student Employee Eligibility Requirements and Appointment Limits. Exceptions for GTA appointment limits must comply with the provisions of the GTA Memorandum of Agreement.

Departments are expected to monitor appointments in excess of 50% (0.50 FTE) to ensure that graduate students' assistantship assignments enhance their academic preparation and do not interfere with progress towards degree. 

GRA, GTA, and GA Eligibility (Lawrence campus)

GRA Eligibility

The following eligibility requirements govern all Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) appointments at the University of Kansas, Lawrence:

Graduate Research Assistants are salaried student employees who perform research that is in their fields (or a closely related field) of study and is integral to the student’s education (e.g., dissertation topic). The duties performed are under the direct supervision of faculty or research professionals. The duties do not involve classroom instruction. GRA appointments must be approved by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (for all funds under Research and KUCR), the Budget Office (for the professional schools’ state- and endowment-funded GRA positions), or the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (for state- and endowment-funded GRA positions in CLAS).

In order to be eligible for a GRA appointment, a graduate student must meet all of the following conditions:

  1. During the term of appointment, the person is admitted to and enrolled in a graduate degree program offered by the University of Kansas;
  2. During the fall or spring semester, the person is enrolled in no fewer than 6 credit hours required for the student's graduate degree. During the summer session, the GRA must be enrolled in coursework related to the student's graduate program. The number of hours must be determined by the student’s advisor and must reflect, as accurately as possible, the student’s demand on faculty time and University facilities. Generally, an enrollment of 3 credit hours is appropriate for the summer session.
    1. Enrollment and Post Comps: Upon successful completion of the doctoral comprehensive examination and all other Graduate Studies and departmental requirements for candidacy to the doctoral degree and upon completion of 18 post-comprehensive credit hours, the student may enroll in 1 or more dissertation, thesis, or equivalent credit hours as approved by the student's department, the student's school or College, and the Office of Graduate Studies to qualify for a graduate research assistantship appointment. [Note: Candidates for professional doctoral degrees may enroll in dissertation-equivalent hours as approved by Graduate Studies. More detailed information about post-comprehensive enrollment can be found under "Regulations" in the Graduate Studies section of the catalog.]
  3. During the term of appointment, the GRA must be in academic good standing and be making satisfactory progress toward a graduate degree, as determined by the Office of Graduate Studies and the department in which the student is enrolled. [Note: Students who are admitted to a degree program on provisional status are not considered to be in academic good standing for the purpose of GRA appointments. Exceptions may be granted by the Dean of Graduate Studies under extraordinary circumstances.] A graduate student must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 to remain in academic good standing. However, if a department judges that a graduate student whose GPA falls below 3.0 after the first semester at KU is nonetheless making satisfactory progress, the department may recommend to the Dean of Graduate Studies that the student be allowed to keep his or her GRA position for 1 additional semester.
  4. The person must successfully pass a background check established by the University.
  5. A student who has earned a graduate degree may not continue in a GRA appointment after the graduation date unless the student has just completed a master’s degree and is enrolled in a doctoral program in the same field or a closely related field or is a doctoral graduate who has been accepted into another graduate program.

Enrollment Exceptions for GRAs

Doctoral Candidates: In accordance with Graduate Studies requirements, after passing the comprehensive oral examination for a doctoral degree, the candidate must be continuously enrolled each fall and spring semester until all requirements for the degree are completed.  Each enrollment must reflect, as accurately as possible, the candidate’s demand on faculty time and University facilities. Until 18 post-comprehensive hours are completed, the candidate must enroll in a minimum of 6 hours each semester. Doctoral candidates may be enrolled in fewer than 6 post-comprehensive hours in the fall and spring semesters if all of the criteria described in 2.a. (above) are met.

In certain master's degree programs, students who are in the final semester may be able to complete the course and hours requirements for the degree while enrolling in fewer than 6 hours. Such students may enroll in fewer than 6 hours and still retain eligibility to hold a position as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA), provided that the student will not be continuing in a doctoral program at the University of Kansas. The option of enrolling in fewer than 6 hours during the final semester is available only to master's students with GRA appointments. It is not available to master's students with GTA or GA appointments.

Note: Different enrollment criteria may be used in determining eligibility for student financial aid and student loan deferments. GRAs are advised to consult with Financial Aid and Scholarships to determine student financial aid eligibility.

Enrollment Exception Process

In order to certify that a GRA is eligible to enroll in fewer than 6 credit hours, campus departments must submit the Certification of Eligibility to Enroll in Fewer than Six Hours Form (for doctoral candidates - GTAs, GRAs, and GAs), or the Certification of Eligibility form for Master’s Level Graduate Research Assistants.

View the current policy on GRA appointment eligibility.

GA Eligibility

The following eligibility requirements govern all Graduate Assistant (GA) appointments at the University of Kansas, Lawrence:

Graduate Assistants are active student employees (either salaried or hourly, as determined by Human Resource Management) who hold a position that furthers the professional and/or academic development of the graduate student. The duties performed are professional in nature and under the direct supervision of faculty, academic professionals, or administrators. While the duties may involve classroom instruction or research integral to the student’s degree program or dissertation, those activities are not the primary focus of the job. The Graduate Assistant's job duties should not include grading student work, developing course content, or taking responsibility for a course or section as Instructor of Record.  Graduate Assistants who engage in classroom instruction should spend no more than 10% of their work time doing so. The Graduate Assistant's responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, administrative and professional internships. The Dean of Graduate Studies must approve GA appointments. [Note: Graduate Assistant positions are a distinct category of graduate student support. This category does not include Graduate Research Assistants, Graduate Teaching Assistants, or student-hourly positions held by graduate students.]

In order to be eligible for a GA appointment, a graduate student must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. During the term of appointment, the person is admitted to and enrolled in a graduate degree program offered by the University of Kansas;
  2. During the fall and/or spring semesters in which the graduate student holds a GA appointment, the student must be enrolled in no fewer than 6 credit hours required for the student's graduate degree. GAs on summer session appointments may enroll but are not required to do so.
    1. Enrollment and Post Comps: Upon successful completion of the doctoral comprehensive examination and all other Graduate Studies and departmental requirements for candidacy to the doctoral degree and upon completion of 18 post-comprehensive credit hours, the student may enroll in 1 or more dissertation, thesis, or equivalent credit hour(s) as approved by the student's department, the student's school or College, and the Office of Graduate Studies to qualify for a Graduate Assistantship appointment. [Note: Candidates for the professional doctoral degrees may enroll in dissertation-equivalent hours as approved by Graduate Studies. More detailed information about post-comprehensive enrollment can be found under "Regulations" in the Graduate Studies section of the catalog.]
  3. During the term of appointment, the GA must be in academic good standing and making satisfactory progress toward a graduate degree, as determined by Graduate Studies and the department in which the student is enrolled. Students who are admitted to a degree program on provisional status are not considered to be in academic good standing for the purpose of GA appointments. Exceptions may be granted by the Dean of Graduate Studies under extraordinary circumstances. A graduate student must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 to remain in academic good standing. However, if a department judges that a graduate student whose GPA falls below 3.0 after the first semester at KU is nonetheless making satisfactory progress, the department may recommend to the Dean of Graduate Studies that the student be allowed to keep the GA position for 1 additional semester.
  4. The person must successfully pass a background check established by the University.
  5. A student who has earned a graduate degree may not continue in a GA appointment after the graduation date unless the student has just completed a master’s degree and is enrolled in a doctoral program in the same field or a closely related field or is a doctoral graduate who has been accepted into another graduate program.

Enrollment Exceptions for GAs who are Doctoral Candidates

In accordance with Graduate Studies requirements, after passing the comprehensive oral examination for a doctoral degree, the candidate must be continuously enrolled each fall and spring semester until all requirements for the degree are completed.  Each enrollment must reflect, as accurately as possible, the candidate’s demand on faculty time and University facilities. Until 18 post-comprehensive hours are completed, the candidate must enroll in a minimum of 6 hours each semester. Doctoral candidates may be enrolled in fewer than 6 post-comprehensive hours in the fall and spring semesters if all of the conditions described in 2.a. (above) are met.

Note: Different enrollment criteria may be used in determining eligibility for student financial aid and student loan deferments.  GAs are advised to consult with Financial Aid and Scholarships to determine student financial aid eligibility.

