Graduate School

The University of Mississippi

Graduate Program Coordinators Handbook

Section 1

Admissions Procedures, Academic Standing, and Enrollment

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The Graduate School at The University of Mississippi recognizes the necessity of using multiple criteria in admissions decisions. These criteria include an applicant’s undergraduate and/or graduate grade point average and course completion record, and scores on standardized tests (e.g., the GRE general exam, GMAT, or PRAXIS), and may include research and practical experiences, evidence of skill (e.g., a writing sample), letters of recommendation, and scores on an English proficiency exam (e.g., the TOEFL), in the case of applicants whose native language is not English.

An official standardized test score report, an official TOEFL (or other language exam) score report (if applicable), and an official transcript(s) are required before an application for degree-seeking status will be reviewed. When multiple GRE score reports exist, the most recent scores are considered applicable and individual sub-scores (in verbal, quantitative, and analytical reasoning) are not selected from among tests taken on different days. The undergraduate GPA used is the higher of the GPA over the entire transcript or the GPA over the last 60 hours. Letters of recommendation and material such as writing samples are optional requirements of academic departments.

In order to be recommended for admission in Full-Standing by an academic department, an applicant must be competitive with respect to the pool of recent applicants in the above multiple criteria. It is usually expected that a successful applicant will have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and will have standardized test scores that are competitive for the discipline. The University recognizes no minimum cut-off scores for these criteria, nor does the University guarantee Full-Standing admission to individuals who have competitive scores on one or more of these objective criteria, since other criteria are also considered. Admissions decisions may also take into consideration the availability of resources within a department. In addition, in order to assure full consideration for admission, all application materials should be received by deadline dates (see following section).

Applicants whose admission credentials, as judged by the academic departments and the Graduate School, are less than those expected for Full-Standing status may be admitted in the Conditional or Qualifying status. For example, if an applicant has a GPA between 2.7-3.0 or, GRE sub-scores that are marginally competitive, he or she may be admitted as Conditional. Applicants whose credentials are significantly deficient in required undergraduate course work within the discipline may be admitted as Qualifying.

Conditional students are required to obtain a 3.0 GPA during their first 9 hours of graduate course work (i.e., during their first semester for full-time students) in order to be advanced to Full-Standing. Students who fail to advance to Full-Standing after their first 9 hours of enrollment will be changed to Non-Degree II status.

If a student is admitted in the Qualifying status, he or she must receive from the pertinent department a list of undergraduate courses (up to 15 hours’ worth) to be taken to make the student eligible for consideration for Conditional or Full-standing admission.


The Graduate School establishes procedures for applying to its graduate programs. The process can involve paper application forms or an internet-based method. As these procedures are modified, the Graduate School will inform academic units of any important changes.

In general, a completed application includes a completed form (paper or electronic), an official copy of the transcript(s) showing the applicants undergraduate degree and any post-baccalaureate course work, a $50 application fee, and an official copy of a standardized examination score (GRE general exam for most programs, the GMAT for programs in the Schools of Accountancy and Business, and the PRAXIS I for certain programs of the School of Education). In addition, international students, whose native language in not English, are required to submit an official TOEFL, IELTS or PTE-A score. For international applicants, the application is routed to the Office of International Programs, where the transcript is evaluated for authenticity and grading equivalence.

The Graduate School publishes April 1 as the target date for application receipt to assure consideration for admission for the Fall semester (and October 1 for admission for the Spring semester). However, it is permissible for individual graduate programs to establish earlier application deadlines and for departments to have rolling admission.

Application materials are made available for review by the program through the Graduate Program Coordinator’s Interface.  The Graduate School receives the recommendations from departments via the GPC Interface and makes decisions regarding the admission status for each applicant. The Graduate School communicates with applicants regarding the admission decision, the admission status, and any conditions associated with the admission status (on the admissions notices). For international applicants who are admitted, the Graduate School sends information to the Office of International Programs (OIP) so that they can prepare a visa application form (i.e., I-20 form). IN ORDER TO FACILITATE THE PREPARATION OF THIS FORM, THE ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS SHOULD SEND COPIES OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AWARD LETTERS TO THE OIP AS SOON AS THESE ARE AVAILABLE. In addition, you may wish to tell OIP whether you will require the international student to be enrolled during the summer terms, in order for them to calculate the appropriate educational expenses.

