Admission Categories

Graduate students may be admitted into one of the following categories.

Degree Objective

Admission to the Graduate College as a degree-seeking student requires application to both Graduate Studies and the Graduate Committee within an academic unit. Applicants to a degree program must send an application, application fee, one official transcript from all post-secondary schools attended, and fulfill any additional requirements the department specifies, such as statement of goals, test scores, portfolios, etc. Specific requirements for each department are listed in Programs Offered.

Non-Degree, Post-Baccalaureate

Non-degree, post-baccalaureate admission to the Graduate College is completed through the Graduate Studies office. Applicants are reviewed for minimum standards upon receipt of an application, application fee and one official baccalaureate or higher degree transcript.

Those seeking another undergraduate degree should contact Undergraduate Admissions for advising and assistance. Students seeking a non-degree admission for an initial teacher certification, renewal of a teacher certification, or additional teaching endorsements should contact the College of Education and Human Sciences Student Services Center.

Limitations to a non-degree, post-baccalaureate admission:

  • It is not a guarantee of future admission to a degree program. Students must apply formally through Graduate Studies for acceptance into a degree program.
  • Students will not qualify for assistantships or fellowships in this category. Financial aid in the form of student loans is limited to those taking only undergraduate hours as prerequisites for admission to a specific graduate or professional program. The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid can supply further information about the availability of these loans.
  • This admission is not available to international students on F-1 student visas.

Express Non-degree Post-baccalaureate Admission

An Express Admission allows a student to register for classes without waiting for Graduate Studies to receive transcripts. The admission may be extended beyond one term only upon receipt of an official degree transcript. Applicants requesting an Express Admission must be eligible for non-degree post-baccalaureate admission and have earned a bachelors or higher degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.50 on a 4.00 scale.

Non-Degree, Visiting Graduate

Admission is available to applicants who are actively pursuing graduate studies at U.S. institutions other than the University of Nebraska campuses, and requires submission of an application, application fee, and letter of good standing from the home institution.

Enrollment is limited to two consecutive terms (semesters and/or full summer enrollment).

Intercampus Admission/Intercampus Registration UNO, UNMC and UNK graduate students will use an online application for intercampus registration to register for courses at UNL and will retain their admission at their degree-objective campus. To apply for this admission category, contact the Office of Graduate Studies at your home campus or complete the Online Request for Intercampus Enrollment.

Changing from Non-degree to Degree Status

Any non-degree student who seeks admission to a degree program must apply to the Office of Graduate Studies and be recommended for admission by the departmental or area Graduate Committee. There is no guarantee of ultimate admission to a degree program from non-degree status, nor is there any guarantee that credits earned as a non-degree student will be applied toward a graduate degree. Admission to a degree program must be gained prior to the accumulation of half of the hours required under each of the degree options. Some graduate-level hours completed by non-degree post-baccalaureate students prior to degree program enrollment may be included in a program of studies at the discretion of the major and/or minor department and with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies. It is imperative to check with your desired department to obtain information about the maximum number of hours that may be completed prior to admission to their program.

Admission Policies

  1. The Graduate College (UNL Graduate Studies) is open to graduates of all colleges of this University and to graduates of other universities and colleges of recognized standing whose requirements for graduation are substantially the same as those in the corresponding colleges of this University. 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.

    It is the policy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln not to discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, veteran’s status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.

    This policy is applicable to all University administered programs including educational programs, financial aid, admission policies and employment policies.

  2. 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.

  3. Information given falsely or withheld will affect the decision on an application and may make the applicant ineligible for admission and/or enrollment.

  4. Persons who have been dismissed from another institution for academic dishonesty or violations of student codes of conduct are not eligible for admission to UNL Graduate Studies.

  5. Applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree or higher from an institution that is regionally accredited, 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 Graduate Studies.

  6. Acceptance for admission to a program leading to a masters degree, a doctoral degree, an educational specialist degree or a certificate is determined by the Graduate Committee within the academic unit and the Dean of Graduate Studies. This decision is based upon the applicant’s record, experience, personal qualifications, and proposed area of study. Departmental or area Graduate Committees make recommendations on all degree applications, but the final admission decision is the responsibility of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

  7. Notification of acceptance by a department Graduate Committee or faculty member is advisory only. Admission is granted solely by the Office of Graduate Studies and is confirmed by the issuance of a Certificate of Admission. Academic departments will notify applicants concerning awards of financial assistance.

  8. Negative admission decisions are not appealable.

  9. Most applicants will apply formally and be admitted to only one graduate degree program at a time. It is possible, however, to apply to two degrees simultaneously. In order to do so, one must treat each application as a completely separate entity, supplying for each one an application, an application fee, and any departmental materials. If accepted by both programs, the applicant must select only one program to enter since admission is limited to one program at a time (unless admission is to a dual-degree program).

