ARTICLE I. ADMISSIONS
Section 1. Admission to the Graduate School
Any graduate with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0, an undergraduate baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, or any international student with equivalent qualifications is eligible to apply for admission to the Graduate School.
Graduate work is under the jurisdiction of the Graduate Faculty of various departments. A student is expected to have adequate undergraduate training in the field in which the individual plans to do graduate work. If a student's training is found to be inadequate, the individual will be required to take such additional courses as the department may prescribe.
Admission to the Graduate School does not automatically admit a student to candidacy for an advanced degree.
Graduate admission is processed by the university's Office of Admission located in the Administration Building, 2400 Sixth Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20059. Applicants start the application process via a designated CAS system. For students whose native language is not English, the minimum TOEFL score for admission is (233 on the computer scale)*. Individual graduate programs, departments and schools/colleges may require additional submissions from applicants. Please contact the graduate programs for any additional information.
*Unless otherwise specified, all references in this document to “department” should be construed to refer to the “Committee on Graduate Studies.” The Graduate School may, from time to time, update the minimum TOEFL exam score to reflect changes in the quality and coverage of the TOEFL examination.
Once prospective students decide which program of study they would like to apply, they are responsible for paying Howard University’s application fee. Please note: All the CAS portals also have a fee associated with them that the student is also responsible for paying.
Section 2. Admissions to the Department
The department in which the student plans to study shall determine whether the student meets the qualifications for admission to graduate study in that particular department. In addition to other requested materials, the applicant shall provide the Office of Admission, via the online CAS system, a complete transcript of academic performance of work done at Howard and/or other institutions of higher education that the applicant has attended. Upon receipt of the completed application, the Office of Admission shall determine whether the student meets the general Graduate School admission requirements. The Office of Admission shall notify the department and shall request that the department evaluate the students’ credentials. The department shall communicate its decision to the Office of Admission, which will then communicate with the student.
If an applicant is seeking admission into an M.D. / Ph.D. program, the individual must be accepted into both the College of Medicine and the Graduate School. The applicant must meet all criteria for acceptance into the College of Medicine and the Graduate School. Similarly, if an applicant is seeking admission into an interdisciplinary program or a graduate certificate program, the rules of admission for the Graduate School and participating units will apply.
In those cases where a graduate student wishes to transfer from one graduate program in the Graduate School to another, he/she must submit an appropriate application to the Office of Admission and receive approval of the department in which he/she wishes to enroll. Unless approved by the Board of Trustees, a student may not matriculate simultaneously in two graduate programs.
Section 3. Departmental Admissions Committee
Each department shall have a Departmental Admissions Committee composed of Graduate Faculty members. This committee and other interested departmental faculty members shall scrutinize the credentials of applicants and make recommendations concerning admissions decisions. Departmental admission decisions are then submitted to the Graduate School. The Dean or the Dean’s designee will notify the applicant concerning the status of the application.
Section 4. Committee on Graduate Studies
Each department shall have a Committee on Graduate Studies consisting only of current Graduate Faculty members. The chair of this committee must be a member of the Graduate Faculty. Among the responsibilities of this committee are the following: (a) the performance of an annual review of the academic progress of each graduate student in the department; the names of those students who have been found to be in academic jeopardy shall be reported to the Graduate School (see also: Article V, Section 4 and Article VI, Section 3); and (b) the recommendation to the Dean of external examiners on oral defense committees whose status is comparable to that of members of the Graduate Faculty who also serve on such committees (see also: Article VI, Section 8).
Section 5. Categories of Admissions
A. Degree-Regular Student
- Applicants who meet the stated requirements for admission to a graduate program in the Graduate School shall be accepted as regular students. Students with a minimum cumulative grade point average greater to or equal to 3.0 and a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, (including any international student with equivalent qualifications,) are eligible to apply for admission to the Graduate School as a regular student.
B. Degree-Provisional Student
- Applicants who have deficiencies in preparation or scholarship but are judged by the department to be capable of completing a graduate degree program may be accepted on a provisional basis. The student in this category will be allowed to take a maximum of ten (9) credit hours per semester for a maximum of two semesters and shall also satisfy all special requirements set by the department before the student may qualify for admission as a regular degree student. Upon review of the conditions established at the time of admission, the Committee on Graduate Studies may recommend to the Dean that the status of the provisional student be changed to that of a regular student. Failure to meet requirements of the provisional admission within two semesters will result in dismissal from the graduate program.
C. Unclassified Student (Non-Degree Student)
- An unclassified status is an elected category for the student who wishes to pursue “course work only.” The applicant must meet all general admission requirements and any additional requirements prescribed by the department. A non-degree student, upon approval and recommendation of the department, may qualify for another category of admission in the Graduate School. Departments will determine the number of non-degree students they can accept on a yearly basis. Students may transfer no more than two (2) courses earned as a non-degree student to a degree program.
Section 6. Academic and Research Advisement
Each department/program shall provide graduate faculty advisement for students in the Graduate School. All graduate students must be assigned an advisor by the end of their first semester in residence. Departments will assign each incoming graduate student an academic advisor who will assist in academic planning throughout matriculation and development of a Program of Study. The student shall also be given a copy of the departmental/program handbook and/or rules and regulations as applicable. In the absence of a faculty advisor, the department/program Chair or the Director of Graduate Studies becomes the student’s temporary advisor. It is the responsibility of the student to secure a permanent faculty advisor by their first semester in residence.