If a student is admitted to the University, this admission applies for one full year beginning at the initial admission date. After one year, a new application form must be submitted, including the application fee.


The admissions standings include Full-Standing, Conditional, Qualifying, Non-Degree I, Non-Degree II, and Visiting. See the Graduate Catalog for the meaning of these categories.  Note that a student admitted in the Conditional status will be given a requirement to be fulfilled within the first 9 semester hours of enrollment in order to be upgraded to Full-standing. A Conditional student must fulfill these requirements during the first 9 hours of graduate course work and he/she may not participate in early (priority) registration. A Conditional student may not register in 700 level courses, and courses taken while in this category may, at the department’s discretion, be counted by a student toward his or her degree requirements.

When a department recommends that a student be admitted in Qualifying status, the department must give a written explanation of what the student must fulfill in order to be considered for Full-standing in a degree program. The department must specify the number of hours, ranging from 3 to 15, that are to be successfully completed before the student’s status can be considered for an upgrade to Conditional or Full-Standing.

The meaning of Non-Degree and Visiting admissions categories are explained in the Graduate Catalog. Note that up to 9 hours of course work taken while in the Non-Degree II category can be considered to apply toward a graduate degree.


Students who have had a break in enrollment of one or more academic terms (Fall or Spring semester) must reapply for admission.  Readmission involves a review by the academic department, if the lapse period is beyond one semester. Readmitted students will be bound by departmental and Graduate School regulations in effect at the time of their readmission.


A student is expected to receive advice regarding course selection from his or her academic advisor before registering for courses.  This may be done either during the “priority” registration period or immediately before the beginning of the semester (regular registration). Returning students who DO NOT register prior to the first day of class will be assessed a $100 registration fee.  Once a student has enrolled for courses, the charge for the courses must be paid either by returning a mailed registration bill (if using priority registration) or by payment on-line. This refers to fees not covered by tuition scholarships or non-resident fee scholarships. There is a deferred payment plan as well (see the Graduate Catalog).
Students who are in a Conditional status have a hold on their registration privileges. Conditional students must come to the Graduate School in order to register for courses.


The Graduate Council has approved a policy regarding the minimum and maximum number of hours that a graduate assistant/instructor may enroll during a regular semester. The minimum enrollment is three hours for all graduate students during a fall or spring semester and nine hours for graduate assistants receiving 1/2 time assistantship appointments. Further details of this policy are given by the chart below.

Service requirement Minimum Enrollment Maximum Enrollment
3/4 time (30 hrs./wk) 9 hrs.* 9 hrs.
1/2 time (20 hrs./wk) 9 hrs. 12 hrs.**
1/4 time (10 hrs./wk) 6 hrs. 12 hrs.
Less than 1/4 time 3 hrs. 15 hrs.

*Only 6 hours of which can be in course work, the balance being made up of enrollment in theses, dissertation, or recital hours.
**Only 9 hours of which can be in course work, the balance being made up of enrollment in thesis, dissertation, or recital hours.


If a student in any program or degree-seeking status has a break in enrollment of one or more regular semesters, he or she must apply for readmission, as explained above. If such student has attended another institution during this break period, official transcripts from that institution must be provided. Readmitted students will be subject to departmental, University, and catalog regulations in effect at the time of their readmission.

Continuous enrollment for doctoral students has a related but different meaning. Doctoral students admitted to candidacy must maintain continuous enrollment (at least three hours of enrollment in two semesters in any calendar year) or they will be assessed a fee equal to three hours of tuition for each semester of their suspended enrollment. (See comprehensive exams and entry into candidacy in the next section.)


All students pursuing graduate degrees must be enrolled for three hours (thesis, dissertation, or course work) during the fall or spring semester in which they take their final oral and/or written examination and in which they receive their degree.


Whereas the minimum enrollment for each fall and spring semester is 3 hours, for the summer term the minimum enrollment is 1 hour. However, for the purpose of continuous enrollment, enrollment during the summer would have to be at least 3 hours, if the summer is to be counted for one of the continuous enrollment semesters.

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