Enrollment Exception Process

In order to certify that a GA is eligible to enroll in fewer than 6 credit hours, campus departments must submit the Certification of Eligibility to Enroll in Fewer than Six Hours Form for doctoral students.

View the current policy on GA appointment eligibility.

GTA Eligibility

The following eligibility requirements govern all Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) appointments at the University of Kansas, Lawrence:

Graduate Teaching Assistants are salaried student employees whose job duties consist primarily of direct involvement in classroom or laboratory instruction. The duties are performed under the supervision of faculty. The University also requires that a GTA’s teaching assignment be in his or her own field of study or one that is closely related. Out-of-field appointments require consultation with the student’s home academic unit and the explicit approval of the Office of Graduate Studies or College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

In accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement between the University of Kansas and the Board of Regents and the American Federation of Teachers (MOA), in order to be eligible for a GTA appointment, a graduate student must meet all of the following conditions:

  1. During the term of appointment, the person is admitted to and enrolled in a graduate degree program offered by the University of Kansas;
  2. During the term of appointment, the person is enrolled in no fewer than 6 graduate credit hours per semester or other credit hours as required for the student's graduate degree and as approved by Graduate Studies or the Dean's Office of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as appropriate. [Note: GTAs on summer session appointments may enroll but are not required to do so.]
    1. Enrollment and Medical Leave: Should the student be unable to enroll in 6 graduate or other approved hours for reasons of medical condition or other hardship, that person may, with supporting documentation and the approval of the department of employment (and the department of study in cases in which the two are different), petition the Office of Graduate Studies or the Dean’s Office of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as appropriate that this requirement be waived. Final approval rests with the Office of Graduate Studies or the Dean’s Office of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as appropriate.
    2. Enrollment and Post Comps: Upon successful completion of the doctoral comprehensive examination and all other Graduate Studies and departmental requirements for candidacy to the doctoral degree and upon completion of 18 post-comprehensive credit hours, the student may enroll in 1 or more dissertation, thesis, or equivalent credit hours as approved by Graduate Studies or the Dean’s Office of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as appropriate to qualify for a graduate teaching assistantship appointment. [Note: Candidates for professional doctoral degrees may enroll in dissertation-equivalent hours as approved by Graduate Studies. More detailed information about post-comprehensive enrollment can be found under "Regulations" in the Graduate Studies section of the catalog.]
  3. During the term of appointment, the GTA must be in academic good standing and making satisfactory progress toward a graduate degree, as determined by Graduate Studies and the department in which the student is enrolled. [Note: Students who are admitted to a degree program on probationary or provisional status are not considered to be in academic good standing for the purpose of GTA appointments. Exceptions may be granted by the Dean of Graduate Studies under extraordinary circumstances.] A graduate student must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 to remain in academic good standing. However, if a department judges that a graduate student whose GPA falls below 3.0 after the first semester at KU is nonetheless making satisfactory progress, the department may recommend to the Dean of Graduate Studies or the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that the student be allowed to keep his or her GTA position for 1 additional semester.
  4. The graduate student must satisfy any and all English proficiency criteria established by the Regents and/or the University. [Note: Prior to finalization of a GTA appointment, every prospective GTA must be interviewed and have to certify the student's spoken English competency.  Interview must be conducted by no fewer than 3 institutional personnel, at least 1 of whom should be a student. Non-native speakers of English must achieve a minimum score of 50 on the SPEAK (Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit), a score of 22 on the iBT (Internet-based TOEFL), or an 8 on the IELTS (International English Language Testing System).  No exceptions are granted in cases where a student does not meet English proficiency criteria.]
  5. During the term of the appointment, the GTA's assigned responsibilities consist primarily of direct involvement in classroom or laboratory instruction.
  6. The GTA has satisfactorily completed all of the components of the orientation and training as specified in section 7 of the MOA within the timeframes established by the University.
  7. The department may require a graduate teaching assistant to be on campus to assume employment responsibilities up to five weekdays (excluding weekend days) prior to the first day of classes each semester [Note: In accordance with Article 5, Section 1, of the MOA, “Individuals who are being reappointed as GTAs, regardless of whether the appointment is for an academic year or a shorter period, shall begin work on the first day of classes of each semester for which they are appointed, unless notified by the GTA’s department of earlier required assignments. Attendance at GTA orientation prior to the start of the semester is required as a condition of employment for any person who has not previously served as a GTA at the University of Kansas or for any returning GTA who has been identified as needing to attend GTA orientation.”]
  8. The student must successfully pass a background check established by the University.

In addition to the conditions of appointment set forth in the MOA, the University has established the following condition:

A student who has earned a graduate degree may not continue in a GTA appointment after the graduation date unless the student has just completed a master’s degree and is enrolled in a doctoral program in the same field or a closely related field or is a doctoral graduate who has been accepted into another graduate program.

Enrollment Exceptions for GTAs who are Doctoral Candidates

In accordance with Graduate Studies requirements, after passing the comprehensive oral examination for a doctoral degree, the candidate must be continuously enrolled each fall and spring semester until all requirements for the degree are completed, and each enrollment must reflect, as accurately as possible, the candidate’s demand on faculty time and University facilities. Until 18 post-comprehensive hours are completed, the candidate must enroll in a minimum of 6 hours each semester. Doctoral candidates may be enrolled in fewer than 6 post-comprehensive hours in the fall and spring semesters if all of the conditions described in 2.b (above) are met.

Note: Different enrollment criteria may be used in determining eligibility for student financial aid and student loan deferments. GTAs are advised to consult with Financial Aid and Scholarships to determine student financial aid eligibility.

Enrollment Exception Process

In order to certify that a GTA is eligible to enroll in fewer than 6 credit hours, campus departments must submit the Certification of Eligibility to Enroll in Fewer than Six Hours Form for doctoral students.

View the current policy on GTA appointment eligibility.

Time Limits on Appointments of Graduate Teaching Assistants

The University of Kansas, Lawrence, has established limits on appointments to graduate teaching assistantships as specified below (summer appointments are excluded from the count). Departments may establish shorter limits if appropriate to their programs. In determining whether a person has met the limit described here, all semesters served as a GTA within any department of the university shall be counted.

  • A student who is admitted to a graduate degree program to obtain only a master's degree is limited to 6 semesters of GTA appointments.
  • A student who is admitted to a graduate degree program to obtain only a doctorate is limited to 10 semesters of GTA appointments.
  • A student who is admitted to a graduate program to obtain both a master's and a doctorate is limited to 12 semesters of GTA appointments.
  • In no case may a student exceed the GTA appointment limits indicated here. No GTA may be appointed in excess of 12 semesters.

In accordance with the provisions of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the University of Kansas and the Board of Regents and the American Federation of Teachers, a GTA who has exhausted the semester limits may be considered for appointment as a lecturer.

Note:This policy does not apply to summer session GTA appointments. Semesters in which a student's sole appointment was as a graduate research assistant (GRA) do not count against the GTA-semester limit. All GTA appointments are made pursuant to the provisions of the MOA.

Out-Of-Field GTA Appointments

General Policy on GTA Appointments, Training, and Mentoring

University policy stipulates that a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) must be an integral part of a graduate student's academic endeavor, serving as a logical complement to the graduate student's program of study. While the GTA experience is often part of a student's preparation to assume a full-time role in a specific field in academia, the GTA experience also provides valuable training in the science and art of teaching. Accordingly, departments or schools are expected to offer quality teaching-related experiences for GTAs and to designate faculty who will work closely with GTAs to advise them and help them improve their teaching skills. Teaching-related training is integral to the GTA experience.

Guidelines and Criteria for Out-Of-Field Appointments

It is assumed that the majority of GTAs have appointments within their home departments. However, undergraduate teaching needs frequently arise in departments and programs that do not have a specific and circumscribed pool of graduate students from which GTAs can be drawn. Recognizing that graduate students can make significant contributions to the undergraduate teaching mission of the University by teaching out of their field and that there is great value in this teaching experience as they learn the science and art of teaching undergraduate students, the University will allow out-of-field GTA appointments with the following stipulations:

  • A request for an out-of-field appointment has to be approved by the student's home department or program as well as by the department or program offering the teaching appointment.
  • The out-of-field appointment has to be approved by the school or College of the home department or program as well as the school or College of the department or program offering the teaching appointment.
  • Because it is University policy to waive some or all of the differential tuition for GTAs who are enrolled in schools that charge differential tuition, a unit wishing to extend an out-of-field GTA appointment to a graduate student who is enrolled in a school or College that charges differential tuition must notify the dean of the school or college in which the student is enrolled and obtain that dean's approval of the out-of-field appointment.
  • The schools and the College must, annually, send a list of all out-of-field appointments to the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • The student's home department or program must certify, at the time they approve the out-of-field appointment, that the student is making acceptable progress toward completion of her or his terminal degree.
  • Any out-of-field GTA appointments must include a pedagogical and/or mentoring component offered by the hiring department, with assigned faculty supervisors or mentors. When the hiring department offers courses or seminars that are required of home department GTAs, out-of-field GTAs will be required to enroll in such courses or seminars.
  • Students pursuing graduate degrees that are not generally intended to prepare a student for a career that involves teaching cannot be appointed as out-of-field GTAs. These students should be appointed as lecturers if their service as teachers is desired.

