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General Requirements for Admission to the Graduate School
To be admitted as a graduate student, an applicant must have obtained a baccalaureate or higher degree, prior to the start of the NIU term for which the student is admitted, from an accredited U.S. college or university or the equivalent degree from a recognized foreign institution. (See “Definitions of Terms Used in This Catalog” for definitions of “accredited institution” and “recognized institution.”) Applicants must have the approval of the department in which they plan to major and either must have a minimum 2.75 overall grade point average (GPA), based on a 4.00 system, in their baccalaureate program or must have completed 15 or more semester hours of graduate work at an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.20 or higher. The overall baccalaureate GPA is here defined as the GPA as reflected on the official transcript of the institution granting the baccalaureate degree; if the institution specifies none, or uses other than a 4.00 system, NIU will compute the GPA for course work at that institution, when possible. To be admitted to a program beyond the master’s degree, students must have at least a 3.20 GPA in all graduate work taken.
Applicants whose GPA is below the required level may, at the discretion of the major department, be recommended for admission if they satisfy one of the following criteria.
Demonstrated ability to conduct graduate work at an accredited college or university.
Exceptional performance on required graduate-level admission tests (GRE or GMAT).
Presentation of other relevant evidence acceptable to the department, such as a portfolio in art or an audition in music of notably high quality.
The above are minimum academic requirements for admission to the Graduate School. The applicant’s character, integrity, and general fitness to practice a particular profession may also be considered in the admissions process. Departments reserve the right, in consultation with the Graduate School, to establish additional standards and criteria for admission. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ascertain the nature and extent of these requirements. In addition, limited resources may indicate a need for limited enrollments, requiring departments to restrict admissions and to entertain special admissions only under exceptional circumstances. Admission of any student failing to meet admissions criteria as set forth in the Graduate Catalog requires the approval of the office of the dean of the Graduate School.
A student-at-large must be in good academic standing to be admitted to the Graduate School; see “Enrollment for Graduate Study as a Student-at-Large.”
Application for Admission
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In order to pursue a graduate degree, one must apply and be admitted to the Graduate School, as well as be accepted for admission by the faculty of the particular program one wishes to pursue.
Students who wish to take graduate course work but not pursue a degree program should refer to the section “Enrollment for Graduate Study as a Student-at-Large” in this catalog.
The Graduate School requires degree-seeking applicants to submit the following materials:
- the application and application fee,
- letters of recommendation,
- official test scores (GRE, MAT, or GMAT scores as appropriate; international students must also submit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic scores),
- a statement of purpose, and
- official transcripts from all institutions attended.
Departments and programs may require additional supporting materials. Consult the appropriate departmental section of the catalog.
Applications are available online at http://niu.edu/grad/admissions/index.shtml. Graduate School and program deadlines for the completion of the application dossier are available online at www.niu.edu/grad. The completed application dossier, with the required application fee, must be received by the Graduate School no later than July 15 for admission to the fall semester, December 10 for the spring semester, and June 1 for the summer session. These application deadlines are waived for a student already enrolled in a graduate program at NIU who wishes to apply for admission to another graduate program, or an NIU undergraduate seeking early admission to the Graduate School. See also “International Students” for application deadlines applicable to such students. For any of these dates occurring on a Saturday, Sunday, or university holiday, the deadline becomes the next day on which university offices are open.
Payment for the application fee must accompany the submission of the application, unless the applicant is exempt from the fee. The following individuals are exempt from payment of the application fee: individuals who received a GRE or GMAT fee reduction or fee waiver, McNair Scholars, and qualified veterans under the Illinois Veterans’ Grant (IVG) Program. Exempt applicants should contact the Graduate School to learn how to receive a fee-waiver code.
The applicant must arrange to have letters of recommendation submitted directly to the Graduate School in support of the application. At least three such letters are required for applicants to doctoral programs, at least two for applicants to all other programs. Some departments require additional letters, as indicated in the corresponding departmental section of this catalog. Care should be exercised in selecting persons to write letters of recommendation. These should be persons in a position to write analytically about the applicant’s academic qualifications to pursue graduate studies, and/or professional competence and ability to benefit from advanced study. For an applicant currently pursuing a graduate program, at least one of the letters should be from a faculty member in the department in which the student is enrolled. Applicants uncertain of the suitability of particular individuals as writers of recommendations should consult with the head of the department or program to which they are applying.
