The University of Nebraska is a public university committed to providing a quality education to a diverse student body. Students are selected on the basis of academic preparation, ability, and the availability of space in the desired academic program. The Office of Graduate Studies adheres to the University of Nebraska’s nondiscrimination policy.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln reserves the right to change the regulations with respect to admission to the Office of Graduate Studies, the continuance of graduate study and the granting of the degree.

All materials submitted become the permanent property of the Office of Graduate Studies and will not be photocopied for individual use, returned, or forwarded to other agencies. The Office of Graduate Studies follows the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska policies regarding records retention.

Admission Eligibility Requirements

Admission to the Office of Graduate Studies requires a complete application for admission. Applicants must submit an application, application fee, and transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended. If admitted and enroll official transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended are required.

Baccalaureate or Higher Degree

Applicants must hold a baccalaureate (bachelors) or higher degree from an institution that is regionally accredited or from an institution that is accredited by an organization recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), or from an accredited foreign institution that is recognized by the Office of Graduate Studies. If the student’s native language is not English, verification of English proficiency is required.

It is recognized that educational systems in other countries differ from that of the United States. Comparability of international course work and degrees will be determined by departmental Graduate Committees with final approval from the Dean for Graduate Studies. Generally, a four-year first university degree from an academic institution outside the U.S. will be accepted as comparable to the U.S. bachelor's degree [AH1] if the degree grants eligibility for graduate study at institutions within the same country.

The minimum requirement for admission to a University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate program is 16 years of study. This is usually 12 years of elementary and secondary education plus four years of post-secondary study at an accredited college or university. Applicants must have reached an academic level equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree. Students with only three years of post-secondary education are not eligible for admission. In such cases, students may become eligible with:

  • a master’s degree (or higher) from an accredited higher education institution
  • an approved post graduate diploma from an accredited higher education institution
  • one additional year upper level coursework from an accredited higher education institution

There is no guarantee that academic documentation will qualify for graduate study until all documents have been reviewed. When applying, transcripts and degree certificates are required for all post-secondary coursework.  If we are unable to verify the nature or authenticity of foreign academic documents, the applicant will be asked to provide supplemental information or to obtain an evaluation from a foreign credential evaluation service at the applicant’s expense. The final admission decision rests with the Dean for Graduate Studies.

Persons who have been dismissed from another institution for academic dishonesty or violations of student codes of conduct are not eligible for admission to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Office of Graduate Studies. Students whose UNL graduate program has been terminated for reasons other than violations of the student code of conduct may apply for admission to another degree program, certificate program, or admission as a non-degree seeking student.

Previously Enrolled Students: Students who have not been enrolled for three consecutive terms and who (if eligible) have not been approved for an Academic Leave of Absence will need to reapply for admission. (See table below)

 
Fall Spring Summer Fall Spring Summer Fall Spring Summer
Enrolled Not Enrolled Not Eligible to Enroll. Must reapply
  Enrolled Not Enrolled Not Eligible to Enroll. Must reapply
    Enrolled Not Enrolled Not Eligible to Enroll. Must reapply

University of Nebraska Employee Seeking Admission: All faculty and staff employees are eligible for admission to all graduate admission categories and are subject to standard admission requirements. Faculty members holding the rank of Assistant Professor or above (or equivalent) must also adhere to the University of Nebraska Graduate College Policy on Faculty Admission. (p.44)

Application for Admission

An application is required of all degree, graduate certificate, teaching and administrative endorsements, and non-degree seeking applicants. Applications are valid for one calendar year from the date the application is submitted. In order for students to be successful, all academic units should complete admission decisions prior to the start of each term. The final date for processing admission is the first Friday of classes, for each term respectively.

To apply, submit the following to the Office of Graduate Studies:

  • Graduate Application for Admission
  • Application Fee: Non-refundable, non-transferrable application fee (See Application Fee policy)
  • Unofficial transcripts: Transcripts are required of all post-secondary work, from which college credit was earned or not earned, listing courses, marks, and a bachelors or higher degree conferred. Documents in a foreign language must also include certified English translations. (See Certified English Translation policy) All transcripts and/or academic documents uploaded to the online application system are considered unofficial. Official transcripts will be required from all students who are admitted and enroll. (See Transcript policy)
  • English Proficiency: If the student’s native language is not English, verification of English proficiency is required (See English Proficiency policy)

Applicants must also fulfill any additional requirements specified by the department including but not limited to portfolio, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, or writing samples at the time of application. Letters of Recommendation must be received via the application system.