    There are dual degree programs available in cooperation with the College of Law and certain participating programs in UNL Graduate Studies.

    If an enrolled student plans to move on to a new degree program upon completion of another, it is advisable to apply for admission to the new program early in the semester in which one plans to graduate.

  10. Entry into UNL Graduate Studies is valid for the specific semester indicated on the Certificate of Admission. However, a student may defer enrollment for a maximum of two terms if he or she meets certain Graduate College requirements and if the department in which graduate study would be pursued consents to the delay. (There is no guarantee of an offer of an assistantship if there is a request for postponement of enrollment.)

  11. The Office of Graduate Studies retains the right to revoke the earlier admission on the basis of new information or limited resources. International students may be required to provide current financial information in order to receive a valid I-20 or DS-2019 immigration form if they wish to delay their initial enrollment. Students who are admitted but who neither defer nor subsequently enroll must reapply.

  12. A graduate student, formerly or currently enrolled, who wishes to pursue a degree objective other than the one originally sought, must initiate a formal application for the new program by filing a new graduate application form, supplementing existing records, and fulfilling any departmental requirements prior to review by the departmental Graduate Committee and the College.

See also:  Information for Prospective Students, Application for Admission.

Admission for International Students

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln welcomes students from all countries as part of the student body and the Office of Graduate Studies encourages applications from qualified students throughout the world.


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 and by the Office of 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. bachelors degree if the degree grants eligibility for graduate study at institutions within the same country.

How and When to Apply

Application materials from international students must include uploaded copies of all college- or university-level transcripts or mark sheets (records of courses and marks earned), with certificates, diplomas, and degrees plus certified English translations. These unofficial documents will be used for application review. Official documents are required from all students who are admitted and enroll. Photocopies of certified records cannot be used. Students enrolled in other U.S. institutions may have certified copies of all foreign records sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies.

It is recommended that applicants outside the U.S. begin applying approximately one year in advance of the desired first enrollment. The following dates are suggested to have all materials on file: March 1 for first semester (beginning in August); September 1 for second semester (beginning in January); and February 1 for summer (beginning in June).

All international applicants seeking F-1 student visas must apply for degree programs rather than non-degree, post-baccalaureate status.

Funding Requirements

Evidence of adequate financial resources for tuition and living expenses is required of all 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. More information is available to eligible candidates from the Office of Graduate Studies.

English Proficiency

When Applying:  TOEFL or IELTS

Applicants to the Graduate College 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.

Upon Arrival:  English Language Test (ELT)

As a new international student, you may be required to take the English Language Test upon your arrival in Lincoln. Check your Certificate of Admission from the Office of Graduate Studies to confirm whether you are required to sit for this exam.  Typically all new students are required to take the ELT if the score is:

  • A TOEFL iBT writing score below 25 or a TOEFL below 100
  • An IELTS writing score OR total IELTS score below 7.0

Exemptions from the ELT requirement may be granted based on sufficiently high TOEFL or IELTS writing scores, or for non-native speakers who have received a bachelor's or more advanced degree from a U.S. university or a university outside the U.S. at which English is the official language of instruction.

International Teaching Assistant Institute

New holders of teaching assistantships who are non-native speakers of English must attend the International Teaching Assistant Institute. The summer Institute, a concentrated 90-hour program, is held the last week of July and the first week of August. For more information about the availability of assistantships and the Institute, contact your program’s Graduate Committee chair.

Intensive English Program

UNL’s Intensive English Program (IEP) welcomes graduate students who wish to study English intensively prior to enrolling in a graduate program.

For information and applications, contact:
Mr. Christy Dunsmore, Director
Program in English as a Second Language
Department of English
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
513 East Nebraska Hall
901 N 17th Street
PO Box 880507
Lincoln, NE 68588-0507
(402) 472-1884
(402) 472-4636 Fax

Admission of UNL Seniors

UNL seniors who are within 9 hours of graduation may apply and be granted admission to UNL Graduate Studies. This admission and continued enrollment would be contingent upon receipt of the baccalaureate within the calendar year and would make one ineligible to continue any undergraduate scholarship or financial aid, but would allow one to apply for any financial support, fellowships, or assistantships open to graduate students.

Admission to Double Majors

Definition of a double major

One degree is conferred. There is one diploma but two majors have been completed and both majors are listed on the transcript. Work must be completed at the same time.

For example, there are three double majors approved at the doctoral level:
Statistics & Agricultural Economics
Statistics & Agronomy
Statistics & Economics
Statistics & Natural Resource Sciences

Description and procedure

The professional/scholastic goals of some graduate students may be enhanced substantially by acquiring more knowledge than is currently provided by the option of earning a minor. They can do this by studying in a second field as a double major.  This is not the same as a dual degree (i.e., two Masters degrees in separate majors, typically 60+ credit hours).

