CSU’s graduate admissions program is designed to foster excellence in scholarship and promote diversity within the student population while assuring equal opportunity to all applicants.

The ultimate criterion for admission is applicant potential for attaining an advanced degree at CSU. However, the resources of CSU are limited and not all applicants who possess this potential can be admitted. Thus, selection is made taking into account a range of factors: past academic performance as indicated by transcripts of formal collegiate work, degrees completed, standardized examination scores (for example, the Graduate Record Examination or Graduate Management Admission Test), geographic residence, leadership qualities, recommendations from qualified references, economic status, ethnic origin, and racial background.

CSU does not set quotas for people possessing particular ethnic, gender, or racial characteristics. However, the vitality of CSU and the quality of the educational experience to be enjoyed by all students depend in part on the existence of a diverse student population. Thus, CSU actively seeks applicants from many backgrounds and with diverse characteristics. The institution is committed to a truly heterogeneous University community.

Application: U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents 

Students apply online with the Admissions graduate application.

The on-line application will be electronically submitted to the Office of Admissions and then forwarded to the appropriate academic departments. In addition to the on-line application, a non-refundable application fee must be electronically submitted.

The following must be sent directly to the department in which the applicant plans to study (see Directory of Departmental and Program Contact Persons for proper address).

  1. One official transcript of all collegiate work completed post-high school.  Additionally separate transcripts are not required for study abroad credits if the GPA and credits are recorded on the transcript of the university that sponsored the study abroad experience. CSU transcripts are not required. Training course transcripts from branches of the U.S. military that show credit received with neither grades nor degrees awarded are exempt from the transcript requirement.
  2. Three letters of recommendation must be sent to the academic department to which you are applying. There is no standardized format unless specified by your department.
  3. Any other information that individual departments may require of applicants to particular programs. Applicants are advised to contact the departments regarding additional application materials such as the GRE or GMAT.
  4. Regardless of citizenship, applicants may be required to demonstrate proof of English language proficiency, if they do not have a degree from an institution where the primary language of instruction is English.

General deadlines for the receipt of complete applications are as follows: Fall Semester, April 1; Spring Semester, September 1; Summer Term, January 1. Please submit the on-line application and all supporting documents by the appropriate date. Note that individual departments may have earlier deadlines for certain programs. Please consult appropriate sections of this Bulletin or a department contact person. Applications completed later than these published deadlines may be considered depending on space and resources available. Late applications that cannot be considered will be updated by the Office of Admissions to a later semester or term. Except for Integrated Degree Program (IDP) Admissions, applications cannot be accepted more than fifteen months in advance of the term in which study is to begin.

Students who wish to be considered for fellowships, assistantships, or other forms of merit- or competency-based financial support may be subject to earlier deadlines. See Application for Financial Support.

The application fee is not refundable even if the application is withdrawn or admission denied, nor is it applied to tuition and fees if the applicant subsequently enrolls. The non-refundable application fee must be received by the Office of Admissions. Your application cannot be submitted until the fee is received.

Only persons with bachelor’s degrees from colleges or universities accredited by one of the major regional accrediting agencies are eligible to apply. Degrees from schools which do not possess overall, institutional accreditation or which have only specialized accreditation cannot be accepted. This policy does not apply to admission for combined degree programs (CDPs, see Sequential Degree Programs), however, CDP students must earn their bachelor’s degrees prior to, or concurrent with, the award of their graduate degrees.

An undergraduate grade point average of 3.000 (A = 4.000) is required by CSU regulation for admission.

The various departments may have requirements in addition to or more stringent than those of CSU. Higher undergraduate grade point averages may be required, specific GRE minimum scores may be specified, or GRE advanced tests may be required, for example. Once again, applicants are strongly urged to contact the department in which they intend to study.

CSU may waive its 3.000 minimum undergraduate grade point average requirement under unusual circumstances or if the applicant is applying through Track II Admissions (see below). Applicants must present strong countervailing evidence that successful completion of a degree program is likely. Examples of the kinds of evidence that might be considered are high scores on the GRE aptitude test, high scores on the GRE advanced test, excellent letters of recommendation, relevant professional experience, and other indicators of exceptional motivation and performance. A positive recommendation by the department is required in such cases. Some departments may waive their specific requirements under similarly unusual and compelling circumstances. However, they are not required to do so and many cannot, due to space and resource considerations.

Meeting the minimum CSU or department standards does not entitle an applicant to admission. Meeting such standards only insures consideration of the application. Since CSU cannot accommodate all who meet the minimum standards, it reserves the right to select individuals for admission on the basis of merit in such a way as to promote the best interests of CSU and the society as a whole and to maximize the potential for individual accomplishment.

