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New Mexico State University
Graduate Catalog


A student seeking admission to graduate school at New Mexico State University must hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree or an advanced degree from a regionally accredited institution. The program of preparation should be substantially equivalent in the distribution of academic subject matter to the requirements for a comparable degree at NMSU.

The required grade-point averages to be considered for admission to a master's program is explained under “Categories of Graduate Students.” To be considered for admission to a doctoral program, an applicant must have a minimum grade-point average of 3.0. Some doctoral degree programs also require a master's degree or its equivalent.

No student is officially admitted into a graduate program until a “Certificate for Admission” has been issued by University Admissions. Although University Admissions considers this certificate valid for a one year period, academic departments may require re-application if the admitted applicant does not enroll in the semester noted in the certificate.

Formal application is required of all prospective students, including graduates of NMSU, who seek admission to a graduate program. Students must submit the “Application for Admission” as well as other supplemental documents required by the academic department. Supplemental documents may include, but are not limited to, unofficial college transcripts, test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, and GMAT), statement of purpose, writing samples, and letters of recommendation. If a student is admitted by the academic department, the student will be required to submit official transcripts, test scores, and the appropriate application fee directly to University Admissions. Other official documents may be required. Official transcripts must be sent directly from the prior colleges or university directly to University Admissions.


An international student that wishes to engage in graduate studies at New Mexico State University must be proficient in the English language. To be considered for regular admission to NMSU, an international student must submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with an official score of 550 or above on the paper-based, or 79 on the internet-based exam. The TOEFL is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). To learn more about TOEFL, please visit their web site at:

As an alternative to the TOEFL, NMSU also accepts test scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A test score of 6.5 or above on IELTS is needed for admission consideration by University Admissions. To learn more about IELTS, please visit their web site:

Only scores from exams taken within the previous two years and reported directly from the testing service programs to NMSU will be accepted. NMSU's code for TOEFL score reporting is 4531.

The English language exam requirement may be waived for an international student who holds a degree from an accredited university in the United States, or a country or accredited university where English is the official language of instruction. (Find the list of waiver countries on the NMSU website.) An exchange student that has studied at NMSU for one academic year and has maintained a satisfactory grade-point average is exempt from the English language exam requirement when applying to an NMSU graduate program.

NMSU will accept an international student on a conditional basis who has a TOEFL or IELTS score that falls below regular admission requirements. A student who has an official TOEFL score below 550 on the paper-based or below a 79 on the internet-based or an IELTS official test score below 6.5 may be admitted conditionally by University Admissions. A conditionally admitted international student will need to take the Academic English Proficiency Placement Test offered by the Department of Communication Studies. Based on the placement results, University Admissions and ISSS may require the student to successfully complete one or more English as a foreign language course(s). If completion of one or more courses is required, the student should enroll in the first such course during his or her first semester at NMSU, or prior to taking an assignment as a teaching assistant. Faculty members can appeal decisions concerning the language training needs of a student.

A conditional admission to NMSU may require that an international student enroll in English classes through the Center for English Language Programs (CELP). Depending on a student's TOEFL or IELTS score and the Placement Test administered upon arrival, the student will be placed in the appropriate level of English instruction. The student will register for 3, 6, 9, or 12 credits for each level based on his or her English language needs. The number of credits is determined by the Director of CELP. A student conditionally admitted should be aware that the duration of his or her studies may be one, two, or three semesters longer in order to satisfy the English requirement. For more information about the Center for English Language Programs, go to the Office of International and Border Programs website at A conditional student cannot work as teaching assistant; however, he or she can work as a research assistant. A conditional student can later be classified as a regular student once he or she has successfully completed the required English courses and successfully meet regular admissions requirements.


The graduate certificate program of study is designed to develop or enhance a focused area of expertise. The primary purpose of a graduate certificate program is to provide specific skill training to meet employment needs locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.

A graduate certificate is a focused collection of courses, consisting of 12-18 credits, successfully completed by a student in a given discipline or a set of related disciplines. A graduate certificate is not an official graduate degree of NMSU. A student that successfully completes a certificate program at the graduate level will receive a certificate of completion statement on his or her official transcript and a formal certificate from NMSU University Admissions. A student has three years to complete a graduate certificate program.