Procedures for Requesting Out-Of-Field GTA Appointments

Individual schools or the College will review all requests for out-of-field GTA appointments. Units requesting an out-of-field appointment must provide documentation that the student has been admitted to graduate study and is in good academic standing. No offer of an out-of-field GTA appointment, either written or verbal, may be made until the school or College has completed its review.

A department that wishes to offer a GTA appointment to a graduate student in another academic unit must consult with the student's home department to develop a rationale describing how the appointment is consistent with the guidelines stated here and how it will benefit the student's educational program. The rationale should include information about the student's background and qualifications to teach the course(s) in question and how the experience gained will contribute to the student's graduate training. An out-of-field appointment will not be approved without the explicit endorsement of the student's home department.

Timeline: Requests for out-of-field GTA placements normally should be submitted to the school or College involved as soon as possible and at least four weeks before the department expects to make an appointment offer. The four-week requirement may be waived when a proposed appointment is related to a staffing emergency such as the late resignation of a GTA or the unanticipated illness of a faculty member who was scheduled to teach a course.

GRA, GTA, and GA Benefits - Lawrence and Edwards Campuses

The University is authorized by Kansas statutes and administrative regulations to provide Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs), Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs), and Graduate Assistants (GAs) with certain benefits that are not available to other student employees. The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the University of Kansas and the Board of Regents and the American Federation of Teachers (representing Graduate Teaching Assistants at the University of Kansas, Lawrence) provides further information about benefits available to GTAs. This summary is provided for informational purposes only. For information about specific benefits, contact the Office of Graduate Studies.

1. Staff Rates 

Graduate students with GRA, GTA, or GA appointments of 40% (0.40 FTE) or more are eligible for staff (resident) rates for tuition, as are individuals who hold concurrent GRA, GTA, and GA appointments totaling 40% (0.40 FTE) or more as stipulated in the Staff and Staff Dependent Tuition Rates policy.

2. Payment of Tuition 

GRAs and GTAs are eligible to have all or some of their tuition paid, including any differential tuition assessed, according to the provisions below.

Graduate Research Assistants:

Graduate Research Assistants with an appointment of 40% (0.40 FTE) or more will have their tuition provided by the same funding source as their salary. The full cost of tuition for GRAs must be included in all proposals, renewals, and contracts as part of the proposal budget when permissible by the granting agency or funding source. When not permitted by the funding source, the payment of tuition may be granted by the Graduate Tuition Assistance Pool. Further information about this program is available in the  Graduate Research Assistant Tuition Assistance Policy.

Graduate Teaching Assistants:

Depending on the level of appointment, the University pays all or some of a GTA’s tuition, including any course fees for GTAs who are enrolled in schools or programs that charge such fees. If the student is eligible for staff rates, these will be assessed before applying the tuition waiver. Course fees include all school course fees and the Edwards Campus Program Fee as listed in section 1.1 of the Comprehensive Fee Schedule published annually by the Office of the University Registrar.

GTAs with appointments of less than 40% (0.40 FTE) will have a portion of their basic tuition and course fees paid in accordance with the table that appears in Article 7, Section 3, of the MOA and is reproduced here:

Appointment Percentage and Percentage of Tuition paid by University

40% FTE or more,                  100% paid

30% FTE but less than 40%,   75% paid

20% FTE but less than 30%,   50% paid

10% FTE but less than 20%,   25% paid

Summer appointment percentages and tuition may vary from those shown here because of the reduced term of the appointment. Students should consult with their departmental hiring manager for more information on summer term tuition benefits.

3. Payment of Required Campus Fees

For GTAs, the University pays required campus fees for 3 credit hours per semester in accordance with the table and restrictions set forth below.

Appointment Percentage and Percentage of Campus Fees paid by University

40% FTE or more,                  100% paid

30% FTE but less than 40%,   75% paid

20% FTE but less than 30%,   50% paid

10% FTE but less than 20%,   25% paid

The GTA is responsible for paying the remainder of the required campus fee assessment; any applicable off-campus area service fees (e.g., Edwards Campus construction fee, Union fee, and required fee); mediated course fees; optional fees; Housing costs; and other specialized fees.

4. Tuition and Fee Assessments in Case of Resignation or Termination

If a GRA or GTA resigns or abandons the GRA/GtA position or the appointment is terminated, the GRA/GTA must pay all resident or non-resident tuition and fees for that semester, as appropriate given the GRA/GTA's residence status as a student who does not hold a GRA/GTA appointment. The GRA/GTA will lose eligibility for staff rates and, if a non-resident, will be required to pay non-resident tuition for that semester.

If a GA resigns or abandons the GA position or the appointment is terminated, the GA will lose eligibility for staff rates and, if a non-resident, will be required to pay non-resident tuition for that semester.

5. Deferment of Tuition and Fees

Returning GRAs, GTAs, and GAs have the option of deferring payment for any tuition and required campus fees until September 15 (fall) and February 15 (spring). Please note that housing costs, optional campus fees, or other charges are not eligible for deferment. The fall deadline for returning graduate students to request a fee deferment is August 10; the spring deadline is January 10. Returning GTAs, GRAs, or GAs who do not request a deferment or do not pay their tuition and fees by the deadline will be assessed a late fee.

6. Payment of Tuition and Fees for Required Orientation/Training Course 

In cases where a GTA is required to enroll in a for-credit orientation or training course, the University covers the full tuition and campus fee associated with one orientation/training course.

7. Health Insurance 

The Kansas Board of Regents, in cooperation with the state universities, offers health insurance for students. Full information can be found here

8. Sick Leave and Annual (Vacation) Leave 

In accordance with Board of Regents policy, persons appointed to student unclassified positions (including GRA, GTA, and GA positions) do not accrue sick leave or annual leave.

9. Approved Medical Leave 

The GTA MOA (Article 5, Section 10) provides that GTAs with a medical condition that necessitates an absence of more than a week from assigned responsibilities shall request unpaid leave with appropriate medical documentation. If a GTA wants such an unpaid leave of absence, the GTA or a representative shall submit a request in writing to the department, who will then submit it to the appropriate school or College.  The request shall be submitted in advance of taking the leave unless the illness or injury precludes advance notice. The request for leave without pay must be reviewed and approved by the department, the school or College, the Office of Graduate Studies, and by Human Resource Management before being granted, but approval shall not be withheld if appropriate supporting medical documentation is provided. If additional documentation is needed, the GTA or authorized representative from the department and/or school or College will be notified and given reasonable time to provide the documentation. Failure to request a leave of absence or to have a leave of absence approved according to this provision shall result in the placement of the GTA on leave without pay or the termination of the GTA’s appointment.

GRAs or GAs with a medical condition that necessitates an absence of more than a week from assigned responsibilities shall request unpaid leave with appropriate medical documentation. If a GRA or GA wants such an unpaid leave of absence, the GRA or GA or a representative shall submit a request in writing to the department, who will then submit it to the appropriate school or College.  The request shall be submitted in advance of taking the leave unless the illness or injury precludes advance notice. The request for leave without pay must be reviewed and approved by the department, the school or College, the Office of Graduate Studies, and by Human Resource Management before being granted, but approval shall not be withheld if appropriate supporting medical documentation is provided. If additional documentation is needed, the GRA, GA, or authorized representative from the department and/or school or College will be notified and given reasonable time to provide the documentation. Failure to request a leave of absence or to have a leave of absence approved according to this provision shall result in the placement of the GR or GA on leave without pay or the termination of the GRA or GA’s appointment.