Applicants must submit a Statement of Purpose. The statement should be a concise essay that describes the applicant’s interest in the proposed field of study and his/her reasons for wishing to undertake graduate study at NIU. Specific advice about constructing a Statement of Purpose can be obtained on the Graduate School webpage and through consultation with faculty in the department or program to which the applicant seeks admission.
An applicant who holds a baccalaureate degree from a college or university other than Northern Illinois University, or who has engaged in graduate study elsewhere, must submit official transcripts showing each such degree and all graduate work as part of the application materials. The applicant should request that the appropriate institution(s) send one official copy of each required transcript directly to the Graduate School. Degree transcripts must be from the institution conferring each degree; transcripts of graduate work must be from the institution(s) at which the student was enrolled for such work. Graduate credit is not accepted in transfer from U.S. institutions that are not accredited or from foreign institutions that are not recognized (see “Definitions of Terms Used in This Catalog” for definitions of “accredited institution” and “recognized institution”); therefore, transcripts are not required for work done at such institutions. Some graduate programs may require additional transcripts (such as for associate’s degrees), as indicated in the departmental sections of this catalog.
Students submitting credentials written in languages other than English are also required to submit an official English translation. Copies of either originals or translations, even if notarized, are not considered official.
An applicant whose native language is not English must present a satisfactory score for either the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic),as indicated below under “Examinations Required for Admission.”
The Graduate School scrutinizes application materials to determine their authenticity and legitimacy. Any applicant who provides information either on the application or in supporting materials that misrepresents his/her previous experience or ability to succeed in graduate school will be denied admission. if the student is enrolled when such a discovery is made, the student’s admission will be terminated immediately.
Graduate assistantships are normally awarded to begin in the fall semester. This application should be submitted directly to the department or other unit in which the applicant wants to work, and not to the Graduate School.
Applicants for admission to the Graduate School assume all responsibility for the completion of their admission files; the Graduate School assumes no obligation to inform them about erroneous or missing credentials.
A student whose application for admission to a graduate program is denied may request reconsideration at any time prior to the close of admissions for the term for which application was made. If the admission deadline for that term is past, the student must submit a new application form by the deadline applicable to the next term for which admission is sought. At the discretion of the department or program to which the student desires admission, additional materials may be required in support of a reapplication or reconsideration request, and such a request will not normally be considered unless the student presents additional academic information not previously available to the faculty.
Admission Procedures for International Students
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For international students, all application material–the application for admission, letters of recommendation, diplomas, mark sheets, and test scores–must be received by the Graduate School no later than May 1 for admission for the fall semester or October 1 for the spring semester. Normally, new international students will not be admitted to begin a degree program in the summer session. The application deadlines are waived for a student already enrolled in a graduate degree program at NIU who wishes to apply for admission to another graduate program. An international student residing in the U.S. may meet the application deadlines specified for domestic students. An international student who is enrolled as an undergraduate at NIU or who has permanent resident alien status in the U.S. is required to meet only the application deadlines specified for domestic students, and may be considered for admission for the summer session. For any deadline date occurring on a Saturday, Sunday, or university holiday, the deadline becomes the next day on which university offices are open. A permanent resident must provide her or his alien registration number on the application form; an international student residing in the U.S. may be required to provide verification of this status.
A student seeking an F-1 or J-1 visa must also submit the financial statement and demonstrate adequate financial resources before an I-20 or DS 2019 form will be issued.
International students must submit either IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE Academic test scores. The International English Language Testing Services test can be taken at most British Consulates. For information regarding the IELTS, applicants should visit www.ielts.org/. Information about PTE Academic is available at: https://pearsonpte.com/. The TOEFL Bulletin of Information and registration form can be obtained in a number of cities outside the United States. They are often available at American embassies and consulates, or at offices of the United States Information Service (USIS). Students who cannot obtain a TOEFL bulletin and registration form locally should write well in advance to: TOEFL Services, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6151, U.S.A., or contact www.toefl.org.