The graduate certificate program is offered to currently enrolled degree seeking students and students that meet the admissions criteria but enroll solely to obtain a certificate. Completing courses as part of a certificate program does not guarantee admissions into a graduate degree program. Certificate only seeking graduate students who are not enrolled in a master's, educational specialist or doctoral programs will be admitted with a separate classification called "Graduate Certificate Student."

Enrolled degree seeking students must apply separately for the certificate program prior to completing half of their required degree credits.

A student enrolled in a graduate certificate program cannot transfer credits from another institution towards the completion of the certificate program. . However, he or she can transfer credits taken in a graduate certificate program into a graduate degree program provided that the courses lead toward a graduate degree in the focused area of the certificate program. The number of transfer credits will be determined by the program of study. The time limit on course transfer is 5 years after the completion of the certificate.

Application Dates and DEADLINES

Contact the graduate degree program for published application deadlines. If the graduate program does not publish a deadline, University Admissions encourages the applicant to apply by March 15th for fall enrollment and by October 15th for spring enrollment to be considered for financial support. University Admissions will continue to accept applications 30 days prior to the first day of classes.


An applicant is required to arrange to have one official transcript from each institution previously attended sent directly to University Admissions.

If undergraduate work has not been completed at time of application, the student must obtain a transcript complete with degree statement as soon as the degree has been granted. No application materials will be returned to the applicant.


Certain graduate programs may require standardized test scores for admission. An applicant may be required to take one or more of the following examinations as determined by the academic department: Graduate Record Examination, the Miller Analogies Test, the Graduate Management Admission Test. (See academic department description for required testing.)


An NMSU student who has been out of school for more than two consecutive terms is required to make formal application for readmission. An application should be submitted to University Admissions 30 days prior to the semester the student plans to enroll.

A student who has attended other institutions during the absence is required to submit official transcripts to University Admissions prior to the date of registration and be eligible to return to the college or university last attended. Admission status will be determined by previous NMSU academic standing. Academic performance at other institutions attended during the applicant's absence from NMSU may be taken into consideration in determining the student's admission status.


The admission credentials for an applicant who does not register for the semester admitted are retained at University Admissions for a period of one calendar year from the date of application. At the end of this period, credentials are discarded. A student wishing to renew his or her application after the one-year lapse must submit a new application.


University Admissions or the department may deny admission if the scholastic record or program of study is judged inadequate. If denied admission by University Admissions, the applicant may seek “undeclared” status as described in “Categories of Graduate Students.” If denied by the department, the student may wish to contact the department for additional information.

Admission may be denied to an otherwise qualified applicant when the desired program lacks resources to accommodate additional enrollment.

A student who is denied admission to one program and wishes to be considered for another program must complete a new application for the second program.

Application documents are retained by University Admissions for one calendar year.


A student seeking admission to a graduate program is assigned one of the following categories based upon previous academic performance.

Regular Student

An applicant whose scholastic record is satisfactory will be admitted as a regular student. This classification includes:

  1. an applicant whose grade-point average is greater than or equal to 3.0, or a grade-point average greater than or equal to 3.0 in the last half of undergraduate work,
  2. an international applicant whose grade-point average (or its equivalent) is greater than or equal to 3.0,
  3. a continuing graduate student whose grade-point average is greater than or equal to 3.0, or
  4. a student with prior graduate work at another institution whose minimum grade-point average is 3.0.

Provisional Student

An applicant whose scholastic record is not satisfactory is admitted as a provisional student. This classification includes:

  1. a graduate student transferring whose cumulative grade-point average is less than 3.0; or
  2. an applicant whose cumulative grade-point average or grade-point average the last half of undergraduate work is less than a 3.0, but who does have a minimum grade-point average of 2.5; or
  3. a beginning graduate student who has qualified for admission by taking nine graded graduate credits as a undeclared student (defined below).
  4. A student admitted provisionally must complete the first three courses totaling 9 credits of graduate work, with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0. A provisional student who does not meet the 3.0 grade-point average after at least 9 credits of graduate work is subject to dismissal. A provisional student is prohibited from working as a teaching assistant, however can work as research assistant for one semester.

