The Graduate School makes admission decisions based on a composite of qualitative and quantitative information that include, but are not limited to, the following: the applicant's statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, the academic standing of the student in program(s) in which the applicant has studied, relevant professional activities and achievements, admissions test scores, previous grades, and the recommendation of the faculty in the area to which the applicant is seeking admission. Each application is considered in the context of other applications to the same area, with due consideration given to the availability of space in the program at the time the student applies, the need to maintain a pool of students of superior potential, and other goals of the program. A department may set higher admission standards for doctoral students. Not every student whose credentials meet stated quantitative standards is admitted.
An applicant may apply to only two programs at a time and, upon acceptance to each, pursue only two programs at a time. Application to each program will be considered separately. The timeline for each program is based on the admission term for each, the degree completion requirements of each, and so forth. A student who pursues two programs must apply for candidacy and meet the degree requirements for each program. See Degree Requirements for additional information.
Persons are admitted to a specific program of study as specified on the application. A request for a change of program or continuation beyond an original purpose is viewed as a new application and is subject to current procedures and standards.
Admission to graduate studies at The University of Alabama is valid for 12 months after the requested entrance date. In some departments, students must seek pre-approval if they wish to change the entrance date initially requested on their applications. International students requesting a change in their entrance date should also be aware that their TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores must be less than two years old at the time of initial enrollment at the University. Should the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE become more than two years old prior to enrollment, the student will be required to retest and submit an acceptable score prior to enrolling. If a student applies but does not complete any coursework within 12 months of the requested entrance date, a new application and an accompanying appropriate fee must be submitted. If a student enrolls for classes but then fails to register for three consecutive years, the student must reapply for admission.
The dean of the Graduate School is the only person authorized to waive any requirement, admit applicants to the Graduate School, or otherwise notify applicants of the disposition of their applications.
Additional requirements may be stated in the divisional and departmental sections of this catalog.
Admission requirements are subject to change without prior notice. Being admitted to a graduate program does not mean that each course required in the student's program of study will be available each semester or in a specific semester.
A person holding a bachelor's degree (or who is a senior) from a U.S. accredited institution (or the foreign equivalent for an international applicant), is eligible for consideration for admission to the Graduate School at The University of Alabama. Students who have been determined as exceptional may start a graduate program in their senior year if: 1) they are part of a UA program (e.g. AMP) that identifies exceptional undergraduates; or 2) they are part of a formal domestic or international agreement (i.e. a 3+2 agreement). The undergraduate path of study must have been approved by the cognate UA academic program, and the students must have been identified by UA faculty as being capable of starting a graduate degree early. Students enrolled at the University as part of a formal domestic or international agreement must receive their bachelor’s degree from their home institution at the end of the fourth year. If this is not achieved, they will be dropped from the master’s degree program.
Applicants who are denied admission may appeal this decision. The appeal must be submitted via email to the Dean of the Graduate School. The appeal will be reviewed by a committee comprising the Dean of the Graduate School, the Associate Dean for Admissions, Recruitment and Scholarship, the Director of Graduate Admissions, and the Chair of the department to which the applicant applied.
Types of admission are described below.
An applicant whose credentials meet both of the following minimum requirements may be considered for regular admission:
- GPA requirement: The applicant must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 overall, 3.0 for the last 60 semester hours in a degree program, or 3.0 for a completed graduate degree program.
- Entrance exam score requirement: To be considered for regular admission, an applicant must have a 300 on the GRE, a score at the 50th percentile on the MAT, a 500 on the GMAT, or a score at the 50th percentile on the MCAT, or a score at the 50th percentile on the Executive Assessment (EA; EMBA only), if required by the department or degree program to which the applicant is seeking admission. (See the departmental sections of this Catalog or contact the Graduate School for specific information.) Admission test scores must be less than five years old. The purpose of an admission test score (i.e. GRE, MAT, GMAT) is to provide a measure of an applicant’s potential for success at the graduate level. If an applicant, through obtaining a graduate degree, has shown the ability to succeed at the graduate level, the completion of a graduate degree is used in place of the admission test score requirement as a measure of potential for success. The admission test score is also waived if the prospective department can demonstrate that the applicant has five or more years of experience in a field related to the graduate degree. Individual degree programs may require an admission test score even if the applicant has a master’s degree or the required work experience. During the application process the applicant may either request that official test scores be sent directly by the testing agency or the applicant may upload unofficial test scores to the application system. If the applicant provided unofficial test scores during the application review phase, on admission the applicant must request that official test scores be sent directly to The University of Alabama Graduate School by the testing agency.