Please note that the approval of a medical leave of absence from a GRA, GTA, or GA position does not affect the academic status of a graduate student. A student who wishes to reduce their enrollment level due to a medical condition must consult with their department and the appropriate school or College.  Doctoral students who wish to take a leave of absence from graduate study because of a medical condition must request a leave from the department.

10. Other Benefit Programs

GRAs, GTAs, and GAs also can participate in voluntary benefit programs. Additional information is located on the Temporary & Student Employee Voluntary Benefits page.

View current policies on GTA/GRA/GA Benefits. Further information about tuition and fees is available from the Office of the University Registrar.

Graduate Tuition Assistance Pool (TAP)

1. Payment of Tuition

The appointing KU unit is expected to fund the full cost of a Graduate Research Assistant's (GRA's) tuition, consistent with the Benefits for GTA/GRA/GAs policy.

The full cost of tuition for Graduate Research Assistants must be included in all proposals, renewals, and contracts as part of the budget proposal when such support is permitted by the granting agency or source of funding.

2. Eligibility for the Graduate Tuition Assistance Pool (TAP)

When not permitted by the funding source, GRA tuition support may be granted by the TAP. Eligibility for the TAP is determined by the availability of tuition support from the funding source, the source of salary support, the availability of TAP funds, enrollment requirements, and the student eligibility requirements listed below. In order to be eligible for the TAP, the GRA must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. be enrolled in a doctoral degree program;
  2. meets the requirements for holding a GRA appointment;
  3. and have at least one of the following:

Tuition support from the TAP may not exceed 9 credit hours in a given semester or 6 credit hours in the summer term. Students are limited to a maximum of 10 semesters of support from the TAP. Students who have completed the required 18 credit hours of post-comprehensive enrollment, and are therefore eligible to enroll in only 1 dissertation or dissertation-equivalent credit hour, are limited to 1 credit hour per semester of tuition support from the TAP.

External Funding

Externally-funded tuition support is defined as any circumstances in which the source of the salary for a GRA is from a research project funded by an agency external to the University of Kansas. External funding agencies may include, but are not limited to, the National Institutions of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Education (DOE).

It is expected that externally-funded graduate research assistantships and fellowships will provide tuition support. The source of the GRA or fellowship salary is one determinant for TAP eligibility.

Tuition support from the TAP is available to externally-funded GRAs in the following circumstances:

  1. the funding agency does not provide tuition support;
  2. the funding agency provides only partial tuition support;
  3. the GRA position is funded entirely from Kansas state dollars budgeted for GRAs in the Tertiary Oil Recovery Project (TORP), the Biodiversity Institute (KUBI/BI), the Institute for Policy and Social Research (IPSR), or the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS); or
  4. the student is appointed as a GRA in the Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis (CRMDA), and conditions (1) or (2) apply.

If a GRA salary is supported from an externally-funded government grant that supports tuition but does not cover tuition rate increases over the duration of the grant, the TAP will cover the difference in tuition between past and current tuition rates.

For research training grants from the NIH and NSF in National Research Service Awards (NRSA), Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT), or Graduate Stem Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12), assistance from the TAP will be only for that amount of the tuition not covered by the training grant.

A GRA is not eligible for support from the TAP if external funding for tuition is available from the grant that is supporting the student, or permitted by the granting agency that is supporting the student's work, and would cover tuition and campus fees up to full-time enrollment. If a GRA receives compensation from such an externally-funded grant and the student salary or tuition was not originally budgeted in the grant, the University requires that the grant be re-budgeted or that the tuition support be identified from alternative sources.

Internal KU Funding

If the GRA salary is funded entirely from a KU General Research Fund award (either a competitive or new faculty award), then the GRA is eligible for TAP support.

Students who have a salary or stipend at least equivalent to the minimum GTA salary (as determined by the GTA Memorandum of Agreement for a 50% (0.50 FTE) appointment) from a national or international fellowship that supports either no tuition or only partial tuition are eligible for the TAP to cover their full tuition or the difference between the tuition portion covered by the fellowship and their actual tuition costs.

Ineligibility for the TAP

The following circumstances describe when a GRA position is ineligible for tuition support from the TAP:

  • Commercial Entities
    A GRA position funded by industry, business, or commercial partnerships is not eligible for TAP support and is expected to have tuition funded by the awarding entity.
  • State Dollars
    A GRA position paid entirely from startup funds, release funds, shrinkage, or other departmental funds (funds originally budgeted for another purpose) is not eligible for TAP support.
  • KUEA Funds
    A GRA paid entirely through KU Endowment Association (KUEA) is not eligible for TAP support and the KUEA funding must include the cost of tuition.
  • Overhead Support
    A GRA position paid entirely from returned overhead funds is not eligible for TAP support.

Split-Funded GRA Appointments

GRAs who are paid from split funds that are both eligible and ineligible for tuition assistance are eligible to have that proportion of their tuition paid from the TAP that represents the proportion of funding support they are receiving from a TAP-eligible funding source. Graduate students who have a split appointment as a GTA/GRA are similarly eligible for a proportional amount of tuition support from the TAP.

KU Medical Center GRAs

Students who are enrolled in a KU Lawrence Campus (KULC) doctoral program and who are employed as a GRA on the KU Medical Center (KUMC) campus are eligible for the TAP. The student's KULC academic department should submit the TAP request and include proof of the GRA appointment on the KUMC campus.

Application Deadline

Requests for graduate tuition assistance from the TAP are preferably submitted 60 calendar days prior to the first day of classes for each semester. The final deadline for submission of TAP requests is 30 calendar days after the first published class day of each semester.

GTAs Who Are Non-Native Speakers of English

All prospective graduate teaching assistants of the state universities shall have their English competency assessed prior to being considered for any employment having classroom or laboratory instructional responsibility and/or direct tutorial responsibilities. The following shall be used to implement this policy:

  1. All prospective graduate teaching assistants, whose first language is not English, must be interviewed by and have their competency in spoken English assessed by no fewer than 3 institutional personnel, 1 of which should be a student.  An oral interview shall be conducted either face-to-face or by mediated means.
  2. To be eligible for an appointment without spoken English language remediation conditions, all prospective graduate teaching assistants, whose first language is not English, shall be required to achieve a minimum score of 50 on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) or the Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK), or equivalent, or a minimum score, set by Board staff in consultation with the Council of Chief Academic Officers and with the approval of the Board Academic Affairs Standing Committee, on the Speaking section of the Test of English as a Foreign Language internet Based Test (TOEFL iBT).
  3. All prospective graduate teaching assistants who do not meet the above requirements shall not be assigned teaching responsibilities nor other tasks requiring direct instructional contact with students.
  4. An exception will be made for courses taught in sign language.
  5. A report detailing the process for interviewing graduate teaching assistants, whose first language is not English, including the composition of the interview team and scores from the TSE or SPEAK for each candidate, will be submitted to the President/CEO every other year.

Graduation Calendar

The Graduate Studies graduation calendar is available online.

Course Numbering System

Generally, graduate courses are numbered according to the following scheme:

  • Courses numbered 500-699 are designed for juniors and seniors, but are also taken by some graduate students who have fewer than 30 hours of graduate credit.
  • Courses numbered 700-799 are designed for graduate students who have fewer than 30 hours of graduate credit, but they are also taken by some undergraduates.
  • Courses numbered 800-899 are designed for graduate students who have fewer than 30 hours of graduate credit.
  • Courses numbered 900-999 are designed for graduate students who have 30 or more hours of graduate credit.

Courses that contain a mixture of undergraduate and graduate students should set requirements for graduate credit beyond or different from the requirements for undergraduate credit. No course, regardless of its number, can give graduate credit unless it has been approved for graduate credit by the appropriate Graduate Division and is taught by a person holding a current appointment to the Graduate Faculty. See the graduate credit section of the catalog (below) for more information.

Grading

General Guidelines

Grading scales are assigned on a course-by-course basis. The grading scale selected for a course must be appropriate to the course type and to the students and programs that the course serves. It is expected that designated thesis, dissertation, and their approved equivalent courses will be graded using either the A, B, C, D, F, P scale or the SP, LP, NP scale. (Use of the P grade is restricted in some divisions: please see the Exclusions and Special Circumstances of the Grading policy for more details.) Other research and non-research courses for degree- and certificate-seeking students will be graded using the A, B, C, D, F scale, with or without the use of the I grade at the department's discretion.

Once a grading scale for a particular course has been recommended by the department and approved by the Graduate Division, it must be applied to the entire student enrollment in the course or section. This applies to all graduate-level courses.