Persons not seeking advanced degrees may be recommended for admission as non-degree students if space permits and if they meet the academic admission requirements. Advanced course work, research experience, teacher recertification, and specialized training are among the objectives of students requesting admission in this category.

Students who have not been admitted to graduate study but who take courses on some other basis have no assurance that such courses will be acceptable in a degree program. Credits taken prior to admission to Graduate School may be allowed, but acceptance of any courses in a graduate degree program is at the discretion of the student’s graduate committee and the Graduate School and will not be calculated in the student’s GPA.

Courses taken by CSU undergraduates may, under certain circumstances, be subsequently credited toward graduate degrees at CSU. Undergraduates who enroll in 500-level courses which are not applied toward the bachelor’s degree may request that an exclusion statement be placed on their academic records for no more than 9 credits. Students cannot exclude any courses below the 500 level under this policy. Courses at the 600 level are automatically excluded from use for an undergraduate degree.

A written request for exclusion must be filed with the Degree and Transfer Evaluation Unit of the Registrar’s Office, Centennial Hall, Room 100, no later than the end of the schedule change period of the term in which the excluded course is taken, or for Integrated Degree Program (IDP) students, excluded courses must appear on the formal program of study (GS form 6) filed during the first semester after Graduate School admission.

Permission to exclude courses from the bachelor’s degree does not assure acceptance of this credit toward a graduate degree program. Both departmental and Graduate School approval is required at the time of filing the formal program of study.

Those with bachelor’s or advanced degrees who desire to complete requirements for certification as teacher, administrator, counselor, reading specialist, or vocational certification must contact the School of Education. Individuals seeking professional certification in other areas must contact the departments concerned.

The submission of any false information or fraudulent documents in connection with the application process is grounds for rejection of the application or dismissal from the Graduate School regardless of the nature of other credentials.

Track II Admissions 

Track II admissions are available only to individuals who have at least five years of appropriate professional experience following the award of a baccalaureate degree and whose undergraduate GPA is below 3.000.

The on-line application will be electronically submitted to the Office of Admissions and then forwarded to the appropriate academic departments. In addition to the on-line application and the $50 non-refundable application fee that must be submitted, the following must be sent directly to the department in which the student plans to study (refer to the addresses in the Directory for Department and Program Contact Persons).

  1. One official transcript of all collegiate work completed (CSU transcripts are not required). Training course transcripts from branches of the U.S. military that show credit received with neither grades nor degrees awarded are exempt from the transcript requirement.
  2. Three letters of recommendation written by individuals in at least two of the following categories:
    1. Applicant’s previous or current college/university instructors.
    2. Applicant’s previous or current, immediate professional supervisors.
    3. Observers, other than supervisors, who can verify the specific impact of the applicant’s professional or intellectual expertise. Letters from friends, relatives, or character witnesses will be considered only supplemental to the three required references.
  3. A written “statement of purpose” that contains:
    1. A summary of long-term professional or personal goals.
    2. A statement regarding the applicant’s educational goals.
    3. A statement indicating how this learning will contribute to the applicant’s long-term goals.
    4. A list of factors that led the applicant to consider CSU for graduate study.
  4. A completed resume that contains the following:
    1. Record of all collegiate work, including names of institutions, periods of attendance, and degrees earned.
    2. Record of all professional employment including dates of service (including military).
    3. List of any special skills or competencies (including certifications or licensures).
    4. List of publications, exhibitions, prizes, awards, or other recognitions.
    5. List of service activities (including community and charitable).

Plan C 

Applicants to Plan C master’s programs should consult department requirements for submission of standardized test scores.

Application: International Students 

Application procedures are similar to those for U.S. citizens or permanent resident students. Refer to U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents information for instructions.

The following materials must be sent directly to the department in which the applicant plans to study (see Programs and Degrees webpage for the mailing address).

  1. An official transcript of all collegiate work completed along with a certified translation into English.
  2. A statement of purpose.
  3. Three letters of recommendation.
  4. Scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic. Integrated Degree Program (IDP) Admissions are not required to take the TOEFL, IELTS exam or the PTE Academic exam.         

a.  When the CSU graduate degree program is taught in the student’s native language, the TOEFL, IELTS, or the PTE Academic requirement will be waived.

b.  Students are exempted from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic requirement if the official language of their country is English or if they have recently earned a degree at an American university.

Required items for Immigration Document Insurance

These items are not required for the application review process, but will be required if officially admitted. The following materials must be sent directly to the department in which the applicant plans to study (see Programs and Degrees webpage for the mailing address).