These are minimum requirements; divisions or departments may set higher standards.
Exceptions to Admissions Policy
Under exceptional circumstances, an applicant may be considered for admission if he or she meets either the GPA requirement for regular admission (GPA of 3.0) or the entrance exam score requirement as outlined above. If such an applicant is admitted, he or she will need to obtain permission to continue in the program, after the first 12 semester hours of graduate-level work have been completed. Permission to continue is earned by achieving a GPA of “B” or better (3.0) in the first 12 semester hours. If the 12 hours are completed in a term in which the total credits exceed 12, the evaluation is made on the basis of all graduate-level work completed at the end of that term of enrollment. Students admitted under this circumstance who do not meet the 3.0 requirement after their first 12 hours of graduate-level work will not receive permission to continue in their graduate program, and will be dropped from the program. Very rarely, an applicant may still be considered for admission with permission to continue if they meet neither the GPA or admission test score requirement. In this situation a department must submit a written justification to the Graduate School that includes the following: 1) Compelling evidence indicating the applicant’s ability to be successful in a graduate program (this might include, for example, several years of experience in the professional field with a record of excellence, or prior experience by the departmental faculty with the applicant); 2) A list of conditions for permission to continue (beyond the minimum stipulations outlined above for admission with permission to continue); 3) A plan to complete all conditions within the first year of graduate work; and 4) a mentoring plan to ensure the student’s success. The justification will be reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School or their designee prior to an admission decision.
Students who have not registered for classes in their program for three years must reapply to their program. Applicants for readmission must meet all admission requirements. Acceptance of the application for readmission is not guaranteed. Continuity of financial support is also not guaranteed.
Students seeking readmission after dismissal from the Graduate School should consult the Grades and Academic Standing section in the Graduate Catalog.
Readmission of Service Members
The University complies with laws concerning readmission of service members.
A student who has been admitted to or enrolled in The University of Alabama Graduate School may ask for a military leave to fulfill a U.S. military obligation. The student should notify the dean of the Graduate School of a call to military service and provide documentation. Upon return from military service, the student also should notify the dean of the Graduate School of the intent to return to graduate school and provide documentation of honorable discharge.
A student called to active military duty, unless dishonorably discharged, and eligible for readmission as defined by law, will receive an extension of the degree time limit equal to the term of eligible service, with a cap on the number of years in the extension. The extension is subject to the five-year limit as applicable to readmission provisions in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (Section 484C of the HEA) and implementing regulations in 34 CFR Section 668.18.
Readmission Fresh Start
The Academic Fresh Start Policy is for former University of Alabama graduate students whose prior performance in graduate-level classes may not be reflective of their current potential. Students who meet the following conditions may be eligible to apply for re-admission and request an Academic Fresh Start if they meet the following qualifications:
- Cumulative University of Alabama graduate GPA below 3.0.
- Not enrolled in University of Alabama graduate classes for at least 36 consecutive months prior to the start of the intended first semester in the graduate program.
If students are granted admission under the Academic Fresh Start policy, whether to a new program or to the program where they had previously been enrolled, only their grades and credits earned after their readmission will be counted towards degree completion (with the exception of any credit hours applied toward an existing degree, certificate, or credential). All previous graduate academic work at The University of Alabama (including previously accrued transfer credit) will not be included in calculations regarding academic standing, grade-point-average, earned hours, or eligibility for graduation. Revalidation of credits may not be used if a student is granted Academic Fresh Start.
The Academic Fresh Start policy does not remove evidence/documentation of the student's overall academic history at the university such as grades previously received, even if a course is repeated in the process of Academic Fresh Start. All prior work will appear on the student’s transcript, but only the courses attempted following readmission will be applied to the degree requirements and calculation of the graduate grade point average.