A comprehensive orientation program is provided by the International Student and Faculty Office for new international students. This begins when the student is granted admission to the university, and continues after the student’s arrival on campus. The program includes dissemination of information and materials concerning the university, the university community, and U.S. immigration rules and regulations; a week of intensive orientation activities at the beginning of the first semester of attendance; and follow-up activities during the remaining period of residency and study. A one-time orientation fee is charged for this program. As part of this orientation program, new international students may be given further tests of their English language skills.
Examinations Required for Admission
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An applicant should plan to take the required tests early enough so that scores can reach the Graduate School before the final application deadline for a given term. Up to eight weeks may be required for the Graduate School to receive scores after the administration of the tests.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
In order to be considered for admission to the Graduate School, all applicants, other than those applying to programs listed below, must provide official scores on all sections of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) to the Graduate School.
Applicants to the following programs are exempt from the GRE:
- Accelerated B.S. Mechanical Engineering / M.S. Mechanical Engineering
- Master of Accountancy (see Graduate Management Admission Test below)
- Master of Accounting Science (see Graduate Management Admission Test below)
- Master of Arts, Anthropology (exempt)
- Master of Arts, Communication Studies (waiver available through the department for applicants with GPA of 3.0 or higher)
- Master of Arts, Communicative Disorders (exempt)
- Master of Arts, English (exempt)
- Master of Arts, Political Science (exempt)
- Master of Arts, Sociology (exempt)
- Master of Arts, Specialization in Studio Art (exempt)
- Master of Arts in Teaching (exempt)
- Master of Business Administration (see Graduate Management Admission Test below)
- Master of Fine Arts in School of Art and Design (exempt)
- Master of Fine Arts in School of Theatre and Dance (exempt)
- Master of Music (exempt)
- Master of Public Administration (exempt)
- Master of Public Health (exempt)
- Master of Science in Applied Human Development and Family Sciences (exempt)
- Master of Science in Art and Design Education (exempt)
- Master of Science in Athletic Training (exempt)
- Master of Science in Biological Sciences (exempt)
- Master of Science in Data Analytics (see Graduate Management Admission Test below)
- Master of Science in Digital Marketing (see Graduate Management Admission Test below)
- Master of Science in Education in Counseling (exempt)
- Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction (exempt)
- Master of Science in Education in Early Childhood Education (exempt)
- Master of Science in Education in Educational Administration
- Master of Science in Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs (exempt)
- Master of Science in Education in Kinesiology and Physical Education (exempt)
- Master of Science in Education in Literacy Education (exempt)
- Master of Science in Education in School Business Management
- Master of Science in Education in Special Education (exempt)
- Master of Science in Finance (see Graduate Management Admission Test below)
- Master of Science in Geography (exempt)
- Master of Science in Geology (exempt)
- Master of Science in Management Information Systems (see Graduate Management Admission Test below)
- Master of Science in Nursing (exempt)
- Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics (exempt)
- Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling
- Master of Science in Taxation (see Graduate Management Admission Test below)
- Performer’s Certificate (exempt)
- Doctor of Nursing Practice
- Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
- Ed.D. in Higher Education (exempt)
- Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision (exempt)
- Ph.D. in Biological Sciences (exempt)
- Ph.D. in English (exempt)
- Ph.D. in Geography (exempt)
- Ph.D. in Geology (exempt)
- Ph.D in Health Science (applicants who have earned a graduate degree with a 3.50 or higher GPA from an accredited institution are exempt)
- Ph.D. in History (exempt)
- Ph.D. in Instructional Technology (GRE waived with U.S. master’s degree)
- Ph.D. in Political Science (exempt)
- Ph.D. in Physics (exempt)
Applicants to graduate programs in curriculum and instruction, early childhood education, educational psychology, instructional technology, and literacy education may submit Miller Analogies Test (MAT) scores in lieu of GRE scores. Applicants to the graduate program in school business management may submit Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores in lieu of GRE scores. With approval of the Department of Technology, the GRE scores requirement may be waived for applicants to the M.S. in industrial management on the basis of significant work experience. Applicants to the M.S. in sport management or management information systems may submit either the GRE or the GMAT scores to the Graduate School.
Occasionally an applicant’s prospective major department may approve waiving the requirement to submit official scores on the GRE for an applicant who has already earned a graduate degree from an accredited institution or for an applicant who is pursuing or has completed a baccalaureate degree at NIU with a major in that department with a cumulative NIU undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00. In special cases, if an applicant who has already taken the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is applying for admission to a program that requires the GRE, the department may agree to accept the scores on the GMAT.
