This is an archived copy of the 2012-13 Catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit http://catalog.wvu.edu.

Graduate Education at West Virginia University

Page Contents:

Application for Graduate Study

Initial Inquiry

Prospective graduate students are urged to initially contact individual programs regarding opportunities to pursue graduate study in the program of interest. In addition to obtaining information online or through the mail, students should contact graduate program directors or individual faculty members to ascertain the potential for graduate study in particular academic and research areas.

Students should apply for admission as early as possible to the department, division, school, or college offering the program of interest. For a list of available degree and certificate programs, visit http://majors.wvu.edu/ . Information relevant to the application process can be found on the web at http://grad.wvu.edu/ with additional information regarding the program of interest on the individual program’s website.

Minimum Admission Standards

The University Graduate Council establishes the minimum standards for admission to graduate study. Beyond this point, however, faculty members in a given graduate program control who is to be admitted to graduate study under their supervision. While a student may be admitted to the University to enroll in advanced coursework, only the specific program faculty may grant permission for the pursuit of a graduate degree.

Forms and Application Fees

Application for admission to graduate study must be made online or on standard forms provided online at  http://grad.wvu.edu/ . If using a paper application, the completed form may be returned to the Office of Admissions, P.O. Box 6009, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, and must be accompanied by payment of a nonrefundable special service fee of $60..

Transcripts

Applicants must arrange for official transcripts to be sent directly to the Office of Admissions by the Office of the University Registrar or records office of their previous institutions. Transcripts should be requested from all institutions attended in the course of undergraduate or graduate study. Transcripts received by the Office of Admissions become the property of WVU.

GRE/GMAT

Many programs at WVU require graduate record examination (GRE or GMAT) scores from all applicants, but in no program is an examination score the sole criterion for admission. Some programs require both the general and the appropriate advanced tests before considering an applicant for admission. Other programs require different tests, such as the Miller Analogies. Specific admission requirements are found in the program sections of the online catalog (http://catalog.wvu.edu ). If GRE or GMAT tests are required, the applicant should request the Educational Testing Service to forward scores to the WVU Office of Admissions. (The code identifying WVU to the GRE is 5904.) In addition, students are encouraged to send a machine-reproduced copy of GRE or GMAT scores, if available, along with the initial application to the Office of Admissions in order to facilitate the WVU evaluation process.

Information on the GRE may be obtained at http://www.ets.org/gre and for the GMAT at http://www.gmac.com/gmac/thegmat . Information about the Miller Analogies Test may be obtained from the psychology department or the counseling service of the applicant’s undergraduate institution. At WVU, call the University Testing Center at (304) 293-0699.

Admission Acceptance

Once a complete application and required documents are received, the Office of Admissions forwards a copy of the application packet to the faculty of the program of interest. Any graduate degree program is permitted to set admission requirements beyond the minimum admission standards of the University. No one may pursue an advanced degree at WVU unless admitted to the appropriate degree program. A student who wishes to take courses after completing a degree must submit a new application and pay the nonrefundable service fee. Any applicant who fails to enroll within a year after acceptance must reapply.

Admission Denial

If an application for admission into a graduate program is denied, the applicant may request the reasons for refusal of admission by writing to the graduate program coordinator. It should be noted that meeting the minimum requirements for admission into a graduate program does not ensure admission. Many programs, due to resource limitations, restrict the number of admissions by selecting the top candidates among the qualified applicants. An applicant may appeal to the program for reconsideration if he/she can document factual errors in processing the application or if the decision was deemed arbitrary and capricious or discriminatory in nature.

If the matter is not resolved satisfactorily within 30 calendar days of the receipt of the appeal by the program, the applicant may appeal to the dean of the college or school. The decision of the dean, as the provost’s designee, shall be rendered within 20 calendar days of the receipt of the appeal and is final.

Graduate Credit via Senior Petition

Undergraduate students wishing to obtain graduate credit by senior petition must obtain the standardized permission form from the Office of the University Registrar. This form requires the signature of the student’s undergraduate advisor, the dean of the college granting the undergraduate degree, and the dean of the college of the intended graduate degree (if different). The policies regulating an undergraduate’s enrollment in the graduate-level course for graduate credit are:

  • Enrollment is permitted only in courses numbered 400–599.
  • Undergraduates must be within 12 credit hours of their baccalaureate degrees and have a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • The maximum number of hours of graduate credit permitted by senior petition is 12 credit hours.
  • The senior petition must be approved prior to or at the time of enrollment.
  • No more than 20 percent of the total enrollment in any 500-level course may consist of undergraduate students.

