Jun 14, 2024  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Admission and Readmission

East Carolina University is an equal educational opportunity institution. In keeping with this policy, the university makes no distinction in the admission of students or in any other of its activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, or disability.


Application for graduate degree programs include a completed application form, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, official standardized test score reports, a written statement of purpose, and a nonrefundable application fee. Official transcripts are required for all earned degrees (undergraduate and graduate) and for all institutions attended in the most recent five years even if it was only for a single course. Detailed requirements are provided below. 

Prospective students may apply simultaneously for more than one graduate degree program, but a separate application is required for each degree program. An electronic application may be completed and submitted at the Graduate School website, www.ecu.edu/gradschool/. Any transcripts and test scores submitted will be used towards both applications; duplicates are not needed. Further information is available by telephoning the Graduate School at 252-328-6012.

Any individual applying or enrolled in the Graduate School must promptly notify the dean of the Graduate School in writing if any of the following occurs: any criminal charge; any disposition of a criminal charge; any type of military discharge other than honorable discharge; or any school, college, or university disciplinary action against the student. Failure to report any of the above actions is grounds for denial or withdrawal of admission to ECU as well as dismissal after enrollment.

The dates below are the final dates an application and fee can be submitted to the Graduate School for specified terms. Students are encouraged to inquire about individual programs as early as possible since some programs have early deadlines, admit only once per year, or review applications only at fixed times during the year. Early application is encouraged, particularly if application for an assistantship is contemplated. The completed application packet must be received in the Graduate School by program-defined deadlines to insure that the application is given full consideration. Late applicants cannot be assured their application will be processed in time for the desired session of enrollment.

Session Deadline Session Deadline
Fall August 15 First Summer May 5
Spring December 20 Second Summer June 15

Master’s degree candidates planning to enroll in the fall who wish to be considered for out-of-state tuition waivers must submit applications by February 1. If applications are received after that date, waivers will be considered only as funds are available. Some programs have earlier deadlines. You should consult www.ecu.edu/gradschool/ for earlier deadlines.

Admission to a Graduate Degree Program

The university seeks to admit graduate students who show evidence of being able to succeed in and benefit from academic programs of the rigor offered. To qualify for admission to a graduate degree or certificate program (or as nondegree), an applicant must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited four-year institution. Admissions decisions are based on consideration of undergraduate academic record, graduate record if applicable, admission test scores, written statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation. Each individual graduate program decides on the admissibility of its students. Some programs may recommend admission by exception for a limited number of students who do not qualify for regular admission, but have other offsetting strengths. Students who are uncertain about the strength of their application, are advised to consult with the program director about their admissibility.

Early contact with your program of interest can be helpful in preparing your application. Admissions criteria and required supplementary application materials vary by individual programs.

Detailed Application Requirements

1. All applicants are required to submit a completed online application with a nonrefundable application fee (www.ecu.edu/gradschool/).

2. Official score reports are required from a standardized graduate admission exam and must be sent directly to the Graduate School from the testing agencies.

     a. Some exemptions are available, see “Admission Examination Details”, below.
     b. ECU’s GRE code is 5180 and MAT code is 1354.
     c. Examinations must have been taken within the past five years.

3. Official transcripts are required for all earned post-secondary degrees and all post-secondary course work completed within 5 years of the date of graduate application. Additional transcripts are required for transfer credits in excess of 50% of the credits required for a post-secondary degree. Post-secondary degrees and courses work includes all educational work completed at the bachelor’s level or higher.

4. Official transcripts are required from all foreign institutions that you have attended.

5. Three letters of reference, if required by the program, should be sent from persons who can attest to your academic competency or ability to do graduate work.

6. A completed Statement of Purpose essay, if required by the program.

7. To learn about individualized requirements for your program (references, personal statements, admission exam exemptions) please see the “Find your graduate program” search tool (link) or contact the department that offers your program.

8. Please contact the program director to learn of any supplemental application requirements, such as auditions, interviews, portfolios, narratives, etc.

Admission Examination Details

1. The general test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is accepted by all master’s and doctoral programs.

2. The College of Business accepts either general test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) for the graduate programs in accounting and business administration.

3. The general test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is accepted by all College of Education degree programs.

Exceptions to the Admission Examination Requirement

1. Exam scores are not required for

     a. applications to the master’s of fine arts program
     b. most certificate programs
     c. nondegree applications
     d. ECU Honors Students with early assurance admission
     e. students seeking admission under the professional admission policy (see below, link).

2. Selected graduate programs waive the test score requirement for high-performing students that meet alternative pre-requisites approved by the Graduate School.