Application Fee

An application and application fee are required for all degree, graduate certificate, teaching and administrative endorsements, and non-degree seeking applicants. The Office of Graduate Studies does not issue application fee waivers. Departments may elect to cover the cost of the application fee. Application fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Amount

  • $25 – Currently enrolled UNL students (graduate and undergraduate)
  • $50 – All applicants unless for currently enrolled UNL students
  • Exemptions
    • Big Ten Academic Alliance FreeApp applicants who meet BTAA eligibility requirements and have participated in an undergraduate Summer Research Program on a BTAA campus
    • McNair Scholars
    • Pell Grant recipients
    • United States military personnel. This applies to the service member (active duty military, guard, veteran, or reserve), spouse and/or dependents.

Transcripts

Applicants must submit transcripts of all post-secondary work from which college credit was earned or not earned, listing courses, marks, and degrees conferred. Documents in a foreign language must also include certified English translations.

  • APPLY with unofficial transcripts of all post-secondary coursework
  • ADMIT with unofficial transcripts of all post-secondary coursework
  • ENROLL with unofficial transcripts of all post-secondary coursework
  • CONTINUED ENROLLMENT with final, official transcripts of all post-secondary coursework, showing conferral of a baccalaureate or higher degree by the established deadlines below.

All credentials uploaded to the online application are considered unofficial. Students may apply, be admitted with ‘Conditional Graduate Admission’ by the Office of Graduate Studies and enroll for their first term with unofficial documents. At the time of conditional admission, a registration hold will be placed on the students record for the subsequent term. Final, official transcripts are required from all enrolled students by the specified deadline below.

The Office of Graduate Studies will review all official documents to finalize the offer of admission. An offer of admission will be revoked if all official transcripts and required documents are not received by the Office of Graduate Studies within specified deadline(s), or if discrepancies exist between official documents received and the copies uploaded by the applicant prior to the offer of admission. Final, official transcripts showing conferral of a baccalaureate or higher degree must be received by October 1 for Fall, February 1 for Spring, and July 1 for Summer. After final, official transcripts showing conferral of a baccalaureate or higher degree are received and verified, the Office of Graduate Studies will process full graduate admission and remove the registration hold.

 
Semester Admitted & Enrolled Deadline for submission of any outstanding admission requirement(s) When requirements are met by deadline If requirements are not met by deadline
Fall October 1 Registration Hold is lifted, Full Graduate Admission Admission rescinded, no graduate credit earned
Spring February 1 Registration Hold is lifted, Full Graduate Admission Admission rescinded, no graduate credit earned
Summer July 1 Registration Hold is lifted, Full Graduate Admission Admission rescinded, no graduate credit earned

University of Nebraska Coursework: Former and current University of Nebraska students are not required to submit transcripts for prior NU coursework. The Office of Graduate Studies will obtain NU transcripts.

How to Submit Documents:

  •  Unofficial Documents: All transcripts and/or academic documents uploaded to the online application system are considered unofficial. Documents in a foreign language must also include certified English translations. An unofficial transcript printed from your current/previous institution(s) student system is not an acceptable document.
  • Official Documents: Official academic records are required of all students who enroll and must be sent directly to The Office of Graduate Studies by the appropriate university officials at the student's prior institution(s). Photocopies of certified documents are not considered official. Faxed documents, scanned documents, notarized photocopies, and copies made by translators or evaluation agencies are not considered official. An official transcript bears the original signature of the registrar and/or the original seal of the issuing institution. These documents may be mailed or delivered by the student in an envelope sealed by the issuing institutions registrar. The Office of Graduate Studies also accepts electronic transcripts from accredited U.S. colleges and universities sent via the National Student Clearinghouse, eSCRIP-SAFE, Docufide, Parchment Exchange or directly from the accredited U.S. college and university. The Office of Graduate Studies does not accept electronic transcripts from international colleges or universities. Documents in a foreign language must also include certified English translations.