Students may be admitted under the Academic Fresh Start policy only once in their UA academic career.
Students are responsible for satisfying all degree requirements for the new admission. To satisfy requirements for courses that were successfully taken during the first attempt, students have the following two options:
- Repeat the courses to fulfill the requirements; or
- Request to enroll in other courses to fulfill the requirements, subject to approval by the director of the graduate program.
Students seeking admission under the Academic Fresh Start policy must submit the Academic Fresh Start form concurrently with their application to the Graduate School. As requested on this form, students must explain the factors that resulted in the low GPA in previous graduate classes, and provide a detailed plan explaining how those factors will be addressed in their planned graduate studies. As part of the application, the Graduate School will request a letter from the department chair or graduate program director in support of Academic Fresh Start for the student, which confirms intent to admit the student to the graduate program. Applicants admitted under Academic Fresh Start are admitted with the designation “permission to continue” whereby they must earn an overall graduate GPA of 3.0 or better in their first 12 hours of coursework. If students were previously dismissed from The University of Alabama for academic misconduct, the Graduate School will also request a letter of support from the academic dean (or designee) for the school or college in which the Academic Fresh Start is sought. Admission under the Academic Fresh Start policy is not guaranteed and must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. If approved, the changes to the graduate transcript will be reflected once the student has fulfilled the 12-hour obligation with a GPA of 3.0 or better.
Admissions Examination Criteria
Graduate admission examinations are required for applicants to most programs and must be less than five years old at the time of application. Most departments require a score of 300 on the GRE test for regular admission. Some departments may allow substitution of the MAT or the MCAT for the GRE. Applicants to the Manderson Graduate School of Business are required to submit acceptable scores on the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) although some departments allow the use of the GRE. The EMBA program will accept Executive Assessment (EA) scores. Applicants should consult the department descriptions in this catalog or contact departments directly for more specific information about admissions examination requirements.
Applicants to the Accelerated Master's Program (AMP) are not required to submit an admission test score except in the following cases: 1) AMP programs in the Manderson Graduate School of Business (with the exception of Marketing); 2) AMP programs leading to a Geography master's, and 3) AMP programs in the College of Education.
The following departments have received approval to eliminate or modify criteria for graduate admissions test scores. In the case of admission test score waivers, the programs have adopted alternative criteria that are used in place of a test score.
- Accounting (MMA, MTA): No admission test score required for applicants with one or more of the following: 1) a GPA of 3.25 or above in a minimum of 15 upper-division credit hours; 2) a prior graduate degree; 3) applicants who have passed the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam; or 4) applicants with five years of management experience that includes significant budgetary and leadership responsibility and a 3.0 (or better) upper-division undergraduate GPA from an accredited university.
- Advertising and Public Relations (MA): No admissions test required.
- Anthropology (MA): No admissions test required.
- Art (studio art): No admissions test required.
- Biological Sciences (all programs): No admissions test required.
- Book Arts (MFA): No admissions test required.
- Business Administration (Executive MBA): The Executive Assessment (EA) exam will be accepted in addition to the GMAT and GRE exams.
- Chemistry: No admissions test required for applicants who are applying as part of the 3+2 agreement with Lanzhou University.
- Communication and Information Sciences (PhD): No admissions test required.
- Communication Studies (MA): No admissions test required.
- Creative Writing (MFA): Admission test recommended but not required.
- Criminal Justice (MS): No admission test required for applicants with an overall GPA of 3.5 or greater.
- Dance (MFA): No admission test required.
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): No admissions test required if the applicant has a GPA of 3.0 or more.
- English (MA, PhD): No admissions test required.
- English as a Second Language (MA): No admissions test required.
- German (MA): No admissions test score required.
- Health Sciences, Human Nutrition, General Human Environmental Sciences (Consumer Science) (master’s programs): No admissions test required if the applicant has a GPA of 3.0 or more.
- Health Education and Promotion (MPH): No admissions test required if the applicant has a GPA of 3.0 or more.
- Hospitality Management (MS): No admission test required.
- Instructional Leadership (Concentration in Social and Cultural Studies; PhD): No admission test required.
