Admission Information

Admission Requirements

North Dakota State University is fully committed to equal opportunity in employment decisions and educational programs and activities, in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and including appropriate affirmative action efforts. NDSU does not discriminate in its programs and activities on the basis of age, color, gender expression/identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, participation in lawful off-campus activity, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, public assistance status, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, spousal relationship to current employee, or veteran status, as applicable.

Admission to the Graduate College is a selective process intended to identify applicants who are outstanding among recipients of baccalaureate degrees. The following minimum qualifications are required of all students seeking an advanced degree:

  1. The applicant must have a baccalaureate degree from an educational institution of recognized standing.
  2. The applicant must have adequate preparation in the chosen field of study and must show potential to undertake advanced study and research as evidenced by academic performance and experience.
  3. At the baccalaureate level, the applicant must have earned a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0, or equivalent, to attain full standing in a graduate degree program. Applicants whose last degree completed is a graduate degree may be admitted in full standing if the final GPA of that degree is at least 3.0 or equivalent.
  4. Each program may set higher qualifications and may require the submission of additional evidence of academic performance.

A student shall be permitted to register for graduate study only after formal admission. Programs make recommendations on all applications, but the final admission decision is the responsibility of the Dean of the Graduate College.

Application Requirements

Complete the Online Application. The application fee is $35. You will be prompted to pay the fee when you have completed all of the required fields in the online application. If you choose to apply to more than one graduate program, you must submit a separate application using a new email address, statement of purpose, and $35 application fee. If you would like to use any other previously submitted documents, please email us at ndsu.grad.school@ndsu.edu.

A Statement of Purpose is required for certificate and degree programs. State your reasons for pursuing graduate study, specifying your special interests within your chosen discipline and including your background preparation in that area. Mention any relevant skills or experience that you have acquired. Please see the additional program-specific application materials link to see if your program has more specific statement requirements.

Official transcripts (transcripts in a sealed, stamped envelope from the granting institution and signed by the school official responsible for issuing such records, i.e. Registrar or Controller of Examinations) of all previous undergraduate and graduate records must be received by the Graduate College before the application file is considered complete. When a transcript is submitted in advance of completion of either undergraduate or graduate studies, an updated transcript showing all course credits, grades, and degree completions must be provided prior to initial registration at NDSU.

Online letters of recommendation are required before action is taken on any application. Three recommendations are required unless otherwise noted. We do not accept paper, emailed, or faxed letters.

Programs requiring or recommending Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores are indicated on their information pages. Minimum TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores by program are also listed on English Language Test Score Requirements.

Application Deadline

All application materials are due at least one month before registration for U.S. applicants; several programs have earlier deadlines. (See program sections within the Graduate Bulletin for details.)

For international students, the completed application and all required documents and test scores must be received by the Graduate College prior to May 1 for fall semester and prior to August 1 for spring semester unless the department has other posted deadlines.This deadline applies to students matriculating from abroad because of the time required to obtain current financial information, determine student status, and issue the appropriate immigration form.

Action on Applications

Admission of all graduate students requires approval by the Dean of the Graduate College. All applicants who have submitted the required application materials will receive notification of their admission decision by email.

Admission of International Students

North Dakota State University welcomes international students as part of the student body, and the Graduate College encourages applications from qualified students throughout the world. More than 25% of the approximately 2,100 graduate students are international.

In addition to meeting the previously stated admission requirements, to qualify for admission in an advanced degree program, all international students must demonstrate proficiency in English and must provide evidence of adequate financial support for themselves and any dependents for the duration of their graduate program.

Language Proficiency for Admission

English proficiency must be demonstrated prior to admission by obtaining a minimum score of 525 (paper-based test) or 71 (internet-based test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a score of 6 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Some programs require higher scores for admission to their degree programs. The test date must be within two years of the date of the application to the Graduate College. Information about these tests is available on our website.

The TOEFL or IELTS score may be waived for students who have been raised in one of the following countries or who have earned a bachelor's degree or higher from a recognized institution in one of the following countries.

