General Admission Policy

General Admission Policy

The University of Houston complies with all federal and state statutes pertaining to the admission of graduate and professional students, including Texas H.B. 1641, regarding admissions policies for graduate and professional programs. 

Competitive Fellowships Factors

Factors that may be considered in graduate admissions and the awarding of competitive fellowships may be viewed at the following link: Competitive Fellowships Factors.

Admission to Graduate and Professional Studies and Eligibility for Competitive Fellowships

Decisions regarding admission to graduate and professional studies at the University of Houston are made by the specific program, department and/or college to which the applicant has applied. Oversight of all graduate and professional admissions policies and procedures is provided by the Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies. Similarly, the criteria utilized for the award of competitive fellowships from the University of Houston are determined by the granting unit (e.g., department, college) but the process must also meet the University Policy stated above.

All applicants to graduate or professional programs at the University of Houston are required to submit the following:

  1. Completed and signed UH application for admission.
  2. Two official transcripts from each college or university attended previously, including the degree(s) earned and date(s) awarded.
  3. Official copies of the appropriate standardized test scores (e.g., GRE, GMAT, LSAT) for the desired program. Applicants must consult with the program or college to determine the specific test requirements.
  4. Letters of recommendation.
  5. Personal resume and statement of interest.

International applicants must submit all of the above, plus:

  1. Statement of Understanding.
  2. Letter of financial backing.
  3. Non-refundable application evaluation fee.
  4. Two passport-sized photographs.
  5. Present a score of 550; 79 on the internet based test, or iBT) or better on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Departments may require a higher minimum TOEFL or IELTS score where previous experience and demands of the discipline warrant it. Admission materials contain details on this requirement. Note: The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics requires the TOEFL or IELTS of all international students (with the exception of students who have completed their bachelor's degree in one of the above-mentioned exempt countries listed below) even when a previous degree has been earned in the United States. Visit the IELTS website for more information.

Note: Transfer students must meet regular admission requirements. (See additional information on Transferred Courses.)

Admission Reviews and Decisions

Each program is responsible for determining application deadlines and internal review processes. All program and college admissions policies and procedures include consideration of the total application – i.e., no single criterion will determine admission to any graduate or professional program at the University of Houston, nor will any single criterion be the determining factor in a decision to deny admission.

Note: Most academic programs, departments and/or colleges have additional admissions requirements. Applicants need to consult with the specific programs, departments and/or colleges to obtain this information.

For further information regarding specific college and department admission requirements, procedures, regulations and deadlines please contact the relevant academic program of interest. 

Minimum Qualifications for Admission to Masters and Doctoral Programs

The University of Houston requires the following minimal qualifications for admission to its master's and doctoral programs. Additional requirements for admission to specific programs may be imposed by the colleges and departments. Applicants should write directly to the department for specific information, as well as consult the appropriate college section of the graduate catalog. For more information on application and admission policies contact the Enrollment Services Office.

Note: The University of Houston does not accept experiential learning for graduate or professional transfer credit. In addition, the University of Houston does not accept non-credit work for transfer credit.

Master's Programs

Applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree from an institution accredited by one of the six regional accrediting associations. Foreign institutions not accredited by U.S. accrediting agencies must be recognized by the Ministry of Education or another appropriate agency of the country in which the institution is located. The university reserves the right to evaluate foreign credentials. In general, these evaluations will follow nationally accepted standard practices and will rely on standard references such as the World Education Series published by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Offices. Students who transfer from another graduate school must have at least a 3.00 (A=4.00) grade point average on all graduate work attempted.

Doctoral Programs

Applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree or a master's degree as specified by individual programs. Students may obtain specific requirements for admission to doctoral programs by writing directly to the department they wish to enter.