  1. Certified proof of financial support – Graduate Student Certification for Issuance of Immigration Document (GS3F form) and supporting financial documents.
  2. Passport copy

Departmental requirements for additional materials such as standardized tests (e.g. GRE or GMAT) are the same as for U.S. students. Regulations regarding deadlines and application fees are likewise the same as for U.S. students.

Information on application deadlines and application fees is contained in the U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents section.

The U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services requires CSU to have proof of financial support before immigration documentation can be issued. Immigration documentation is needed to obtain a visa. All international students and their accompanying dependents are required to maintain adequate health insurance during their stay at CSU.

Only persons with degrees equivalent to U.S. bachelor’s degrees are qualified to apply for admission except for Integrated Degree Program (IDP) applicants described above. Further, it is a CSU regulation that international applicants should be among the top students in their classes.

CSU requires that proficiency in English language be demonstrated either by the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic tests prior to admissions. The minimum TOEFL score for admission without condition is 550 (paper -based), or 80 (internet-based). The minimum IELTS score for admission without condition is 6.5.  The minimum PTE Academic Score for admission without condition is 58. Official scores, taken within two years prior to admission, must be submitted directly from the testing agency.

To be considered for conditional admission, a student must have a minimum TOEFL score or 475 on the paper based test or 50 on the internet based test or minimum IELTS score of 5.5 or PTE scores from 40-57.  After receiving conditional admission, the student must satisfactorily complete the INTO CSU Academic English Program. Enrollment in regular CSU academic courses is at the discretion of the INTO CSU Academic English Program. Approval of both the department and the Dean of the Graduate School is necessary for such conditional admission.

Generally, however, applicants should achieve satisfactory TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic scores before arriving on the CSU campus.

The individual departments may have requirements or standards in addition to or more stringent than those of CSU. Students must contact the department in which they intend to study for additional information. Consult the Department Head or Program Contact Persons for the proper addresses.

The paragraphs in the preceding section on U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents on academic requirements, how students are selected for admission, non-degree study, previous undergraduate work at Colorado State, certification, and the consequences of presenting any materials that are not genuine, also apply to international students.

Language Requirements

English is the language of instruction at CSU. Adequate knowledge of that language is expected. The various departments generally evaluate students in this regard, and they may require students to secure remedial instruction if necessary.

Students whose native language is not English must demonstrate capability through the TOEFL examinations or other means (see above).

Some departments may require a knowledge of one or more foreign languages for advanced degrees. For information the student should contact the department.

Application Deadline Dates for Graduate School and Financial Support 

Term Applying to Graduate School Only Applying to Graduate School and Financial Support
Fall April 1st February 15th
Spring September 1st July 15th
Summer January 1st November 15th

Personal Identifier/Social Security Number

The personal identifier for all CSU students is the CSUID. The CSUID is a nine-digit unique numeric identifier that begins with the digit 8 and is assigned by the ARIES student information system. The Social Security number (SSN) is no longer used at CSU as a personal identifier.

All students are requested to submit a Social Security number (SSN) at the time of admission or before initial enrollment at CSU. The Social Security number is maintained as a secure data element in the student information system and is not accessible as directory information or to unauthorized persons. International students are encouraged to file for a Social Security number although they are not eligible for Social Security benefits. Students’ disclosure of the social security number is required for financial aid purposes, employment, and state and federal reports required by law.

The Social Security number is released to agencies or individuals outside CSU only at the request of the student or in accordance with federal and state requirements in regard to financial aid awards; Internal Revenue Service for student employee salary reporting and 1098T/1098E reporting; and State Controller’s debt collection procedure. CSU has strict policies protecting and prohibiting the use of SSN and uses every reasonable effort to hide and protect SSN.

Readmission 

If there is an interruption in successive semester-to-semester on-campus resident instruction registration, enrollment will lapse and you will need to reapply. File GS Form 1B to apply for readmission at least two months prior to the term that you plan to return. A check or money order for $150.00 must accompany the GS Form 1B.

Please note that registration through Continuing Education (CSU Online), Guest Registration, Alternate Site, or an off-campus instruction mode (including Distance Degree) does not constitute readmission.

The GS Form 1B is available online.

Transfer of Graduate Credit from Other Institutions 

Credit may be transferred to a graduate program at CSU with the approval of advisor, committee, and Graduate School. There is no right to transfer credits; each case is assessed individually and accepted or rejected on its merits. The number of credits that may be transferred is limited. See requirements for the number of credits that may be earned at CSU after admission to the Graduate School under the descriptions of the various degree programs and in Credit Requirements section.

Individual credits used to fulfill requirements for previously earned degrees are not accepted in transfer.

