Frequently asked questions for faculty and staff have been organized into subtopics (admissions, graduate coordinators, and enrolled students). View questions and answers below.

FAQs about Admissions

Can we admit an international applicant with TOEFL scores below the minimum requirements?

No, international applicants must score the minimum required on the TOEFL exam before the acceptance recommendation can be finalized. Students that do not score the minimums required will have difficulty in the classroom. Applicants can take the TOEFL more than once. The Graduate School will use the highest subscores from each test.

Can we waive the TOEFL requirement for an applicant?

Some international applicants will not be required to submit the TOEFL. Be sure to check English language proficiency requirements. If the applicant does not automatically receive a waiver and you feel the applicant should receive a waiver, the Graduate Coordinator must write a letter to the Graduate School with the specific reasons why s/he feels the applicant should not be required to take the TOEFL exam. A decision will be made by the Associate Director. Both the applicant and department will be notified via tracking of the decision.

Is it possible to move an application back to an earlier semester?

This can only be done before the end of add/drop in the term the applicant applied for originally. You must change the admission term when you submit the electronic recommendation. You can enter the correct term in the “change admission term” field. Graduate Admissions will process the change when we finalize the recommendation.

The deadline for submitting fall applications has passed, but I have a prospective applicant that I’d like to admit for Fall Semester. Will you let the applicant apply late?

No applications can be submitted after the deadline. However, it is possible for the department to request admission for the upcoming semester for an applicant who applied for a later term. The department must change the matriculation date on the electronic recommendation screen when submitting the recommendation for admission. All recommendations should be made by the first day of classes for the desired semester. Exceptions will be made on recommendations submitted after the first day of classes on a case by case basis.

Why can’t my new student register?

If the Graduate School flags a student’s registration, the reason will appear on the acceptance letter. The student must submit any required documents to our office before registration. If the student cannot provide the document, s/he must contact our office by email at

An applicant’s file is incomplete on tracking, but I’d like to refuse this person. When can I do so?

In order to ensure that all applicants receive a fair and equitable review, it is the policy of the Graduate School to only allow decisions on complete files prior to the first day of classes for the requested semester. Complete files are defined as follows.

For domestic applicants: receipt of official test scores and official transcripts from all degree-granting institutions (denoted as a “Y” in the “Admissions Awaiting Dept. Recommendation” column on tracking).
For international applicants: receipt of official test scores (denoted as a “T” in the “Admissions Awaiting Dept. Recommendation” column on tracking).

Files which are incomplete at the beginning of the semester for which the applicant has applied may be refused during the “open refusal” period. This is a seven-day period which lasts from the first day of class until the end of ATHENA registration. At this time the Graduate School will accept refusals on any incomplete files for that term.

What is the deadline for submitting a decision for an applicant?

Academic departments may submit decisions on files until the end of the ATHENA registration period for that semester. After ATHENA registration has ended, students may be admitted during an additional 7-day period known as Late Add. Students admitted during this time frame will not be able to register through ATHENA and must complete manual “walk-thru” registration add slips and pay late fees through the Registrar’s Office.

What is the GRE waiver policy?

If an applicant has already earned a PhD or EdD degree from a regionally-accredited institution, the entrance exam may be waived at the discretion of the academic department. The graduate coordinator or assistant should email the Graduate Admissions Office with a statement that faculty are willing to review the applicant’s file without entrance exam scores. Note: A Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and a Medical Doctorate (MD) degree are professional degrees and do not necessarily qualify for any entrance exam waiver.

Can the applicant whose entrance test scores have expired submit scores on file at another institution?

At the department’s discretion, expired GRE scores may be used towards an admissions application as follows: The applicant must furnish a sealed copy of the GRE scores in the issuing institution’s envelope to the Graduate Admissions Office. The score must be an official copy of the original score report and not a statement made on letterhead. The Graduate Admissions Office reserves the right to determine if the score report meets its definition of an “official copy.” Once the score is received, the expired score will be listed on the tracking with a special notation that it is expired. The score is then sent to the academic department for review. The score is not marked received unless the academic department emails the admissions office and indicates that the expired score is acceptable after the score is reviewed.

