Policies > Admission and Registration > 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 Fellowship 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 Graduate School. 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:
- Completed and signed UH application for admission including non-refundable application fee.
- Official transcripts from each college or university attended previously, including the degree(s) earned and date(s) awarded.
- Officially reported standardized test scores (e.g., GRE, GMAT, LSAT) as required by the desired program. Applicants should consult with the program or college to determine the specific test requirements.
- Letters of recommendation.
- Personal resume or curriculum vita as required by the desired program.
- Personal statement as required by the desired program.
- International applicants must submit all of the above, plus submit proof of compliance with the English Language Proficiency Requirement (see below).
If admitted, international applicants must also provide additional documentation required to apply for a student visa. Such documentation may include, but is not limited to:
- Letter of financial backing.
- Financial backing documents, such as bank statements
- International address
- A scan of biometrics page of applicant’s passport
Note: Transfer students must meet regular admission requirements.
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 Graduate School.
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.
Applicants to a graduate program who hold a terminal doctoral degree, including MD, JD, or PhD, from this or any other regionally-accredited domestic institution are not required to submit GRE/GMAT results as a part of an application packet to the University of Houston, though individual programs may still choose to require them.
Applicants holding a terminal doctoral degree earned outside the United States are subject to review by the Graduate School before a waiver of the GRE/GMAT will be granted. The Graduate School must certify whether a doctoral degree earned outside the United States meets them same academic standards as a domestic MD, JD, or PhD.
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.
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 (or higher) earned from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or at an institution at which English is the medium of instruction in the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Canada (English-speaking provinces), Grenada, Ireland, Jamaica, Liberia, New Zealand, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, the United Kingdom, and the Virgin Islands.
- Officially-reported test scores from one of the following:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
- Internet based Test (iBT):An overall score of 79 or higher.
- Paper based Test (pBT): An overall score of 550 or higher.
- International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS)
- An overall score of 6.5 or higher
- Duolingo English Test
- An overall score of 105 or higher.
- Pearson Test of English (PTE)
- An overall score of 53 or higher.
- Successful completion of level six in the University of Houston Language and Culture Center.
Departments may require a higher minimum test score where previous experience and demands of the discipline warrant it. Admission materials contain details on this requirement.
Graduate students whose English proficiency is judged inadequate by the department or college may be denied permission to continue work on graduate degrees.
Students unconditionally admitted to the university are granted full status in a graduate program.
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 terms in the graduate program. Assuming all requirements are met, the student is awarded an unconditional admissions status.
Students who do not meet all criteria to be admitted into the University of Houston may request to be admitted through a Special Admissions Review Process:
- A faculty member wishing to sponsor a student for special admission must submit a written request to the graduate program’s Admissions Committee to admit the student with a justification for admitting the student who does not meet all of the university’s admissions criteria.
- If the graduate program’s Admissions Committee supports the request of the faculty sponsor to admit the student, the committee chair will forward a recommendation and all documentation to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies of the college, who will make a recommendation to the College Dean. If the Dean approves the special admission request, the Dean will forward the recommendation and all documentation to the Dean of the Graduate School for final approval.
- All documentation listed below must accompany the request to the Dean of the Graduate School:
- The written faculty sponsor request,
- The graduate program’s Admissions committee recommendation with noted Associate Dean and Dean support,
- The student’s initial application to the Graduate Program,
- All letters of recommendation submitted for the student, and
- Any additional evidence of superior qualifications, such as publications in peer reviewed journals or presentations at conferences. Failure to submit all required documentation with the request to the Dean of the Graduate School will delay the approval process.
This process is not applicable for failure to meet the English Language Proficiency requirement. Minimum test scores in the English Language Proficiency requirement cannot be appealed. Examples of admissions criteria which could be appealed include, but are not limited to: standardized test scores or certification of an international degree as equivalent to a US Bachelor’s degree.
Transfer students must meet regular admission requirements. See the catalog section on Transfer Credit
for details regarding the transfer of graduate credit.
Non-Degree Seeking Graduate Admission
A college may grant, under special circumstances, non-degree seeking (NDO) graduate status to applicants who have earned bachelor’s degrees and wish to take a limited number of graduate classes to further their education (note: applicants who have earned a bachelor’s degree and wish to take undergraduate classes should apply as a postbaccalaureate undergraduate). Such applicants might be candidates for licensure, professional certification, or transient students, who are currently graduate students in good standing at another regionally-accredited institution wishing to pursue courses at the University of Houston for one term. The admissions procedures and basic criteria are the same as those for degree-seeking students. Applicants for NDO graduate status must submit a graduate application, and submit transcripts, and examination scores to the Graduate School. Students given NDO graduate status may apply to a graduate degree program at a later date by submitting a new application. Except in programs receiving pre-approval by the Graduate and Professional Studies Committee (GPSC) of the Faculty Senate, no more than nine credit hours earned under NDO graduate 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 graduate status, students should contact the specific college.
A student who has earned one or more undergraduate degrees at a regionally-accredited institution(s) and is seeking to pursue additional coursework or degrees at the undergraduate level is classified as a postbaccalaureate student. An applicant seeking this classification (rather than graduate status) must apply to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
International Students (Non-U.S. Citizens)
Any student who is on a non-immigrant visa is classified as an international student by the university. Non-immigrant international students must carry medical and hospitalization insurance. Visas issued for the purpose of study do not normally carry employment privileges. New students on non immigrant visas are required to enroll for an orientation program, which takes place at the beginning of the term. Holders of non immigrant visas (F-1 or J-1) must enroll in a full course load each term.