The Educational Testing Service (ETS), which administers the Graduate Record Examinations program on behalf of the Graduate Record Examinations Board, does not normally report scores more than five years old. Students who are unable to obtain their GRE scores from ETS because of this policy should contact the Graduate School about possible alternative means to satisfy the GRE requirement.
For GRE information, testing dates, and locations, contact www.gre.org. For MAT, contact www.MillerAnalogies.com.
Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
Applicants for graduate study in the College of Business must submit official scores on the GMAT to the Graduate School, with exception to applicants who intend to pursue the Executive M.B.A. or One-Year M.B.A. No GMAT is required for these formats. With the approval of the applicant’s prospective major department, the requirement to submit official scores on the GMAT may be waived if:
- an applicant has already earned a graduate degree from an accredited institution;
an applicant to the Global M.B.A. format or to the M.S. in Digital Marketing program who is an NIU University Honors graduate with a B.S. or B.A.;
an applicant to the M.S.T. program presents satisfactory scores on the LSAT or provides evidence of passing all parts of the C.P.A. examination;
an applicant to the M.A.S, MAC, or or M.S. in Digital Marketing program has earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited US college or university;
an applicant to the M.S. in Management Information Systems may submit GRE scores in lieu of GMAT scores.
Applicants to programs in the College of Business are not required to take the General Test of the GRE. In special cases, however, if an applicant who has already taken the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is applying for admission to a program that requires the GMAT, the department may agree to accept the scores on the GRE. The M.S. in sport management will accept the GMAT or the GRE scores.
For GMAT information, contact the Graduate Management Admission Council at www.gmac.com.
Language Test Requirements ( IELTS, TOEFL, PTE)
An applicant whose native language is not English must present an IELTS score of 6.5 or alternatively, a PTE Academic score of at least 53 or a TOEFL score of at least 80. The score must be for an examination administered no more than 24 months prior to the beginning of the academic term for which admission is sought. Possession of a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution in the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a number of other countries serves as evidence of sufficient English proficiency for admission purposes. (A list of those other countries is maintained at www.grad.niu.edu). Submission of English language proficiency scores is unnecessary for a student already enrolled and in good academic standing at NIU. In special circumstances, a department may seek a waiver of this requirement for a student who has demonstrated success in graduate course work but not completed a degree at an accredited institution in the U.S.
For IELTS information, contact www.ielts.org. For TOEFL information, contact www.toefl.org. For PTE Academic information, contact https://pearsonpte.com/.
Admission decisions may be made within a few weeks following the receipt of all credentials. For programs in which space is limited, however, admission decisions may be made only at certain times during the academic year. Accordingly, notification of decisions may not be mailed until some time after the formal deadline for applications has passed.
Individual programs and departments make admission recommendations to the Graduate School; the Graduate School makes the admission decision. The official notification of admission is a letter sent to the applicant by the Graduate School. Correspondence from individual departments or programs does not constitute official notice of admission.
A student must be admitted by the close of the first week of an academic term in order for the admission to be effective for that term.
Regularly admitted graduate students meet all program-level and Graduate School requirements for admission.
A regularly-admitted student, who must complete a baccalaureate or a master’s degree prior to matriculation as a graduate student at NIU, but who has not yet provided an official transcript verifying completion of that degree, shall do so within one month of matriculation. Students who fail to provide an official transcript proving receipt of the prior degree will have their admission terminated and their enrollment cancelled.
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Students are admitted conditionally either because they lack the academic background to ensure completion of a program or because they do not meet program-level or Graduate School admission requirements. Conditional admission can be awarded only by the dean of the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the program.
Students must complete all requirements to remove the conditional admission within the first nine hours of course work enrolled at NIU as a graduate student. Failure to do so will result in termination from the program and the Graduate School.
While classified as conditionally-admitted, master’s students must achieve a minimum 3.00 grade point average in graduate course work; specialists students must achieve a minimum 3.25 GPA in graduate course work; and doctoral students must achieve a 3.50 GPA in graduate course work.
