Jul 17, 2024  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 

Admission & Registration Information

The UNLV Graduate College welcomes applicants from all over the nation and the world to join our community of scholars. Our more than 125 graduate programs provide an outstanding opportunity for advanced study in numerous areas of research and creative activity. Admission to the Graduate College at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is competitive. The rules and criteria established by the Board of Regents, University, Graduate College, and individual graduate programs determine admissibility. Applicants must meet minimum admissions requirements as established by the Graduate College; once they do so, the graduate program makes their final recommendations on admission based on the application materials required by the department.

The Graduate College processes applications and supporting materials as they are received. Application deadlines vary by department; applicants should contact the department where they are seeking admission to get this information. In consultation with the Graduate College, departments have the right to establish additional admission standards and criteria. It is the responsibility of the applicant to contact the appropriate department for information on additional departmental admission requirements. Please note that applicants must submit admissions materials to both the Graduate College and their graduate program of interest simultaneously in order to apply for admission. The process below describes the Graduate College requirements; please also follow the requirements, guidelines and deadlines of your degree program of interest.

UNLV is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504 institution. All qualified applicants to the Graduate College, and admitted students, will receive equal consideration without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or covered US veteran status.

Policies & Procedures 

Admission Requirements
Admission Status and Classification of Students
Grading System
Immunization Requirement
Nevada Residency
Registration Policies
Transcripts of Credit

Admission Requirements

Requirements for Domestic Applicants

Applicants must meet the following academic requirements:

  1. Hold a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution or an approved equivalent.
  2. Have a minimum overall undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 (4.00=A), or a minimum 3.00 GPA (4.00=A) for the last two years (60 semester credits) of study.

Policy on English Proficiency Requirement for Graduate Admissions

International applicants must provide proof of English proficiency. Applicants are exempt from this requirement if they are from countries where English is the native language. Applicants who received a post‐secondary degree from an institution where English is the language of instruction are also exempt from this requirement.

Acceptable official documents submitted by the testing agency:
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • Internet‐based: Total minimum score 80.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

  • Minimum score: 7

Michigan Test of English Language Placement (MTELP)

  • Minimum score: 85

Graduate departments may require a higher minimum score for admission.


With the support of the academic department, the Graduate College may accept the following scores for applicants with cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher (4.0 scale). In addition to the GPA requirement, the academic department must provide evidence of academic excellence as rationale for such an exception.

Any requests for exceptions must be submitted to the Graduate College with support from the academic department/unit chair and graduate coordinator. Scores lower than the following will NOT be considered for exception:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • Paper‐based minimum score: 547
  • Computer‐based minimum score: 210
  • Internet‐based: 77

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

  • Minimum score: 6.5

Michigan Test of English Language Placement (MTELP)

  • Minimum score: 80

Any students admitted on exception will be required to visit with the UNLV English Language Center (ELC) for an assessment upon arriving on campus and take any courses prescribed by the ELC to remedy any English language deficiencies. Failure to complete prescribed courses within the time frame stipulated by the ELC will result in separation from the University.

Requirements and Procedures for International Applicants

Credentials not written in English must be accompanied by an English translation certified as true by a university official, an official representative of a United States embassy or consulate, the United States Information Service, the United States Education Foundation, or an approved professional translating service. Notarized copies of originals or translations are not considered official.

International applicants must submit a completed Certification form and Bank Letter to the Office of International Students & Scholars, must satisfy the financial eligibility requirements, and receive their Letter of Admission from the Graduate College by July 1 if admitted for fall semester and November 15 if admitted for the spring semester before an I-20 will be issued.

For information concerning matters not related directly to the degree program (housing, fees, etc.), contact the Office of International Students and Scholars. Once admitted, international students must consult with this office and their academic advisor.

Application Procedures for Domestic and International Applicants

To be considered for admission, prospective students must complete two simultaneous application processes: one in the Graduate College and the other in the department that offers your program of study. The Graduate College requires the same application and admission materials from all prospective graduate students, regardless of department of interest. Individual academic departments may require satisfactory composite scores on standardized tests, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, portfolio, or any combination of these or other items. Because departmental requirements vary, please refer to your department of interest for specific application requirements and deadlines.