What are the Graduate School’s minimum test score requirements for admission?

The Graduate School sets suggested guidelines for entrance exam scores, but does not have “concrete” minimums. A list of the guidelines for GRE, MAT, GMAT and TOEFL scores may be obtained by emailing the Graduate Admissions Office.

FAQs about Graduate Coordinators

How does a department assign a new graduate coordinator for its graduate programs?

The department head must send a letter to the dean of the Graduate School to recommend the new coordinator. The letter must give the start date for the change and contact information for the new coordinator. After the dean has approved the request, the director of Graduate Admissions will provide access to admission systems and appropriate listservs.

How does a new graduate coordinator’s assistant receive access to Graduate Admissions tracking & recommendation systems?

The graduate coordinator must send an email to with the following information for the new assistant:
Full Name

FAQs about Enrolled Students

How can I obtain access to clear students in my department for advisement?

Access to the TSO Student Advisement System is provided to appropriate faculty and staff members by the Registrar’s Office.

Will the Graduate School clear graduate students’ advisement so they can register?

No, Graduate School staff cannot clear students for registration. It is recommended that at least two department staff or faculty members have the ability to clear advisement in the event of an unavoidable absence during registration periods.

What is the minimum enrollment requirement for graduate students who do not have assistantships?

Graduate students are required to register for a minimum of 3 hours for at least two semesters of each academic year (fall, spring, summer). This does not supersede other requirements such as those imposed by the Office of International Education, doctoral residency requirements or the requirement that doctoral students must register for 10 hours between admission to candidacy and graduation. For more detail, refer to the enrollment policy.

How can a student add a class after drop/add ends?

Courses should not be added after the ATHENA drop/add period ends. If an error occurred that requires that a course be added after that time, the student must bring a signed “Application to Make Late Schedule Revision-Add Only” form to the Graduate School with a petition letter stating why the course was not added during the legal period and how the student will catch up with the course materials. The graduate coordinator’s office can obtain these forms from the Registrar’s Office. If approved by the Graduate School, the student must then carry the form to the Bursar’s Office and the Registrar’s Office.

How do I notify the Graduate School of a doctoral student’s oral comprehensive preliminary exams or the final oral defense of the dissertation?

These exams can be announced to the Graduate School through the electronic form in the page of Scheduling Oral Comps & Dissertation Defenses.

Choose either “Announcement of Doctoral Oral Comprehensive Exam” or “Announcement of Doctoral Defense of the Dissertation.” Be sure to enter information in all fields. Choose “Send Announcement.” You will receive a confirmation number. Once the form is received by our staff, a copy of the notification will be sent to the department via e-mail.

Note that these announcements will be accepted only from the graduate coordinator’s office; they will not be accepted from the student.

Do I need to notify the Graduate School of a master’s oral defense of the thesis?

No, we do not announce thesis defenses to the university community.

Where can I find information regarding advisory committee composition for master of arts, master of science & doctoral degrees?

You can locate this information in the Graduate Coordinators’ Handbook. See pages 21-24 for information pertaining to topics such as co-major professors, adjunct faculty, retired faculty, former graduate faculty, non-affiliated persons on advisory committees and more.

If a student misses the deadline for submitting forms required for graduation (application for graduation, program of study, advisory committee, etc.), is it possible for the student to graduate in the current semester?

The student must submit the missing form(s), complete a late filing form, and pay a $50 late fee. Students have 45 days after the original deadline for submitting all necessary paperwork to our office. After the 45 days, their application for graduation will be processed for the next semester.

What do I do if a student does not make satisfactory progress in a research course or thesis / dissertation writing course?

It is not appropriate to assign an incomplete grade in a research or thesis / dissertation writing course (courses numbered 7000, 9000, 7300 or 9300). If it is known that the student is not able to fulfill the course requirements prior to midpoint, s/he should withdraw from the course. If the student does not withdraw, the instructor should assign a grade of U for that semester and the student should enroll for the course again at a later time.


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