A provisional student can be employed for one semester as a grader. Academic departments wishing to hire a provisional student as a grader must submit an official letter requesting permission from the Graduate School.

Undeclared Graduate Student

An applicant who has not decided on a specific graduate degree program and who has an undergraduate minimum grade-point average of 2.5 may be considered for admission as an undeclared master student. An undeclared master student is restricted to transferring 9 hours graduate credit to a degree program. An applicant admitted as an undeclared master is not eligible to receive a graduate teaching assistantship.

Transferring from undeclared master to a degree program requires a new Application for Admission. If the student has nine or more graded graduate credit hours, the cumulative minimum grade-point average must be 3.0 for the request to be considered. If the student transferring to a degree program has fewer than nine graded graduate credits and the undergraduate grade-point average is between 2.5 to 2.9 the recommendation for admission will be provisional student status. If the undergraduate grade-point average is 3.0 or greater, the admission recommendation will be regular student status.

International students with an F-1 visa are not eligible for undeclared master status.

A student who has been denied admission to a graduate program by the department may enroll as an undeclared master in the college of interest and can complete up to nine hours graduate credit (exclusive of directed readings and independent study) with a grade-point average of 3.0 or above. Course restrictions placed by the graduate department may constrain enrollment by an undeclared student. An undeclared master student is restricted to transferring 9 hours graduate credit with a grade B or better into a degree program.

Academic advising for an undeclared master student is obtained from the academic department.

An undeclared PhD student is advised by the graduate school.

Graduate Study by University Seniors (Senior Petitioner)

An undergraduate student who is in the last 15 graded credit hours of a bachelor's degree program and who is completing all requirements for graduation, may take up to 6 credits of graduate level courses numbered from 450 through 598 for credit toward an advanced degree, with the approval of the appropriate academic department, college dean and the graduate dean.

The student must (1) have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher or have a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher in the last 45 credits completed; (2) complete the Senior Petitioner Form at University Admissions 30 days prior to registration; (3) if accepted as a senior petitioner, the student must file a Senior Petitioner Course Form for each course by the deadline to add courses for the semester in which the course is to be taken and obtain approval from the graduate instructor, and the undergraduate advisor; and (4) register for the course at University Admissions.

The combined total of graduate and undergraduate courses for the semester may not exceed 17 credits. Senior petitioners must consult with an admission's representative at University Admissions.

As a senior petitioner in a graduate program, the course(s) will become part of the graduate record and will not be used in the calculation of the student's undergraduate grade-point average or credit hours.

For students enrolled in a joint bachelor's and master's degree program see the subsection "Transfer of Undergraduate Credits to an NMSU Graduate Program" in the "Requirements for Enrolled Students" section of the Graduate Catalog.

Nondegree Admission

Non-degree admission is designed to meet the needs of an applicant who does not wish to pursue a degree or who has not yet completed the application process to a specific department. Academic advising for non-degree students is obtained from the academic department. . No more than 9 hours graduate credit earned in non-degree status may be transferred to a graduate degree program. NMSU only recognizes graduate credit for non-degree work from The University of New Mexico (UNM). Transfer credit is restricted to 6 credits with the approval of the appropriate department, the college dean, and the graduate dean. A student classified as non-degree is not eligible to receive financial aid, student employment, or institutional tuition waivers; nor is he or she eligible to participate in student government or intercollegiate athletics; and is not eligible to receive benefits from veterans' programs.

Visiting Student

A visiting student is a student taking graduate credit to transfer to his or her parent institution. An "Application for Admission" to University Admissions must be submitted 30 days prior to registration. The student is required to submit unofficial transcripts; however, the academic department must concur and admit a visiting student. Visiting students are not eligible for undeclared status or for graduate assistantships.

Graduate Certificate Student

A student enrolled in a certificate program is not enrolled in any graduate degree seeking program at NMSU. The status will change if he or she applies and is accepted to a graduate degree program. A student enrolled in a graduate certificate program is not eligible for a graduate assistantship.

Out-of-State Students and Legal Jurisdiction

By applying for admission/enrollment, both the student and parents agree that New Mexico law prevails and all litigation will be held in New Mexico federal court or state court in Dona Ana County, New Mexico.