Admission to Graduate Study
A graduate of an accredited college or university may be considered for admission to graduate study. The decision to admit a student rests with the applicant’s major department and stands for one year following the first semester for which admission was offered. If more than one year elapses, the prospective student’s department reserves the right to reconsider the original offer. Students wishing to pursue an interdisciplinary degree may, in some cases, apply to the program directly.
Applications for admission may be obtained on-line at the university’s graduate website or by writing to the department to which admission is sought, or writing to the office of the dean of the prospective college.
An applicant may enter the graduate program as a student in the following categories: regular, associate, or non-degree. Except for qualified Lehigh undergraduates, only those who have been admitted officially by the graduate program office of an appropriate college or by a department in one of the categories above may register for graduate courses or take them for credit.
Regular Graduate Students. Only regular graduate students are candidates for graduate degrees. Application for admission as a regular graduate student must be filed by July 15 for the following fall semester or by Dec. 1 for the spring semester. Regular graduate students wishing to begin in the summer must apply before April 30. Certain departments or programs have earlier deadlines. Applicants should consult their respective departments or their dean's office. In order to be considered for admission as a regular graduate student, the applicant must satisfy at least one of the following conditions: have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75 out of 4.00 (note: College of Education GPA minimum is 3.0); have an average of at least 3.00 for the last two semesters of undergraduate study; have a graduate grade point average of at least 3.00 for a minimum of twelve credit hours of graduate work completed at other institutions; or have successfully satisfied the probationary conditions as an associate graduate student discussed below). Satisfying one of these conditions is necessary for admission as a regular graduate student but may not be the only condition required. Graduate students who are non-native speakers of English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet-Based Test (iBT). Please contact your department or program of choice for the required acceptance scores. Note: For any student who has taken the TOEFL Paper-Based Test (PBT), please contact your department or program of choice to be sure that this score is acceptable. The TOEFL Computer-Based Test (CBT) has been discontinued and is no longer valid for admissions. The TOEFL test may be waived if a student has obtained a degree from an English-only university in an English speaking country and demonstrates effective English language skills.
Individual departments may evaluate their candidates for admission according to higher standards and additional criteria. Students seeking admission to Professional Certification Programs may have to meet additional requirements to comply with Pennsylvania Department of Education Regulations. Departments should be consulted for information regarding required examinations for admission. For example, candidates for the MBA program are required to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Exam. In some cases the GRE subject tests are required.
Admission of a student to graduate standing is executed through the Office of Graduate Studies in each college or the respective dean’s office. Credentials for admission to counseling psychology and school psychology programs and to all College of Education doctoral programs are acted upon only once a year.
Completed applications accompanied by requests for financial aid must be submitted by January 15 for admission in the following fall semester. (Some departments have earlier deadlines.) Applications received after the deadline will be considered on a space-available basis.
Associate Graduate Students. Associate graduate student status may be offered to applicants who apply but fail to qualify for regular graduate student status. Only associate student applications will be considered during the late admissions period between the end of the regular admission period and the first day of classes. Applicants for associate status may submit unofficial rather than official transcripts; letters of recommendation are not required at that time. However, the registrar will require an official final transcript before grades are released. Certain departments or programs have earlier deadlines and more stringent requirements. Applicants should consult their respective departments.
Associate graduate students who are admitted during the late admission period and who clearly qualify for admission as regular graduate students may petition for regular status after classes begin if all credentials are in order. There is no late application fee. Individual departments may have more stringent requirements.
Associate graduate students are allowed to take up to nine credits of coursework numbered 300 or higher before they must petition for regular student status. In order to be granted regular student status, they must have completed those nine credits with at most one final course mark below B-. Associate graduate students receiving a final course mark lower than a C- will be dropped from the program. Students should note that individual departments may impose more rigorous probationary standards. For example, the College of Education has more stringent probationary standards; please see the handbook for details.
When the probationary period of nine credit hours is completed, associate graduate students must petition for regular student status in order to enroll for additional coursework. Such a petition requires the submission of any regular admission documents not already on file. Courses completed during a successful probationary period may count toward a graduate degree if they are part of an approved program.
Non-Degree Students. Students who do not wish to enter a degree program may seek admission with non-degree status. In this case, the prospective student completes an abbreviated application form (available from the appropriate college). The admissions criteria for non-degree graduate students are: 1) a bachelor’s degree from an approved institution with an overall grade point average of at least 3.0; (applicants with undergraduate GPAs below 3.0 may be admitted with the approval of the department in which they wish to take courses;) or 2) evidence that the applicant is presently a student in good standing in an appropriate graduate program at an approved institution; or 3) evidence that the applicant has received an appropriate graduate or other advanced degree from an approved institution. In addition, international students are required to demonstrate English language skills equal to those required of degree-seeking students and are held to the same TOEFL standards.
