Application Requirements: Additional Details

These tabs supplement information found throughout the Prospective Students section, particularly the Steps to Admission and Program Summaries.

Application Status

Status Overall

MyRED tells you the status of your application in the Office of Graduate Studies and enables you to see which items required by Graduate Studies have been received. See About MyRED for step-by-step instructions.

Beyond GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS scores, MyRED does not track program-specific materials required by departments.

If MyRED indicates that your application has been forwarded to your academic department for review, Graduate Studies is awaiting the department's recommendation. For more information on the status of your application in the department during this phase, refer to GAMES or contact the department directly.

Status Within Your Department

Does your department use GAMES?

The Graduate Admission Management and Evaluation System (GAMES) is an online system for managing supplemental application materials for departments and students. GAMES is used for many programs, but not yet all of them. You can see whether a program uses GAMES by checking the department requirements section of the graduate program summary. Applicants to GAMES programs will receive an email after submitting the Online Application for Admission, explaining how to log in and use GAMES.

Programs not yet using GAMES have their own processes for collecting and managing program-specific application materials. Contact your department directly to verify the completeness of your application.

Department requirements in general

Each department has its own unique evaluation process and most require additional items to supplement the basic materials required by Graduate Studies. These additional requirements are different for each department. To find out what items are required by your department, check your department's graduate program summary.

Your department is the best source of information about how, when, and where to send application materials. If your department's instructions differ from those stated here, please work with them, making certain that Graduate Studies receives required documents.

For fastest processing, apply online and upload transcripts to MyRED. Send all other materials to the department. If you prefer, you may send all of your application materials together in one envelope to Graduate Studies and we will forward supporting materials to the department.

Departmental materials are not tracked by Graduate Studies or in MyRED. No departmental materials are evaluated by Graduate Studies.

Letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendation are a departmental application requirement. Therefore, your department is the best source of information if you have questions.

  • If your department uses GAMES: You'll enter your letter writers' contact information in GAMES, then tell GAMES to email them a link for completing your recommendation online.
  • Otherwise: Check your department's graduate program summary for exact requirements.

Application Processing Fee

A non-refundable application processing fee of $50 (U.S. currency) is required of every applicant in order for requests for admission to be considered.

Paying this fee

If you send your payment by mail or if a friend or relative pays your fee for you, be sure that your identifying information — full name (as written on your application), NU ID number, date of birth — is enclosed with the payment to match it to your application.

We accept payment in these forms:
  • Credit card. To ensure secure and prompt processing service, choose the credit card option on the online application. Then clicking Submit will take you to a Verisign page to enter your credit card information for this transaction.
  • Check or money order. Payment must be in U.S. dollars and checks must be drawn on a U.S. bank. Make checks payable to "University of Nebraska-Lincoln" and mail to:
    Office of Graduate Studies
    University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    1100 Seaton Hall
    Lincoln NE 68588-0619
  • Cash. Cash payments can be made only in person at the Office of Graduate Studies. Please do not send cash by mail.


  • Some returning UNL graduate students are exempt from this fee. To see if you may be exempt, use our fee rules below.
  • United States military personnel (active duty military, guard, veteran, or reserve) may request an application fee waiver. Use no-fee code MILITARY on our application form and we'll send you instructions for providing documentation to confirm your eligibility.
    • Documents accepted: DD214, Notice of Basic Eligibility (NOBE), Military Orders, Joint Services Transcript, or Community College of the Air Force Transcript.
    • This waiver applies to the service member only, not spouse or dependents.
  • The CIC FreeApp Program is available for students who meet CIC requirements and have (1) participated in the undergraduate Summer Research Program on a CIC campus, (2) received a Pell Grant while an undergraduate, or (3) received a MARC award as an undergraduate.
  • McNair Scholars will have the fee waived after confirmation of their McNair status from their undergraduate institution. Contact your McNair Program Coordinator for information about how to take advantage of this waiver.
  • International exchange students or scholarship recipients may be eligible for application fee waivers. To learn more, contact us at

Fee rules for returning students

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Have you previously been admitted as a UNL graduate* student?

  • At this time, what is your application intent?

    • Submit application and fee.

    • Submit application and fee.

    • For each program, submit one application and one fee.

    • For the degree program, submit an application and fee. To add a nondegree admission, just request it in the comment box at the bottom of the form. (Alternatively, after submitting the degree application, you may email us to request the nondegree addition:

  • What is your objective?