Requests to transfer graduate credit earned at another university must be accompanied by official transcripts. Courses accepted for transfer must be at the equivalent level of CSU’s regular courses at the 500 level or above. Arrangements for transfer of credit are made when the program of study is submitted (see Program of Study). In general, credits transferred must be part of a graduate curriculum. However, credits that are part of a post baccalaureate professional curriculum in Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Law, or Divinity may be so transferred if they address the intellectual bases of a graduate discipline.

Credits earned at institutions not accredited by one of the major regional accrediting agencies are not acceptable for transfer; except that a CSU academic department may petition the Graduate School to have graduate level credits earned from a foreign institution accepted as transfer credit. Grades in courses accepted for transfer will not be included in calculation of the grade point average. No course will be accepted for transfer with a grade less than B.

CSU may establish bilateral cooperative agreements with other institutions within the Colorado State University System (CSU-Pueblo and CSU-Global) that permit transfer to CSU of up to half of the total required credits for a specific master’s degree.

Procedures

  1. Any  bilateral  agreement  must  be  formal,  proposed  by  an  academic  department, signed by the Provost/Academic Vice-President, and approved by the Committee on Scholarship, Research and Graduate Education (COSRGE). It must refer to a particular named master’s degree now offered by CSU.
  2. Courses offered for transfer under these arrangements must be:
    1. The exact equivalents of particular courses at CSU and so certified by the Faculty Council Curriculum Committee.
    2. Taught by persons who are Faculty or Affiliate Faculty of CSU.
  3. Persons who seek to avail themselves of such transfer privileges must be admitted to graduate school at CSU. No more than nine credits offered for transfer may be earned prior to such admission. This means that students must apply for and secure admission well in advance of actual transfer to CSU.
  4. Persons who transfer credits under such a bilateral agreement may also transfer credits under the normal procedures as described in this Bulletin. Such transfers may not exceed six credits and the total number of transferred credits, under bilateral agreement and normal procedure combined, may not exceed half the total required for the master’s program.
  5. Credits submitted or transferred under such special agreements must be earned by a person enrolled as either a graduate student or a post baccalaureate student at the cooperating institution. Credits earned prior to the award of a bachelor’s degree or those used to fulfill requirements for a previously earned degree are not accepted.
  6. Additional regulations and restrictions as described in this Bulletin under the section Transfer of Graduate Credit from Other Institutions also apply to bilateral agreement transfers.

Credit for Graduate Courses Taken at CSU Prior to Admission to a Graduate Program 

Certain CSU courses taken after receipt of a bachelor’s degree but prior to formal admission to a graduate program may contribute to graduate degree requirements (see Credit Requirements for the degree pursuing). Grades earned in such courses will not be included in the calculation of grade point averages. No such courses will be accepted, however, unless a grade of B or better has been earned.

Students of Veterinary Medicine 

A student in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences who holds a bachelor’s degree and who meets the requirements for admission to the Graduate School may pursue work concurrently toward the degrees of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Science if approved in advance by the Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the Dean of the Graduate School. Credits applied on one degree may not be used in meeting requirements for the other. Refer to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program or the Graduate School for more information.

Integrated Degree Program and Integrated Degree Programs Plus Admissions

Exceptional undergraduate students may be recruited to integrated bachelor’s/master’s or bachelor’s/doctoral degree programs (IDPs). An IDP partners an undergraduate and graduate program within or between departments, programs, or SAUs in the same or differing colleges. The graduate degree will be awarded after or concurrently with the award of the Baccalaureate degree. There are two types of IDPs: 

  1. The IDP is for undergraduate programs that have a 120 degree credit requirement;
  2. The IDP+ is for undergraduate programs that have a 121, or more, degree credit requirement.

Undergraduates enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program at CSU may apply for admission to the appropriate IDP program if they meet the following criteria students must:

  1. Complete at least 90 credits of course work toward their first bachelor’s degree.
    1. Students enrolled in IDP+ programs may double count one through nine 500-level credits toward both their bachelor’s/ master’s or their bachelor’s/ PhD degrees when the credit requirements for the undergraduate degree programs range respectively between 121 through 129 credits, or more. For example, a maximum of 5 credits could be double counted for a 125- credit degree and a maximum of 9 credits could be double counted for a degree program with 129 or more credits. (This process is managed by the Registrar’s Office; the maximum number of credits that may be double counted is 9.)  
    2. Students enrolled in an IDP may not double count credits.  However, prior to earning 120 credits, these students may enroll for a maximum of nine credits of graduate-level course work that may be applied toward the graduate degree, provided such course work is not used to meet bachelor’s degree requirements. As undergraduates, students pay the undergraduate tuition rate for these credits. (This process is managed by the Registrar’s Office.)
  2. Complete or enroll in 9 credits of upper division level courses required or listed within their majors by their senior year. 
  3. Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.000 or above.