Departments/programs must keep students apprised of their academic progress in their degree program. Faculty advisors must meet with their advisees each semester, prior to registration, to review their program of study. Faculty advisors should directly communicate orally and in writing if students are demonstrating academic difficulties and should keep a written record of all such communications on the Program of Study form. A communicate of unsatisfactory progress should be sent in writing and/or via university electronic mail to the student. The purpose of the notification is to provide the student with a period of time (usually at least one academic semester) in which to make the necessary improvement in his/her academic status. The notice should include, but not limited to, details of areas of improvement, and information on future expectations of academic progress.
A detailed roster that reports an up-to-date status of all graduate students and their academic advisors must be sent to the Graduate School by the end of each academic year.
Graduate students and/or the department/program must seek a research advisor who will assist students in research activities related to the thesis and dissertation processes. A detailed roster that reports an up-to-date status of all graduate students and their research advisor must be sent to the Graduate School at the end of each academic semester. If changes have been made, they must be reflected on the report.
Prior to advancement to candidacy, each department shall ensure that a graduate faculty research adviser has been assigned to students in the Graduate School. The process of how this is done, unless otherwise notified by the Graduate Dean, is graduate program specific. If changes have been made regarding a faculty advisor assignment, they must be reported to the Graduate School.
Section 7. Academic Dismissal and Readmission to the Graduate School
Academic Dismissal of graduate students is at the discretion of the Dean of the Graduate School. Academic dismissal refers to a student who, for one or more academic reasons, no longer eligible to continue graduate study in her/his graduate program. The term “dismissal” should not be confused with “suspension.” Suspension is a University administrative action resulting in removal from graduate study based on academic record, behavior, or conduct, and is governed by the Office of Enrollment Management and Division of Student Affairs respectively. A graduate student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress may be officially dismissed from the university, in writing and/or via university electronic mail, only by the Graduate Dean and in accordance with the procedures outlined in this section.
If dismissed from a graduate program, a student is no longer eligible to work toward their current degree objective in their program of study, but is eligible, in some situations, to apply for a lesser graduate degree; in the case of a doctoral student, only in their current department/ program. In such cases, the student must seek approval from the program’s Graduate Studies Committee and if approved must officially apply to that program. Admission to another program is to be determined by the usual program’s admissions procedures and must include consideration of the factors pertaining to the earlier dismissal. Dismissal from a graduate program maybe, but is not limited to the following reasons:
- Dismissal based on Failure of the Comprehensive/Qualifying Examination: A graduate student who fails the Comprehensive/Qualifying Examination for a master’s/doctoral degree after a second attempt will be automatically dismissed upon official notification from the Dean of the Graduate School. There are no exceptions. Notifications are typically sent out within 15 days of receipt of the report from the department/program.
- Dismissal based on Failure of Thesis/Dissertation Oral Defense: A graduate student who fails the oral defense for a master’s/doctoral degree after a second attempt will be automatically dismissed upon official notification from the Dean of the Graduate School. There are no exceptions. Notifications are typically sent out within 15 days of receipt of the report from the thesis/dissertation committee.
- Dismissal based on Unsatisfactory Progress: A Chair may recommend the dismissal of a graduate student who fails to make satisfactory progress in their program of study. After consultation with the student’s faculty advisor, the Graduate Dean may send a notification of academic dismissal to a student as determined by any of the factors noted in this section or other section in this manual on unsatisfactory Progress (i.e., course grades, cumulative grade point average, time to degree).
- Notification of Academic Dismissal: The student's academic record is reviewed carefully by the Graduate Dean in consultation with the student's faculty advisor and Chair. Unless there are indications of administrative procedural error or other factors to explain the student's unsatisfactory record, the Graduate Dean will notify the student of the action in writing. The student, unless otherwise notified that this option is not available, has 30 calendar days from the date on the letter to appeal this action in writing.
Any student dismissed for reasons other than the second failure of the comprehensive examination, or the oral defense of the thesis/ dissertation may seek readmission to the Graduate School. First, the student must complete an application to the Office of Admission and include a complete record of prior academic performance at Howard University. Second, the student must submit a written request for readmission to the Graduate Dean of the Graduate School. Third, the student must receive approval for readmission from the Graduate Dean of the Graduate School and from the department in which the student wishes to enroll. Reinstatement requires fulfillment of conditions formulated by the department in which the student is a degree candidate and approved by the Graduate Dean. Following approval, the Graduate Dean will notify the student of these conditions.
A period of at least one semester must elapse between the students’ dismissal and his/her re-admittance. It is important to note that re-admittance is not guaranteed. A student who fails the comprehensive examination or the final oral examination in defense of the thesis or dissertation a second time will be dropped from the Graduate School and is ineligible for readmission. (See: Article VII: Appeal of Academic Decisions).
Returning students who were absent from, or not registered at, the University for one entire semester (summer session not included) are required to apply for readmission as a former student returning (FSR). It is important to note that re-admittance is not guaranteed. FSR’s must reapply using the BisonWeb portal. Students must reapply 30 days prior to the first day of registration for the upcoming term.
A. Medical Clearance
All new transfer and returning students must contact Med+Proctor for their medical record review. A description of the steps may be found on their website which is linked below. Med+Proctor will assist obtaining students’ medical clearance.
Section 8. Pursuit of an Advanced Degree by a Graduate Faculty Member
An individual who holds an appointment as a member of the graduate faculty must inform the Graduate School of the intent to apply to a graduate program to pursue an advanced degree at the university to ensure there is no conflict of interest. If the faculty member is admitted to a program and matriculates, an annual conflict of interest statement must be submitted to the Graduate Dean or a designee. Faculty members may enroll in courses for credit without notice if the course enrollment will not be applied toward fulfillment of requirements for a graduate degree at Howard University.