The individual schools and the College have the option of using or not using the +/-, according to the policy adopted by the particular school.

In courses that adopt the letter-grade scales, C- is not considered a passing grade. C-, D, and F work does not count toward fulfilling degree requirements. Overall, students must earn at least a B average (i.e., 3.0 GPA) on course work counted toward any master's, specialist, or doctoral degree at KU, and only courses graded A, B, or C (excluding C-) may be so counted. The student's graduate GPA calculation will include any degree- or certificate-seeking graduate course work completed at KU. Courses graded P, SP, LP, NP, S, U, CR, NC, or I are excluded from the computation of the GPA.

The I Grade: Incomplete Work

The I grade indicates course work that has been of passing quality but which is partially unfinished for good reason. Use of the I grade is optional in some grading scales but is not permitted by others (see below). Generally, the I grade is an appropriate option for enrollments other than thesis, dissertation, research, or the first semester of a two-semester sequence course.

As stated in the University Senate Rules and Regulations, Article II, Section 2.2.3.2: "A student who has an I posted for a course must make up the work by the date determined by the instructor, in consultation with the student, which may not exceed one calendar year, or the last day of the term of graduation, whichever comes first. An I not removed according to this rule shall automatically convert to a grade of F or U, or the lapse grade assigned by the course instructor, and shall be indicated on the student's record."

Grading Scale: Regular Courses

Grading Scale: A, B, C, D, F, (I)

The basic system is an A, B, C, D, F, (I) scale, where:

  • A designates above-average graduate work;
  • B designates average graduate work;
  • C designates passing but not average graduate work;
  • D and F designate failing graduate work.
  • Inclusion of the I option is at the discretion of the department (see above).

Grading Scales: Research Courses

Departments select one of the two following scales to grade their thesis, dissertation, and approved thesis- or dissertation-equivalent courses. Other research courses are graded using the A, B, C, D, F, P scale. The I grade is not appropriate for enrollment in thesis, dissertation, or research courses and is not allowed by these grading scales. The I grade is discussed separately above.

Grading Scale: A, B, C, D, F, P

In this grading scale the letter P indicates participation in coursework where evidence of performance may not be available. (Use of the P grade is restricted in some divisions: please see the Exclusions and Special Circumstances section of the Grading policy for more information.)

This grading scale is appropriate in two types of situation:

  • In designated thesis, dissertation, approved thesis- or dissertation-equivalent, or research courses;
  • In the first semester of two-semester sequence courses.

In any semester, an instructor has the option to assign a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F, instead of P, when evidence about performance is available. Upon completion of thesis, dissertation, or research hours leading to a master's specialist, or doctoral degree, the P remains on the final transcript in all semesters for which it was recorded.

For departments that use this scale, a letter grade (A, B, C, D, or F) must be assigned for a student's final semester of enrollment in thesis, dissertation, or research course work. The letter grade assigned characterizes the quality of the final product.

Grading Scale: SP, LP, NP

This grading scales is established in USRR 2.2.5. It evaluates a student's work as demonstrating satisfactory progress (SP), limited progress (LP), or no progress (NP). It is appropriate only in designated thesis, dissertation, and approved thesis- and dissertation-equivalent enrollments.

For departments that use this scale, a grade of SP must be assigned for a student's final semester of enrollment in thesis, dissertation, or approved thesis- or dissertation-equivalent course work. The SP indicates that the final product was of satisfactory quality to earn the degree.

Milestone Examinations

Honors, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory

Performance on milestone examinations may be graded Honors, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory. These outcome grades are appropriate to the following milestone examinations:

  • the general examination for the master's degree;
  • the general examination for the degree of specialist;
  • the comprehensive oral examination for the doctorate;
  • the final examination for the doctorate.

Use of the Honors designation is at the department's discretion.

Other Grading Scales

Grading Scale: S, U, (I)

The grades of S and U designate satisfactory (S) and unsatisfactory (U) performance. This grading scale is appropriate to three types of course:

  • continuing education courses;
  • workshop courses;

No more than 6 hours total of graduate course work graded S may count toward a degree. The S, U, (I) grading scale may be adopted at the department's discretion (see above for discussion of the I grade).

In courses numbered 800 or above, and for which specific authorization has been given, an instructor may report a grade of S for students who have satisfactorily attended the course but for whom it has not been possible to evaluate the quality of performance.

Grading Scale: CR, NC

The Credit (CR) or No Credit (NC) option is authorized for graduate students: a grade of CR will reflect work earning a C or better and the grade of NC will reflect work earning a C- or below.

As outlined in USRR 2.2.7.6, no course graded CR or NC can count toward the satisfaction of the requirements for a graduate degree or a graduate certificate. This prohibition includes any courses taken to meet the Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement. Please refer to the policy governing Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship for more information.

Graduate Credit

Three conditions must be met for a student to receive graduate credit for work satisfactorily completed at KU:

  1. The student must have gained graduate admission.
  2. The course must be numbered 500-level or above and have been approved for graduate credit by the appropriate school or College.
  3. The instructor must hold a current appointment to the Graduate Faculty.

Graduate courses may count toward both a graduate degree and a graduate certificate as long as the student is admitted and enrolled in the intended program prior to completion of the last required course.

Graduate credit earned while certificate-seeking may also be applied toward a master's program with the approval of the master's program, provided the student is enrolled as degree-seeking in the master's program prior to the last semester of coursework in the program.

At the discretion of the certificate-granting or degree-granting program and the Graduate Division, up to 9 credit hours of graduate credit earned as a non-degree-seeking student may be allowed to count toward a certificate or degree program. In the case of a 9-hour graduate certificate, a maximum of 6 credit hours is allowed.

Grades of C- and below do not count toward fulfilling degree requirements and cannot be counted toward degree. Course credit by examination is not accepted toward graduate degrees.

Transfer Credit

At the discretion of the major department and the Graduate Division, up to 9 hours of graduate credit taken at a regionally-accredited graduate school may be transferred and applied to a KU master's degree plan if the credits were taken before the final semester of enrollment at KU.

Only work graded B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or higher may be transferred. KU does not accept transfer credit for courses that have been graded B- or below. KU also does not accept transfer for institutes, workshops, or for life/work experience. Credit will not transfer for courses that were previously counted toward the completion of an undergraduate or graduate degree.

A minimum of 15 credits toward a master's degree must be earned in KU coursework. As described in the M.A. & M.S. Degrees policy, a 30-hour master's degree may be reduced to as few as 24 hours for students who are "exceptionally well-prepared." If coursework is transferred to KU, the same coursework cannot also be utilized to establish a student as "exceptionally well-prepared."

No graduate credit may be transferred toward a doctoral degree, but departments may take relevant prior graduate work into consideration in setting up programs of study.

Graduate credit from another institution may not be transferred to a KU graduate certificate program.

In order to transfer credits, the appropriate paperwork must be initiated by the student’s department. The department/program and Graduate Division retain the discretion to deny a student's request to have transfer credit and/or non-degree-seeking credit count toward a degree or certificate. View the current policy on graduate credit.

Graduate Course Work Expiration Dates

Courses completed at the University of Kansas, or transfer credits from another university, cannot be used to fulfill graduate degree requirements if these courses were completed more than 10 years prior to the final defense for doctoral candidates or graduation for master’s students.

Faculty members retain the responsibility for determining the validity of courses that count toward the degree. Any decision to make an exception to the policy outlined above must be approved by the Graduate Division of the school or College in which the student’s program resides. View the current policy on Graduate Coursework Expiration Dates.

Good Academic Standing

Evaluation of graduate student academic standing includes, but is not limited to, consideration of performance in and progress through a graduate program according to program expectations.

Performance

Graduate students must maintain an expected level of performance throughout their program. Criteria for evaluating satisfactory performance include, but are not limited to:

  1. A minimum cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher. Graduate programs may have more stringent GPA requirements;
  2. Academic and scholarly integrity;
  3. Compliance with academic policies at the university, school, and departmental level; and
  4. Satisfactory progress toward completion of the degree.
    Graduate programs are responsible for evaluating students at least annually to assess progress toward a degree. Progress may be determined by factors including:
    1. Completion of coursework, milestones, exams, or other program components on a specified timeframe; and
    2. Official time to degree and total time in program.

Graduate programs may have additional measures of progress. Failure to maintain an expected level of performance will result in a student not being in good academic standing.