In addition to the on-line application and the application processing fee, students applying for admission to either IDP program must send the following materials directly to the department in which they plan to study:

  1. Three letters of recommendation written by individuals in each of the following categories:
    1. Applicant’s undergraduate advisor.
    2. Applicant’s instructor in at least one course within his or her major who is not his or her advisor.
    3. Applicant’s instructor in a course outside of his or her major field of study.
  2. A written “statement of purpose” that contains:
    1. A summary of long-term professional or personal goals.
    2. A statement regarding the applicant’s educational goals.
    3. A statement indicating how participating in the Track III degree program will contribute to the applicant’s long-term goals.
  3. A completed resume that contains the following:
    1. Record of all professional employment including dates of service (including military).
    2. List of any special skills or competencies (including certifications or licensures).
    3. List of publications, exhibitions, prizes, awards, or other recognitions.
    4. List of service activities (including community and charitable).

To be eligible to offer an IDP or IDP+, a specific program must submit, and have approved by the Graduate School, a one-time Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) providing the following information and agreements. Contact the Graduate School for the MOU format.

  1. List participating undergraduate and graduate program codes.
  2. All students recommended will have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  3. 21 credits must be earned after admission to the Graduate School for a master’s degree and 62 credits for a PhD.
  4. Students will be advised of the following:
    1. The semester after the students have earned 120 or more credits at the undergraduate level the student will be switched to graduate standing and will begin paying graduate tuition and fees. They will lose all undergraduate institutional and scholarship aid such as Pell, COF and Boettcher awards.1
    2. Their Undergraduate Degree Plans (DARS) will no longer track degree completion in a comprehensive manner, so the student and advisor will need to work with their designated Degree Analysts in the Registrar’s Office to ensure timely and accurate graduation from the bachelor’s degrees.
  5. Students must file their programs of study (GS form 6) by the end of the second week of the first semester after Graduate School admission.
  6. Students who are dismissed or drop out from the Graduate School, and who are still in good standing within their undergraduate programs, will be permitted to complete their undergraduate degrees. Students will be required to make contact with the Graduate School for the next steps to reactivate their undergraduate status. To support undergraduate degree conferral for students who do not complete the IDP/IDP+, departments must submit an explicit plan for undergraduates showing how they will allow students to graduate if they have completed: 1) All non-elective courses required for that undergraduate degree, and 2) The minimum number of undergraduate credits required by the undergraduate degree program. These credits may consist of both graduate and undergraduate coursework. The graduation process may require additional paperwork with the Registrar’s Office.
  7. Students must complete applications for graduation (GS25) from the Graduate School either concurrently with, or subsequent to, completing the bachelor’s degrees.
1

Departments offering IDP programs with unique requirements, incentives or other elements in addition to, or instead of, those stated above must request approval from the Graduate School for the specific terms they wish to address. The final terms of the agreement will be stipulated in an MOU between the Graduate School and the Department.

Sequential Degree Programs

Sequential degree programs (SDPs) partner an undergraduate and a graduate program within or between departments, programs, or SAUs in the same or differing colleges. The graduate degree will be awarded only after the award of the Baccalaureate degree. Undergraduate students complete a SDP application created by the partnering undergraduate and graduate programs. The timing of the application and its requirements are defined by the partnering programs and include minimum requirements related to criteria such as GRE, recommendations, and research experience. The minimum GPA acceptable for entrance into a SDP is 3.00. Students may be contingently admitted into the SDP at any point the partnering programs of the SDP so choose. Students must complete the Graduate School application and the application fee. Final admission to the SDP is conferred when the students meet the minimum SDP and Graduate School admissions criteria upon completion of their bachelors’ degrees. To be eligible to offer a SDP, a specific program must submit, and have approved by the Graduate School, a one-time Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)1. The minimum requirements for contingent graduate admission into the SDP must be included in the MOU.

Undergraduate students in SDPs may enroll for a maximum of nine credits of graduate-level course work that may be applied toward the graduate degree, provided such course work is not used to meet bachelor’s degree requirements. As undergraduates, students pay the undergraduate tuition rate for these credits. (This process is managed by the Registrar’s Office.)

1

Departments offering SDP programs with unique requirements, incentives or other elements in addition to, or instead of, those stated above must request approval from the Graduate School for the specific terms they wish to address. The final terms of the agreement will be stipulated in an MOU between the Graduate School and the Department.