Programs may impose other requirements that conditionally-admitted students must meet, including completion of undergraduate course work at a specified level of competency. Programs must inform the student and the Graduate School in writing of any such requirements. Responsibility for enforcing additional requirements resides solely with programs.
Conditionally-admitted students may be required to complete undergraduate deficiency courses. Deficiency courses may be taken only at NIU. Graduate students enrolled in undergraduate classes must be aware of potential consequences upon their eligibility to receive financial aid.
Once a conditionally-admitted student meets requirements to lift the condition of their enrollment, the Graduate School will reclassify the student as regularly admitted.
Conditionally-admitted students may not ordinarily receive an assistantship. No student can complete requirements to graduate while admitted conditionally.
Conditionally-admitted students must meet the same requirement for providing official transcripts for previously awarded degrees as those admitted regularly (see above).
Early Admission of NIU Undergraduates
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Early admission to the Graduate School is available to seniors in their final term of undergraduate enrollment at NIU. Students who apply for and receive early admission may take courses for graduate credit. The student granted early admission must be enrolled for all courses necessary to complete the baccalaureate degree (as determined by the undergraduate graduation-evaluations area in the Office of Registration and Records).
Application for early admission is made through the Graduate School. A student applying for early admission must have applied to graduate from the baccalaureate program at the end of the term for which early admission is sought. No student may enroll in more than one term under early-admission status. If a student is granted early admission and fails to graduate from the baccalaureate program at the end of the term for which early admission was granted, admission to the Graduate School will be terminated.
Students receiving early admission are ineligible to receive graduate assistantships or graduate tuition waivers. Their eligibility to receive financial aid and scholarships may be adversely affected by early admission. Students admitted early are admonished to consult a financial aid or scholarship counselor prior to enrolling in graduate level courses.
Admission to Accelerated Baccalaureate/ Master’s Degree Programs
Accelerated baccalaureate/master’s degree programs allow advanced undergraduate students at NIU to enroll in up to 18 credits of graduate course work, some or all of which may be applied to a baccalaureate degree with the consent of the student’s undergraduate adviser. NIU undergraduate students may apply to enter an accelerated program once they have achieved 90 hours of credit and a 3.00 GPA. Check with individual departments for specific requirements.
Application for early admission is made through the Graduate School. No student may enroll more than three terms in an accelerated program without completing all requirements for the baccalaureate degree. If a student is granted early admission and fails to graduate from the baccalaureate program at the end of the third term, admission to the Graduate School will be terminated until baccalaureate degree requirements are met.
Students receiving admission to accelerated programs are ineligible to receive graduate assistantships or graduate tuition waivers until they have received a baccalaureate degree. Their eligibility to receive financial aid and scholarships may be adversely affected by early admission. Students admitted to an accelerated program are admonished to consult a financial aid or scholarship counselor prior to enrolling in graduate level courses.
Accelerated baccalaureate/master’s degree programs are available in the following majors:
- Biomedical Engineering/Electrical Engineering
- Biomedical Engineering/Industrial and Systems Engineering
- Business Administration/Law
- Electrical Engineering
- Industrial and Systems Engineering
- Kinesiology/Athletic Training
- Marketing/Digital Marketing
- Mathematical Sciences
- Mechanical Engineering
- Mechatronics Engineering/Industrial and Systems Engineering
- Mechatronics Engineering/Mechanical Engineering
- Operations and Information Management (O.I.M.)/Management Information Systems (MIS)
- Political Science
- Political Science/Public Administration
- Public Health
- Rehabilitation and Disability Services/Rehabilitation Counseling
- Sport Management
Descriptions of program and admission requirements for these programs are available in the Undergraduate Catalog.
Matriculation; Deferral of Admission
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In order to establish their admission, graduate students must enroll in the semester or summer session for which they are admitted, indicated in the letter of admission from the Graduate School. At the discretion of the office of the dean of the Graduate School and with permission of the major department, matriculation may be deferred up to but not beyond one calendar year. The request for deferral of admission must be submitted to the Graduate School, in writing, no later than the end of the academic term for which admission has been granted. If students do not request a deferral of admission, and fail to matriculate (enroll in the term of admission) as required, their admission to that program is canceled. If the student was not already admitted to another graduate program, admission to the Graduate School is also canceled as a result. Provisional admission may not be deferred; the student should instead arrange to provide the missing credentials to permit consideration for unconditional admission in a subsequent term.