To apply to the Graduate College, submit the following admission materials for consideration:

  • A completed application: The application is available for you to fill-out online by selecting the “Apply Yourself Application” link on the Graduate College homepage at http://graduatecollege.unlv.edu.
  • A nonrefundable admission application fee, payable to the UNLV Board of Regents by check, money order, or online by credit card.

*Note: Applications and materials will not be processed until the application fee is received.  Applicants to multiple UNLV graduate programs must pay the admission application evaluation fee for each application filed. Denied applicants, who later seek admission to the same or other UNLV degree program, are required to pay a new application fee to cover processing.

  • One transcript from every post-secondary institution the applicant has attended (whether or not a degree was earned), showing all  coursework, extension and correspondence work, any degrees earned, and the dates that those degrees were awarded. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted as part of the application process. However, if an applicant is admitted, official transcripts will be required by the date specified on the Certificate of Admission.
  • All new applicants (international and domestic), EXCEPT those applying to programs in the College of Engineering or to Management Information Systems or Economics, are required to provide a course-by-course evaluation of all foreign credentials from one of the external evaluating agencies listed below. Foreign credentials refer to transcripts from educational institutions outside the United States. When ordering your foreign credential evaluation, please be sure that your grade point average (GPA) is calculated and included in your agency evaluation.
    • The UNLV Graduate College accepts foreign credential evaluations from any current member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) with a course-by-course evaluation and grade point average (GPA) included. For a list of all current members, please visit their website.

    • Our preferred list of foreign credential evaluation companies includes:

      • World Education Services

      • Educational Credential Evaluators

      • International Education Research Foundation

      • Josef Silny & Associates

      • Educational Perspectives

      • International Academic Credential Evaluators

  • Beginning in the Fall 2015 semester, all applicants to any UNLV graduate program who have received degrees from the specified list of schools are exempt from the foreign credential evaluation requirement, unless the UNLV Graduate College has concerns or questions about the validity or content of transcripts.

*Note: Only transcripts sent directly from the institution are considered official. Failure to disclose all course work and/or degrees awarded will result in rescission of admission.

Send Graduate College admission materials to:

University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Graduate College
FDH 352 Box 451017
4505 S. Maryland Parkway,
Las Vegas, NV 89154-1017

Mailing addresses for specific graduate programs are available on department websites via the Graduate College website. Applicants must submit admission materials to your department of interest by their deadline. Because departmental requirements vary, please be sure to refer to your department of interest for specific application requirements. Many graduate programs require some or all of the following documentation:

  • One official transcript from all post-secondary institutions attended, showing all degrees and the dates awarded and extension and correspondence work. Only transcripts sent directly from the institution are considered official. Some  departments only require unofficial transcripts; please check with your department of interest to confirm.
  • Letters of recommendation sent by former instructors, employers, or other professionals who can evaluate the applicant’s potential to complete graduate study.
  • Resume, portfolio, etc. Some departments may request additional materials (i.e., resume, portfolio, statement of purpose, writing samples, and the like).

Standardized test scores. In addition, some departments may require satisfactory composite scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Miller Analogies Test (MAT), or other standardized tests.  Some examinations are given only four or five times a year and require that registration be completed a minimum of six weeks prior to the test date. With the exception of the Miller Analogies Test (MAT), students may take the required tests online, or at other colleges or universities if taking them at UNLV is inconvenient for the applicant.