Admission decisions for non-degree students are made by the dean of the appropriate college or other responsible official designated by him/her for this purpose. The signature of the designated official on the application and registration forms confers admission to the non-degree graduate student status. Informal transcripts will be accepted for initial admission, but formal transcripts must be on record before the student can receive any transcript or grade report from the university or enroll for additional courses.
Non-degree Options: In addition to degree programs, there are two non-degree options: (1) Regular non-degree and (2) Non-degree for external certification. Regular non-degree admission is for students who wish to take up to 12 credits of graduate coursework without seeking a degree. Non-degree for external certification students are admitted to pursue coursework for the purpose of obtaining certification through an external accrediting agency. These students complete coursework for the appropriate certification, with the number of credits being dictated by the external accrediting agency. Given this external control of credit requirements, the number of credits will vary and will typically exceed the 12-credit limit for regular non-degree students. A student admitted as non-degree for external certification may subsequently be admitted to a degree program, but needs to do so through a petition that includes all components required for admissions consideration by that degree program.
Graduate Course Auditing: With the permission of the departmental chair, graduate students can be admitted to a course as auditors. This course will not count for credit towards any graduate degree, and may not subsequently be taken for credit. In no case shall a student who has attended a course as an auditor be given an anticipatory examination for credit or register for the same course in the future. A student completing a course in this manner will have the course and the notation “AU” indicated on the permanent record. A student rostered on an audit basis may be withdrawn from the course with a grade of “W” for poor attendance.
Lehigh University Undergraduates. A Lehigh undergraduate with a 3.0 cumulative grade point average who has achieved Junior standing may take any 400-level course for which he or she is qualified. The qualifications are defined by the department and are certified by the course instructor and department chairperson through petition to the Graduate and Research Committee. For additional information on constraints on undergraduates taking graduate level courses please see Section III Curricular Flexibility.
Undergraduates at Lehigh who are within a few hours of meeting the requirements for a baccalaureate degree may, with the special approval of the Graduate and Research Committee, enroll for up to 12 credit hours of study for graduate credit (6 in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science). Lehigh undergraduates may apply course credits taken in the undergraduate program toward a graduate degree under the following conditions: (a) the course credits are not submitted as part of the requirement for an undergraduate degree; and (b) courses for possible graduate credit are approved in advance by the course instructor, department chairperson, and the dean of the college. The student must receive a final course mark of B- or better.
Readmission. A student who has not been registered in a Lehigh graduate program for one year must petition for readmission. Petitions approved by the student’s major department must be forwarded to the registrar’s office.
International Students and Scholars. International applicants must hold an American bachelor’s degree or an equivalent foreign degree requiring at least 16 years of primary, secondary, and university education. International applicants applying for regular graduate student status must submit all documents required for that status (see above).
Requirements. All graduate students using Lehigh University resources must be registered. No graduate student may register for more than 16 credits per semester. University employees may register for, at most, two courses per semester with appropriate approval. The maximum registration in a summer session is two concurrent courses and no more than 14 summer credits across all summer sessions.
Full-time Status. In order to maintain full-time enrollment status, a graduate student must ordinarily register for a minimum of nine credits each semester. Full-time students may not be employed full-time. Identification as a full-time student is important for three purposes: (1) eligibility for financial aid, (2) compliance with visa requirements for international students, and (3) for university and national graduate enrollment data.
Full-time status may be maintained with fewer than nine credits of registration after fulfillment of degree credit-hour requirements and under some other selected circumstances, provided that the student is, in fact, continuing a program of full-time study and research. In such cases, the status must be certified each semester on the Graduate Full Time Certification request form, first by the department and then by the appropriate college.
Registration Procedure. Registration is scheduled for a two-week period at a time designated on the university calendar. Graduate registration for new students is held during the week preceding the start of classes. Students should check with their departments for registration and semester class schedules. Graduate students may register using the online system after consultation with their adviser, or complete paper registration forms available in their departments. A course adviser will discuss course selections with students and provide the registration PIN or sign registration forms upon approval.
Late Registration Penalties. Registration after the designated period during the prior term for continuing full-time graduate students or between the second and tenth day of class during the fall and spring semesters, and the second and fifth day of class during the summer sessions will require a late registration fee. Students who have not completed the registration process by the tenth day of the regular academic semester or by the fifth day of the summer session will not be permitted to attend class.