Lack of good academic standing will result in the graduate program placing the student on probation or in dismissal from the program (for more information, please see the policies on academic probation and dismissed enrollment.

It is expected that graduate programs will evaluate students pursuing more than one degree program based on their progress in each program individually.

Academic Probation

Upon falling below a cumulative graduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0, computed with the inclusion of grades earned at KU for all courses acceptable for graduate credit, the student is placed on probation by the Graduate Division of the school or College. The grades of P, SP, LP, NP, S, U, CR, NC, and I, for which no numerical equivalents are defined, are excluded from the GPA computation. If the student’s overall graduate average has been raised to 3.0 by the end of the next semester of enrollment after being placed on probation, the student may be returned to regular status. If not, the student is not permitted to re-enroll and will be dismissed unless the Graduate Division acts favorably on a departmental recommendation for the student to continue study.

If admitted provisionally due to deficiencies in grade-point average, a student must earn an overall graduate average of at least 3.0 during the first semester of enrollment to be permitted to re-enroll, in which case the student is considered to have achieved good academic standing. A student admitted provisionally who fails to earn a 3.0 average in the first semester of enrollment may be dismissed immediately. If provisional continuation is recommended by the department or program and approved by the Graduate Division, the student may remain on provisional status for one additional semester.

Students who have been dismissed from a graduate program may be readmitted for further graduate study at KU only by petition of the Graduate Division that will accept the student. The petition must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

View the current policy on academic probation.

Progress to Degree Forms

The Progress to Degree forms are the official forms, recognized by Graduate Studies, used to track and monitor graduate student progress at the University of Kansas. The forms should be used to report every aspect of academia, including, but not limited to, change in degree plans within the same department, changes in academic status, time limit extensions, leaves of absence, master's-degree transfer credit, completion of comprehensive and oral exams, completion of certificate programs, and fulfillment of FLORS requirements.

The forms are available on the Graduate Studies website and should follow the workflow indicated for the individual function required.

Enrollment

Graduate Student Enrollment

All graduate students are expected to fit into one of the following enrollment categories at all times while completing the credits required for the fulfillment of their degrees.

  • Full-time Enrollment
  • Leave of Absence
  • Discontinued
  • Dismissed
  • Post-comp Enrollment for Doctoral Candidates

Graduate students are not normally permitted to enroll for more than 16 hours each semester or more than 8 hours in the summer session.

Under some circumstances, undergraduate students may enroll in graduate courses.

  • Undergraduate Enrollment in Graduate-Level Courses for Undergraduate Credit
  • Co-enrollment (Seniors and Graduate Study)

View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on enrollment.

Full-Time Enrollment for Graduate Students

Full-time and half-time enrollment consists of the following:

Full-time enrollment for Fall and Spring semesters

  • Enrollment in 9 credit hours;
  • Enrollment in 6 credit hours plus a GTA, GRA, or GA appointment, regardless of percentage of appointment;
  • Enrollment in 6 credit hours for graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) and Post-9/11 GI Bill – Active Duty;
  • Doctoral candidates enrolled in dissertation hour(s). (Please see the current policy on Doctoral post-comprehensive enrollment.)

Full-time Enrollment for Summer Semesters

  • Enrollment in 6 credit hours;
  • Enrollment in 3 credit hours plus a GTA, GRA, or GA appointment, regardless of percentage of appointment;
  • Enrollment in 3 credit hours for graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) and Post-9/11 GI Bill – Active Duty;
  • Doctoral candidates enrolled in dissertation hour(s).  (Please see the current policy on Doctoral post-comprehensive enrollment.)

3/4-time Enrollment for Fall and Spring Semesters

  • Enrollment in 7 credit hours;
  • Enrollment in 4.5 credit hours plus a GRA appointment, regardless of percentage of appointment.  (Only master's students in their final semester of study are eligible for the 3/4-time and half-time enrollment exception while holding a GRA appointment. For more information, please see the current policy on Graduate Research Assistant Appointment Eligibility.)

3/4-time Enrollment for Summer Semesters

  • Enrollment in 4.5 credit hours;
  • Enrollment in 2 credit hours plus a GRA appointment, regardless of percentage of appointment.  (Only master's students in their final semester of study are eligible for the 3/4-time and half-time enrollment exception while holding a GRA appointment. For more information, please see the current policy on Graduate Research Assistant Appointment Eligibility.)

Half-time Enrollment for Fall and Spring Semesters

  • Enrollment in 5 credit hours;
  • Enrollment in 3 credit hours plus a GRA appointment, regardless of percentage of appointment.  (Only master's students in their final semester of study are eligible for the 3/4-time and half-time enrollment exception while holding a GRA appointment. For more information, please see the current policy on Graduate Research Assistant Appointment Eligibility.)
  • Enrollment in 3 credit hours for graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) and Post-9/11 GI Bill – Active Duty.

Half-time Enrollment for Summer Semesters

  • Enrollment in 3 credit hours;
  • Enrollment in 1 credit hour plus a GRA appointment, regardless of percentage of appointment.  (Only master's students in their final semester of study are eligible for the 3/4-time and half-time enrollment exception while holding a GRA appointment. For more information, please see the current policy on Graduate Research Assistant Appointment Eligibility.)
  • Enrollment in 1 credit hour for graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) and Post-9/11 GI Bill – Active Duty.

Students enrolled in fewer hours than defined as half-time enrollment are considered part-time.

All students should check with their graduate degree program's and the Office of Graduate Studies’ policies to determine whether additional enrollment requirements exist (including any requirements for summer). View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on full-time enrollment for Graduate students.

Note: A few internship programs have been approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies to count as full-time enrollment. Students enrolled in these internship programs will be counted as full-time students. Students should contact their programs to verify that an internship program qualifies.

International Students

International students in F-1 and J-1 status must also comply with Federal immigration requirements by pursuing a full course of study each semester to maintain their legal status. All international students must conform to residence requirements, even though immigration regulatory requirements may be lower.

Leave of Absence

A Leave of Absence may be granted upon request to the graduate program in advance of leave. A leave of absence may be granted in extraordinary circumstances (e.g. cases of illness, emergency, financial hardship, military leave), to pursue family responsibilities, or to pursue full-time activities related to long-range professional goals.

Appropriate documentation related to these extraordinary circumstances may be requested from the student directly. Evidence of progress toward degree will also be a determining factor in the decision to grant an exception.

The time taken for a leave of absence does not count against the student’s time to degree. However, if the total time for the leave extends more than five years, the student will lose the student's place in the program and must reapply for admission.

To request a leave of absence, the department or program must complete a Progress to Degree form. For more information, please contact Graduate Studies or view the current policy on Leave of Absence.

Dismissed Enrollment (Dismissal)

Graduate programs are responsible for evaluating the students in their programs to ensure that they are making satisfactory progress toward a degree. If a graduate program finds that a student is not making satisfactory progress, the program may recommend to the school or College that the student be dismissed from the program. Dismissal is requested by the graduate program through the Progress to Degree form. 

Indicators of failure to make satisfactory progress toward a degree may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Running out of allowable time to degree;
  • Neither enrolling nor receiving approval for a leave of absence for two consecutive semesters;
  • Committing Academic Misconduct;

Students who have been dismissed from a graduate program may be readmitted for further graduate study at KU only by petition of the Graduate Division of the school or College that will accept the student. The petition must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Discontinued Enrollment

Students may voluntarily resign from their programs of study by requesting discontinuance. Once this request is granted, the student resigns their in the program. In order to return to their studies at a later date, voluntarily discontinued students must reapply for admission. Departments or programs must request discontinuance through the Progress to Degree form. View the current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policy on discontinued enrollment.

Permit to Re-Enroll

A student who has been actively enrolled in a degree-seeking graduate program, but who has not been enrolled for one academic year (three consecutive semesters, including the summer semester) or less, may be eligible to use the permit to re-enroll form with the consent of the student's department or program. 

A student who has been actively enrolled in a degree-seeking program, but who has not enrolled for four or more consecutive semesters without an approved leave of absence, is not eligible to use the permit to re-enroll form and must re-apply for graduate admission.

The permit to re-enroll form is not available to a student who:

  • was dismissed from a program at KU;
  • was voluntarily discontinued (formally withdrew) from a graduate program;
  • completed the graduate program; or
  • most recently enrolled as a non-degree-seeking graduate student.

