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Graduate Admissions Committee

The Graduate Admissions Committee is a subcommittee of the Graduate Council.

  • It is comprised of a faculty chairperson (the Associate Dean of the Graduate School) and two faculty members that are the voting members of the committee. Current Committee Membership includes:
    • Katharine Ullman, Committee Chair, Professor, School of Medicine
    • Arul Mishra, Professor, School of Business
    • Kristin Cloyes, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, College of Nursing
  • There are three staff members from the Office of Admissions that facilitate the committee.
  • The role of the committee is to consider applicants that have been recommended for admission to an academic program but do not meet the minimum Graduate School admissions requirements.

The Graduate School's minimum admissions requirements are:

  • A 3.00 (B average) or higher overall undergraduate GPA or a 3.00 or higher GPA in the last two years of the applicant's undergraduate studies prior to receiving the Bachelor's degree.
  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution or an international school recognized by the Ministry of Education of the country. The following is a list of recognized Regional Accrediting Agencies:
    • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
    • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
    • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
    • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
    • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • A department/program recommendation for admission.

The Graduate Admissions Committee reviews the following types of cases which do require a Letter of Support be uploaded through the Department Referral Form:

  • Applicant with an undergraduate GPA below 2.95 and a last two years GPA below 2.95.
  • Applicant with a degree that is not considered comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree.
  • Applicant that studied at a school in a country where the Ministry of Education does not recognize the school attended as an institution of higher learning.

The Graduate Admissions Committee does not review nor will it waive the following admissions requirements:

  • Applicant that has not earned an undergraduate bachelor's degree.
  • Applicant that does not meet the minimum requirements for proof of English proficiency.

Cases that will not require full Committee review and do not need a Letter of Support (as they will be approved by the respective Associate Director in the Office of Admissions) include:

  • Applicant with an undergraduate GPA or last two years GPA between 2.95-2.99.
  • Applicant with a second bachelor's degree earned with a GPA of 3.00 or higher.
  • Applicant with a higher degree earned with a GPA of 3.00 or higher.

Academic departments must make sure that the following materials are completed and uploaded to the applicant's ApplyYourself account in the ApplyYourself WebCenter:

  • Department Referral Form (an ApplyYourself internal form) completed with the department's recommendation.
  • A strong Letter of Support written by the Department Chair or Director of Graduate Admissions. This letter should be uploaded through the Department Referral Form and explain why the department feels the applicant will be successful in their graduate program even though the applicant does not meet minimum admissions requirements.
  • Applicant files must be complete with all of the above items no later than seven working days before the next scheduled committee meeting to allow the Office of Admissions staff time to send electronic notice to committee members to review the committee cases in advance of the committee meeting and time to prepare the meeting agenda.

Office of Admissions staff will prepare the files for committee review and notify the committee members when a case is ready for electronic review. The committee will review:

  • Admission Decision Form (AY internal form)
  • Graduate Academic Record Worksheet (AY Internal form)
  • The Application PDF, which includes the Department’s Letter of Support (written by Dept. Chair or Dept. Director of Graduate Admissions)
  • Letters of Recommendation PDF
  • Academic transcripts
  • Test scores
  • Additional information in the applicant's ApplyYourself account that may be relevant

The Committee considers the following items when reviewing a case for exception to policy:

  • The time since degree: applicants who are two to three years post degree are viewed more favorably than are recent graduates.
  • Experience as it relates to intended plan of study.
  • At least one letter from a supervisor which speaks to the applicant's motivation and maturity. At least one (preferably two) letter(s) from individuals who are knowledgeable about the applicant's academic potential.
  • The quality of the undergraduate program from which the baccalaureate degree was earned as well as the applicant's academic standing in that program—especially in coursework related to the intended plan of study.
  • Standardized test scores when available.
  • Performance in non-matriculated graduate courses.

The Committee has the ability to make the following decisions:

  • ADMIT: the committee approves the recommendation of the academic department to admit.
  • ADMIT ON PROBATION: The applicant must complete at least six graduate credit hours and his/her grade point average must be 3.00 or higher for the first semester of graduate study. Applicants admitted on probation will not be eligible for a graduate tuition waiver until the probation period is over.
  • DEFER: If the file is lacking sufficient documentation, the committee may return it to the department for additional information.
  • DENY:
    • If the Committee denies admission to an applicant, an Office of Admissions staff member will notify the department.
    • The department will then be given an opportunity to appeal the committee's decision.
    • If the department elects to appeal, the applicant will not be notified until after the appeal is completed.
    • The appeal process allows the department to send their representative, generally the Director of Graduate Admissions, to the next GAC meeting to present a personal appeal on behalf of the applicant. The applicant will never meet with this committee.
    • The Committee will then review the case and consider the appeal for exception to policy.
    • It is strongly recommended that academic departments not notify an applicant whose file must go to committee for review until after the file clears the committee process.
  • The staff of the Office of Admissions will notify departments as soon as possible regarding all committee decisions. Applicants will then be notified of their admission status.

The Graduate Admissions Committee implemented a program similar to the Undergraduate 5% Policy for graduate applicants in 2011. The program works by allowing departments to recommend an applicant that does not meet the minimum undergraduate GPA requirement of 3.00 or higher to be admitted as an Exception Rule recipient. Then the Office of Admissions is able to admit the applicant without having to send the file to the Graduate Admissions Committee for review. The program was developed and approved by the Graduate Admissions Committee on April 2, 2012. The name of the program is the "Graduate Admissions Committee Exception Rule Program." The initial number of allotted slots for each graduate program was determined by an average of admitted students to each program for the years of 2009-10 and 2010-11. Each program is allowed a set number of exceptions to run on a processing year of summer, fall, and spring. If a department does not use all of its allotment in the processing year, any remaining slots will be forfeited. The allotment begins over with each new processing year, beginning with summer term.

In order to recommend an applicant as an Exception Rule Recipient, academic departments/programs must:

  • Determine what applicant(s) to admit under the Exception Rule program.
  • Complete the Department Referral Form in ApplyYourself, selecting the "Graduate Admissions Committee Exception Rule Recipient; Admit to Program of Interest" option.
  • The Office of Admissions queries will pick up the department's recommendation and the file will be given to the respective Associate Director to sign off as the GAC committee representative, and then Office of Admissions staff will complete the admitting processes for the   applicant(s).

Tips for using the Exception Rule Program:

  • Do not use your program's exception slots for applicants who do not need to go to full Committee review. These cases will be approved by the respective Associate Director in the Office of Admissions.
  • Departments are required to use their admissions exceptions prior to sending applicant files to the Graduate Admissions Committee for review.

To learn how many allotment slots a department/program has been awarded, refer to the GAC Exception Rule Allotments List.

When a graduate student, admitted through using a departmentally allotted admissions exception, declines the offer, that exception may be used again for another student based on these requirements:  

  • That specific exception must be used again within the same academic year/admissions cycle (summer/fall/spring) and cannot be extended to the next cycle. Allotted exceptions cannot be accrued.
  • Students must be given a reasonable amount of time by departments to make their acceptance decisions (a minimum of two weeks is recommended). The Council of Graduate Schools Resolution regarding the April 15 decision date for offers involving financial assistance, must be upheld.
  • When a student declines an offer, the department must inform the Graduate Admissions Office and provide verification in writing from the student, or other reliable source from the department, that the student has declined the offer before the exception can be used again.

Departments are required to use their admissions exceptions prior to sending applicant files to the Graduate Admissions Committee for review.

Last Updated: 7/13/17