Approved senior petitions are returned to the Office of the University Registrar so that a notation of graduate credit may be placed on the student’s transcript. Any exceptions to the regulations must be approved by the dean of the school or college in which the student seeks graduate credit. Note: Students receiving graduate credit for a course do not receive credit toward their undergraduate degree with the same course.

Transfer Students

A student wishing to transfer to WVU from another accredited institution should follow the same application procedures as those outlined for other new students.

A student wishing to apply credit earned at another accredited institution of higher education to a degree program at WVU must obtain a transfer of graduate credit form from their department. This form requires the signature of the student’s unit chairperson or designee. The student must also have an official transcript from the other institution sent to the Office of Admissions. Only credit earned at institutions accredited regionally at the graduate level may be transferred. Students should have transfer credit approved prior to enrolling in coursework. Non-degree graduate students are not permitted to transfer credit to WVU from another institution.

Graduate programs may accept up to a maximum of 40 percent of their required coursework as transfer graduate credit. Individual graduate units may require higher percentages to be earned under their direction.

Transfer to Another Program

A student may initiate a transfer to another program within WVU by contacting the dean’s office of the school or college where enrolled. Following the student’s request, the dean’s office will send the student’s record to the school or college that the student wishes to enter. The school or college receiving the record is required to acknowledge receipt of the record and notify the Office of University Registrar of the status of the student’s application within 30 days. If a student is accepted by the new school or college, the school or college retains the student’s record and notifies the student of acceptance. If a student is rejected, he or she is notified and the student’s record is returned to the original school or college. The Office of the University Registrar is responsible for updating students’ records to reflect new majors and new advisors.

When a student transfers from one unit or program to another unit or program within the University, the faculty of the new unit determines if any credit earned under the guidance of the prior unit may be applied to a degree, certificate, or other educational offering of the new unit.

Programs may establish admission requirements in addition to those set by the University Graduate Council, such as a higher grade point average, the submission of scores on standardized tests, and the receipt of letters of recommendation.

Non-degree Applicants

Students not wishing to pursue an advanced degree may apply for admission as non-degree graduate students. Applicants must complete the standard application form, pay the nonrefundable special service fee, state the area of intended study, and present an official transcript with a baccalaureate degree indicated.

Reapplication

When students graduate or complete the program for which they applied, they must reapply and be readmitted before taking further coursework at WVU. This policy assures that the University is informed of students’ objectives and assigns them an appropriate advisor. Students are assessed a service fee for each new application.

Readmission

Degree students who have been inactive for two or more years must reapply for admission by completing the graduate application process.

International Student Admission

West Virginia University is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant foreign nationals as students. International students wishing to enroll for graduate work at WVU must comply with the stated academic requirements for admission and with certain additional academic and nonacademic requirements.

International applicants should forward a letter of inquiry one year before they intend to begin study in the United States. The University receives a large number of applications from international students. For this reason and because of the time required for the student to make visa and financial arrangements, April 1 has been established as a deadline after which applications cannot be guaranteed consideration for fall admission. International students applying for admission to West Virginia University must submit the following:

  • A completed international student admission application.
  • Application service fee.
  • The official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) sent directly to WVU by the testing service.
  • Original or certified copies of the applicant’s official academic record in the original language of issue. Applicants who have studied in the United States are required to have the institutions send an official transcript directly to WVU.
  • Original or certified copy of all certificates or diplomas in the original language of issue.
  • Official English translations of the academic record and certificates/diplomas.
  • For visa documents, certification of financial support and a copy of current passport or visa.

The items above should be sent to the Office of Admissions, West Virginia University, P.O. Box 6009, 2nd Floor, One Waterfront Place, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506-6009. All materials must be received by the application deadline. Admissions will only accept original or certified transcripts/academic documents.  Scanned, copied, or emailed documents are not considered official.  If possible, all application materials should be submitted at one time (TOEFL or IELTS scores and official transcripts from United States institutions should be requested so that all material arrives at WVU close to the same date). Incomplete applications cannot be guaranteed consideration for the desired semester. Applicants are encouraged to contact the academic program of interest for information about requirements other than those listed above.