The Admission Process

  1. A Student Admission File is created upon receipt of an admission application and fee.  To avoid processing delays, students must submit the online admission application and fee prior to sending additional materials (i.e., transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, etc.) and we encourage you to submit unofficial transcripts with your application to decrease processing time. Applicants are responsible for making sure the Graduate College and department receive the appropriate credentials by the required deadlines. All application materials, including transcripts, become the property of the university and may not be released to the applicant or any individual.
  2. The Graduate College evaluates the application materials and forwards the initial evaluation to the department for review. The department will make a recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate College for approval. Early submission of all application materials to the Graduate College and department simultaneously, facilitates a more expeditious review process.
  3. Applicants will be notified of their admission status on their Apply Yourself page (online). Those accepted to pursue a UNLV graduate degree will receive an electronic Letter of Admission from the Graduate College, which will be posted in their Apply Yourself application. The Letter of Admission is an important document that the student should retain.
  4. The student must then log into their MyUNLV account and accept his/her admission. Students who do not accept admission will not be able to enroll in courses.
  5. The admission process is only completed upon enrollment in graduate-level courses for the specified term and degree program indicated on the Letter of Admission. Failure to enroll or subsequent withdrawal from all course work; during the semester of admission will void the Letter of Admission and result in the student’s separation from their graduate program.
  6. If an applicant does not complete their admission process, the student must reapply and submit another application processing fee to be considered for admission in a future semester. Materials from the previous application, such as official transcripts, may be used if they are still on file with the Graduate College. Official transcripts are kept within the Graduate College for a minimum of one year.

Note: Occasionally a student may be admitted with deficient undergraduate preparation contingent on the deficiency being corrected by completing one or two undergraduate courses early in the graduate program. A student may also be required to register for internship credits, or related graduate coursework, to remedy a deficiency related to lack of work experience or field experience prior to admission. Students needing more than two courses are advised to consult with the department for a recommendation on which courses they should take to meet the prerequisite admission requirements. These courses taken to remedy deficiencies identified at admission will not be applied toward the advanced degree. Most College of Education departments require a minimum of 18 undergraduate credit hours in professional education courses. Nevada professional certification may be considered as fulfilling this requirement.

Transfer Work

Any courses used to fulfill requirements for one degree (at UNLV or elsewhere) may not be used toward another degree. For UNLV Non-Degree Seeking graduate students, a maximum of 15 graduate credits (with grades of B or better) taken at UNLV may be applied toward a graduate program, with the approval of the student’s department and the graduate dean. Graduate work from other regionally accredited institutions with a grade of B or higher (3.00, A=4.00) may be transferable into a degree program subject to departmental and Graduate Dean approval. Grades of B-or lower, and courses graded on a satisfactory pass/fail basis, are not transferable into graduate degree programs. With the department and Graduate College approvals, no more than one-third of the minimum number of credits required for the degree (not including credits for thesis, dissertation, and professional/scholarly papers) may be transferred from a regionally accredited graduate degree granting institution.

Second Admission or Readmission to the Graduate College

Students may apply for a second master’s degree (in a different department) or a doctoral degree after completing a master’s degree. In these cases, students must submit a new application for admission, the required admission processing fee, and all supporting credentials required by the Graduate College and the new department or program.

If a student is admitted to a graduate program but fails to complete that program, and this happens two times in two different programs, that same student may not be eligible for future admission to the Graduate College.

Change of Department

Students are admitted to pursue an advanced degree in a specific department or program. To change to another department or program, students must submit a new application for admission, the required application fee, and all necessary admission credentials to the Graduate College. Upon admission, the student must withdraw in writing from the original department. Graduate students may not be enrolled in two degree programs simultaneously unless they are admitted to a designated dual graduate degree program or they have received special permission from the Graduate College dean.

Application Fraud and Revocation of Admission

We assume that the information provided on the application for admission is complete and accurate. Subsequent evidence to the contrary may result in the admission being revoked and the loss of any credit or degree stemming from the admission. To reapply for admission after a revocation, a new application and fee are required. Students should contact the Graduate College and their department of interest to determine what additional materials are needed. Materials from the previous application, such as official transcripts, may be used if they are still on file with the Graduate College. Official transcripts are kept within the Graduate College for a minimum of one year. 

Admission Status and Classification of Students 

Full Graduate Standing

Students accepted to pursue a program leading to an advanced degree are classified as having Full Graduate Standing. The Full Graduate Standing classification allows students to plan and matriculate in a degree program, to request formation of an advisory committee, and to be assigned or select a faculty advisor, depending on the degree program.

Provisional Graduate Standing

Students whose previous academic records are not strong enough to merit Full Graduate Standing may be granted probationary admission and classified as Graduate Provisional. This classification does not apply to students with deficiencies or insufficient undergraduate credits in the chosen field of study. The Graduate College and the student’s department determine placement in this classification.