Graduate students in pre-approved programs may have the option of attaining a double major within the same degree (e.g., Master of Arts or a Ph.D. in two different majors):

  1. Applicants choosing the double major will submit one application for each program and only one application fee and clearly specify that they are seeking a double major in the comments section of the application.  The applicant will need to complete the application requirements for each program. The graduate committee of each department/area will review the application and send the decision to Graduate Studies.

  2. If someone applies to a second program, Graduate Studies sends the application directly to that graduate committee, not to the original committee.

  3. The prospective student should be aware that a decision to recommend admission by one of the graduate committees does not affect the decision of the other committee. The criteria for acceptance may differ between programs; admission to one or both of the department’s programs does not guarantee acceptance for a double major master’s degree. Final approval of all applications rests with the Dean of Graduate Studies.

If a student is already pursuing a major in a degree program, then decides he or she would like to obtain a second major, a new application is required. The new application must be approved by the original graduate committee prior to review by the second graduate committee.

Once the degree is conferred, a second major cannot be attained. Students then would be required to apply for admission to a second degree program, and upon acceptance, complete all requirements of a full independent program.

Admission to Dual Degrees

Definition of dual degrees

  • Degrees from same institution: More than one degree is received from UNL at the same time.

  • Degrees from different institutions: One degree is received from one institution and a different degree is received from a second institution within the University of Nebraska system (e.g., UNMC/UNL, or UNO/UNL, etc.). These require the simultaneous matriculation form located at the Office of Graduate Studies.

Description and procedure

Students pursuing a dual degree must be accepted separately by each degree program, with the knowledge and approval of the Graduate Dean. For more information, refer to the dual program descriptions within the departmental graduate program summary under the appropriate departmental entry.

No graduate student may be a degree-seeking student in more than one graduate program at the University of Nebraska, unless enrolled in an approved dual-degree program (see Dual Degree Programs below). When a student has received admission for two masters programs, the same course credit will not be accepted for more than one degree without prior approval of the Graduate Program Committees through which the programs are administratively assigned and the Dean for Graduate Studies.

Examples of dual degree programs

  • Architecture (MArch) and business (MBA)
  • Architecture (MArch) and community and regional planning (MCRP)
  • Civil engineering (MS) and community and regional planning (MCRP)
  • Law and accountancy (MPA)
  • Law and business administration (MBA)
  • Law and community and regional planning (MCRP)
  • Law and journalism and mass communications (MA)
  • Law and political science (MA)
  • Law and psychology (MA)
  • Legal Studies (MLS) and Psychology (PhD)
  • MArch/MEng with construction emphasis

Faculty Seeking Additional Degree

A member of the faculty in an instructional department who holds the rank or equivalent rank of assistant professor or above, or who holds an appointment for a specific term, or a member of the administrative staff holding the rank of assistant professor or above, may pursue an advanced degree in the Graduate College only after receiving special permission from the cognizant academic dean or administrative supervisor and from the campus Graduate Council responsible for the program which the faculty member wishes to pursue.

  • The advanced degree cannot be in the faculty member’s own department or in a closely-related department or area. Whether a second department or area is too closely related to the person’s own department shall be determined by the Dean of Graduate Studies of the campus involved in consultation with the Graduate Committees of the two departments or areas. Permission may be granted to pursue an advanced degree in the equivalent department on another campus of the University of Nebraska.

  • Graduate Faculty will have their status suspended upon receiving permission to pursue an advanced degree in the Graduate College. However, such persons shall be eligible, with permission of the appropriate campus Dean of Graduate Studies and the appropriate Graduate Committee, to continue to teach graduate courses, supervise graduate students at a level commensurate with their former rank in the Graduate Faculty, and serve on graduate supervisory and examining committees.

  • Upon completing or withdrawing from an advanced degree program, the original Graduate Faculty status shall be reinstated upon recommendation by at least two-thirds of the Graduate Faculty of the department or area if the person returns to the same department in which they held an appointment originally. A change of appointment to another department requires that the person follow the established procedure for obtaining Graduate Faculty status.

  • Members of the university community employed on a permanent full-time basis and holding the rank of Assistant Professor or above may be admitted on a non-degree basis to take courses for personal and professional growth by supplying an Application for Graduate Admission and the application fee.

  • All other staff members are eligible for admission to all graduate admission categories and are subject to standard admission requirements.

Joint Degrees

Definition of a joint degree

One degree from two University of Nebraska system-wide institutions.  This is rarely practiced.


There is currently one approved joint degree program offered in Educational Administration between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.


All men and women who plan to attend the University and will be affected by the educational assistance and vocational rehabilitation laws administered by the Veterans Administration should inquire at the Office of the University Registrar, 107 Canfield Administration Building, before registering for classes.

See also: Veterans Resources.