Graduate Credit and Grades
Course grades are defined as for undergraduates in Section III except that, at a minimum, no final course mark lower than C- may be counted toward a graduate degree and pass-fail registration is not allowed for graduate students. No regularly admitted student who receives more than four final course marks below a B- in courses numbered 200 or higher is allowed to continue registration as a graduate student. Individual degree programs may have higher standards.
The N grade is defined in Section III except that parenthetical grades are not required for thesis or research courses and graduate students have a calendar year to remove course incomplete grades unless an earlier deadline is specified by the instructor. Graduate student incomplete course grades that are not removed remain as N or N (grade) on the student record for one year. After one year, the N grade will be converted to an F and the N (grade) will be converted to the parenthetical letter grade. Incomplete grades may be extended an additional year with approval of the course instructor and the graduate coordinator. After two years, outstanding incomplete grades will be converted to an F or the parenthetical mark. After two years, students may appeal to the Committee on Standing of Graduate Students (SOGS) with a timeline and plan for completion. Thesis or research project N grades may remain beyond one year until the work is completed.
The X grade is defined as for undergraduates except that to be eligible for a make-up examination a graduate student must file a petition and the petition must be approved by the Graduate and Research Committee.
The Z grade is defined as for undergraduates except that graduate students have a calendar year to complete coursework following a Z grade unless an earlier completion deadline is specified by the instructor. The X portion of the grade is removed as described for undergraduates. Z grades which are not removed remain on the record of graduate students. All petitions for exceptions are sent to the Committee on Standing of Graduate Students (SOGS).
A student’s grade that was originally assigned an N, X or Z grade when converted or computed will be noted with an “*” asterisk prefix.
Withdrawal from a Course. A student dropping a course within the first ten days of the semester (five days for summer sessions) will have no record of the course on the transcript. A student dropping all courses for which he or she is registered is considered to be withdrawing from the university under the policy noted below. A student who drops a course after the tenth day of instruction and before the end of the eleventh week of instruction will have a final course mark of “W” assigned to the course. A student who drops a course after the eleventh week of instruction and before the end of classes receives a “WP” or “WF” at the discretion of the instructor. A “WF” is considered to be a failing grade. An Add/Drop form signed by the student’s adviser must be submitted to the registrar’s office before the deadlines noted to be official.
University Withdrawal. A student withdrawing from the university (dropping all courses during a given term) must submit the Drop/Add form signed by the adviser to the registrar’s office. Withdrawal after registration day and during the first eleven weeks of instruction will be noted on the academic transcript by assigning a final course mark of “W” to all courses. A withdrawal after the eleventh week of instruction and before the end of classes will have the grade of “WP” or “WF” assigned for each course at the discretion of the instructor. The date of the withdrawal will be noted on the academic transcript for a withdrawal at any time during the term.
Graduate Student Scholastic Requirements. The following guidelines state the minimum requirements for all graduate students. Individual degree programs may have higher standards.
Associate and Non-Degree Students: will be placed on probation when they receive their first final course mark below a “B-” and will be dropped for poor scholarship at the end of a term when the student has accumulated either two “C”, “C-” or “C+” final course marks or one final course mark below “C-”.
If an associate student is assigned two grades below a “B-” in the same term the student is eligible to be dropped without any term on probation.
Once on probation, students remain on probation until they are granted regular status or receive degree. Students who are eligible to be granted regular status but fail to apply by the regular student deadline will be evaluated according to the regular student criteria.
Regular Students: will be placed on probation at the end of the term in which they are assigned their fourth final course mark below a “B-” in courses numbered 200 or above and will be dropped for poor scholarship at the end of any term in which they are assigned their fifth final course mark below a “B-”.
Once regular students are placed on probation they will remain on probation until they receive their degrees.
Readmission: Graduate students who have been dropped for poor scholarship are ineligible to enroll for the next regular term. After one term away they may petition for readmission. The department and the dean’s office must review the petition. If approved, the student will be readmitted on probation and may be dropped again with any additional final course marks below a “B-”.
Degree Registration. A student must be registered in the semester in which the degree is conferred. If a student is not registered for a course, he/she must register for maintenance of candidacy. Candidates for September degrees do not need to be enrolled the summer preceding the degree if they were enrolled both fall and spring of the previous academic year.
Application for Degree. Candidates for degrees to be conferred on University Day in May must file an application for degree with the registrar by March 1. Candidates for degrees to be conferred in January must file by November 1. Candidates for degrees to be conferred in September must file by July 1. Late application for a degree will incur a penalty fee of $40.
Clearance. Graduate students must receive clearance from the university prior to the awarding of the degree. The following obligations must be satisfied:
Students must complete all coursework for incompletes they may have received.