Change of Major/Specialization
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A student who wishes to change degree level within a given major or from one specialization to another within the same major must submit a change of major/specialization form to the Graduate School. The faculty of the new degree level or specialization will be given the opportunity to approve the specialization or level change requested. The Graduate School will grant a request once it is approved by the department, provided that the student is in good academic standing.
A matriculated student in good standing who wishes to change degree programs must submit a new application for admission within established application deadlines. The student must inform the Graduate School if they wish to cancel enrollment in the degree program to which previously admitted. Likewise, the student must inform the Graduate School that they desire previously submitted supporting materials to be forwarded to the admissions committee of the new degree program.
Concurrent Pursuit of Multiple Graduate Programs
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A student may be admitted to two (or more) degree programs concurrently. A new application form must be completed for each degree program to which the student desires admission. Each intended program may review the student’s existing Graduate School academic file and may require letters of recommendation pertinent to the particular program. A graduate student must be in good academic standing in order to be admitted to an additional graduate degree program. When a student already enrolled in the Graduate School is admitted to an additional graduate degree program, the department(s) to which the student is already admitted will be notified of the new admission. A student admitted to more than one degree program is considered to be pursuing each one independently in the sense that each degree can be awarded as all requirements for it are satisfied. See also “Dual Credit for Graduate Course Work.”
Termination of Admission; Retention
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A student failing to maintain good academic standing may be academically dismissed from the Graduate School, as described under “Academic Standing” in the “General Regulations” section of this catalog. Graduate students who are academically dismissed lose their status as graduate students. In addition, a student in good academic standing may be dismissed from a graduate program for various academic reasons, including falsification of application materials, failure to satisfy stipulations imposed upon admission to the program, and failure to satisfy other program or Graduate School requirements in timely fashion according to established policies.
A student previously enrolled in a graduate degree program at NIU who did not graduate from that program, and who has not been enrolled for 12 consecutive months, will have that admission canceled. See “Readmission/Reentry.”
If a student has been admitted to a graduate degree program, and does not complete any course work applicable to that program for 12 consecutive months, then, at the discretion of the department, the student’s admission to that program may be terminated. Similarly, if a student is enrolled in a given term, but not in any course work applicable to their degree program, then, at the discretion of the department, the student’s admission to their program may be terminated.
Satisfactory academic progress in a program also involves maintaining the standards of academic and professional integrity expected in a particular discipline or program; failure to maintain these standards will, on recommendation of the student’s department, result in termination of the student’s admission to the program.
Admission to the Graduate School is contingent on admission to a particular degree program. Therefore, when admission to a program is terminated, the student’s admission to the Graduate School is also terminated (unless the student was already admitted to another graduate degree program). A student whose admission to the Graduate School is terminated because of dismissal from or termination of admission to a program may apply for admission to another degree program (if in good academic standing overall), or may apply for permission to register as a student-at-large, in order to continue graduate-level study.
A student who has been academically dismissed while a graduate student or student-at-large at NIU is not eligible for admission or reentry but must petition the Graduate Council Appeals Committee for academic reinstatement.
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If a student who was previously enrolled in a graduate degree program at NIU but whose admission has been canceled wishes to resume study in the same degree program, she or he must submit a reentry application to the Graduate School and secure permission from the program to re-enter. A previously enrolled degree-seeking student who wishes to change programs must submit an application for admission. A degree-seeking student who does not register for course work in a 12-month period must submit a reentry application and obtain permission from the program to reenter. If the student no longer wishes to pursue a degree, but does wish to undertake further graduate course work, she or he should apply as a student-at-large.
Students-at-large who interrupt their studies for 12 consecutive months must submit a reentry application to the Graduate School prior to registration. The reentry application serves as a notice of the student’s intention to resume registration, so that institutional records can be brought up to date.
Graduate students and students-at-large who have been academically dismissed are not eligible for admission or reentry; they should see the section entitled “Academic Reinstatement” elsewhere in this catalog.