English Proficiency Requirement

All graduate applicants, regardless of citizenship status, must demonstrate proficiency in English to obtain admission to the university. To fulfill this requirement, applicants must satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • Baccalaureate degree earned from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or at an institution at which English is the medium of instruction in the following countries: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Bahamas, Belize, the British Isles, Fiji, Jamaica, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Trinidad, the Virgin Islands, the West Indies, Zimbabwe, and English-speaking Canadian provinces.
  • Present one of the following scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
    • Paper and pencil version (passing score = 550)
    • Internet based version (iBT)(passing score = 79)
    • Alternatively, present a score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Departments may require a higher minimum TOEFL or IELTS score where previous experience and demands of the discipline warrant it. Admission materials contain details on this requirement. Note: The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics requires the TOEFL or IELTS of all international students (with the exception of students who have completed their bachelor's degree in one of the above-mentioned exempt countries) even when a previous degree has been earned in the United States. Visit the IELTS website for more information.

Only the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies may make exceptions to the above upon recommendation from the dean of the college of the student's major. Graduate students whose English proficiency is judged inadequate by the department or college may be denied permission to continue work on graduate degrees.

Admission Categories

Unconditional Admission

Students unconditionally admitted to the university are granted full status in a graduate program.

Conditional Admission

Conditional admission status is sometimes granted to students who fail to meet all admissions requirements. These students will have specific requirements to meet within the first one or two semesters in the graduate program. Assuming all requirements are met, the student is awarded an unconditional admissions status.

Transfer Admission

Transfer students must meet regular admission require- ments. Credit may be transferred only for advanced and graduate courses completed with a grade of A or B. The number of semester credit hours applied to the graduate degree is subject to approval of the individual department in which transfer credit is determined after enrollment. Except in the case of planned coordinated inter-institutional programs approved in advance by the Graduate and Professional Studies Council, not more than nine semester hours of transfer credit may be applied to a master's degree. The Cullen College of Engineering will not accept more than six semester hours of transfer credit under any circumstances. Under no circumstances may more than one-half of the course credit necessary for any graduate degree within the jurisdiction of graduate studies be represented by credit transferred from other institutions. With the approval of the dean of the college, a maximum of six semester hours of an earned master's degree may be applied to a second master's degree. Regulations concerning time limitations apply to transfer credit as well as to credit earned at the university. All doctoral credit is also subject to approval of the department or college.

The credit to be accepted is subject to evaluation and must be consistent with the plan approved by the student's advisor. Advanced work completed at another institution prior to the time the institution offered graduate credit will not apply as credit toward an advanced degree at the university. The student bears the final responsibility for securing the department's acceptance of transfer credit.

Transient Admission

A transient student must be in good standing at another accredited graduate institution, and may be admitted to the University of Houston as a non-degree seeking student for one semester. Transient students may apply for regular admission by satisfying the appropriate requirements for the department/college. For more information concerning transient admission, students should contact their specific department.

Nondegree Seeking

The college may grant, under special circumstances, non-degree seeking (NDO) status to applicants who have earned bachelor's degrees and who are candidates for certification, such as in Education. The admission procedures are the same as those for regular student status. Applicants must submit a graduate application, transcripts, and examination scores to the appropriate office. Students given NDO status may apply to a graduate program at a later date by petitioning the college. Six semester hours from the NDO status may be applied toward a graduate degree if the credits are no more than five years old at the time of graduation and the courses are applicable to that degree. For more information concerning NDO status, students should contact their specific college.

Postbaccalaureate Status

A postbaccalaureate student has earned one or more baccalaureate or higher degrees at a regionally accredited institution. An applicant seeking this classification rather than the graduate status must apply to the Office of Admissions.

International Students (Non-U.S. Citizens)

Any student who is on a nonimmigrant visa is classified as an international student by the university.

Nonimmigrant international students must carry medical and hospitalization insurance.

Visas issued for the purpose of study do not normally carry employment privileges.

New students on nonimmigrant visas are required to enroll for an orientation program, which takes place at the beginning of the semester.

Holders of nonimmigrant visas (F-1 or J-1) must enroll in a full course load each semester. Full-time status is defined by the college of the student's major.

Catalog Publish Date: July 27, 2012
This Page Last Updated: July 19, 2012
Effective Date of Archive: January 14, 2013