Theses must be cleared by the registrar’s Office.
Dissertations must be cleared by the appropriate dean’s office.
All financial obligations must be cleared with the bursar. Tuition fees, bookstore charges, library fines, and motor or vehicle fines must be paid before graduation.
All library books on loan must be returned.
Students must turn in their student identification cards at the I.D. card office.
The interdepartmental clearance sheet must be completed. This form requires the signature of the student’s department chairperson (except for the College of Education), and the facilities services office before it is submitted to the registrar at least three days prior to graduation.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition Payment. Graduate students who register at least six weeks prior to the start of classes will receive an email notification to their Lehigh email account that their tuition bill is ready to view online at the Student Account Suite. Students that register less than six weeks prior to the start of classes will most likely not have a tuition bill generated prior to the start of classes. To remain in good standing, tuition charges must be paid prior to the start of classes even if the student has not received a tuition bill because of his/her late registration for classes. Students can review their current account balance online 24/7 by logging into the Student Account Suite or the Campus Portal. Information about the various payment options is available at the Bursar’s Office web site at www.lehigh.edu/inburs/ or by calling the Bursar’s Office.
Tuition Refunds. A student in good standing who formally withdraws or drops a course(s) before 60% of the semester has been completed is eligible for a tuition refund. Academic fees are non-refundable after the first day of classes. The “first day of classes” is considered the first day of the semester, not the first day a particular class meets. Courses not following standard semester dates will have percent-of-semester-completed refunds based on dates for that specific course. Online courses percent-of-semester-completed are based on access availability, not if/when student first accessed course material. No tuition refunds will be made for courses of one week or less after the first day of class.
Tuition and Fees for 2012-2013 per credit hour
College of Arts & Sciences
College of Business & Economics
College of Education, and for fulltime elementary and secondary teachers and administrators enrolled in the other three colleges
College of Engineering & Applied Science
Special Programs MBA & Engineering
Audit charge per course – same as credit charge in the appropriate college
Maintenance of candidacy – same as a one-credit charge in the appropriate college
Master's candidate registration fee – same as a one-credit charge in the appropriate college
Living Accommodations. The university maintains a graduate student housing complex in the Saucon Valley that has 135 living units. This complex, Saucon Village Apartments, provides units generally on a yearly lease basis. For the 2012-2013 period beginning in September, the following are the monthly rents exclusive of utilities:
Small two-bedroom apartment
Two-bedroom apartment w/o AC
Two-bedroom apartment w/AC
Consult with individual college (for graduate admission consideration)
Late pre-registration (assigned to full-time graduate students who do not select their full class load during the designated period each term)
Late application for degree
Late payment (after announced date)
Returned check fine
Identification card (replacement)
MBA Orientation Fee
Supervision fee, College of Education (per 3 credits) Intern courses require a special supervision fee which varies from $100 to $250. Inquire in your department.
Financial aid is ordinarily available only for regular, full-time graduate students. Teaching assistantships, research assistantships, graduate assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships are academic awards made by individual academic departments. Several graduate assistantships unrelated to a particular area of study can be obtained by applying to administrative offices. International students are also encouraged to apply for funding to outside sponsoring agencies and/or home governments. Finally, please note that all student loan programs, and the Federal Work-Study program, are administered by the Office of Financial Aid located at 218 W. Packer Avenue. (Please read the section below regarding loans and work-study.)
Academic Awards. Requests for fellowships, scholarships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and graduate assistantships to begin in the fall semester must be filed with academic departments no later than January15. (Some departments have earlier deadlines.) Generally, a special committee formed by department faculty selects the recipients of these awards based upon merit; students are not required to submit a financial statement.
In addition to their stipends, graduate students holding half-time teaching appointments generally receive tuition remission. Fellowship holders also receive a stipend and tuition award. Scholarship recipients are awarded tuition. Research assistants receive a stipend for research services, but their tuition is commonly paid directly by research projects.
Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants. Teaching assistant and graduate assistant (TA/GA) are technical terms used to describe specific types of Lehigh University graduate students. The duties of TAs and GAs are generally set by the departments or offices that appoint them, but certain conditions must be satisfied before a student can be classified as a teaching assistant or a graduate assistant. These include:
Each TA/GA must be a regular full-time resident Lehigh graduate student, which normally requires registration for at least nine credit hours per semester.
A TA/GA is a half-time position and each TA/GA provides services to Lehigh University of up to twenty hours per week. Quarter-time and eighth-time TA/GA appointments are possible for full-time resident graduate students, with stipends and tuition remission appropriately reduced.