A provisional student must complete nine credit hours of graduate-level course work selected by the department and listed on the Certificate of Admission. The student must complete this course work within one year of admission, with grades of B or higher (B- grades are unacceptable) before taking additional course work. Failure to complete the required course work in the specified period or earning a grade less than B (3.00) will automatically revoke the student’s admission.

When the Graduate College receives confirmation of the appropriate grades being earned in the required course work, the student will be given Graduate Standing status. A student may only be admitted as a Graduate Provisional student once.

Conditional Admission

A Conditional Admission status does not reflect an applicant’s ability to conduct graduate-level work, but is granted when the applicant must complete course deficiencies as part of the or  meet some additional requirements before finalizing admission, i.e., a final transcript of course work in progress while applying for admission, a missing letter of recommendation or standardized test score, etc.. Full Graduate Standing or Graduate Provisional students may also be classified as Conditional Admission. The Certificate of Admission will specify which requirements must be met and the date by which they must be met in order to maintain admission to the program. Failure to meet the condition(s) will automatically cancel the student’s admission and result in separation from the student’s graduate program.

Non-Degree Seeking Graduate Students

The Non-Degree Seeking Student status is assigned to individuals with baccalaureate degrees who wish to take graduate courses but not yet pursue an advanced degree. Applications for admission as a Non-Degree Seeking Graduate Student are processed through the Graduate College. Generally, Non-Degree Seeking Students may enroll in up to 12 credit hours per semester, but they are not eligible for federal financial aid or Graduate College scholarships or fellowships.

Graduate programs and faculty determine whether non-degree seeking graduate students may enroll in their graduate courses. Department faculty are responsible for determining the adequacy of preparation of Non-Degree Seeking Students before allowing them to take upper-division or graduate courses which are open to Non-Degree Seeking Graduate Students. The student should check with the department about graduate courses accessible to Non-Degree Seeking Students. It is the student’s responsibility to provide proof of adequate preparation.

A Non-Degree Seeking Graduate Student wishing to seek a degree must apply for admission to the Graduate College and pay an application processing fee. Non-Degree Seeking Graduate Students may transfer up to fifteen UNLV credits with grades of B or higher into a degree program. Courses taken as a Non-Degree Seeking Graduate Student count toward the degree program at the discretion of the graduate coordinator, and/or department chair, and Graduate Dean.

Undergraduates Taking Graduate-Level Courses

Undergraduates with a minimum of 90 semester hours of credit and a 3 .00 or higher grade point average may enroll in graduate courses. Students in the Honors Program must have a minimum of 45 semester hours of credit and a 3.00 or higher grade point average. The Approval for an Undergraduate to Enroll in Graduate-Level Course Work Form must be completed and necessary signatures obtained and approved by the Graduate College prior to registration. Students may enroll in up to six hours of graduate-level courses during one semester.

Reserving Courses for Graduate Credit. Upon approval, and pursuant to the policy above, UNLV undergraduates may take 500/600/700-level course work and reserve the credits earned for possible use in an advanced degree program. Course work reserved for graduate credit may not be used to satisfy baccalaureate degree requirements.

Graduate Courses for Undergraduate Credit. Upon approval, and pursuant to the policy above, UNLV undergraduates may take 600/700-level course work for use in an undergraduate degree program. Courses used in an undergraduate program may not be applied toward an advanced degree at a later date. 

Immunization Requirement 

Nevada state law requires all University of Nevada, Las Vegas graduate students to submit proof of immunization before they may register for classes. New students are required to provide proof of immunity to remove a registration hold. All students regardless of age must provide documentation of immunization within the last 10 years for Tetanus‑Diphtheria (TD). Students born in or after 1957 must provide documentation of immunity for two doses of live measles (Rubeola), one mumps, and one Rubella vaccination. If you do not have documentation, then you will need to re-establish immunizations before you can attend classes. Proof of immunity should be sent to the Admissions Office for processing. For further information, contact Admissions at (702) 774-UNLV (http://web.unlv.edu/admissions/immunizations.html) or contact the UNLV Student Health Center at (702) 895-3370.