3. Many programs do not require entrance exam scores for holders of the master’s degree or more advanced degrees.

4. To learn about individualized admission exam exemptions, please see the “Find your graduate program” search tool (link) or contact the department that offers your program.

Professional Admission Policy

Individuals whose baccalaureate degree is more than ten years old and who have extensive professional experience related to the intended program of study may be eligible to seek admission through the professional admissions policy upon recommendation of the graduate program director. Interested applicants should consult with the program director of their intended degree program for more information.

Admission to Certificate Programs

The admissions requirements for graduate certificate programs vary by program. Some certificate programs require that the applicant be enrolled in a degree program while other certificate programs are designed for any person holding a baccalaureate degree. Credit earned while enrolled in a graduate certificate program may be transferred into a degree program with the approval of the department offering the degree program.

Nondegree Admission

1. Nondegree admissions is an enrollment category in which the student is not accepted into a specific degree or certificate program but is approved to take courses that have no catalog restrictions. This is intended for applicants interested in taking one or more courses at ECU, but not necessarily interested in obtaining an ECU degree or certificate at the time of application. It may be used by students matriculated at another institution who wish to enroll as visiting students, individuals wanting to take courses for personal/professional enrichment, and individuals wanting to take prerequisite course work for later application to a degree program.

2. To apply for nondegree enrollment, prospective students must submit an online nondegree graduate application at www.ecu.edu/gradschool/. An official transcript or other document showing an earned degree from a regionally accredited institution is required. A nonrefundable application fee is required.

3. A maximum of 9 semester hours of course work taken as a nondegree student may apply towards a masters or doctoral degree.

4. Nondegree students are not eligible to take graduate courses in all programs. Nondegree students should seek the permission of the graduate director in the department offering the course(s) prior to attempting to apply.

5. Requests for degree credit for courses completed as a nondegree student are considered after admission to a graduate degree program. All nondegree course work accepted for degree credit must be approved by the chair of the student’s department and the dean of the Graduate School.

6. Course work taken as a nondegree student carries with it no implication that the student will be admitted to a degree program in the Graduate School.

7. Credit earned while enrolled in a graduate certificate program may be transferred into a degree program with the approval of the department offering the degree program.

8. If credit for course work taken as a nondegree student is to be applied to a degree program, it must be satisfactorily incorporated within the applicable time frame for completion of all degree requirements.

9. Nondegree students are expected to familiarize themselves with Graduate School policies and to seek further advice or clarification.

Early Admission to Graduate Studies

There are a variety of ways that ECU undergraduate students may be admitted to take graduate courses before completing the requirements for their undergraduate degree.

Integrated Bachelor’s/Graduate Program

This program allows ECU undergraduates with at least a 3.5 GPA to apply as juniors to an integrated bachelor’s/graduate program. Upon admission to the graduate degree program, the student can count up to 15 s.h. of graduate credit toward completion of the bachelor’s degree. Graduate-level course work taken during the senior year may be counted towards the graduate degree and also towards the undergraduate course work needed to complete the bachelor’s degree. Students participating in an integrated program earn the bachelor’s degree prior to completion of the graduate degree. An integrated bachelor’s/graduate program must meet or exceed the credit hour thresholds in the standard for the two degrees awarded, (e.g., a combination baccalaureate and master’s degree should include a combined minimum of 150 semester credit hours).

Students may apply for the BS Exercise Physiology/DPT Physical Therapy program. Other combinations will become available. Students interested in the integrated bachelor’s/master’s programs should discuss their goals with their advisors and the Graduate School.

Accelerated Master’s Degree Program

The College of Nursing offers an accelerated RN/MSN program for transfer students who have a RN license but do not have an undergraduate degree. Students completing the RN/MSN do not receive the BSN degree. Students in the RN/MSN option must complete all general education and cognate requirements prior to beginning undergraduate nursing courses. Separate application is made to the graduate program in the first or second semester of study in the RN/MSN option. Students enrolled in the RN/MSN option must maintain a 3.0 GPA in the 15 s.h. of undergraduate nursing courses to be eligible to continue in this option. Admission to the RN/MSN option does not guarantee entry into a specific graduate concentration. 

Six-hour Rule

ECU seniors who are within 6 s.h. or less of completion of all undergraduate degree requirements may apply for admission to graduate degree programs. If admitted prior to the semester or summer term during which 6 s.h. or less and any remaining requirements must be completed, they may enroll in 5000- or 6000-level courses applicable to graduate degree requirements. Graduate courses taken under the “six hour rule” do not double count toward completion of the undergraduate degree.

Successful applicants must complete all remaining undergraduate degree requirements during the semester or summer term to which they are admitted. Failure to fulfill this requirement will result in cancellation of admission to graduate degree study and enrollment in any 6000-level courses will be invalidated.