- Journalism (MA): No admission test required.
- Library and Information Studies (MLIS): No admission test required.
- Modern Languages & Classics (MA-French): No admission test required.
- Modern Languages & Classics (MA-Spanish): No admission test required.
- Modern Languages & Classics (Spanish): No admissions test required.
- Music (all programs): No admissions test required.
- Nursing (MSN): No admissions test required if the applicant has a GPA of 3.0 or more.
- Population Health Sciences (MS): No admissions test required if the applicant has a GPA of 3.0 or more.
- Social Work (MSW): No admissions test required if the applicant has a GPA of 3.0 or more.
- Special Education (MA) Multiple Abilities Program: No admission test required for graduates of the UA undergraduate Multiple Abilities Program with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
- Theater (MFA): No admissions test required.
Information concerning the GRE is available from the Educational Testing Services. The GMAT and MAT are given by the testing services of The University of Alabama and by most colleges and universities and may be taken by appointment. Applicants should plan well in advance so the results of the required examination will be available when needed to support an application for admission. Braille editions of both the GRE and MAT can be obtained from The University of Alabama, Testing Services.
Interested persons with restrictions that prevent the use of our online application should contact The University of Alabama Graduate School.
Other Types of Admission
Irregular Postgraduate (IPG) Admission
A person who applies but is not admitted to the Graduate School may, on the recommendation of the department or division concerned and with the approval of the dean of the Graduate School, seek admission as an irregular postgraduate (IPG) student through undergraduate admission, for the purpose of attempting to qualify for admission to the Graduate School. An applicant who is denied admission must not assume that this procedure is available to all; specific instructions will be given to those who are eligible.
Work taken as an irregular postgraduate cannot be counted as graduate credit at the time it is taken or at a later date. IPG students register as undergraduates and receive undergraduate credit for all work completed. Upon completion of the required program of IPG studies (no less than 12 semester hours of advanced-level undergraduate credit taken from full-time graduate faculty of The University of Alabama), the student must request a review of the application for admission to the Graduate School within 12 months of the initial requested entrance date, or a new application accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee must be submitted.
The Accelerated Master's Program (AMP)
UA Juniors/Seniors interested in the Accelerated Master's Program (AMP) will initiate the process through their department. All requirements for the AMP program are located in the Graduate Catalog under Academic Policies.
An individual who is interested in earning graduate credit but who is not an applicant for a graduate degree at The University of Alabama may be admitted for nondegree studies with the recommendation of the department or program in which the course is offered and approval of the Graduate School dean. Admission may be granted to a qualified student holding a bachelor's degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution or the equivalent for international applicants, or to a graduate student in good standing at another U.S. regionally accredited graduate school. Nondegree application forms are available at the Graduate School's Website.
International applicants for nondegree status must submit transcripts (with English translations) and a diploma showing degree earned. They also must have a TOEFL score of at least 550 on the paper-based version, a score of 79 on the iBT, a 6.5 on the IELTS, or 59 on the PTE. Applicants also must meet all current immigration requirements.
Nondegree admission is granted for attending special institutes and workshops, for meeting professional training requirements, for taking off-campus courses, or for special conditions approved by the dean of the Graduate School. Departments may set restrictions on the number or type of classes in which nondegree students may enroll, may limit nondegree enrollment to one semester only, or may prohibit nondegree admission. A maximum of 12 semester hours of graduate work may be taken as a nondegree student and later applied to the credit-hour requirements for a degree, if the student is later admitted to a degree program. Individuals enrolled as nondegree students cannot register for more than 12 hours without providing written verification to the Graduate School that they do not plan to pursue graduate degrees at the University. No more than 12 semester hours of this nondegree coursework can be evaluated for degree credit. Application of any nondegree credit toward an advanced degree will be contingent upon an evaluation made after the student has been admitted to the Graduate School to pursue a degree program. Responsibility rests with the student to observe the limitations imposed on credit hours, coursework, and transfer of credit. Procedures and online application for this type of admission are available at the Graduate School's Website. Students who have had an application to a degree program formally rejected are not eligible for nondegree status.
