Graduate School admission is handled by individual academic departments; see the specific college, school and program sections for details. For more information, visit Graduate School Admissions

Application Procedures

Students seeking admission to a CU Boulder master's or doctoral program apply directly to the appropriate department. An applicant for admission must present complete application materials, including:

  • the graduate application, available online at Graduate School Admissions,
  • unofficial transcripts for all academic work completed to date,
  • a non-refundable application fee (currently $60 for domestic applicants and $80 for international applicants),
  • three or four letters of recommendation (please check with your program to obtain the required number of recommendations needed), and
  • test scores and other materials as required by specific departments.

A completed application must be submitted by the published deadline for the term for which admission is sought. Most departments have an application deadline that is several months before the start of the desired admission term. 

Admission Requirements

Regular Degree Students

Qualified students may be recommended for admission to regular degree status by approved programs of the Graduate School provided they meet the following criteria:

  • They hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university or have done work equivalent to that required for such a degree.
  • They show promise of ability to pursue advanced study and research, as judged by their scholastic record.
  • They have had adequate preparation to enter graduate study in the chosen field.
  • They have at least a 2.75 (on a 4.00 scale) undergraduate GPA (for engineering, 3.00). (Note: Applicants who cannot meet criterion 4 may still secure regular admission if they have completed 9 credit hours of relevant graduate coursework with at least a 3.25 average.)
  • They meet additional requirements for admission established by the major department.

Provisional Degree Students

Students who do not meet the requirements for admission as regular degree students may be recommended for provisional degree status by their major department. With the concurrence of the dean of the Graduate School, these students are admitted for a probationary term of either one or two semesters of full-time study (or the equivalent for part-time students). At the end of the specified probationary period, provisional degree students must be either admitted to regular degree status or dismissed from the graduate program. Provisional students are subject to the same standards of performance required of regular degree students, plus any other requirements imposed by the program faculty as conditions of admission.

Credit hours earned by persons in provisional degree status may count toward a degree at CU Boulder.

To meet the standard terms of provisional admission, the student must generally complete 12 credit hours in two semesters (or equivalent for part-time students) with a 3.00 cumulative GPA. Program faculty may recommend additional or alternative conditions as appropriate.

Bachelor’s–Accelerated Master’s Degree Programs

A number of CU Boulder departments offer bachelor’s–accelerated master’s (BAM) degree programs, which enable CU undergraduate students to pursue undergraduate and graduate programs simultaneously and to receive both degrees in a shorter time period than it would take to pursue them separately.

Highly qualified undergraduate students may be recommended for admission to a BAM degree program at the end of their sophomore year or the beginning of their junior year. Such students are not formally admitted to the Graduate School. Standards for admission as well as eligibility to remain in the program are specified by each department.

Dual Degree Programs

The Graduate School, in conjunction with the faculty of each department and the deans of schools and colleges where appropriate, approves dual degree programs that combine previously approved graduate degree programs in two areas or departments.

Qualified graduate students may be recommended for admission to an approved dual degree program upon meeting the qualifications of each graduate program and any special qualifications as outlined by each program's approved guidelines. Minimum standards and qualifications for admission and continuation are specified by each department. Students wishing to complete degrees in more than one department that have no approved dual degree program or interdisciplinary major combination must complete all the requirements for both degrees with no shared or overlapping coursework.

Nondegree Students to Regular Degree Status

Students with nondegree status applying to a graduate degree program should talk to the academic department about specific resident requirements before applying to the program. The maximum amount of work that may be transferred to CU Boulder depends upon the graduate degree sought; individual departments may have more restrictive limits. Learn more about transfer of credit on the Graduate School’s admissions page.

Former and Suspended Students

Students who were previously admitted to a graduate degree program but who did not complete that degree and who have not been continuously registered at CU Boulder must complete the following steps before being readmitted:

  1. Clarify their status with the department to determine their eligibility to return and pursue the same degree.
  2. Submit a Graduate Readmit application to the department (departmental approval is required) before enrollment levels are met or deadlines passed for the term in which they expect to return to CU Boulder.

A regular degree student who is dismissed for failure to maintain a 3.00 GPA is eligible to apply for readmission after one year. Approval or rejection of this application rests jointly with the student's major department and the dean of the Graduate School. The final decision will be made by the dean based on the recommendations of the department.

Students Transferring from Other CU Campuses

Students transferring from another CU campus to CU Boulder must apply to and be accepted by the Boulder campus.

Students Changing Major Departments

Students who want to change major departments must apply to and be accepted by the new department. When adding a second major in an approved interdisciplinary major combination, students should contact their home department for instructions on this process.