Antigua and Barbuda                                           Liberia

Australia                                                             Mauritius         

Bahamas                                                            Micronesia (Federated States of)

Barbados                                                            New Zealand

Bermuda                                                             Nigeria

Canada (except Quebec)                                      Saint Lucia                                  

Dominica                                                            Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Gambia                                                              Scotland

Ghana                                                                Sierra Leone

Great Britain                                                       Solomon Islands

Grenada                                                             Trinidad and Tobago

Guyana                                                              United States

Ireland                                                                Zambia

Jamaica                                                             Zimbabwe  

Required Student Health Insurance

All international students in F and J status are required by the North Dakota University System (NDUS) to purchase the approved health insurance policy through UnitedHealthcare StudentResources. The charge for health insurance is due no later than the sixth week of each semester, and it is to be paid onto your student account. For more information on payment deadlines and the policy itself, please see the following website: https://www.ndsu.edu/international/insurance.

Immunization Requirements

Please see the NDSU Student Health Service 'Immunization' webpage for important information about immunizations and all other immunization requirements. To familiarize yourself with these requirements, please visit this website: https://www.ndsu.edu/studenthealthservice/immunizations/.

Language Proficiency for Teaching Assistants

There are two recognized categories of teaching assistants:

(1.)  Graduate Teaching Assistants (who have direct contact with students) must have one of the following minimum scores:

  • TOEFL iBT 81 (speaking 23 or above and writing 21 or above)
  • IELTS 7.0 (speaking and writing 6.0 or above)
  • PTE Academic 54 (speaking 62 or above and writing 56 or above)

(2.)  Graders (who have no direct contact with students) must have one of the following minimum scores*:

  • TOEFL iBT 79 (speaking 19 or above and writing 21 or above)
  • IELTS 6.5 (speaking 5.5 or above and writing 6.0 or above)
  • PTE Academic 53 (speaking 51 or above and writing 56 or above)

*Graders may serve in this capacity for no more than one (1) calendar year. To continue as a GTA, students must meet the GTA language requirements listed under (1.) above OR successfully complete the following courses:

1. LANG 701 English Language and Classroom Skills for International GTAs

2. LANG 702 English Language Tutorial for International GTAs

Admission Status

Graduate students will be admitted under one of the following classifications:

Full Graduate Standing
These students have met all requirements for admission and have been accepted by a program leading to a graduate degree. A student must have full graduate standing to receive a graduate degree.

Conditional Standing
Students in conditional standing do not meet all requirements for admission or have deficiencies in prerequisite course work but show potential for successful graduate study. Evidence must be provided showing that the applicant's potential is not adequately reflected by his or her record. In making this recommendation, the program must specify standards of performance that must be satisfied for a change in status to full graduate standing.

Any student admitted in CONDITIONAL status is automatically placed on academic WARNING until the conditions of admission are met. If a student on academic warning fails to achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in the subsequent semester of attendance, the student will be placed on academic probation. The student may not earn more than 12 semester hours of graduate credit while in conditional status.

Non-Degree Enrollment

This category is for individuals who desire to pursue study beyond the baccalaureate degree for personal growth and improvement of skills but not in order to work toward an advanced degree objective. To become a non-degree student, individuals must submit the online  application form and fee (and English proficiency test score, if applicable). Students must have the prerequisite courses or background/experience necessary for the course or courses in which they desire to enroll. This may require consultation and approval from course instructors. In courses with limited enrollment, preference will be given to degree-seeking students.

Students enrolled with non-degree status are not eligible for graduate assistantships, tuition waivers, or federal title IV student financial assistance. Students in this category are affiliated with the Graduate College and not an academic program. No more than 10 credits taken under the non-degree status with a grade of B or higher can be transferred to any official program of study should there be, at any future date, a decision to seek degree classification. Professional development graduate courses (numbered 600) are not eligible for graduate degree programs and may be taken without formal admission to NDSU.

Change in Classification
Students enrolled with non-degree status may subsequently desire to be considered for admission to the Graduate College to pursue an advanced degree. Such a change in status may be accomplished for a subsequent term by submitting a complete application to the Graduate College as a degree-seeking student. The student must be acceptable to a specific program. Appropriate course credits (no more than 10) earned in the non-degree status may be used to fulfill graduate degree requirements if approved by the student's program committee and the Dean of the Graduate College. No course taken in the non-degree status for which the grade is less than B will be permitted on a plan of study for a graduate degree.