International students seeking financial support as graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) are required to pass the WVU SPEAK test (see English Language Proficiency and Graduate Teaching Assistants).

Required Academic Credentials

Applicants for graduate programs must submit academic records from all post-secondary education. In some cases, it may be necessary for graduate applicants to submit records from the secondary school.

West Virginia University requires that original academic documents or certified copies of the original academic documents from non-United States institutions be submitted. The required documents include the official academic record (showing course titles, dates taken, and grades received) and diploma(s) or certificate(s) showing the degree awarded. These documents must be in the original language of issue. Official English translations must be included. Translations must be literal, word-for-word translations and must indicate actual grades received, not an interpretation of the grades.

Documents received by WVU become the property of WVU and cannot be returned to the applicant. It is therefore recommended that students who receive only one original copy of credentials submit certified copies with the application.

Applicants who are currently enrolled in an institution and who cannot submit the final academic record and certification of degree may be granted admission if the incomplete record indicates that the applicant will unquestionably meet WVU admission standards. Final admission, however, cannot be approved until the complete academic record and certification of degree have been received and evaluated by the Office of Admissions.

English Language Proficiency

All applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU uses the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as measures of English language proficiency. A score of 213 on the computer-based TOEFL, 550 on the paper-based TOEFL, or 79 on the internet-based TOEFL, or 6.5 on the IELTS is the minimum required of all such applicants. Applicants must make arrangements to take the TOEFL/IELTS well in advance of the desired date of enrollment at WVU. Information about registration for the TOEFL can be obtained by writing to: Educational Testing Service, P.O. Box 6154, Princeton, NJ 08541-6154, USA, or by contacting the local office of the United States Information Service (USIS).

Applicants who have received a high school diploma or a bachelor’s degree in the United States, UK, Canada, NZ, or Australia need not submit TOEFL/IELTS results. However, applicants having only a master’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university must still provide acceptable TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Financial Documents and Student Visa

International students requiring a form I-20 or DS-2019 for student or exchange visa must provide certification of adequate financial resources in U.S. dollars. Generally, the student must provide an official bank statement showing the availability of the appropriate funds. If a private sponsor will be the student’s source of support, the sponsor must submit a letter showing intent to sponsor and an official bank statement showing the availability of the appropriate funds. Other forms of support could include sponsorship certifications from the student’s government or other sponsoring agency. In all cases, original or certified copies of financial/sponsorship documents must be submitted before the I-20 or DS-2019 can be issued.

Intensive English Program

In some cases, it may be possible to consider applications for students who lack adequate TOEFL/IELTS scores and will enroll in the West Virginia University Intensive English Program. Such applicants must contact the Intensive English Program directly and notify the Office of Admissions of their intentions. Applicants for graduate programs should also notify the academic department of interest of their intentions. Admission to the Intensive English Program does not guarantee admission to the University or to a specific program of study.  Applicants admitted to an academic program under the condition of successful completion of the Intensive English Program will be required to meet a certain level of English language proficiency before being permitted to begin the academic portion of their studies, e.g., a grade of B or better in the highest level of IEP or 79 on the internet based TOEFL, a TOEFL score above 550 or an IELTS score of 6.5. Inquiries about the Intensive English Program should be directed to the Intensive English Program, Department of Foreign Languages, West Virginia University, P.O. Box 6298, Morgantown, WV 26506-6298.

Transferring Within the USA

International students applying to transfer from accredited schools within the United States are not permitted to register at WVU until they have complied with all transfer procedures as required by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services DS-2019.

Upon arrival on the campus, the student must be prepared to present the I-20 or IAP 66 to the international student advisor for formal processing. No student should move to Morgantown without having received an assurance of admission and immigration documents from WVU.

Admission to Graduate Study

Classifications

  • Regular Graduate Student — Regular graduate students are degree-seeking students who meet all the criteria for regular admission to a program of their choice. The student must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, must have at least a grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale, have met all the criteria established by the degree program, and be under no requirements to make up deficiencies.
     
  • Provisional Graduate Students — A student may be admitted as provisional by any unit when the student possesses a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, but clearly does not meet the criteria for regular admission. The student may have incomplete credentials, deficiencies to make up, or an undergraduate scholastic record that shows promise, but less than the 2.75 grade point average required for regular admission. The letter of acceptance from the graduate program should outline the steps necessary for the graduate student to be re-classified as a regular graduate student.
     