If a student is not eligible for consideration for admission to a degree program, the grades the student earns as a nondegree student will not make the student admissible for the degree program.
Each student taking nondegree courses through the University's programs offered at international sites must submit an official transcript (with an English translation) and a diploma showing a bachelor's degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution (or the equivalent for an international applicant).
Nondegree students are not permitted to hold graduate assistantships. Nondegree students may not be eligible for federal financial aid and loan programs. For more information, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid.
Admission of International Students
Applicants who are citizens of countries other than the United States are welcome at The University of Alabama. Highly qualified students from around the world have been extremely successful in our graduate programs, and the contributions made by our international students in the areas of teaching, research, and general cultural enrichment have been great. Standards for admission and financial aid are extremely competitive, ensuring academic excellence.
Interested students should visit our online application center to apply electronically. Applicants with restrictions that prevent the use of our online application should contact the Graduate School. The request should contain information on the student's citizenship, formal academic preparation, English language ability, standardized test scores, financial situation, proposed major, and date of entry.
The fall semester begins in August and is considered the beginning of the academic year, and international students are strongly advised to plan to begin their studies then. Many of our departments and programs will consider applications for the spring semester, which starts in January, but fewer openings for new students are available at that time.
The University of Alabama recognizes that, to be accurately evaluated, applications from international students require more time and more supporting information than do domestic applications. For this reason, international applicants applying from outside the U.S. are encouraged to have complete applications, with all supporting documents, at least 180 days before the beginning of the semester for which application is made. All applications must be complete at least 120 days before the beginning of the semester for which application is made. Some departments have earlier deadlines; applicants should contact the departments in which they are interested to obtain information about department deadlines and other requirements. The student whose application is completed well in advance of our deadlines is more likely to be admitted and to receive admission and immigration materials in time to make travel arrangements.
Each international application must hold the equivalent of a U.S. four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution to be eligible for graduate admission. While individual departments may have more stringent requirements, bachelor degrees from Bologna Accord-certified institutions are considered to meet this criterion.
Non-native speakers are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores unless they meet at least one of the following criteria: 1) at the time of initial enrollment, they will hold a degree from a U.S. institution or an institution in one of the English speaking countries or regions listed below; 2) at the time of initial enrollment, they will have been enrolled in coursework for at least two years at a U.S. institution or an institution in one of the English-speaking countries or regions listed below; 3) they are a citizen or legal resident of one of the English-speaking countries or regions listed below. The minimum score for admission to a degree program or for nondegree admission is 79 on the TOEFL iBT. The minimum IELTS score for admission to a degree program or for non-degree admission is 6.5. The PTE minimum score for admission to a degree program or for non-degree admission is 59. In regions where the TOEFL iBT is not available, the TOEFL Paper Based Test (PBT) may be accepted. The minimum TOEFL PBT score for admission to a degree program or for non-degree admission is 59. TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores must be less than two years old at the time of the application. During the application process the applicant may either request that official test scores be sent directly by the testing agency or the applicant may upload unofficial test scores to the application system. If the applicant provided unofficial test scores during the application review phase, on admission the applicant must request that official test scores be sent directly to The University of Alabama Graduate School by the testing agency. Applicants to College of Education programs at off-campus sites (Bogota, Colombia; Mexico City, Mexico; Guayaquil, Ecuador; and Quito, Ecuador) who are K-12 teachers employed at international schools, are exempted from tests of English proficiency. For information on registering for the TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE visit the testing center websites or contact U.S. embassies, consulates, USIS offices, Institute of International Education offices, AMIDEAST offices, and other organizations concerned with international education.
English-Speaking Countries or Regions
British Virgin Islands
Canada (except Quebec)
Federated States of Micronesia
Northern Mariana Islands
Papua New Guinea
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
South Africa (English-speaking, i.e. not Afrikaans)
South Georgia Islands
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
US Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John)
Conditional Language Admission and the Pathway to UA Program for International Graduate Students
International graduate applicants to The University of Alabama may be considered for conditional language admission if they do not meet the minimum score requirement of 79 on the TOEFL iBT, 6.5 on the IELTS, 59 on the PTE, or 59 on the TOEFL PBT. Applicants should indicate on their application if they wish to be considered for conditional language admission. Conditionally admitted students who have not yet met their conditions for admission are not permitted to hold an internally funded assistantship or fellowship.
