Academic Affairs
Graduate Catalog 2008-09

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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 an application fee. Official transcripts are required from all undergraduate, graduate, professional and foreign institutions that you have attended even if it was only for a single course or college credit awarded while you were in high school.

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 Web site, 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 deadlines for receipt of the application form by the Graduate School. Early application is encouraged, particularly if application for an assistantship is contemplated. Students are encouraged to inquire about individual programs as early as possible since some programs have earlier deadlines and review applications only at fixed times during the year. Late applicants cannot be assured their application will be processed in time for the desired session of enrollment.

Session Deadline Session Deadline
Fall June 1 First Summer March 15
Spring October 15 Second Summer May 1

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 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 non-degree), 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, uncertain about the strength of their application, are advised to consult with the program director about their admissibility.

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 the degree program for more information.

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.

Application Process

Applicants must submit:
  • A completed online application with application fee (
  • Official score reports sent directly to the Graduate School from the testing agencies. (ECU’s GRE code is 5180 and MAT code is 1354.) Examinations must have been taken within the past five years.
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate, graduate, professional and foreign institutions that you have attended even if it was only for a single course or college credit awarded while you were in high school.
  • Three letters of reference from persons who can attest to academic competency or ability to do graduate work, if required by the program.
  • A completed Statement of Purpose essay if required.
  • Supplemental application and material if required by the intended program of study. Please contact the program director to learn of any additional application requirements, such as auditions, interviews, portfolios, narratives, etc.

The general test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is accepted by all masters and doctoral programs with the exception of the College of Business. The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is required for the graduate programs in accounting and business administration.

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

Many programs do not require entrance exam scores for holders of the master’s degree or more advanced degrees. Please check with the graduate program director for more information.

The master of music degree with a major in education and all MAEd programs except adult education require North Carolina Teaching Licensure for admission.

Applicants are admitted to degree and certificate programs only upon the issuance of a formal letter of admission by the Graduate School. Admission decisions are not made until the application portfolio is complete.

Requirements for admission to the summer session terms are the same as those for regular semesters of the academic year. However, some programs of study cannot be initiated in the summer session.

Students wishing to enroll in courses offered through the Division of Continuing Studies must be admitted to the university as a degree or non-degree student. Requirements for admission are the same as those for students enrolling on the main campus.

A graduate student in good standing at another institution may apply to take a specific graduate course or courses without furnishing transcripts and examination scores if the dean of the student’s graduate school supports such a request in writing. Students enroll as nondegree-seeking students.

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. If the degree and certificate programs are not completed concurrently, the student must submit a separate application for the certificate program at the time of graduation from the degree program.

Nondegree Admission

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.

To apply for nondegree enrollment, prospective students must submit an online nondegree graduate application at An official transcript or other document showing an earned degree from a regionally accredited institution is required. Students should submit nondegree applications no later than one week prior to registration day. A $60 application fee is required.
  1. A maximum of 9 semester hours of course work taken as a nondegree student may apply towards a masters or doctoral degree.
  2. 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 enroll.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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/Master's Program

This program allows ECU undergraduates with at least a 3.5 GPA to apply as juniors to an integrated bachelor’s/master’s program. Upon admission to the master’s degree program, the student can count up to 15 s.h. of graduate credit toward completion of the bachelor’s degree. Students participating in an integrated program earn the bachelor’s degree prior to completion of the master’s degree. Students may apply for the BA Psychology/MS Occupational Therapy Program, the BS Quantitative Economics/MS Applied Economics Programs, or the BS Exercise Physiology/DPT Physical Therapy programs. Other combinations will become available. Students should discuss their goals with their advisors and the Graduate School.

Accelerated Master's Degree Programs

ECU currently offers two accelerated master’s degree programs. These programs result in the awarding of one degree – the master’s.

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.

The Department of Occupational Therapy offers an accelerated MS in occupational therapy program. Students interested in this program enroll as freshmen in health services management and follow the specified plan of study in the health service management curriculum to complete required core undergraduate courses and prerequisites for the MS degree. Students apply for Graduate School in their junior year and may be admitted upon completion of the undergraduate plan of study – a minimum of 108 credits. Students will be awarded the MS in occupational therapy at end of five years completing a total of 162 credit hours.

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 posses 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.

Official Withdrawal

When a graduate student drops all courses in a semester in which he or she is enrolled the student must officially withdraw. Students registered on campus must apply for official withdrawal to the Office of Registrar. Students registered through Continuing Studies must apply for withdrawal to the Office of Student Services in the Division of Continuing Studies. Students withdrawing for medical/counseling reasons should complete the procedure within thirty days after the last class attendance. All other students withdrawing should complete this procedure immediately after the last class attendance. After classes have ended, no withdrawal, except in the case of severe medical emergency, can be filed. A graduate student withdrawing by the last day for graduate students to drop courses without grades as given in the Graduate School calendar will not receive grades for the semester. A graduate student withdrawing from school after the last day for graduate students to drop courses without grades shall receive a grade of F for all classes which he or she is failing at the time unless, in the judgement of the dean of the Graduate School, the failures were caused by circumstances beyond the student’s control.


Any student who interrupts his or her graduate program by not registering for courses on or off campus during any one semester of the regular academic year must apply for readmission before being allowed to resume graduate work. Applications for readmission may be completed online at There is no fee for readmission. These applications should be presented to the Graduate School at least one week prior to the opening of registration for the semester or summer term in which the student wishes to resume graduate work.

When a graduate program is interrupted for one calendar year, the student will not be readmitted unless he or she meets admission requirements current at the time of the request for readmission. The Graduate School Administrative Board will consider requests to waive this rule in specific cases when a student’s major school or department recommends waiver.

A student who has had a graduate program terminated by the Graduate School for any reason may apply for readmission to the terminated program or to another program. In either case, the student will complete an application for readmission, which will be forwarded to the academic program for its review. If the graduate faculty of the academic program does not approve readmission, they will convey that decision in writing to the Graduate School office and the dean of the Graduate School will communicate that decision to the student in writing (copy to the director of graduate studies). If the graduate faculty of the academic program wishes to admit the student, they will forward that decision in writing to the Graduate School Administrative Board for review. The academic program must state the specific conditions the students must meet to be admitted and complete the program. If approved by the Administrative Board, the dean of the Graduate School will communicate the decision of the graduate faculty and the Administrative Board to the student in writing (copy to the director of graduate studies).

Medical History/Immunizations

All newly admitted students must submit the report of medical history form which is available at 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.