Each TA/GA must be paid a specific stipend, which is set for the academic year by the dean of the appropriate college after consultation with the Director of Budget.
Qualified TAs/GAs receive tuition remission for at most ten credit hours in a regular semester. No TA/GA may register for more than ten credit hours. A student who is a TA/GA during the preceding academic year is entitled to at most three hours of thesis, research, or dissertation registration (not course credit) in the following summer without payment of tuition (except in the College of Education).
Each TA/GA is appointed by a process which begins with a formal letter of appointment issued by the appropriate department chairperson. The appointment letter specifies standard university conditions including stipend level, time of arrival, length of service, and the requirement of satisfactory academic progress and performance of duties. Each department chairperson submits written notification of TA/GA appointments to the appropriate college dean or vice president.
The Graduate and Research Committee endorsed academic guidelines for new teaching assistants which exceed minimum admission requirements. Each TA should satisfy one of the following: have a GPA of 3.0 or better in the undergraduate major field of study; have a GPA of 3.5 in the senior year major field; rank in the 85th percentile or higher on the Graduate Record Exam or other standardized test; or have a GPA of 3.5 in at least twelve hours of graduate work in the major field. Exceptions to these guidelines shall be made only with the approval of the appropriate dean.
In addition, each teaching assistant must make normal progress toward a graduate degree. The definition of normal progress may vary among departments, but the criteria for satisfactory progress are established by the department faculty and the Graduate and Research Committee. Teaching assistants who fail to satisfy these criteria are ineligible for reappointment.
In addition to a minimum passing TOEFL score, Teaching Assistants whose native language is not English must have on record with the ESL Program and their academic department a SPEAK score of 230+ (Test of Spoken English or TSE score of 55+) in order to work with Lehigh undergraduates in academic settings (i.e., classrooms, recitations, labs, office hours, etc.).
Those whose SPEAK score is between 200 and 225 (or TSE 50) may also be appointed as TAs, but they are required to attend ESL courses at Lehigh until their SPEAK score is at least 230 or until they no longer have a TA position. A comprehensibility score of 195 (or TSE 45) or below eliminates an international graduate student from being appointed as a TA. Note: The TSE Test has been discontinued as of March 31, 2010. TSE scores are valid for two years from the test date.
Tuition remission for qualified TAs/GAs is authorized by the appropriate dean or vice president as part of the registration process. Each college dean or appropriate vice president will be provided tuition remission accounts against which TA/GA remissions will be charged. The accounts will be budgeted at an amount equal to the nine-hour TA/GA tuition rate times the approved number of TA/GA positions and will be included in the annual operating budget. The budgets shall not be exceeded. If additional TA/GA positions are desired on a temporary basis, the account executive must provide for the transfer of budget support to the remission account. These budgets are to be used exclusively for tuition remission for authorized TA/GA positions.
There are a limited number of summer TA/GA appointments. These TA/GAs must receive the same monthly stipend as academic year TAs/GAs and devote up to twenty hours per week to the GA/TA responsibilities. A summer TA/GA registers for a maximum of three credit hours in each summer session of appointment and receives tuition remission for that registration.
Other Graduate Assistantships. Graduate students may apply directly to administrative offices for graduate assistantships unrelated to their areas of study. The availability of these assistantships is based upon the needs of the individual departments. GAs are appointed regularly by the office of the vice provost for student affairs, the dean of students office, the university counseling service, and by career services.
Loans and Work-Study Awards. Graduate students may apply for the federally funded Stafford and Perkins loans, and Federal Work-Study through the Office of Financial Aid located at 218 W. Packer Avenue. These funds are awarded on the basis of demonstrated need using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. In addition, the University requires a university application (Graduate Student Financial Aid Application) and a copy of the student’s and spouse’s (where applicable) most recent (2011) federal tax return and W-2. Applications for loans cannot be processed, and funds cannot be disbursed, until the FAFSA, and attending forms, are received and reviewed. There is, however, only limited availability of Federal Perkins loans, and Work-Study.
Eligibility for student loans is based on: (1) the number of credits to be taken, (2) the amount of assistance received, and (3) the calculated financial need. Any change to the number of credits to be taken or the amount of aid received may affect loan eligibility. To avoid problems with your loan application, it is important that you notify the Office of Financial Aid of any changes in your enrollment or in the amount of aid received. Unfortunately, students frequently change the number of rostered credit hours, or receive Graduate School aid, after their loan application has already been processed. When either of these circumstances occur, a student’s eligibility may change dramatically. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Aid of any changes.
Literature on student loan programs is available through the Financial Aid office or the website (www. lehigh.edu/financialaid).