Before completing the permit to re-enroll form, students should contact their graduate programs directly to confirm availability of the permit to re-enroll.

Students returning from an approved leave of absence will be returned from leave by their department; such students are not required to use the permit to re-enroll form.

Please review the current policy and the explanatory chart for more information about the permit to re-enroll.

Seniors and Graduate Study (Co-enrollment)

Seniors at KU who will complete the requirements for a baccalaureate degree in a given semester may be allowed to enroll in graduate course work during their final semester. These seniors must have very strong academic records (grade-point average higher than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale), must apply and be admitted provisionally as degree-seeking graduate students, and must request the permission of the appropriate Graduate Division. Seniors requesting the privilege of co-enrollment must make formal application through the graduate affairs office of the appropriate school or College.

Procedure

To meet the criteria of co-enrollment, the student must earn undergraduate credit for at least 1 class during the co-enrollment semester. Continuing education courses may be used to satisfy this requirement. If, after the co-enrollment semester, the baccalaureate degree is not completed the student will not be permitted to enroll in courses for graduate credit until the baccalaureate degree has been conferred. After 1 semester, students are not eligible for co-enrollment and the graduate admission will be retracted.

Students who are eligible to co-enroll receive an email from the Registrar’s Office before enrollment with instructions on how to enroll in more than 1 career (ex. LAW, GRDL-Graduate, UGDL-Undergraduate). Students will have separate appointment times to enroll for each career and must enroll only in the courses that will count correctly toward the career in which they are enrolling during each appointment time. When enrollment is complete for each career, students must check the grading option for each course to ensure the class will be counted correctly.

View the current policy on co-enrollment.

Undergraduate Student Enrollment in Graduate-Level Courses

Well-qualified undergraduate students may be permitted to enroll in 800- or 900-level courses for undergraduate credit with the approval of the instructor, the student’s advisor, and the Graduate Division. The student must bring a Count Towards Degree form signed by the instructor, a letter of explanation and recommendation from the advisor, and current academic record to the Graduate Division for approval. If approved, the Graduate Division signs the Count Towards Degree form, which the student must present to the staff in the Student Records Center to enroll in the courses. Courses taken for undergraduate credit may not be transferred to graduate credit.

View the current policy on undergraduate student enrollment in graduate-level courses.

Embargo of Theses and Dissertations

When an exception to the immediate release of a thesis or dissertation is necessary, an embargo temporarily delays public release of the work. Embargo periods may last 6 months, 1 year, or 2 years. While embargoes are not intended to be permanent, renewals of the original embargo period are permissible. Considerations that may warrant an embargo include, but are not limited to:

  • Patentable rights or other issues contained in the work, the disclosure of which may be detrimental to the rights or interests of the author.
  • The need to prevent disclosure of government information about persons, institutions, technologies, etc. contained in the work.
  • An academic or commercial press' express interest in acquiring the rights to publish the work as a book that may require an embargo.
  • Prior submission of the content to a peer-reviewed journal that may require an embargo.
  • Prior approval for delay granted by the KU Restricted Research Committee.

Requests for an extension of the embargo should be directed to the Office of Graduate Studies and must be received at least one month prior to the expiration of the current embargo to ensure sufficient time to process the request. A request for an embargo submitted to the University of Kansas affects only the publication of the thesis or dissertation in KU ScholarWorks. It is the graduate student’s responsibility to request an extension from both the University of Kansas for the copy in KU ScholarWorks and separately through ProQuest for the copy housed there. ​

While there is no limit to the number of times a student can request an embargo extension, embargoes that have been allowed to expire without a request for an extension will result in the thesis or dissertation being made publicly available.

The embargo period will begin at the end of the semester in which the student graduates, with the specific dates being: December 31st, May 31st, and August 31st.

Steps necessary for embargoing a thesis or dissertation:

Theses and dissertations at the University of Kansas are made available in two electronic databases: KU ScholarWorks and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Items in KU ScholarWorks are publicly accessible on the world-wide web and can be indexed by search engines. 

Students who do not wish to have their theses or dissertations immediately made public in these two venues must receive permission from the director of graduate studies in their departments, their committee chairs, their department chairs, or the dean of the pertinent school or College to embargo their theses or dissertations. These students must document this permission using the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Release Form. The University of Kansas will accept the electronic submission of a thesis or dissertation—thereby completing all degree requirements—only if the student signs this release form. Likewise, the University of Kansas will only entertain requests for an embargo submitted using this release form.

Once the student has obtained the requisite signatures, the student must take two additional steps before graduation to ensure that their work is properly embargoed.

  • First, the student must submit the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Release Form to the school or College. If an embargo has been approved, this form will ensure that the work is temporarily restricted in KU ScholarWorks.
  • Second, during the electronic submission process to ProQuest, the student must select the embargo option under the publishing restrictions section. If an embargo has been approved, this step will ensure that public view of the work is temporarily restricted in the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (Please view the Embargo policy for more information.

Note: If a student does not receive permission for an embargo and/or does not submit the required documentation requesting such an embargo to the Office of Graduate Studies prior to graduation, the work will be made publicly available through KU ScholarWorks, and search engines will find and index the work. For this reason, once a work is released publicly, it is impossible to deploy an embargo in its entirety because copies of a released work are likely to be stored on the web even if the KU ScholarWorks and ProQuest copies are retracted. Therefore, it is crucial for students who desire the embargo option to request it prior to graduation and to request extensions, if needed, prior to the work being exposed to search engines.

Dissertation defenses are open to the public. In the event that an embargo is deemed necessary for a dissertation, the committee should consider holding an additional question period for the defense that is closed to the public. Any sensitive data may be discussed in the closed session.

Students from the following programs are permitted to request a permanent embargo of their theses and dissertations: 

  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing;
  • Ph.D. in English: Literature and Creative Writing track;

View the current policy on embargo of theses and dissertations.

Graduate Student Oral Exam Attendance

Ideally, all members of the committee are physically present at graduate student oral examinations, which include the master’s comprehensive oral exam, the master’s final oral exam (i.e. thesis defense), the doctoral comprehensive oral exam, and the doctoral final oral exam (i.e. dissertation defense).

A majority of committee members must be physically present for an examination to commence; for doctoral oral examinations this requirement is 3 of the 5 members, for master’s oral examinations the requirement is 2 of the 3 members.

In addition, it is required that the student being examined, the chair of the committee, and the Graduate Studies Representative all be physically present at the examination or defense. Mediated attendance by the student, chair, and Graduate Studies Representative is prohibited.

When a situation arises in which a committee member cannot be physically present, attendance via mediated means (tele/video-conferencing) is acceptable at the discretion of the committee chair.

In cases where the student prefers an examination in which all committee members are physically present, the student's preference shall be honored.

In the case of technology failure during the examination, all members of the committee present must concur that the examination was substantially complete. If any member of the committee dissents, the examination is considered canceled and must be rescheduled. The committee members at remote locations must be contacted to submit their decision concerning the assessment of the examination before the exam results are recorded.

View the current policy on Graduate Student Oral Exam Attendance.

Grievance Policy for Graduate Students 

Graduate students who believe themselves to be unfairly or unlawfully treated in an academic matter may present a grievance to the academic department or program chair. Each academic unit and all Graduate Divisions have established grievance policies and procedures. Appeal of a grievance heard at one of these levels is made to the Judicial Board. The Office of Graduate Studies has established a set of guidelines for graduate student petitions in certain categories that may not be under the jurisdiction of other hearing bodies. The Executive Council of Graduate Faculty has identified two categories as the purview of the Office of Graduate Studies:

1. Cases involving the Graduate Divisions of two or more schools and/or the College;

2. Cases involving the interpretation of Graduate Studies policy as it pertains to the Graduate Division of a school or the College.

For disputes involving alleged academic misconduct or alleged violations of student rights, the initial hearing normally is held at the unit level. There is an option to hold an initial hearing at the Judicial Board level if both parties agree, or if either party petitions the Judicial Board chair to hold the hearing at the Judicial Board level and the petition is granted. The petition must state why a fair hearing cannot be obtained at the unit level; the opposing party has an opportunity to respond to the petition.

Procedures for Graduate Student Grievances

Pursuant to Article XII of the University Senate Code and Articles V and VI of the University Senate Rules and Regulations of the University of Kansas, Lawrence, the Office of Graduate Studies establishes the following procedures to hear the individual grievances of graduate students. Except as provided in USRR 6.5.4, no person shall be disciplined for using the grievance procedure or assisting another in using the grievance procedure. The Office of Graduate Studies shall provide a copy of this procedure to anyone who requests it.