  • Non-Degree Students — A non-degree student is a student not admitted to a program. Admission as a non-degree student does not guarantee admission to any course or program. The reasons for non-degree admission may be late application, incomplete credentials, scholarship deficiencies, or lack of a degree objective. Even though a non-degree student has not been admitted to a graduate program, a unit may allow a non-degree student to enroll in its courses. To be admitted as a non-degree student, a student must only present evidence of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and a 2.5 grade point average. The student must obtain a 2.5 grade point average on the first 12 credit hours of coursework taken at WVU and maintain this average as long as enrolled. (See Previous Graduate Study for an exception to this rule.) To be eligible to enter a degree program, the student must maintain a minimum of a 2.75 grade point average on all coursework taken since admission as a graduate student.

The standards cited are the minimum standards established by the University. Individual academic units or graduate programs may establish higher standards.

Academic Standards

The minimum academic standards for the different classifications are as follows. To be in good standing, regular students must obtain a 2.75 grade point average in the first 12 hours of graduate study and maintain this average throughout the time they are enrolled in graduate work. A student failing to achieve this standard will be placed on probation and must achieve a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 by the end of the next enrollment period at West Virginia University. Part-time graduate students must obtain a 2.75 cumulative grade point average in the next nine hours of graduate study. A student who cannot earn the required average will be suspended. A student must be in good standing to graduate.

A provisional student has been admitted to the University with one or more deficiencies. Consequently, by completion of 18 credit hours, the student must meet the provisions stated by the department and attain a minimum grade point average of 2.75. A student who fails to meet the provisions of admission or who fails to achieve the required grade point average will be suspended. Students who meet the provisions of admission and the required grade point average will be reclassified as regular students, and the regulations governing good standing for regular students will apply.

To be in good standing, a non-degree student must obtain a 2.5 grade point average in the first 12 hours of graduate study and maintain this average throughout the time enrolled in graduate work. A student failing to achieve this standard will be placed on probation and must achieve a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 by the end of the next enrollment period (or nine credit hours for part-time students) at West Virginia University. Students who do not earn the required average will be suspended. A non-degree student who later wishes to apply for admission to a degree program must have achieved a minimum grade point average of 2.75 on all coursework taken since admission as a graduate student in order to be considered.

Reclassification of Provisional Students

The provisions of a student’s provisional status are specified by the graduate department or program, but also may include satisfactory performance in ESL courses. To be reclassified as a regular student, a student must meet the provisions stated by the department and achieve a minimum grade point average of 2.75 on all coursework. Individual degree programs may set higher grade point average requirements.

A unit must review the student’s record and make a final decision on the student’s admission. No later than the completion of 18 credit hours, a student who has met the provisions of admission and achieved the required grade point average will be reclassified as a regular student. A student who fails to meet the provisions of admission or who fails to achieve the required grade point average will be suspended, but may be reinstated in order to transfer to another program or to non-degree status. The academic unit must notify the student and the Office of Admissions of its decision.

Upon notification by the appropriate academic unit, the Office of Admissions will prohibit the registration of all provisional graduate students who have reached the maximum of 18 credit hours. Registration will not be permitted until the student is reclassified as a regular student, an exception is granted by an academic dean, or the student is transferred. A student may be admitted as a provisional graduate student more than one time, but not by the same graduate program.

All credit hours taken since admission as a provisional graduate student or those to be applied to a degree count in the 18 credit-hour limit, i.e., undergraduate or graduate credit, P/F, S/U, graded courses, credit by senior petition, and transfer credit.

Other Re-classifications

Regular and provisional students may become non-degree students by choice. This includes students who fail to meet admission or academic standards or who withdraw voluntarily. To change a student to non-degree status, the advisor must process an Academic Status Change Form through the school or college dean’s office.

Non-degree students who later wish to become degree students must present all the credentials required by the degree program and process an Academic Status Change Form signed by the student, their advisor, and the Office of Admissions. For admission to a degree program, a non-degree student must have achieved a minimum grade point average of 2.75 on all coursework taken since admission as a graduate student.

Classification and Previous Graduate Study

The same three admission classifications (regular, provisional, non-degree) apply to those applicants who have undertaken previous graduate study. In general, the cumulative grade point average regulations apply to any transfer student who has not completed a graduate degree. However, an applicant who has received a master’s degree from an accredited college or university may be admitted to whatever category is deemed most appropriate by the faculty of the program of interest.