    • Are you applying for a term within 1 year of your previous admission term?

      • Submit application to update information; no fee required.

      • Submit application and fee.

    • Submit application and fee.

  • No fee required. Find out whether an application is required:

    What is your current objective?

    • Submit new application. No fee required.

    • Submit new application. No fee required.

    • Ask your department's Graduate Committee Chair to send us a written request for this change. No application or fee required.

* Graduate programs are those administered by the Office of Graduate Studies. Students in professional programs administered by other offices — such as the J.D., Au.D., or M.Arch. — are considered professional students rather than graduate students.

Social Security Numbers

Protecting our students' personal information is very important to us. We request the Social Security number (SSN) once from new applicants, store it securely in a location accessible only by authorized personnel, and issue each individual a University of Nebraska NU ID number. The NU ID number, not the SSN, is used to identify students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Why the University uses SSNs

The SSN is required by the federal government for reporting related to taxes, employment, and financial aid.

If the University does not have a SSN on file for a student, that student:
  • Cannot receive University payments for assistantships or fellowships.
  • Cannot defer student loans or get financial aid.
  • Will be subject to a $50 IRS penalty if a Form 1098-T is generated without a valid SSN.

Once you've provided your SSN to the University, you shouldn't need to provide it to us again. If you already have an NU ID number, we encourage you to use your NU ID instead of your SSN in any communication with us.

Students without SSNs

International (non-resident alien) students usually do not have SSNs. They will need SSNs if they are granted fellowships or assistantships or are otherwise employed by the University. Those students will be able to get SSNs after arriving on campus.

Applying to Multiple Programs

Students may apply to multiple programs but can be admitted to only one program unless a joint program has been established. When applying to two or more degree programs, submit an online application and a $50 application processing fee for each program.

Academic Transcripts

The basics

Transcripts are required from each college-level institution attended, listing courses completed and marks earned, as well as degrees conferred.

  • Upload your transcripts via MyRED. Limit: One file per school.
  • Transcripts provided to Graduate Studies will be shared with your academic department. If also using GAMES, allow 1-2 business days for transcripts uploaded to MyRED to appear in GAMES.
  • Have your official (paper) transcripts sent to UNL only after we ask for them.

Transcript requirements

Part 1: After you apply, upload transcripts in MyRED

Uploaded transcripts are unofficial but sufficient for application review.

Soon after submitting the Application for Admission form, typically on our next business day, applicants receive email enabling them to access TrueYou and MyRED, including MyRED's Graduate Application Status page and its upload tool.

See Uploading your unofficial transcripts below.  (We do not accept transcripts by email or fax.)

Part 2: After you're admitted, provide official transcripts

Official transcripts are required from all admitted and enrolled students.

  • Official transcripts must be sent from each institution directly to UNL Graduate Studies, on paper or electronically.  See also: Guidelines for official transcripts from outside the United States, including CDGDC requirement for schools in China.
  • Admission based on uploaded transcripts is contingent on receipt of official transcripts.  Students will be able to enroll only after official records are received.
  • Academic records will be accepted as official only if they have been certified by appropriate university officials. 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.
  • Admission may be rescinded if discrepancies exist between uploaded transcripts and official documents.

Other considerations

  • UNL coursework: Former UNL students do not need to submit transcripts for prior UNL coursework. Graduate Studies will obtain any necessary UNL transcripts.
  • Degrees in progress: Students working on another degree at the time of application to UNL should submit transcripts from their current degree program, even though the transcripts will not yet be final. Final transcripts must be submitted once enrollment at the other institution ends. Transcripts (or degree certificates if non-US) indicating degree conferral are required if the degree is awarded.
  • English translations: If transcripts or diplomas issued by a school are not in English, send original-language documents plus certified English translations of all pages. Translations should be word-for-word and in the same layout as the original documents.
  • International transfers: Applicants holding F-1 visas should notify Graduate Studies if they are currently attending another U.S. school or have recently attended another U.S. school, and be aware of the SEVIS requirement for releasing your record to UNL upon admission to UNL.

Uploading your unofficial transcripts

Technical requirements

  • One file per school.
  • PDF, JPG, or PNG file format.
  • Filesize under 2 MB.
  • If image-based: No more than 1200 pixels tall or wide. Black and white strongly preferred over color or greyscale.