A sub-committee of the Executive Council of Graduate Faculty is charged to establish policies governing the handling of individual grievances of graduate students brought to the attention of the Office of Graduate Studies, to carry out or delegate the investigation of individual grievances presented to the Office of Graduate Studies, and to make and report final recommendations to the Dean of Graduate Studies with respect to individual grievances. Since the sub-committee has the responsibility to adjudicate and hence to hear grievances, it cannot function to develop evidence on behalf of either complainant or respondent. However, it is appropriate for the Office of Graduate Studies, in its administrative capacity, to look into complaints prior to scheduling a grievance hearing, to interview parties, to secure documents, and to seek a conciliatory solution. Before pursuing formal grievance procedures, a grievant should ordinarily attempt to resolve the matter informally through direct or indirect consultation with the other party, through discussions with supervisory personnel, or through informal mediation. If the problem is not solved in this fashion the Dean shall refer the complainant to the sub-committee or, if appropriate, to another appropriate unit charged with jurisdiction to resolve the dispute. If it is referred to the sub-committee, the Office of Graduate Studies shall make available to the committee what it has learned that bears on the complaint. This shall not be construed, however, to deny the right of a student to file a complaint directly with the committee.

  1. To start the grievance process, the complainant must submit a written grievance to the Office of Graduate Studies. The complaint shall contain a statement of the facts underlying the complaint and specify the provision(s) of the Faculty Code of Conduct, University Senate Code, the University Senate Rules and Regulations, the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, or other applicable rule, policy, regulation, or law allegedly violated. The complaint shall also indicate the witnesses or other evidence relied on by the complaining party, and copies of any documents relevant to the complaint shall be attached to the complaint.
  2. At the time the complaint is submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies, the complaining party shall provide a copy of the complaint, with accompanying documents, to the respondent(s).
  3. Upon receipt of the complaint, the Office of Graduate Studies shall contact the respondent to verify that the respondent has received a copy of the complaint and to provide the respondent with a copy of these procedures.
  4. Pursuant to University Senate Code Article XII, Section 2.VI, a respondent has the privilege of remaining silent and refusing to give evidence in response to a complaint. The respondent also has the right to respond and give evidence in response to the complaint.
  5. The respondent shall submit a written response to the Office of Graduate Studies within 14 calendar days of receiving the complaint. The response shall contain the respondent’s statement of the facts underlying the dispute as well as any other defenses to the allegations in the complaint. The response shall also identify the witnesses or other evidence relied on by the respondent and shall include copies of any documents relevant to the response. The respondent shall provide a complete copy of the response to the complaining party.
  6. Upon receipt of the response, the Office of Graduate Studies shall contact the complaining party to verify that a copy of the response has been provided.
  7. Upon receiving the complaint and response, or if the respondent fails to respond within the 14-day time period, the Office of Graduate Studies shall appoint a committee to consider the complaint. Normally, a complaint shall be heard by a sub-committee of the Executive Council of Graduate Faculty from among the members of the committee. The sub-committee members shall be disinterested parties who have not had previous involvement in the specific situation forming the basis of the complaint. In the summer, if the complainant requests a hearing before the full committee the complainant must waive the right to timely hearing (see 11 below) and a hearing date will be scheduled early in the fall.
  8. Pursuant to USRR 6.8.4.2, the chair of the sub-committee may contact other hearing bodies within the University to determine whether a grievance or complaint involving the underlying occurrence or events is currently pending before or has been decided by any other hearing body.
  9. Time limits. To use this procedure, the complainant must file the written complaint with the Office of Graduate Studies within 6 months from the action or event that forms the basis of the complaint. The 6-month time period shall be calculated using calendar days (including weekends and days during which classes are not in session).
  10. Upon receiving the complaint, if the chair of the sub-committee determines that any of the following grounds exist, the sub-committee chair may recommend to the Dean that the complaint be dismissed without further proceedings. The grounds for such dismissal are:
    1. the grievance or another grievance involving substantially the same underlying occurrence or events has already been, or is being, adjudicated by proper University procedures;
    2. the grievance has not been filed in a timely fashion;
    3. the Office of Graduate Studies lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter or any of the parties;
    4. the grievance fails to allege a violation of a University rule;
    5. the party filing the grievance lacks standing because the complainant has not suffered a distinct injury as a result of the challenged conduct and has not been empowered to bring the complaint on behalf of the University;
    6. the party filing the grievance has been denied the right to file grievances pursuant to USRR 6.5.4.
  11. If the chair of the sub-committee determines that a grievance on its face properly should be heard by another body, the chair will recommend that the Dean send the grievance to the appropriate hearing body without further proceedings in the Office of Graduate Studies. The Dean will send a copy of the referral to the complainant(s) and any responding parties.
  12. If not previously attempted, prior to scheduling a hearing, the parties shall participate in mediation of the dispute unless either party waives mediation. Mediation shall be governed by USRR 6.2.3.
  13. If mediation is successful, the mediator will forward to the Dean, the sub-committee chair, and all parties a letter describing the outcome of the mediation and the terms upon which the parties have agreed to resolve the dispute. This letter shall be a recommendation to the Dean. The Dean will notify the mediator, the sub-committee chair, and the parties that the recommendation has been accepted, modified, or rejected.
  14. If mediation is not successful, the mediator will notify the Dean, the sub-committee chair, and the parties that mediation has terminated. If mediation is not successful, or if it is waived by either party, the grievance sub-committee will schedule a hearing no later than 30 calendar days from the written submission of the complaint. The 30-day period may be extended for good cause as determined by the chair of the sub-committee. The 30-day period shall be suspended during the mediation process. The hearing will be closed unless all parties agree that it shall be public.
  15. All parties may represent themselves or be represented by an advisor or counsel of their choice.
  16. Each party has the right to introduce all relevant testimony and documents if the documents have been provided with the complaint or response.
  17. Each party shall be entitled to question the other party’s witnesses. The committee may question all witnesses.
  18. Witnesses other than parties shall leave the hearing room when they are not testifying.
  19. The chair of the sub-committee shall have the right to place reasonable time limits on each party’s presentation.
  20. The chair of the sub-committee shall have the authority and responsibility to keep order, rule on questions of evidence and relevance, and shall possess other reasonable powers necessary for a fair and orderly hearing.
  21. The hearing shall not be governed by the rules of evidence, but the chair of the sub-committee may exclude information the chair deems irrelevant, unnecessary, or duplicative. Statements or admissions made as part of the mediation process are not admissible.
  22. The sub-committee will make an audiotape of the hearing but not of the deliberations of the sub-committee. The audiotape will be available to the parties, their authorized representatives, the sub-committee and the Dean. If a party desires a copy of the audiotape or a transcript of the tape, that party will pay for the cost of such copy or transcript. In the event of an appeal, the audiotape will be provided to the appellate body as part of the record of the case.
  23. After the presentation of evidence and arguments, the sub-committee will excuse the parties and deliberate. The sub-committee’s decision will be a written recommendation to the Dean. The sub-committee shall base its recommendations solely upon the information presented at the hearing.
  24. The sub-committee will send its written recommendation to the Dean and the parties as soon possible and no later than 14 calendar days after the end of the hearing.
  25. Within 14 calendar days of receiving the sub-committee recommendation, the Dean will notify the parties of the acceptance, modification, or rejection of the recommendation. The Dean will advise the parties of the procedure available to appeal the decision.

View the current policy on Grievance Procedure for Graduate Studies.

Student Responsibilities

All graduate students are responsible for informing themselves of the Office of Graduate Studies' requirements and policies. Students should visit the Graduate Studies website for the most up-to-date requirements and policies. Graduate students are also expected to be familiar with the regulations and requirements of their Graduate Divisions and of their home academic departments and programs. Members of the Graduate Faculty and staff members in the Graduate Divisions are expected to be ready to answer questions and offer counsel. 

It is each graduate student’s responsibility to know and observe all regulations and procedures relating to the graduate degree program the student is pursuing. In no case will a regulation be waived or an exception be granted because students plead ignorance of, or contend that they were not informed of, requirements, regulations, procedures, and deadlines. Responsibility for following all policies and meeting all requirements and deadlines rests with the student.