2023-24 Catalog

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 completed online at https://www.lehigh.edu/go/applygrad

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. Applications for admission as a regular graduate student must be filed by the required department or program 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. 

All graduate applicants are required to show English proficiency.  This may be accomplished in a variety of ways including English language testing, a review of previous degree curriculum, interviews or other methods.  Please contact your department or program of choice for details about their proficiency policy, methods of satisfying the requirement, acceptable test(s) and associated minimum scores.

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.  In some cases, 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. 

Completed applications accompanied by requests for university awarded 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.  Applicants should consult their respective departments.

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 may seek enrollment in graduate courses with non-degree status. Students in this category are generally seeking admission to a certificate program or evaluating their ability to formally enroll in a degree program. Prospective non-degree graduate students must complete an application through the online application process: https://www.applyweb.com/lehighg/index.ftl  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, non-native English speakers are required to demonstrate English language skills equal to those required of degree-seeking students and are held to the same English proficiency standards. In some programs, non-degree students must receive permission from the course instructor or program director before enrolling. Requirements may vary by college.

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 students must abide by Lehigh’s student code of conduct.

Additional Non-degree Options

There are two additional non-degree options:

(1) Students may take as many courses as they wish towards professional development/personal enrichment.

(2) Students may take courses for external certification. Students pursuing external certification will complete coursework for the appropriate certification, with the number of credits dictated by the external accrediting agency. Given this external control of credit requirements, the number of credits will vary.

In some programs and within limits, students may apply non-degree courses towards a degree. Students who wish to apply credits taken as a non-degree student to a degree must apply for formal enrollment in a graduate program after no more than 12 credits of graduate coursework. Further, no more than 12 credits taken as a non-degree student may be applied to any graduate degree. Note that all coursework applied to a Master’s degree must be completed within a 6-year timeframe. Non-degree students seeking admission to a degree program must submit all the components required for admissions consideration by that degree program and must meet the required criteria for the degree. Students should consult their respective college dean's office for proper procedure.


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 request permission to take a 400-level course for which she or he is qualified. The qualifications are defined by the department and are certified by the course instructor and department chairperson through a petition to the Graduate and Research Committee. Additional information on constraints on undergraduates taking graduate-level courses can be found in Guidelines for Undergraduates to Take Graduate Level Courses.

Undergraduates at Lehigh who wish to take graduate-level coursework should follow the guidelines found here.  Lehigh undergraduates may apply up to 12 course credits taken in the undergraduate program toward a graduate degree under the following conditions: 1) the course credits are not submitted as part of the requirement for an undergraduate degree; 2) approval is granted by the graduate program director, department chairperson and the dean of the college or their designee. The student must receive a final course mark of B- or better.  Students should submit a Petition to Reserve Credits For Graduate Degree form with the required approvals.

Accelerated 4+1 Bachelor/Master degree programs are available in each college.  Interested students can find additional information on the Special Undergraduate Academic Opportunities page.


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 Registration & Academic Services. The procedure may vary by college.

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).

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