Graduate Admissions Policy

Eligibility for Graduate Study

See the requirements for graduate study at NAU to determine if you are eligible for admittance as a graduate student.

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If you have a bachelor's degree from a college or university accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting association, you are eligible to apply for admission to Northern Arizona University as a graduate student. International institutions must be officially recognized by their Ministry of Education.

We expect you will have adequate undergraduate preparation for your intended major area. Depending upon the program, as little as a minor (18 units) or as much as a major may be required to prepare for your graduate study. At the discretion of your departmental advisor, you also may be required to have, as a pre-requisite to graduate study, any undergraduate course that is normally required of undergraduate majors in the field.

Graduate College Requirements

Generally, you must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent, in the last two years of work leading to the bachelor's degree. The minimum requirement is a cumulative 2.50 GPA on your undergraduate degree. As a student in a graduate program, you are expected to have undergraduate educational experiences, including general education studies, that are similar to those required for the baccalaureate at Northern Arizona University.

Requirements of the Academic Program

Academic programs, departments, or colleges may have admission requirements in addition to those of the Graduate College. Many graduate programs require scores from a national admissions test such as the Graduate Record Examination, Graduate Management Admission Test, or the Miller Analogies Test. Some programs require a portfolio, letters of recommendation, or a statement of goals. For specific requirements, contact the academic program to which you intend to apply.

Faculty/Administrators Pursuing Advanced Degrees

Northern Arizona University permits administrators and faculty to obtain advanced degrees at Northern Arizona University only with the approval of the employee’s supervisor and with the filing of a management plan for potential conflicts of interest.

The Application Process

Discover everything you need to know about applications and timelines.

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Domestic students applying for graduate school at Northern Arizona University must:

  • Complete the online application for Graduate Admission (includes program requirements)
  • Pay a $65 non-refundable application processing fee ($35 if applying for admission as a non-degree student)
  • Attach unofficial transcripts, to the Graduate College application from institutions where a bachelor's degree (and graduate degrees, if applicable) is in progress, or was awarded.  Unofficial transcripts are required as part of the online application.  If admitted to a program, official transcripts will be required at that time. 
  • If the degree in progress or awarded degree(s) was received at a non-U.S. institution, attach unofficial transcripts to the online application, and send official, sealed transcripts, in the language of instruction to the Graduate College.  If the language of instruction is not English, then an English translation of the transcript is also required. 

International students applying for graduate school at Northern Arizona University must:

  • Complete the online application for Graduate Admission (includes program requirements)
  • Pay a $65 non-refundable application fee
  • Attach unofficial transcripts to the online application, and send official, sealed transcripts to the Graduate College.  Transcripts must be in the original language of the issuing institution with an English translation vetted by the issuing institution. Official transcripts must include verification of graduation.  If the degree/diploma is not posted on the transcripts, a separate degree certificate must be included and indicate the degree awarded and the date on which it was awarded.
  • Depending on the program's admission requirements, submit official scores on the TOEFL or IELTS exam.  The Graduate College requires a minimum TOEFL score of 80 on the Internet-based test or 550 on the paper-based test.  The Graduate College requires a minimum score of 6.5 for the IELTS.
  • TOEFL/IELTS is waived for the following international applicants (see exceptions below):
    • Native speaker of English.  For the purposes of this policy, native speakers of English are considered students who completed a high school or university education at an institution where the language of primary instruction is English (students in this category must provide documentation to verify this information).
    • Students who earned a bachelor's or higher degree from a U.S. university.
    • Regardless of where international students received their education, all applicants to the English Department's MA-TESL program or the Ph.D. program in Applied Linguistics must submit current, official TOEFL or IELTS scores (not more than 2 years old).  If an applicant considers him or herself a native English speaker, that student may seek an exemption from submitting TOEFL/IELTS exam scores by contacting the TESL/Applied Linguistics programs in the English Department.

Official transcripts must be submitted to:

Graduate College
PO Box 4125
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-4125

Additional Information:
  • Transcripts are not required if applying as a non-degree seeking student.
  • International graduate students must follow all additional international applicant guidelines outlines on the Graduate College International Admissions webpage.
  • Please refer to the Application Deadlines webpage listing application deadlines for each program.
  • More information about applying to Northern Arizona University graduate programs can be found on the Graduate College website.

You need not submit transcripts for coursework completed at Northern Arizona University.

Contact the department in which you wish to study for departmental application materials and requirements, including application deadlines.

Application Review and Deadlines

Applications are processed as they are received.  However, please be aware that many academic units have specific deadlines.  Please refer to the program's website for any application deadlines. 

Some programs review applications as they are received. In this case, you can expect a decision approximately six to eight weeks after submitting your application (assuming there are no extraordinary delays in receiving transcripts or other materials).

Other programs review all applications received by their stated deadline at one time. In this case, you will probably be notified of the decision approximately one to two months after the application deadline.