Content requirements

  • Student name and school name must appear on transcripts. If either is missing, get a more complete version of the transcript.
  • If multiple degrees from same school: MyRED accepts only one upload per school, so put all records (marks sheets, translations, degree certificates) from that school in a single file.
  • If multiple schools: Each file should contain only 1 school's records. If you have transcripts from 2 schools, put them in 2 separate files.
  • Social Security Numbers: If your SSN appears on your transcript, you may obscure or redact your SSN (and only your SSN) prior to uploading. We redact all SSNs from transcript files upon receipt.

Tips for preparing your file

  • If the institution provides PDF transcripts: Just save the PDF on your computer.
  • If you can view your transcript in a web browser:
    • Try "Save as PDF" or "Print to PDF".
    • If you have to click through multiple screens to get all of it, try copying each screen to paste into another document (like Word), then saving as PDF.
  • If you have only a paper copy of the transcript:
    • Scanning: If you have access to a scanner, you're in good shape. Otherwise try a library or copyshop, and bring a flash drive or have another way to take the file home with you.
    • Digital photo: Not recommended.

How to upload

  1. Sign into MyRED. Under Admissions, select Graduate Application Status.
    • Select the relevant application if you have more than one.
  2. Click the "Browse" or "Choose File" button for the transcript you want to upload, then select your file.
    • If your school is not listed, contact Graduate Studies.
    • If your school is listed but has no Upload button, the document is not eligible for upload, typically because you already provided it.
  3. Click the Upload button.
    • Upon successful upload, the Upload column will say your file is pending review by Graduate Studies.
    • Troubleshooting:
      • Error message about file format or size: Check that your file meets the requirements listed on this page. Adjust your file accordingly and try the upload again.
      • Empty white screen: Your file is probably way too big. Resize and try again.
  4. Each uploaded file will be checked before it is added to your application materials.
    • If the file is not legible enough or does not meet the requirements above, we'll contact you about resubmitting it.

After you upload

If you wish to withdraw or replace a file you've uploaded, contact us. MyRED does not enable you to modify files after upload.

If you're having trouble

If this is difficult for you, contact us and we may be able to provide additional information to help you. We intend this use of unofficial uploaded transcripts as a convenience for our applicants — saving time, postage, and (in some cases) the expense of obtaining official transcripts.

We prefer to receive all unofficial transcripts via MyRED. If you are unable to upload your transcript, you may have an official paper copy sent to Graduate Studies. Do not send transcripts to us by email (for security reasons) or fax (for legibility reasons).



Each academic department has its own application deadline. To find the deadline for your department, locate your department's graduate program summary.

We recommend submitting all materials to the Office of Graduate Studies at least one month before the departmental deadline.

For departments with "Rolling Admission" or with no deadline, we recommend submitting all materials no later than:

  • January 7 to be considered for financial support in the coming academic year
  • March 1 for fall (August start)
  • September 1 for spring (January start)
  • February 1 for summer (June or July start)

Graduate Certificate

Each graduate certificate program has its own application deadline. To find the deadline for your program, locate your program's graduate certificate summary.

We recommend submitting all materials to the Office of Graduate at least one month before the stated deadline. For programs with "Rolling Admission" or no deadline, we recommend submitting materials at least one month prior to when you wish to enroll for classes. Contact the certificate program for more information.


There are no deadlines for non-degree admission.

We recommend submitting all materials to the Office of Graduate Studies at least two weeks before you wish to register for classes. Refer to the academic calendar for dates of open enrollment, the last day to register without a fee, and the first day of fall and spring semesters as well as all summer sessions.

Non-degree Express Admission

Also known as Temporary Clearance to Register for UNL Graduate Studies

Express admission allows a student to register for classes for one semester without waiting for the Office of Graduate Studies to receive transcripts.


You can be considered for Express Admission if you meet all three eligibility requirements:
  • You are applying for non-degree post-baccalaureate admission.
  • You have earned a bachelor's degree or more advanced degree.
  • You have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

By checking the "Express Admission" box on the Online Application for Graduate Admission, you indicate that you meet the above qualifications and wish to apply for express admission.

If you're granted Express Admission

The admission may be extended beyond one term only upon receipt of an official degree transcript.

For information on billing or on potential refunds due to cancellation or withdrawal, consult the Office of Student Accounts.