Certified English Translation: International students must upload copies of all college or university level transcripts or mark sheets (records of courses and marks earned), with certificates, diplomas, and degrees earned plus certified English translations. Official documents are required from all students who are admitted and enroll. All degree certificates from Chinese institutions must be verified by the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC). Documents in a foreign language must also include certified English translations.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

English Proficiency:

  • English Proficiency: Applicants to the Office of Graduate Studies whose native language is not English are required to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 550 on the paper-based TOEFL; 79 on the Internet-based TOEFL or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall band score of at least 6.5. Some departments require higher scores for admission. Non-native speakers who have received a baccalaureate or higher degree from a US university or a university outside the US in which English is the exclusive language of instruction are exempt from the English Proficiency requirement for admission. Completed degrees at an institution in an English-speaking country are not subject to English proficiency requirements. Applicants from U.S. Territories are exempt from the English Proficiency requirement.
  • English Language Test (ELT): Each international student's Letter of Admission will state whether they are required to take the ELT. International Students who must take the ELT upon arrival to Lincoln:
    • A TOEFL iBT writing score below 25 or a TOEFL total below 100
    • An IELTS writing score or total IELTS score below 7.0
    • International Students who are exempt from taking the ELT upon arrival to Lincoln:
    • Students whose native language is English
    • Students who have earned a bachelors or higher degree from an institution at which English is the exclusive language of instruction
    • Students who have earned a bachelors or higher degree from a country in which English is the official language.
    • Students who have earned a bachelors or higher degree from an institution in a U.S. territory
  • ENG 887: If the student’s ELT score is below 85, the student will be placed in ENGL 887, a 3-credit hour course to build English communication skills, emphasizing writing essays and research papers. The cost of this course is at the student’s expense and will not count towards any plan of study. If the student’s ELT score is 85 or higher, the student is exempt from any further English language courses unless required by a departmental program.
  • ITA: New holders of teaching assistantships who are non-native speakers of English must attend the International Teaching Assistant Institute.

Proof of Financial Resources

To study at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on an F-1 (student) or J-1 (exchange visitor) visa, you will need a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 from the University for your visa interview and for entering the United States. Evidence of adequate financial resources for tuition and living expenses is required of all admitted international students seeking F-1 or J-1 visas, including those who received their baccalaureate degrees at UNL. Students should not assume funds or work opportunities will be available at a later date and should be prepared to have their living and educational expenses increase annually. University-wide fellowships may be sought after one year of graduate study in the U.S.

Admission Categories

  • Degree: Applicants must submit an application, application fee, and unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended. If a student is admitted and enrolls, official transcripts are required to confirm receipt of a baccalaureate degree or higher. The student must also satisfy additional requirements the department specifies.
  • Graduate Certificate: Applicants must submit an application, application fee, and unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended. If a student is admitted and enrolls, official transcripts are required to confirm receipt of a baccalaureate degree or higher. The student must also satisfy additional requirements the department specifies.
  • Non-Degree: Non-degree, postbaccalaureate, teaching and administrative endorsement applications are reviewed by the Office of Graduate Studies upon receipt of an application, application fee, proof of English Proficiency and transcripts showing conferral of a baccalaureate or higher degree by the established deadline. If a student is admitted and enrolls, official transcripts are required to confirm the receipt of a baccalaureate degree or higher.
    • Non-Degree Limitations: There are some limitations to a non-degree, post baccalaureate admission:
      • This admission category does not guarantee future admission to a graduate certificate, teaching and administrative endorsement, or degree program, nor does it guarantee that coursework completed as a non-degree student can later be applied toward a degree or certificate.
      • Admission to a degree program must be gained prior to the accumulation of half of the hours required for the degree sought.
      • Students do not qualify for assistantships or fellowships;
      • This admission category is not available to international students on F-1 student visas;
      • This admission category may affect the student’s ability to receive federal financial aid; contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid for more information.
  • Intercampus: Students already attending a University of Nebraska campus may take courses at another University of Nebraska campus while retaining their admission at their degree objective (home) campus by submitting the Request for Intercampus Enrollment, subject to approval by both campuses.

Intent to Enroll

Students may choose to accept or decline their admission in the applicant portal, using the Decision Form. <<link to applicant portal>>

  • Accept Admission: Accepting admission in the applicant portal makes the student eligible for enrollment.
  • Decline Admission: The student’s decision to decline an offer of admission is a final decision and terminates the Letter of Admission.