Undergraduate/Nondegree Graduate Dual Enrollment

Senior undergraduate students at East Carolina University who possess at least a 3.5 GPA in their last 30 semester hours of completed ECU course work are eligible to enroll in the Graduate School as a nondegree student and complete up to 9 semester hours of graduate-level course work. Graduate courses taken under the dual enrollment arrangement do not count toward completion of the undergraduate degree. These courses are eligible to count toward the graduate degree upon approval of the department offering the degree program. This form of dual enrollment is intended to give a student contemplating future admission to a graduate program the opportunity to take graduate courses while still an undergraduate. Permission must be obtained from the student’s undergraduate advisor, the chairman of the department offering the courses, and the Graduate School prior to admission into the Graduate School.


When a graduate student drops all university courses in a semester in which he or she is enrolled, the student must officially withdraw from the university. Students seeking to withdraw for non-medical or non-counseling reasons must notify the Office of Registrar of their official withdrawal (CAS@ecu.edu). A graduate student withdrawing from the university by the last day for graduate students to drop courses without grades will not receive grades in university courses for the semester. A graduate student withdrawing after the last day for graduate students to drop courses without grades will receive a grade of F for all university classes which he or she is failing at the time. The last day for a graduate student to drop a class without grades will be as close as practicable to 5:00 PM on the class day after 64% of the class days are completed for the term. During fall and spring terms, this corresponds to 5:00 PM on the 45th class day of the term. No retroactive withdrawals will be granted after classes have ended for the semester in which the student was enrolled.

Students withdrawing for medical or counseling reasons must apply for a medical withdrawal to the Office of the Dean of Students (http://www.ecu.edu/cs-studentaffairs/dos/medical_Withdrawals.cfm). The last day for a graduate student to drop a class without grades will be as close as practicable to 5:00 PM on the class day after 64% of the class days are completed for the term.  During fall and spring terms, this corresponds to 5:00 PM on the 45th class day of the term. No retroactive medical withdrawals will be granted after classes have ended for the semester in which the student was enrolled, except in the case of extraordinary medical, personal or family emergency, in the judgment of the dean of the Graduate School.

Leave of Absence and Readmission

Students enrolled in graduate degree programs who take a leave of absence of one or more semesters (excluding summer terms) must notify their graduate program director and file a readmission application prior to returning. During a leave of absence students will not be permitted to utilize university resources.

Students who take a leave of less than three years may file an application for readmission online at www.ecu.edu/gradschool/. There is no fee for readmission. Students wishing to change graduate degree or certificate programs after a leave of absence must submit a new admissions application.

Students who take a leave of absence of three or more years must submit a new complete application to be considered for admission to their former program or any other graduate program within the university. Students readmitted after a leave of absence of three years or more will be required to meet new or changed degree requirements. East Carolina University course credit will be evaluated for applicability towards degree requirements in accordance with established time limits.

For information on time limitations, view Residence and Graduate Requirements  .

Readmission Following Academic Dismissal

A student dismissed from the Graduate School for poor academic performance must wait one year (including summers) before being considered for readmission. A new complete application will be required for readmission. If the student is accepted for readmission in the same graduate program, credits earned while previously enrolled will be included for the purpose of determining academic standing and meeting graduation requirements. If the student is accepted into a different program, grades and credits earned in the previous degree program from which student was dismissed will not be included for the purpose of determining academic standing and graduation in the new program; however, the student’s transcript will show all courses and grades including those earned in the previous program.

For information on probation and dismissal, view the Probation and Termination Policy  .

Medical History/Immunizations

All newly admitted students must submit the report of medical history form which is available at www.ecu.edu/studenthealth. Online/off campus/satellite students/ or students taking four credit hours or less are exempt from the immunization requirement. The exemption is automatic at the time of registration.


The chairperson of the department or director of graduate programs in which the candidate wishes to enroll will consult with the student concerning any deficiencies in his or her undergraduate program. Required make-ups may be removed at East Carolina University or at any other institution accredited by a regional accrediting organization.

Prerequisites are stated as integral parts of various programs, entrance requirements for degree programs, and sequential progression into subject matter. Students are not allowed to enroll in courses for which they have not met the prerequisites.

Program Modifications for Individual Students

It is important to note that published descriptions of college, school, or departmental graduate programs establish only minimum requirements. Every school or department possesses and reserves the right to require individual students to enroll in additional courses or perform additional tasks in order to meet school or departmental requirements for breadth and quality in the completion of graduate programs.

While such modifications are ordinarily made a matter of record at the beginning of a student’s program, schools and departments have the prerogative to make changes in a student’s program at any time prior to graduation.