Enrollment for Graduate Study as a Student-at-Large
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Persons who have not applied for admission to the Graduate School, who have applied but have not yet been admitted, who were previously admitted but whose admission lapsed or was terminated prior to the completion of a degree, or who have been denied admission may be permitted to register for graduate work as students-at-large. In order to receive permission to register as a student-at-large, an individual must
- submit to the Graduate School a completed application for permission to register as a student-at-large (http://www.grad.niu.edu/grad/apply/atlarge.shtml), and
- provide documentation (e.g., unofficial transcripts) that the applicant holds a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution (or the equivalent from a recognized institution outside the United States).
A graduate student who has been academically dismissed from the Graduate School may not enroll as a student-at-large unless granted academic reinstatement for this purpose by the Graduate Council Appeals Committee.
The student-at-large classification is primarily for the purpose of taking graduate-level classes; persons with a baccalaureate degree wishing to take only undergraduate classes or to pursue another baccalaureate degree at NIU should do so through one of the student categories designed for that specific purpose (e.g., the “postgraduate” classification). Information about such categories is available from the Undergraduate Admissions Office.
Permission to register as a student-at-large should not be confused with admission to the Graduate School. Students-at-large are not considered to be admitted to a degree program until they have been formally admitted by the Graduate School and relevant department. A person seriously considering pursuing an advanced degree should apply for admission to the Graduate School as early as possible. Advice should be sought through the appropriate academic department or the Graduate School.
A student-at-large is not eligible for appointment to a graduate assistantship. A student-at-large must complete a re-entry application to the Graduate School if registration is discontinued for more than one year.
A student-at-large may apply for admission to the Graduate School. However, even if admission is achieved, the graduate credit accumulated as a student-at-large will not necessarily be counted toward an advanced degree at this university, and certain programs have limits on the number of student-at-large hours that can be applied toward a specific degree. Therefore, a student at-large who intends to pursue a graduate degree should apply for admission as soon as possible. Students-at-large are normally prohibited from registering for graduate business courses.
Students-at-large are under the administrative jurisdiction of the office of the dean of the Graduate School. Inquiries concerning regulations and policies and requests for waivers or exceptions should be addressed to that office.
Unless otherwise indicated, the general provisions of the Graduate Catalog apply to students-at-large. In particular, a student-at-large is subject to the same regulations governing probation and dismissal as a student admitted to the Graduate School. These regulations, described under the heading “Academic Standing,” include the requirement that a student-at-large must maintain a minimum 3.00 GPA in all graduate-level work undertaken at NIU in order to remain in good standing. Students-at-large who are placed on academic probation and fail to regain good standing within the prescribed period of further enrollment, or who accumulate 6 or more semester hours of D, F, U, or WF in graduate-level work, are subject to academic dismissal.
A student-at-large who is on academic probation or has been academically dismissed shall not be considered for admission to the Graduate School. Also, if a student-at-large is admitted to the Graduate School but is placed on academic probation prior to matriculation as a graduate student, then that student’s admission to the Graduate School is canceled and good academic standing must be regained before the student can again be considered for admission to the Graduate School.
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A postbaccalaureate is a student who has an earned baccalaureate degree and wishes to take additional undergraduate courses or to pursue a second undergraduate degree. Admission as a postbaccalaureate student is granted through the Undergraduate Admissions Office.
A postbaccalaureate is not eligible to enroll in any course for graduate credit. However, postbaccalaureate students may enroll in a limited number of graduate-level courses for undergraduate credit; see “Undergraduates in Graduate Courses for Undergraduate Credit.”
Credit earned while a postbaccalaureate is undergraduate credit and, therefore, may not be applied later toward a graduate degree. Conversely, graduate credit earned as a graduate-level student may not be applicable toward an undergraduate degree; the evaluations staff of the Office of Registration and Records should be contacted for further information.
Whether postbaccalaureate or a graduate-level (graduate student or student-at-large) classification is the more appropriate will depend on the student’s educational objectives, and students are encouraged to consult with appropriate departmental or other academic advisers in making their choice. The student’s classification may also affect eligibility for certain types of financial assistance; students should contact a financial aid counselor in the Student Financial Aid Office for more information. A student wishing to change from postbaccalaureate to a graduate-level classification, or vice versa, must formally resign the original classification before the new classification is granted, and must have the approval of both the appropriate undergraduate college office (determined by the postgraduate major) and the office of the dean of the Graduate School. The change of classification must be requested not later than the first regularly scheduled class day of the academic term for which it is to be effective.