Nevada Residency 

The UNLV Office of Admissions determines the Nevada residency of graduate students according Board of Regents regulations and the laws of the State of Nevada. Persons, such as Nevada certified school teachers and Armed Forces personnel stationed in Nevada, are normally accorded residency status. A full statement of the regulations is available online

Registration Policies 

The University outlines specific registration procedures in the Registrar’s Calendars and Schedules page, which is updated prior to each semester by the Registrar’s Office. Students must register for classes using the procedures outlined in the class schedule including enrolling by the dates and times specified for each semester or special session. Students paying fees after the date and time specified in the schedule may be charged a late fee. An administrative drop may result for nonpayment of fees. The registration or enrollment of a student ineligible to attend the University is subject to immediate cancellation. A full-time graduate student is one who is enrolled in nine or more semester credits, or six credits per semester for UNLV graduate assistants.

Adding or Dropping Classes

Students may add or drop a course up to the close of the late registration period. After this date, and with approval, students may make changes only when the circumstance is sufficiently extraordinary to warrant an exception.

Dropping/Withdrawing From Classes

The terms drop and withdraw are used interchangeably. The academic policies and calendar dates for dropping and withdrawing are the same. Drop generally refers to dropping one or more courses during a given semester. Withdrawal generally refers to the act of dropping all courses during a given semester.

A student may drop or withdraw from full semester courses during the free drop period (first ten weeks of the fall or spring semester) without a grade. The instructor must provide a preliminary evaluation of the student’s grade before the end of the free drop period. No drops or withdrawals will be permitted after the end of the free drop period as published in the current class schedule (see Grades and Examinations). Refer to the appropriate class schedule for drop dates for special modular courses, short courses, extended education and summer term courses. Students who stop attending class and fail to file an official drop request form with the Registrar will receive a grade of F.

Students who wish to withdraw from all classes must obtain a Withdrawal form from the Registrar’s Office, obtain all required signatures, and return the form to the Registrar’s Office. The withdrawal is official only after the Registrar’s Office accepts it.

A student who has officially dropped a class and who is no longer registered for credit or audit is ineligible for further attendance in that class.

Cancellation of Registration

The University reserves the right to cancel any registration in specific courses for which the student is ineligible. The registration of any student who is ineligible to attend the University is subject to immediate cancellation. The University also reserves the right to cancel the registration of an individual whose attendance, in the opinion of the appropriate administrative officials, would not be mutually beneficial to that person and to the institution.

Cancellation of Courses and Programs

The University reserves the right to cancel any registration in which the enrollment is insufficient to warrant offering the course and/or to eliminate, cancel, phase out or reduce in size courses and/or programs for financial, curricular or programmatic reasons.

Repeat Policy

Any course may be repeated, regardless of the grade received. Credit will be allowed only once for successful completion of the course, except for courses designated in the catalog as allowable repeats; these course may be repeated only up to the maximum number allowed in the catalog and MyUNLV system. A student may repeat any UNLV course once at UNLV and not have the original grade included in the computation of the grade point average. The repeat grade must be on the same grading option as the original grade. The original grade will remain on the student’s academic record with suitable notation. For courses repeated prior to February 1971, both the original grade and the repeat grade are included in the grade point average. Students are responsible for providing the Registrar’s Office with written notification when a repeat course is completed. Computer-printed grade reports may not initially compensate for repeated courses. Grade point averages, credits attempted, and credits earned will be manually adjusted.

 When a course is repeated more than once, only the original grade is omitted in computing the grade point average. The fact that UNLV has granted a degree to a student shall not preclude the student’s right to repeat a course for the purpose of improving a grade. However, class standing will not be affected by the results. A student receiving a final grade of ‘F’ in a course can obtain credit by pre-registering for the course, repeating the class work, and receiving a passing grade.

A failed course cannot be challenged by examination. A failed course does not have to be repeated unless the course is a specific college or department requirement. A student may be allowed to repeat any course once and not have the original grade computed in the graduation GPA. If a course is repeated more than once, only the original grade is omitted in computing the graduation GPA.