If your program does not have a deadline, you are encouraged to apply as early as possible. You are encouraged to submit your application a minimum of six weeks before the semester or summer session in which you wish to enroll.

International Student Admission Timelines

If you are an international student you must submit your application by March 1 for fall semester admission or by October 1 for spring semester admission (if the academic program admits students for spring semester).

Admission Decisions

Only the Graduate College can make a formal offer of admission.

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Higher Standards May Apply to Competitive Programs

Admission to many academic programs is on a competitive basis, and those programs frequently set higher standards than those established by the Graduate College. Many qualified applicants are denied because of limits on the number of students admitted each year.

Notice of Admission Status

Academic programs make admission recommendations to the Graduate College based on their review of all required application materials. The Graduate College will notify you by letter of your admission status.

Notification of Admission Decisions

Only the Graduate College can make formal offers of admission. The Graduate College notifies all applicants in writing of the admission decision.

All academic credentials and supporting materials received by the university in connection with an application for admission become the property of Northern Arizona University. If the applicant does not enroll in the university within one year, the admission documents may be destroyed.

The date (month/day/year) on the Graduate College letter of admission is the actual date of admission. If you are enrolled in courses on the admission date, those courses, if applicable, may be considered part of your program of study. Courses taken the semester before this date are considered non-degree units, which may be transferred to your program of study within six years if approved.

Admission Classifications

We admit graduate students in one of three categories: regular, conditional, and non-degree status.

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Regular Admission

If meet all admission criteria, have been evaluated and recommended for admission by the academic program, and have been evaluated and approved by the Graduate College, you may be granted regular admission.

Conditional Admission

If you are not qualified for regular admission status you may be granted conditional admission. Reasons for conditional admission may include, but are not limited to:

  • Your bachelor's degree is not complete or posted to your transcript when you are admitted;
  • You did not meet minimum admission standards for the Graduate College or graduate program;
  • You are deficient in programmatic or discipline-specific requirements or lack pre-requisites;
  • You have begun a graduate program as a "Preplan" student.* 

To change from conditional status to regular status, you must complete all admission requirements and remove all deficiencies noted in your admission letter. Once all conditions of admission have been satisfied, you will receive communication from the Graduate College indicating that your admission status has been changed from conditional to regular admission. Students who fail to meet conditional admission requirements may be denied regular admission upon department and Graduate College review and will not be allowed to progress in the degree. For more information, please see NAU Policy 100319: Academic Continuation, Probation, Dismissal, and Readmission - Graduate.

* Only certain graduate degrees are considered "Preplan" programs. Students who apply for a "Preplan" degree program are given the opportunity to take courses soon after the submission of their application. Students who fail to meet Graduate College or programmatic admission requirements may be denied regular admission and will not be allowed to progress in the degree, despite any courses that may have been completed.

Non-degree Admission

If you are not interested in earning a degree or you are not ready to apply to a degree program, you may apply for admission as a non-degree student.  The application process is streamlined and does not require you to submit transcripts or test scores.  Graduate non-degree seeking students are not subject to special credit limits.  You can apply up to 12 units of appropriate course work taken as a non-degree graduate student toward a graduate degree, if the course work is appropriate for your program of study.

The six-year maximum time limit applies to non-degree credit units appearing on a master's degree program of study. In addition, because of pre-requisite requirements and limited class size and resources, certain academic programs may limit the enrollment of non-degree students.

Readmission and Second Admission

You can change your term of enrollment, re-apply after time away, or apply for a second graduate program.

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Change of Enrollment Term

If you are offered admission to a graduate program at Northern Arizona University and decide not to attend in the term in which you are admitted, you must contact your academic department to request a change to your term of enrollment. The department will notify the Graduate College, and your admission term will be updated.

Applying for Readmission

If you have previously been admitted to NAU as a graduate student but have not been in attendance for more than three of the previous Fall or Spring terms, you must apply for readmission.

Readmission Application Deadline

Your application for readmission is due at least one month before the beginning of the semester in which you plan to resume your studies.

Admission for a Second Graduate Degree

If you have completed a graduate degree at Northern Arizona University and wish to begin another graduate program, complete a new Application for Graduate Admission for the new program. You must reapply whether you wish to work toward a second master’s degree or toward a doctoral degree.

You may not pursue two graduate degrees concurrently without permission from both academic programs and the Graduate College.

Academic Plans and Program Change

See how your admission date affects your academic plan requirements and the process for transferring to another program.

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Determination of Academic Plan Requirements

You will graduate under the curriculum, course requirements, and regulations that were in effect at the time of your admission to a graduate degree program at Northern Arizona University. You may also choose to graduate under any subsequent catalog issued. However, to determine your graduate requirements, you may use only one catalog.  

Be aware that some changes in policies and procedures affect all students regardless of the catalog used. These policies and procedures may appear in the catalog or in other university publications.

Change of Graduate Plan

If you decide to change your graduate program, please contact the Graduate College to determine what materials you will need to submit. Students who switch graduate programs may have to reapply to the new program.

 Residency Policies

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