Students admitted with conditional language admission are required to take classes in the English Language Institute (ELI) as a condition of moving into full-time academic classes. Students with an English language test score of 61-78 on the TOEFL iBT, 5.5-6.0 on the IELTS, or 44-58 on the PTE have the option of applying to the graduate Pathway to UA program. The Pathway to UA program permits students in participating departments to take classes toward their graduate degree while taking ELI classes. Students scoring below these thresholds must start in full-time ELI classes before progressing to the Pathway to UA program. As their English skills will not be reflective of their academic potential, conditionally admitted students are exempt from the admission test score (e.g. GRE/GMAT/MAT) requirements at the time of admission.
Pathway to UA Students
Depending on their English language test score, Pathway to UA students take a combination of ELI courses and graduate-level courses in their discipline (see table below). In order to meet the conditions of admission, students must complete ELI classes with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the advanced levels (Levels 5 and 6) and graduate-level courses in their discipline with an overall GPA of at least 3.0. A student who does not meet the Pathway to UA requirements in 2 semesters (not including summer) will not be permitted to continue at The University of Alabama.
Tier 1: Pathway students with a TOEFL of 70-78, IELTS of 6.0, or a PTE of 49-53 will be initially placed in ELI level 6. Tier 1 students will spend one semester in the pathway (taking 6 credits of ELI classes and 6 credits towards the student's degree program). Upon passing tier 1 as described in the paragraph above, students proceed to full-time study in their degree program.
Tier 2: Pathway students with a TOEFL of 61-69, IELTS of 5.5, or a PTE of 44-48 will be initially placed in ELI level 5. Tier 2 pathway students will spend two semesters in the pathway. In semester 1 they will take 9 credits of ELI classes and 3 credits towards the student's degree program. Upon passing their first semester, tier 2 pathway students will progress to tier 1.
Conditionally admitted students who do not initially qualify for the Pathway to UA program (either based on English language test score or non-participation by their department) must enroll full-time in ELI classes. For departments participating in the Pathway to UA program, non-pathway students enter the Pathway to UA program on completion of ELI Level 4 classes with a GPA of at least 3.0. Students from departments not participating in the Pathway to UA program take only ELI classes until such time as they complete the ELI program of study with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the advanced levels (Levels 4, 5, and 6) and/or meet the English test score requirements for regular admission. Such students will be required to take an admission test before proceeding to graduate classes if this is required for regular admission.
Other Information for International Applicants
Students whose applications to the Graduate School are approved will receive housing and health-service information, a letter of admission, and an immigration document (usually Form I-20 or DS-2019). Upon arrival in Tuscaloosa, students should report to Office of International Student and Scholar Services in order to obtain registration materials and information on the special orientation session for international students that is held prior to the beginning of each semester.
International students who are offered graduate assistantships are limited to a maximum .50 FTE (half-time) assistantship. Additional employment outside the University is not permitted.
Students are encouraged to direct any questions they may have concerning immigration, housing, or the health service to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services. Questions concerning admission procedures should be directed to the Graduate School.
Requirements and deadlines for submitting applications are subject to change; applicants should review the specific instructions on the application forms for current requirements and deadlines.
English Language Institute
The University of Alabama offers intensive English language instruction to prepare students for further academic study at colleges and universities in the United States. In addition, through the English Language Institute, the University offers the International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP), a program that all graduate assistants with any teaching or instructional activities who are non-native speakers of English must successfully complete before they are allowed to teach. Students are registered for the ITAP by their departments. For information about these programs please visit the English Language Institute webpage.
Graduate Admission and Internal Degree Candidacy for UA Faculty
Faculty who wish to take occasional graduate courses must register for these courses after admission to the Graduate School on a non-degree-seeking basis. To maintain university accountability, regular full-time faculty seeking admission as a degree-seeking graduate student must seek approval from their department chair and dean (which should not be unreasonably withheld), as well as the approvals required for other applicants to the same program. See the UA Faculty Handbook for details.