Unit of Credit

The unit of credit, or semester hour, is generally defined as one 50-minute lecture per week for a semester. Two or three laboratory hours per week, depending on the amount of outside preparation required, usually carries the same credit as one lecture hour. Please note that graduate courses that are cross-listed with undergraduate courses may require a graduate student to meet for some limited, additional hours to fulfill course requirements as indicated on the course syllabus.

Course Numbers

Graduate-level courses are numbered 500-799. Undergraduate-level courses are numbered 100-499. Some graduate level courses are not usable for graduate credits. One example of this are courses with an RPDP prefix; these are non-graduate credit granting courses and are indicated as such on the UNLV transcript.


Numbers separated by a hyphen indicate courses which must be taken in sequence. The first semester is prerequisite for the second, for example, 701-702. Numbers separated by a comma indicate courses which may be taken one without the other, for example (701, 702). Various areas of the same course may be taken for credit. They are indicated by letters, for example A., B., etc.

Grading System 

A candidate for an advanced degree must have a minimum Graduate Program Grade Point Average of 3.00 to be eligible to graduate. The Graduate Program GPA, computed by the Graduate College, includes all completed graduate course work accepted at admission and all subsequently approved course work that is being applied toward a degree. Please note that the Graduate Program GPA does not appear on a student’s transcript; a student’s Cumulative Graduate GPA is posted on her/his transcript and is calculated from all graduate level course work ever taken at UNLV.

The following symbols are used in reporting and recording graduate student grades:

A Superior (4.0)
B   Passing (3.0)
C    Average (2.0)
D Below Average (1.0)
F Failing
AD Audit (not graded, no credit toward GPA)
I    Incomplete (expires after one year; if not grade is submitted in that time frame, the ‘I’ will default to an ‘F’ grade)
S   Satisfactory
X Hold: Grade is submitted upon completion of Thesis or Dissertation or Professional Paper

Note: Faculty members have the option of using plus (+) and minus (-) for grades of A, B, C, and D. Exception: A+ grades are not given. Please also note that at the graduate level, grades below a B are generally considered unacceptable. Graduate students must have a 3.0 GPA in order to qualify for graduation.

I or Incomplete Grade
The following regulations apply to the ‘I’ or Incomplete grade:

  1. The ‘I’ grade is used for content/lecture type courses (not thesis, dissertation, or professional paper credits) designed to be completed within one year in instances where the student has completed the majority of the semester course work, but is unable to complete all of the requirements with good cause. The professor is responsible for determining if the reason for non-completion is satisfactory, if an Incomplete grade is appropriate, and the terms of the Incomplete, including what the student needs to do to successfully complete the course requirements and earn a final grade.
  2. An ‘I’ may only be given when a minor part of the course work remains incomplete, and the majority of the coursework has been completed with a cumulative average of ‘B’ or better.
  3. Graduate students receiving an ‘I’ grade in 500, 600- or 700 level courses have one calendar year to complete all course requirements and remove the ‘I’ grade; however, the instructor may require that it be made up in less time. If course requirements are not completed within one year, the Registrar’s Office will automatically record a grade of ‘F’. Note that graduate students taking an “I” in an undergraduate class must complete the coursework within one semester or the “I” will default to an “F.”

S or F (Satisfactory or Failing) Grades
The Satisfactory (S) or Failing (F) mark is used upon completion of the thesis, dissertation, professional paper or for noncredit or satisfactory/fail courses. Grade-point values are not assigned for S. Many graduate and professional schools may not accept satisfactory/fail credits, or accept them only if accompanied by written evaluations of the work accomplished in such courses that bear upon the field of specialization. Additional evidence such as GRE or other advanced test results may also be required. UNLV does not accept graduate courses graded satisfactory/fail for use in a degree program except for thesis, dissertation, or professional paper credits.

Transcripts of Credit 

Official transcripts bear the University Seal, the Registrar’s signature, and reflect all academic work attempted at UNLV. Upon written request, the Office of the Registrar will issue official UNLV transcripts. Requests should be made at least one week before the date the transcripts are needed. The Registrar will not issue transcripts for any student having a delinquent indebtedness to the University. In addition, transcripts of work from other institutions will not be issued. Work in progress does not appear on the transcript until the semester or registration period officially ends. Transcripts are not prepared during final examination, grade recording, and registration periods.